My colleague has a son whose soccer team is in first place this season. They haven’t just been beating the competition. They truly are in a league of their own, giving up only three goals so far, yet scoring nearly 40. The truth is they haven’t had much competition to speak of, but they will for the last games of the season. When they talk about it as a team, the coach tells them the same thing each time – if you go out there and do what you do best, you will win.

The same is true in business. When you focus on your core competencies – those things your financial institution does exceptionally well – you succeed. Now, that doesn’t mean never try something new. On the contrary, all businesses have to adapt to their customers’ changing needs, but they should do it within the scope of their core competencies.

Take Nike, for example. A few years ago, Nike tried expanding its business to mp3 players, because its customers often use these devices while wearing Nike shoes. The effort failed, because it strayed too far from Nike’s core business. Nike has since introduced some digital products that are a more natural extension of its core business.

“Doing MP3 players, even though runners would use MP3 players—it was a whole different business,” said Nike CEO Mark Parker in an article at

Read the rest of this blog post in the latest issue of my monthly e-newsletter. You’ll also find information on how to differentiate your financial institution during the holidays. At a time when everyone in the retail sector is making noise, how can you stand out? We answer this question and more.