Focus on the how, not on the what

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Focusing on business efficiency gave many companies in the world a great competitive advantage in the 1960’s and ’70’s. At that time everything was about being faster and more efficient in order to be the first to have access to the market. 

In the information economy that emerged over the ’70’s the competitive advantage was based on extracting information. Companies such as IBM dominated the market because they knew how to get access to critical information.

But times have changed again. We’re now living in the connection economy: the competitive advantage is in the ability to form meaningful connections. It doesn’t matter any more if you’re the first to have access to the market or you can gather critical and essential information faster than anybody else, as these can be easily replicated: what matters now is knowing what to do with the information you have and how to present it in a way that’s relevant to your customers. 

Nowadays businesses are looking to differentiation, emotional connection and trust to create their competitive advantage.

That’s why storytelling is the skill that everybody wants, because what you do no longer matters as much as how you do it. 

From banking, accounting, fashion and health to legal services, there are so many choices out there that the only way to filter the information from the customer point of view is to find a company that’s aligned with your beliefs and values – unless you just want the cheapest product or service, but I’m not talking about this.

For instance banking for entrepreneurs, banking for ethical people, slow fashion, gyms for women. 

Stories create the emotional angle that will turn a customer who’s ready to make a transaction into a connection. People want to be seen as who they are. They want to make choices that talk about their values.

But your business cannot do that if you don’t know who you are. Any business story starts with a conscious decision about what you stand for. Once you know this, the story isn’t difficult to tell.