Small Business Leadership Academy: Strategy for Competitive Advantage (Part II)

Students spent time over the last week determining their company’s value proposition. Each student presented their value proposition to the class and fielded questions about it. For a small business owner, taking the time to occasionally review their organization’s strategy — and making necessary changes — can be the difference between staying in business and closing their doors.

As Professor Trevis Certo mentioned last week, “A common strategic mistake that many small businesses make is not understanding how common their product or service is and how easy it would be for another company to imitate.” With that in mind, several students put their value proposition in terms of what was rare about their businesses.

For Robert Lassner, project manager for Photovoltaic Systems Manufacturing, the value proposition isn’t always a product. “One of the rare things we have is experience and knowledge,” he says. “That is our most valuable asset.”

Ria Robles, vice president of B2B Delivery, also detailed the valuable aspects of their same-day courier service, commenting, “None of our competitors have all of these aspects, which is what helps keep us so successful.”

This exercise allowed these company leaders to take a high-level look at their day-to-day activities. What plans are pushed aside to keep the business moving forward? Steve Taverna, president and owner of TAVCO Sales & Service Company, has new accounting software just waiting to be implemented. “As we get bigger, we’re hoping to have more people that will be willing to take the lead on implementation of new technology.”

Going through this exercise created a strong foundation for the students as they move into next week’s topic, competing through services. With a better handle on the value proposition of their organization, these business leaders will no doubt refine their business practices over the next eight weeks.

The Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) is an intensive executive education program designed to strengthen the business acumen of small business leaders in Arizona. The program was jointly developed by the W. P. Carey School of Business and the Salt River Project (SRP), the program’s founding sponsor. Other seat sponsors this year include: Arizona Lottery, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Hahnco and U. S. Bank. Each week we will bring you a few salient points from each class as well as comments from the professors themselves and the impact the information has had on the students.

For more information about the Small Business Leadership Academy, please visit SBLA’s website.

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Missed the first part of this series?

Read Small Business Leadership Academy: Strategy for Competitive Advantage (Part I).