Whenever I work with web entrepreneurs, the discussion quickly goes onto one point:
What is it that your company does better than anybody else?
In an era with unprecedented low barriers to entry, and where competition is absolutely global, answering this question correctly and then executing on it becomes more important than ever. And it is surprising how easily we are all being drawn away from that.
Take Qype for example: Qype is successful because it only focuses on local reviews. We had to develop a local search for each market, just to make reviewing simple. Qype reviews are easy to find via Google, on your mobile phone. That is what Qype does really well. Whenever we ventured out of this area, for example with local Groups, we found that we just could not focus the same amount of energy into this.
Nearly every great company stands for one thing they do exceptionally well.
- Doodle.ch is a fantastic example of this. It does one thing extremely well and is being used for just this: Agree on something, mostly a convenient time for a meeting.
- Facebook is (and will be) successful in essence, because it will continuosly strive to deliver the best product to connect with your friends. Whatever form this may take. And they have the resources to do so.
- While a BMW is a car like any other, BMW make the experience for people who like driving just better.
- Ryanair is fantastic at lowering their costs for flights. Even to the point that they seem to only buy new planes in an economic downturn.
- Many German Mittelstand companies simply turn out the one product and do that better than everyone else, legions of books have been written about this phenomenon.
You know if a company stands for something if it does one thing really well. And here I find too many startups trying to do too many things at the same time, becoming mediocre in each one.
In the old marketing days, this was called a USP, a unique selling proposition. But today you have to live up to it. And that means focusing all your efforts on this one thing.