Do you ever worry that your business doesn’t really have a unique selling proposition or competitive advantage? A lot of business owners do! That’s because they’re all trying to use the same competitive advantage, which renders it not competitive at all. Examples of over-used and not-so-believable statements are all around us. “Best Value” or “Great Customer Service” are almost meaningless to us because so many businesses have claimed to have these things but didn’t live up to it. A lot of people just assume businesses are not telling the truth these days. That’s sad to me. Marketing is all about telling the truth! Marketing is authentically sharing who you are, what you can do for your clients, and why. It should feel good — for you and your clients. Here are my 3 tips to ensure that you are on the right track for a better competitive advantage!
So how do we solve that competitive advantage problem for you? We create the best team, which creates the best culture, which creates the most amazing customer experience, which means your amazing team will definitely be inimitable.
1. Hire intentionally.
Use a hiring process so thorough that no one can get through it without being a perfect fit with your culture statements.
The best way to build your hiring process is to:
A) Use your culture statements.
B) Think back to any employee you may have hired that wasn’t a great fit, and add a step that would have uncovered each characteristic or behaviour you wish they didn’t have. Now you can weed out those characteristics in the future.
*Know your employment standards and human rights laws and do not violate them!
Including your team in your hiring process is awesome because when they get to help “choose” people, you can let them know that they are also responsible for helping the chosen new hires succeed! Remember people are always more bought in when they get to help build or decide something. This is why questions are our superpower as leaders.
Seeing your potential hires in a variety of situations — phone interview, in-person interview, team meet and greet, dinner with the spouses, and a working interview — will give you the best insight as to who they are. And this is exactly what you’re looking for during the hiring process: getting a sense of who they are, and not just getting the right answers to the questions you ask.
Now, this may seem obvious, but have really great and authentic conversations with several references. You really want to know how this person will fit into the role and company culture.
2. Onboard exceptionally.
Have you ever been hired somewhere and been told, “We like to just throw you in and see how you do”? That is pretty scary for some people, and not usually the most effective. Please create a thorough training and onboarding process (with a checklist) that properly educates, appreciates, and welcomes your new team members.
They should be given clear expectations and documents including the following:
• Job description with Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
• Culture statements
• Mission statement
• Vision statement
• Company policies and procedures
Make sure your existing team knows the new hire is coming, and greets them warmly. The team should be actively involved in the process.
Make sure that their learning style is taken into account. I prefer to read, but some of my team prefers to listen. It is painfully obvious when people try to learn outside of their natural learning styles, and it won’t produce good results for either of you. Make sure new hires are given the opportunity to learn the way they need to learn. *You should also do this for any current staff who are re-training.
3. Be the best leader possible!
You will have the best results from your team when you are:
• Appreciative (Bonus: Appreciate them in their preferred language by using the Motivating by Appreciation Language Inventory)
• Role-modelling your culture statements
• Leading by example
• Always looking for feedback and improving based upon it
• Apologetic when you make mistakes
• Emotionally intelligent
• Keeping your word
• Consistently rallying staff around the mission and vision
• Easy to be around
Having your amazing team be your competitive advantage is really
just the icing on the cake. As you can imagine, if you do all of this consistently, going to work with your incredible team is not only fun, satisfying and successful, but also one of the best things you will have ever created in your life!
Trust me, I’ve got amazing teams like the ones I described, and I love every minute with them! Just follow these 3 tips for a better competitive advantage and watch as your team (and therefore business) thrives!
With gratitude and excitement for your team,