Competitive advantage

Tom’s creativity really shone in ‘The Apprentice’, where he was continually praised for his ability to come up with new ideas. For example, he came up with the BixMix biscuit idea, of two biscuits mixed together and chocolate on one half of the biscuit. It was a novel and innovative concept, failed only by the team’s inability to create a good taste. However, it was a clear show of Tom’s innovative capability. He also objected when the idea of ‘Every Dog’ was suggested, as the target market was too general and there was no USP/competitive advantage.

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He was later proved right when the product was rejected. After Tom was selected to participate in the final, he came up with yet another creative idea for his potential partnership with Lord Sugar. This time, he came up with office chairs, which could help relieve back pain. While this was a concept which had already been thought of, Tom’s product took it one step further, by being able to detect whether the user may suffer from back pain in the future.

This additional function helps prevent back pain and could be an innovative edge over other, similar products. It is clear that Tom’s main entrepreneurial attribute is creativity. All ideas stem from creativity, and ideas and innovations are essential for business. In Tom’s case, without his creativity, he would not have been an entrepreneur, as his innovations have dominated his whole entrepreneurial career. The other major skill which Tom has shown is drive/determination.

He has continued to innovate and create even through difficulties and failures, which is an admirable quality. It shows that he is prepared to learn from mistakes and try again and again until he succeeds. I have attempted to contact Tom with a questionnaire but have received no reply thus far. My third source will be an internet source (study entitled ‘Entrepreneurial creativity and innovation’). [4] This study emphasizes the importance of creativity and innovation as a part of enterprise, and therefore also for starting and running a business.

In the study, the author recognizes that creativity and innovation are ‘central to the entrepreneurial process’. The study investigated into small enterprises and asked them questions to collect primary data. Here are some of the results: 1. Notably, out of the thirteen owners of small enterprises who took part in the first phase of this study, only one said that his business offered more of the same, and even the individual in question said that he was ‘always trying to design new products … always trying to create something new’.

This suggests that creative ideas and innovations are very important to small enterprises, because they need to have a competitive advantage over their rivals. 2. Another entrepreneur remarked: ‘Having new ideas is very important, if you’re going to be like everyone else, you’re just going to fall in with the rest of the crowd’. This is very true, because in the competitive world of business, rival businesses will be splitting the customers, resulting in lower numbers of customers and less profit, or even a loss.

New ideas can be developed, and if viable, can be a valuable competitive advantage that makes your business stand out from the rest. 3. In addition to the qualitative data from the first phase of the survey, there was also quantitative data from the second phase. 89. 5% of entrepreneurs surveyed said that new goods or services that they launched were generally successful (see chart below): Clearly, new, innovative products or services have an excellent success rate (nearly 9 out of 10).

This indicates that an USP or competitive advantage is very important, because the product or service will either have a totally new edge which is likely to attract customers, or be able to perform better than its competitors. Hence, these new goods or services are generally quite successful. My fourth source is an investigation into Apple. Apple is now one of the biggest electronics companies in the world, selling a range of products from the iPhone to the iPad. Many of these products are innovations, which have revolutionised the electronics world.