Here’s some advice from 5 experts on checking out your competition
1. Figure out who your competitors are:
‘Knowing your competition’ does not equate to copying what they do. The primary goal for businesses is to drive shareholder value after all, and this is best achieved by focusing on meeting the needs of your target audience better than anyone else does, and consistently innovating so as to ensure your proposition always stacks up favorably against the wider competition. Alan Gleeson is the General Manager of Palo Alto Software Ltd, offers some great advice in using Google Key Words and PPC adverts to learn more about your competition.
2. Figure out how to get to know your competitors
Depending on what business they're in, you can probably call them, visit their offices and perhaps buy from them. Get a price list. Listen to their pitch. If it's applicable, count the cars in their parking lot. Count customers coming out of their store, both with and without purchases. Whether you're creating a new business plan or revamping an old one, knowing what your competitors are up to can save your business. Tim Berry author of 3 Weeks to Startup and The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan, has eight other great ways to get to know more about your competition.
3. Figure out what your competitors are doing right and what they are doing wrong …and using it to your advantage:
When you research what others are saying about your competitors you’ll find two important things:
A thread of discontent or success stories . according to Author, Derek Halpern with marketing at DIYthemes says: If you see people complaining about the usability of a product or a service, you can focus on making your product or service better. When you see what the competition does right, and then witness a live testimonial from a customer, you’re getting direct insight into what customers want….and you can then cater to that.
4. Figure out your competitors' corporate culture:
Attend professional meetings and conferences where you're likely to bump into your competitors. Try to listen more than you talk; you'll learn more that way. Listen especially to the way your competitors talk about their colleagues and employees. Getting a good read on a company's culture can take time and patience. Once you've got a firm idea of a company's "personality", decide if there's something you can learn and, if appropriate, incorporate into your own business. Read more tips on things you should know about your competition from Leslie Levine of AllBusiness and freelance writer for Dun & Bradstreet
5. Figure out your competitors' basic profile:
Be objective about judging your competition; it's easy to identify weaknesses in your competition, but less easy (and a lot less fun) to recognize where they may currently outperform you:
- What are their strengths?
- What are their weaknesses?
- What are their basic objectives?
- What strategies do they use?
- How could they take market share away from your business?
- If you change or add products and services, how will they respond?