Why Your Business Needs An Unfair Advantage

November 2, 2017


When you start a new business, one of the first things you have to figure out is how to stand out among your competitors. This is where the concept of Unfair Advantage comes in.

According to Ash Maurya, author of Running Lean and creator of the Lean Canvas, a real unfair advantage is something that cannot be easily copied or bought by your competitors.

If you search Google for keywords related to your business, you’ll likely discover that there are no shortage of businesses trying to solve the same problem your business wants to solve.

Chances are that many of these businesses are more established and have far more resources than you do. This means that to be able to survive, you need to have something the competition doesn’t have or do something the competition isn’t doing.

Once your business starts to get some traction, your competitors and other copycats will try to copy what you are doing.

Having an unfair advantage then becomes an essential part of your business model and could be the sole reason why your business survives.

A real unfair advantage is something that cannot be easily copied or bought by your competitors. Share on X

There are some things you cannot depend on to remain truly competitive. Things like your technology or your pricing are things that anyone with the right resources can copy. If you don’t  have anything else which truly sets you apart, then you won’t last long.

Trying to figure out what your unfair advantage is can be difficult at first. The good news is that you don’t really need to have that figured out from the onset.”

Here are examples of Unfair Advantages that you can build for your business as shown by Jason Cohen

1. Insider information of your industry.

Having a deep understanding of the industry and an intimate knowledge of the pain points within that industry is a good advantage to have. It is not something anyone can buy.

2. Endorsements and social proof.

Getting the right people and influencers in the right places to endorse your product or services. Influencers have followers who trust them. When they endorse you, their followers also trust you because of your association with other people they trust.

3. Single-minded, uncompromising obsession with One Thing.

Being able to stick to and focus on the One Thing which sets you apart and do it no matter how difficult it is.

Google has spent hundreds of millions of dollars andhase dedicated 1000’s of employees to develop the world’s best search engine. Microsoft and Yahoo have struggled to catch up. Almost 20 years down the line, Google Search is still Google’s major focus.

Lesson: If you want to remain un-copyable, strive to build something which is integral to your success and difficult to achieve.

4. Personal Authority

Being able to build a reputation as an authority in a particular industry is another great unfair advantage. When Elon Musk announced the Tesla Model 3 in March 2016, Tesla racked up over 325,000 reservations even before the car was completed. This was possible in part by the reputation Elon Musk has built as a leader in the auto industry over the years.

5. A loyal community/audience

A community of loyal customers, users and other partners help you add value to your business. You cannot replicate it easily.  Apple has been able to create a community of loyal customers who will not think twice before buying the next iPhone which comes out. They won’t mind queueing for days just to get their hands on a new iPhone. Something like that isn’t something that can be easily copied.

Other examples of unfair advantage you can build include a reputation for excellent customer service, exclusive access to certain customers or channels, and a highly motivated die-hard team. These are all advantages that may be hard for others to replicate.

Final Thoughts

It is in the best interest of your business to have an unfair advantage – something that cannot be easily copied by others. The more you have, the better for your business. It takes a lot of time and effort to build an unfair advantage. Don’t despair if you haven’t found it yet. Just make a conscious effort to find and build one.

What other advantages do you know of which cannot be copied? Leave them in the comments section below.

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