by William DiPaolo
A few years ago one of our competitors completed a successful IPO, effectively dissolving the anchor of “financial lack” that companies like Cogent Road wrestle with daily. Competing against a public company’s deep-pockets requires courage and dedication. It also requires that the smaller company fully understand its singular competitive advantage, in order to pump all its creative energy into it.
Customers spend money with your company for one reason – to achieve the “experience” you’ve promised to provide. We may speak of features and benefits, but these are akin to the planets orbiting around the central sun of a “promised experience”. To compete successfully, public company or not, your business must be able to deliver an experience that prospective customers prefer over other options. If your solution creates a more valuable experience, customers will direct their currency into your company. As long as you focus on creating new ways to increase this experience, more and more currency will flow your way.
Cogent Road creates enterprise software that helps our clients more easily attract customers and currency into their businesses. We focus on creating solutions that produce “scalable-growth” while removing “friction” from their operational processes. Since we currently operate in the mortgage banking space, our software must be an engine that attracts borrowers more easily, processes loans more quickly and ensures compliance with increasingly complex federal regulations. We want our clients’ businesses to experience “growth”, therefore our software must be the engine that drives this evolution.
Once you’ve identified the experience you wish to create, the second step is to identify the competitive advantage you will use to deliver it. What unique skills and abilities do you possess within the combined intellect of your company? As I have mentioned in other blogs, a company is never a product or solution, it is the aggregate of your employee’s capabilities. Therefore, in what way can you focus your employee’s potential to create a laser-sharpened advantage in the market? And how will this advantage create an experience more highly valued than that of your competition?
A good example is the way Apple focused on creating an experience of elegance – through the competitive advantage of design superiority. Like beautifully wrapped presents, every Apple product, icon, retail store and even its advertisements, provided its customers with an experience of elegant design. Apple used design to create harmony between hardware and software in ways that significantly enhanced our experience with digital music and mobile phones. Apple’s strategy created market superiority and hundreds of billions of dollars in economic value. What I admired most about Steve Jobs was the way he was able to align an entire company of talented people, in a multitude of disciplines, into a singular focus on design excellence. Apple attracted huge volumes of currency because its customers desired the experience offered through its elegantly designed solutions.
How then can Cogent Road create software that promises customers the experience of scalable business growth? We do this by focusing on our singular competitive advantage; we try to get better and better at increasing the economic value of “data-transit”. Our software is designed to convert data from “source” into “economic value” as quickly as possible. The better we do this, the more economic value we create for our customers. The greater the economic value, the greater the “growth” in our client’s businesses.
The bottom line is this; when you focus on enhancing your customer’s experience, your customers will happily support your business.
And whether IPO or start-up, happy customers are always the best source of funding.