Since the 80′s the business world has had its foot on the accelerator and continues shifting gears every decade.
With all the introduction of new technologies the Internet, email, smart phones ect.. it is harder than ever to build a lasting sustainable competitive advantage over your competition. A theory Michael Porter came up with in 1985
In order to have a SCA your business has to accomplish several things.
1st) It has to be Valuable: there has to be a demand for it in the market.
2nd) It has to be Rare: scarce to relative demand.
3rd) It is Non-Substitutable: Costly to imitate, hard to find a substitute that will give you a similar benefit.
4th) It is Exploitable: Able to generate a profit off of.
Think about it, how hard is it to meet all four of those criteria now and days?
It is easy to get two.. maybe three of them but all four? That is hard to do and only several companies are able to do it. I think Disney is a great example of a S.C.A.
The value is undeniable with the amount of fans they have. It is scarce and non substitutable in the essence of the ability to be in the theme park, movie/television, resort and, cruise line industries all at one. Most importantly their ability to exploit all of their products into one bundle backed with the imaginative minds that only Disney has.
It is tough to achieve all four of those in the Internet world especially because of the ability to be substitutable, take Groupon for example. They were a huge hit at first, but we all saw how long that lasted.
It was so easy to imitate local newspapers started to do the same thing on their websites and LivingSocial also made it clear that it was easily duplicated.
If you can find business model that can build a sustainable competitive advantage in this day and age you are a brilliant person!