Differentiation matters!

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The Trails of West FriscoThe reason I posted this picture today is that me and my wife have been looking for new homes and want to move up in size from the home I bought as a bachelor (3 bedrooms with a Gameroom).  We are looking to “put down roots” and buy a house that will hopefully last for the next 15-20 years.

Here is what we are discovering:


  1. We like master-planned communities with schools integrated into the subdivision.  The Trails of West Frisco has two elementary schools in the community and tons of young families.
  2. We like a community feel (Santa comes every Christmas for the kids, the Easter bunny shows up, etc) here in the Trails Of West Frisco.
  3. We like neighborhood pools, parks, paths/trails and the Trails offers this. Like other families, we have certain requirements for bedrooms, size, features, etc.  We can pretty much find homes that meet these requirements.  The problem is that few are for sale :(
  4. We find new neighborhoods going up all over the place in our fast growing community of Frisco, north of Dallas, Texas (125,000 people and growing fast).  We can find homes with the size, features, price points, etc.  At the end of the day though, we keep going back to some of the points I mentioned above.

Being different, unique and having attractive features offered nowhere else helps home values.  It creates demand for a product (in this case homes).  Being different with a great product also reduces customer turnover (very few homes for sale in this neighborhood).  If all a housing development is offering is beautiful homes but no community they have added SOME value but not as much as they could offer because other builders can build quality homes.  Building a community of great looking homes doesn’t lead to a longer-term differentiated experience that reduces home turnover, creates long-term demand, etc.

Taking this experience outside of real estate and housing, products / services that aren’t differentiated end up being compared on features and commoditized to some degree.  Basically it becomes “what is unique about the product and how much does it cost per foot or per square foot or cost per item, etc).  Next time you see something ask yourself, is this product unique, different, how do they justify the additional cost vs. similar products / services, etc.

To Your Success,

Dan Ross


About Dan Ross

A Fortune 100 financial executive, Dan received an MBA from Rice University and a B.S. in Accounting from UT Dallas. He is a "numbers guy", a big believer in continuous learning, a recovering CNBC junkie, a loving husband, a technology buff, a Starbucks Mocha addict and Twitter-holic who loves snow skiing. Follow @BetterBizIdeas