Know Your Competition

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No matter which market or business you are in it is important to know your competition and where your business sits within the industry. It is also important for any business plan to include some information on competitive analysis that is looking into the market and your competition, learning what others are doing and why. Although there may be an obvious competitor this is always important to help you understand what others are doing and help shape and strengthen your business’s future as well as potentially uncovering some other competitors you may not have previously known about.

Spending some time undertaking a competitive analysis and researching competitors can really benefit the business. The best way to do this is to pick 3 or 4 competitors and state their strengths and weaknesses. You can even compare them to your own business and what they do or don’t offer compared to you. When picking your competitors be sure to cover all angles, they may not be obviously competing with you but may be taking some of the market share and be appealing to the same customers.

Depending on the market your business is in this can be difficult. For public companies, those who have stocks in the stock exchange, are bound by law to share a wealth of information on their company’s activities. This information can usually be found on the company’s website or be uncovered with a simple Google search.

If a company is private, then it will be less easy to find information on their activity on the web. Therefore, some tips on how to find out what the competition is doing are as follow;

• Be a customer – the best way to understand any business plan is to be their target market and see first-hand the activities they encourage to win your custom.
• Speak to customers
• Look at the company website as well as follow any activity on social media or links to other websites

Information which can be useful to glean for your competitive analysis:

• Location
• Company Size
• Available products/services
• Marketing messages
• Reputation
• Customer Feedback
• Marketing actions

There are also plenty of in depth guides on this area available on the web which can help you to complete a competitive analysis for your business. Whether you are planning to set up or have an established company it is important to undertake this activity to help shape your business future.