Understand Your Company’s Core Competencies

Last week, the Fire Enterprises, Inc. (FEI) tribe discussed why understanding market need for potential products is a crucial early step in the product development process. This week, the topic around the FEI conference table is why a company’s product development efforts should derive from knowledge of its core competencies. Remember, fire = print.

“What is our company good at?” Lucy asked.

“Making fire?” Zoot suggested. “Lighting hearths?”

“Pyro and Flintstone offer those services as well,” Lucy countered. “What does FEI offer that allows us to remain competitive in the crowded fire marketplace?”

“Lots of runners and fast chariots,” Zoot offered.

“Great! FEI’s ample supply of runners allows us to deliver products to the outer corners of Olympus in less than a day. ‘Competitive turnaround times on fire products for businesses and hearths’ is one core competency.”

“Can any aspect of our business be a core competency?” Marka asked.

“Not quite,” Lucy explained. “A core competency is a specific trait that is central to the way our business works, and will usually fulfill three different criteria:

• “Provides benefits to end users.”

• “Competitors can’t imitate it easily.”

• “Can be leveraged to gain a strategic advantage.”

“Now that we understand what a core competency is, let’s list some of ours,” Lucy said.

“Sterling customer service; durable torches, matches and lighters; unparalleled industry expertise,” Zoot listed off on his fingers.

“Forty years of experience in the fire industry,” Marka offered.

“Wonderful, tribe!” Lucy shouted. “We can use this understanding of our core competencies as a springboard for product strategy development activities. Developing products that are in line with our business strengths will allow us to fully capitalize on market opportunities.”

“I think I get it,” Org said. “We understand FEI’s core competencies and what they mean for product development. What’s next, Lucy?”

T.J. is team leader of Grow Sales, Inc., a marketing and social media services company operating at the intersection of compelling content, clear vision and quality communication practices. In this blog, fire is a metaphor for print. Hang on, this ride will be weird...Prometheus crept into Mt. Olympus, stole fire, returned to the lowlands, ran from house to house distributing it, got caught, was chained to a rock, lost his liver to a huge ugly bird and was rescued by Hercules. Leveraging his fame, Prometheus started Fire Enterprises Inc.  (FEI). Since fire was the hottest technology of the time, company success came fast and furious. Two generations later, fire isn't such an easy sale. Now led by Prometheus' grandson Org, FEI's growth is non-existent, competitors are pounding and prices are in the toilet.
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