The theme of this season is Creativity.

If things have never been this way before, then you must do things that you have never done before. What the heck are you going to do? Redefine your product? Create new revenue streams? Finely tune your expertise? Where does your future success lie?

Core Competencies, Critical Success Factors and Competitive Advantage are important elements of any business whether you have identified yours or not. I have tagged them as Three “C’s” because as a business owner it is wise to understand what they are and how they can help you focus and develop your growth, success and lead you on the path to creativity.

Core Competencies

“Everyone knows programming isn’t a core competency at Microsoft. Marketing is the only core competency here. By next year, the marketers just might have this whole place to themselves.”
-Anonymous Microsoft Engineer

This engineer may sound a bit snide, but the truth is that once you identify your Core Competency you have your hand on the driving wheel of your company. Do you know what your company does and does well, time after time, irregardless of your product or service?

Understanding why it is important and developing the competency to the point of making it core, takes time, experience and can be harder than it looks.

Once you separate your core competencies from other competencies, you can then move your company from good to great by: Creating value for your customers.

    1. Creating differentiation from your competitors.
    2. Entering new markets.
    3. Building your brand.

Critical Success Factors

In Alice in Wonderland, Alice gets to a fork in the road and she asks the cat. “Which way do I go?” “Where are you going?,” asks the cat. “I don’t know.” “Then it really doesn’t make any difference,” replies the cat.

Critical Success Factors are those elements that your business uses to measure its success. They may be unique to you, common to your industry or an interchangable but small list of important focus areas.

Some examples are:

What are your margins?

Do you operate at full capacity?
What is your debt to income ratio?
Have you increased sales to offset overhead?

What do you need to focus on and measure in order to create value in your business?

Competitive Advantage

“If you don’t have a competitive advantage, don’t compete.”
-Jack Welsh

What makes you better? What makes you unique? Why chose you from the millions of businesses that your customers can buy from? In what way can you develop your unique expertise?

If you don’t know the answer, how can you expect your customer to know?

Look here for more information on Strategic Business Leadership, Business Assessments or One on One Coaching.

Ruth Schwartz

Ruth Schwartz is the author of "The Key to the Golden Handcuffs". She is a high performance business consultant and leadership coach. Connect with Ruth to participate in the conversation. Google+, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube .