15 Ways to Give your Business an Unfair Advantage – Part Three

Here are some great tips I read recently in Real Business Magazine. Click here to read parts one and two!

11. Write a not-to-do list

“How many people have a to-do list? Forget that, you should have a not-to-do list for your business,” advises Richard Harpin, the founder of Homeserve. Understand your own strengths and weaknesses and then concentrate on what you’re good at, rather than trying to do everything. But it does mean you can’t dream big. “My goal is for us to offer the best man-in-a-van service delivery – we’ll never do car repairs.” This single-minded focus has helped Homeserve sign up 68 million households in six countries.

12. Don’t ever be satisfied

“Live in a perpetual state of dissatisfaction,” says Damelin at Wonga.  This forces your business to constantly improve its service, he explains: “Within six months of launching our same-day lending service, we launched a same-hour service. Today we offer loans within 15 minutes of receiving a valid application. And now I’m working on getting it down to a second.” Have unreasonable expectations and your team will surpass itself.

13. Don’t be a copycat

“When looking to disrupt a market, look where customers are getting a raw deal,” says Wonga’s Damelin. “its harder work, but it’s better than having a copycat business.” Being an innovative business in a stale market is what made Wonga successful, he adds. “There were already companies out there disrupting other markets, but not in short-term borrowing – that’s our space.”

14. Respect your partners

“We ask all of our partners to sign up to a ‘Partnership Charter’, where they commit to open, honest, two-way communication. We don’t want any foot-stamping, it’s about treating each other with respect,” says Dame Mary Perkins, Founder of Specsavers. The Charter outlines rules to prevent any tension and disagreements. “And it’s important for me, too. I’ve been known to lose my rag!”

15. Test, test, test – then think big!

“You must test, test, and test again, “says Homeserve’s Richard Harpin. “Only once you’ve really made a product or service work should you begin to think big. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket until you’re 100% convinced.” And don’t fret about the competition, he adds: “If you’ve tested your products correctly, you’re sure to stay ahead. Just make sure you remain close to your customers.”


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