As you look to grow your agency’s business have you thought about your agency’s current strategy for growth?
Many agency owners never take the time to really think about their business strategically.
They come upon their strategy in other ways:
- They copy the strategy of one or more competitors in the market – this can lead to intense competition
- They iterate their strategy through trial and error – this takes longer and is wasteful of time and money and is likely to be a tactical plan and not a true “strategy”
- They stumble into it – reacting to customers, competition or the marketplace without a clear plan
It is a rare homecare agency owner that thinks through their strategy and forges it with the necessary up-front work and research and then executes that plan.
However rare, strategic business development this has been proven to be the most effective in the long term.
Differentiation in Times of Trouble
If you’re at a loss of where to start in developing the business strategy for your agency, consider a strategy of differentiation.
As agencies grapple with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and how to respond both operationally and as they look to growth for their business; consider GE in the late 20th century.
In his tenure Jack Welch, Chairman and CEO of GE between 1981 and 2001 grew GE from a $12 billion valuation to over $409 billion.
“In every company, differentiation is never more important than it is in times of trouble, and that’s the time when everyone tends to go to the well and equalize rather than differentiate”, explains Jack.
How you differentiate your business in ways that are meaningful to your customer is critical to your homecare agency’s long-term success.
After all, if you don’t offer anything different than your competition why should clients and their families choose your agency for home care services?
It’s hard to create a strategy of differentiation. If it was easy, it would not represent the strategic opportunity that it is. That being said, nobody else can do it for your organization.
As the leader of your agency, you need to lead the charge because you know your business, your customers, your competition and your market best.
The first step is to think about everything you and your agency does, how you do it, what it means to your customers, and the same for your competitors.
Here are some questions to get you started thinking in this vein:
- What are the truly different activities we perform as compared to the competition?
- What similar activities do we perform differently than our competition?
- How is our business model different than our competition?
- What resources do we have that are different than our competition?
- How do customers describe the difference between us and our competitors?
- If you are stuck, here is a hint, ask your customers! What do they think your agency does better or differently than others, which of your offerings is unique?
- Ask yourself “What is the primary differentiated value we offer to our customers? (And how much do they value it?)”1
The Good and the Bad News
First, the bad news – differentiating your agency from the sea of sameness will take some effort, focus and is an ongoing strategic activity to achieve and then maintain agency growth.
Great companies are always innovating, always working on their differentiation strategy.
As Steve Jobs explained before his return to Apple, known today as a constant innovator, thanks largely to Steve’s leadership:
“It wasn’t that Microsoft was so brilliant or clever in copying the Mac, it’s that the Mac was a sitting duck for 10 years. That (was) Apple’s problem: Their differentiation (had) evaporated.”
The good news is that it is likely that your competition isn’t thinking about a differentiation strategy.
You have a chance to really separate yourself and get value for your services instead of competing on price.
If you get started down this path and continue to think in a strategic manner, including setting time aside to engage in strategic thinking you have a good chance to grow your business and become more profitable for the long haul.
To find out how SMARTcare™ software and support can help you differentiate your business, please contact us at 1+ (800) 450-9104 or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Horwath, Richard. “Strategy Demands Differentiation.” Strategy Skills, November 19, 2019, https://www.strategyskills.com/strategy-demands-differentiation/