Do you know who your competitors are? Can you distinguish between direct and indirect competition? How long have they been in business? Is their product line more diverse or simpler than yours? Are they using social media or other online promotional activity? Who is doing the butt-kicking in target markets, you or them?
We put high emphasis on research here at the BRIC and have a number of resources to help. Yet, some of the best research you can do before you decide to open a business or expand an existing one, is to do thorough competitive analysis. We have seen “back of the envelope” analysis as well as novels with charts, graphs and pictures taken on the sly. Yes, all is fair as long as you are not breaking the law. We do believe that knowledge is power and the more you know about your industry, your target markets and your competition, the better your business will perform.
Here are 10 things that you can learn from your competitors:
- Your competitors will collaborate with others – It’s all about leveraging relationships and the skill sets of others.
- Talent takes precedence over experience – You need people to accomplish goals and talent will help irrespective of the number of years someone brings to the task.
- Their websites can show you features you’d love to have – Look at the style, content and user experience of your competitor’s websites to find ways to improve your conversion rates.
- Learn what customers say – Find competitor’s reviews on the internet to see what customers like and don’t like.
- How to innovate – Stiff competition forces you to be competitive. Watch how often your competitors develop new products or services to beat you to the punch.
- The value of women in business – Without overgeneralizing, more women are starting businesses, taking risks and succeeding in small business than men these days. Look at how your competitors are leveraging a different perspective on both customers and employees to maximize their success.
- Green means green – There are many benefits to having a sustainable operation, the least is minimizing the waste that your business generates. Waste means lost use of resources. Your competitors’ supply chain may tell a story that gives them an advantage.
- Social media is everywhere – Your competition may be better at interacting through social media. Watch their pages and accounts to see what works for them and how they handle difficult customer service situations.
- Why do they do what they do – You should be answering this question for yourself, but try to figure out what motivates them through looking at their messaging, their attitudes toward customers and their image in the community. Here you may find a weakness to exploit.
- “Cowards die many times before their actual deaths” – These famous words by Julius Caesar will cause you to look at yourself and your business a little differently. Are your competitors risk-takers, bold and successful? If so, being risk adverse does not serve you.
When it comes to your competition, you can either take a lassie-faire attitude or you can go the Julius Caesar way – “I came, I saw, I conquered” or somewhere in-between. And here’s the kicker: you are never done with competitive analysis because things always change.
If you are looking for help with understanding how your competitive analysis fits in your marketing plan and business plan, come on down to the BRIC or we can meet at your place of business or get a cup of coffee. Or you can give us a call at 775-283-7122 or email us or we can take a walk with the weather getting a little nicer.