One of the ways that beef producers can be successful in their business is to identify what their competitive advantage is in relation to their competition. What is it about your product, skills, reputation, business structure, location or service that sets you apart from others? What gives you a “leg up” on the competition?
Asking these questions can be foundational in helping owners and managers see where there may be an opportunity that they hadn’t considered before or recognize new ways to further develop a competitive advantage. If you find yourself in a bit of a mental struggle to perceive what your competitive advantage might be, consider asking yourself the following four “P” questions.
What is it about our place, our location in the world, our climate, or our position as it relates to resources and our customer that is unique? What benefits does our place provide for us that most others don’t have?
What passion do we have as it relates to resource management or beef production that differentiates us from others? How can this passion be harnessed and developed to be a point of leverage that can enhance our business success?
What problems could we solve that would make our product or service unique and highly desirable? What would give “pop” to what we deliver as compared to what others do?
Who are the people we currently serve or could serve with the product or service we provide? What do they want? Is there a customer desire that we haven’t considered? What could be the financial advantage to us if that desire could be met?
Involve other members of your family, employees and trusted advisors in this discussion as well. Get their perspective on what they see as being a current or possible competitive advantage. A fresh perspective from an outside source could open up a new way of thinking that you hadn’t considered before.
Beef production is a highly competitive commodity business. However, within that business arena are value opportunities that producers can develop. Identifying what your competitive advantage is, or what it could be, can bring focus to where efforts and investments should be made in the business.
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Sometimes it helps to see how others have answered the four “P” questions.
Meet the Switzer family. When they looked around at their place they realized that the wildlife that lived there gave their place a competitive advantage that they could expand on. Maybe, your place has resources that make you different than others.
The enterprises that they added to their ranch also aligned well with their passion for ranching. It gives the whole family a way of participating in the operation, and they’re also sharing this love with the many visitors who come for birding and wildlife watching.
Next, the Switzers looked at the river flowing through their property – another resource their place had. Here was another opportunity that provided their operation with a different kind of competitive advantage.
Greg Judy’s first competitive advantage was that he already lived in close proximity to farms that he could rent to expand his grazing business. But he didn’t stop there. Greg is always improving the properties he leases, even removing some of the trees to improve pastures. He saw that the lumber could be a valuable product as well. In addition to turning it into rustic furniture, he and Jan use the smaller diameter pieces for a profitable mushroom enterprise.
Blake Allen’s competitive advantage is understanding the markets and using his grass to add value to stockers. He’s explained his methods in a series of articles at On Pasture.
These are just an example of some of the ways you can expand your business by thinking about your competitive advantage. It’s also an example of the great resources that On Pasture provides. Subscribe today to explore our archive of over 2,500 articles all geared toward helping you be more successful and sustainable! And let us know if you’re looking for something in particular. We can find it for your, or put it on our list of topics to write about.