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What's the answer to this millennium mayhem of com­petition? The systemic answer lies within the market strategy hierarchies. Competitive analysis is in direct relation to how much competition you have.


If the competition is fierce and product branding is similar, then strategic alliances need to be explored along with licensing agreements and distribution expansion. Subcontractor "Keiretsu"-type relationships (established network of captive suppliers like the Japanese have) would also play into the integrated strategic business loop in addition to continuously evolving, loose, coop­erative networks.

If your firm is to dominate in the competitive battle­ground in the 21st century, it will have to establish extremely differential capabilities that set apart from competitors and make it difficult or costly to emulate.


Differential capabilities are defined as the ability of one's own firm to outperform others in the industry, based on specific sets of capabilities that can be exploited in the mind of the customer. Also understanding the critical factors that drive success in an industry, which in turn are based upon customers by purchase criteria. That's a real fancy way to explain that if your customers have no money, there will not be any business.


There sometimes seems to be a culturally inbred as­sumption, almost a spooky overconfidence, that we know how to win over business in this new frontier. The reality check is that the business strategy is often on autopilot, and the result is managers lose control of their future business outlook.


Some autopilot signs to watch out for in your com­pany are when

     Regardless of what the strategy says, most decisions
are driven by meeting the financial goals of the next

     There are rooms full of data that have little or no
relation to actual decisions managers make.

     Business plans are full of "technique du jour" words
(quality, productivity, customer service).

     Strategy relies heavily on what has worked in the past
even though it didn't work.

     The real strategy being followed is different from the
one in the plan.

     Many managers believe they would act differently if
they owned the business.


Part 1  Part 2    Part 3   Part 4  Part 5

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