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Competitive Analysis

How Competitive Analysis Will Inspire Your Strategic Plan

“The ability to learn faster than your competitors may be the only sustainable competitive advantage.”

—Arie de Geus, Shell Oil

The perennial antagonism of the kitchen and bath owner is business as usual. “Business as usual” is the hard work that owners and staff put into their firms that never lets up.

While it’s instinctual to keep working in our business and not to step out of the box to work on it, sooner or later, owners will discover for themselves that their business operations never lead to truly substantive growth.

There are three things to keep in mind as you go about improving your business. The first is identifying your core values. The second is knowing what your competition is doing; the third is creating value by differentiating your operations from them.

Through strategic differentiation, your prospects perceive you as a better value, while charging more for your projects will enable your business to reach its peak potential.

Three profit strategies for independent kitchen and bath dealers

Marketing experts have identified three profit-generating strategies for kitchen and bath remodeling firm owners.

Price leadership. This is where businesses offer their products and services at the lowest price on the market. It’s proven to be a lucrative avenue for large companies. Since big box stores already generate tremendous returns using this strategy, independent kitchen and bath firms have slim chances of finding success here.

Micro market. Many firms make an above-average gross profit by focusing on a single customer base, product, or market segment. We’ve seen dozens of independent kitchen and bath dealers make auspicious debuts in micro markets such as one-day bath remodeling. However, there is another venture to take to get the highest returns possible in the kitchen and bath industry.

Strategic differentiation. This is the path for kitchen and bath firm owners who want to be challenged in what they do. Those who love big creative projects that forge lasting relationships with clientele and have the biggest returns in satisfaction and profit will find their modus operandi in offering something brilliant to their clientele that their competition can’t.

Strategic differentiation is about aligning your team’s synergy and expertise with your core values – so that your excellent service supports your vast selection of beautiful products. In this combination, you “tangiblize” the intangible for your prospects – and you will be rewarded for it.

When you satisfy your customer’s needs through outstanding service, you’ll be able to sell products and services at a premium. In the process, you’ll increase your clientele base, the number of jobs you do in a year, as well as the value of your firm. Strategic differentiation is proven to be the way to generate the highest gross profits for independent kitchen and bath firm owners.

Learn about your competition

Knowing your competition’s operations can be a valuable baseline for improving your gross profit margins.

  • How do your competitors serve their client’s needs?
  • Where are they failing to serve them?
  • What do they do excellently, and where do they stumble?

This is not to say that the solution to your business expansion is to do what your competitor does well and improve upon what they don’t do well. Covering potholes won’t distinguish your operation but make it blend in with others.

Copycat operations will never be innovative and always consistently fail to miss the mark of creating a genuinely stable and happy clientele base. Prospects look past product lines to see what a company stands for. When your company delivers exceptional, lightning-fast service and does business transparently, competitors will seek out your firm from the herd.

Build strategic differentiation into your values

Planning to differentiate your firm from the competition begins with stating your core values. From there, build a team of trusted employees and subcontractors who synergize.

Besides being knowledgeable of the latest market trends and technology, owners are advised to practice radical transparency. Applying radical transparency to your business means that your team is familiar with virtually every aspect of your firm’s operations. This creates a warmer, more creative atmosphere that, in turn, becomes an efficient engine for wealth.

On the customer side, radical transparency is in your prospects knowing how and why their project will cost what it will if they hire your firm. This empowerment, where they interact with your designer to create the budget together, has been proven to lead to quicker retainers and higher sales.

After your core values and implementations are in place, it’s time to see what your competition is doing. Take a look at your competitors’ websites and visit their showrooms.

  • In what do your competitors specialize?
  • What do you think of their product presentation?
  • Do they utilize a Good-Better-Best marketing strategy?
  • Do they practice radical transparency?
  • What do they discuss in their blog?

Keep in mind what your firm does differently or what you could be doing differently from your competition. Have your team and marketing agency critique your competitors’ approach. Getting your entire team’s input will help you create a well-thought-out plan for the growth of your operations.

Avoid the trap of cutting corners

Owners and their teams need to continuously refine their operations so that their firms have a better chance of performing above average during the next economic downturn.

Imagine a young professional couple walking into your beautiful showroom after visiting your website. They could be overwhelmed by all the products and cabinet styles they can choose from. Instead, their conversation with one of your sales designers leaves them feeling delighted rather than burdened.

Imagine how much clarity they’ll gain from your unique Good-Better-Best budgeting process. Imagine how much more motivated they’ll be to commit to your firm after an educational experience with your designer.

Picture that momentum leading them to retain your sales designer to remodel their kitchen for $95,000 by the end of the initial two-hour meeting because that can become a reality.

Your kitchen and bath firm’s overall operational goal is to “tangiblize” the value of your service for your customers. Competitive research is a significant move to improving your services as your business continues its upward growth to owning your local market share and beyond.


  —SEN Leadership Team


Master strategic planning, selling more into each job, leveraging technology, Good-Better-Best selling, and other smart implementations at one of SEN University’s valued online business courses – or contact Shannon Blair to attend our in-person schools