What does it take to Scale Up a Business – Part Two: Creating a Differentiated Strategy

Scaling Up Coaches to help revise strategy

Creating a solid strategy for your company is a key concept introduced in the book “Scaling Up” by Verne Harnish. A differentiated strategy is a unique approach to doing business that sets a company apart from its competitors and allows it to succeed in the marketplace.

There are a number of key steps that you can take to create a differentiated strategy.

Understand the Competitive Landscape

First and foremost, it is important to understand the competitive landscape in which your company operates. This includes identifying your key competitors, as well as understanding their strengths and weaknesses. 

For example, after the acceleration of digital adoption during the pandemic, a majority of companies view technology capabilities as a strategic differentiator. (McKinsey

The competitive landscape of business is evolving regulatory and at a very fast rate. By understanding the market trends, you can identify opportunities to differentiate from your competitors and create a unique value proposition for your customers.

Identify Your Unique Strengths

Once the competitive landscape has been understood, the next step is to identify your company’s unique strengths and capabilities. This includes understanding the core competencies, as well as the unique resources and capabilities. 

The following are some examples of what your companies strengths could include:

  • Strong, innovative company culture
  • Unique product or knowledge
  • Excellent efficiency and productivity
  • Customer service that creates raving fan customers
  • Ability to scale sustainably
  • Speed to market
  • High adaptability
  • Diversification of products or services
  • Strong, decisive leadership

There are so many ways to identify your strengths. Start by putting yourself in your customers shoes. What is it that they love about your product or service? Why do they keep coming back? You can also use feedback directly from your customers to identify this. 

By identifying your unique strengths and capabilities, you can develop a robust strategy that leverages these assets to create value for your customers.

Only 22% of employees feel that leaders have a clear direction for the organization. (Gallup)

Understand who are Your Core Customers & what are Their Needs

Don’t fall for the innovation trap – it’s important first to align your innovations to the needs and preferences of your target market. This includes conducting market research to understand the specific needs of your customers. 

Below are some simple ways to meet customer needs successfully.

  • Identify – Analysis your customer needs through surveys, interviews, focus groups, complaints or social listening.
  • Distribute – Once you have identified the needs, distribute it across the right teams and departments within the organisation.
  • Create – Customise the product or service features that focuses on customer needs.
  • Collect – Obtain customer feedback regularly to learn how your efforts meet their expectations, and to modify as needed.

By understanding your customers, you can develop a strategy that meets their needs and provides them with value that they cannot find elsewhere.

85% of leadership teams spend less than one hour per month on strategy, and 50% spend no time at all on strategy. (Harvard Business Review)

Establish a Clear and Compelling Vision

Another key step in creating a strategy is to establish a clear and compelling vision for the future of the company. This includes setting ambitious but achievable long-term goals for the company – also known as a Big Hairy Audacious Goal or BHAG – and developing a plan to achieve those goals. 

By establishing a clear vision for the future, you can motivate and engage your employees and stakeholders, and create a sense of purpose and direction for the organisation.

Regularly Monitor and Evaluate the Strategy

In addition to these steps, it is also important to continuously monitor and evaluate the strategy. This includes regularly conducting market research to understand the evolving needs and preferences of the company’s target market, as well as tracking the company’s progress towards achieving its goals.

By continuously monitoring and evaluating the strategy, you can make adjustments as needed and ensure that it remains relevant and successful in the marketplace.

In conclusion, creating a differentiated strategy is a critical component of business success. By understanding each aspect of your company, you can develop a unique and successful approach to doing business that sets you apart from your competitors and allows you to thrive in the marketplace.

The Scaling Up Framework used by the team at Strategy and Execution includes a simple One Page Strategic Plan (OPSP) which makes it easy for you to see where your company wants to be and how to get there. It helps to align your team, encourage accountability and develop a clear line of sight for the future. 

To Scale Up your business! Take our Scaling Up/Four Decisions Needs Assessment to discover how your business measures against other Scaled Up companies. We’ll contact you.

Strategy and Execution Business Advisors and Scaling Up Coaches in Brisbane & Australia


Need assistance to help your team achieve your objectives to grow your business? Contact me at tedb@strategyandexecution.com.au to schedule a free 30-minute discovery meeting.


We have been providing organisations and their leaders with facilitation support and executive education focused on strategy development and strategy execution for more than 20 years. Using business models such as Scaling Up, Exponential Organizations, E-Myth Mastery, Outthinker etc, we support organisations seeking to create or refine excellent strategies and execute them quickly and effectively.

Our expertise is based on a mixture of wide business experience, effective tools as well as a great deal of consulting and executive education. Our approach to working with clients is as unique as our specialist focus. We always seek to challenge our clients’ thinking – but equally are unafraid to roll up our sleeves and help execute the ideas we help generate. Learn more about us here or view our upcoming workshops and events.

If you are preparing for strategy development and/or a strategy implementation challenge and are committed to creating value for your organisation, we look forward to hearing from you. Contact us now