Chapter 11: The why, how to research your competitors
When it comes to business, you have to brace for and embrace competition as virtually every sector faces competition in one way or the other. Even if you are the only course on niche course about designing custom shoes, you still have to compete with other courses about anything your customers might want to spend money on. Think of it this way, if you are the only cafe around the block you must be ready to compete with bars, cinemas, and other entities that customers are likely to spend their money other than yours. Is your product something they need or want or a possibility, necessity?
Thus, knowing and understanding your competitors will go a long way in making your business stand out from the competition as it will enable you to set competitive prices and respond to marketing strategies and campaigns that have been employed by your rivals. The following post seeks to enlighten you the why, how to research your competitors.
Why should you understand completion?
Venturing into business without understanding the competition is only comparable to the analogy of a ship sailing without any compass and as such, it goes without saying not only is it risky but can also lead to the untimely ‘death’ of your start-up or business. There are a myriad of benefits of understanding and knowing your competitors and they include:
Enhances the quality of products and services
Researching your competitors will help in cushioning you against any risk your business may face. Your competitor may be looking to launch a new product or service that may be a better substitute to your own product thereby making your product redundant. Fortunately, researching and understanding your competition will definitely make your product much better than that of your competitor.
Getting to know your competitor will also aid in positioning your business . the information gotten from researching your customer will help in benchmarking and monitoring your progress, which will definitely be useful when making decisions.
Identify better opportunities
Researching your competitors allows to modify your product to better ideas which perfectly aligns with the wants and needs of the market. These new and better ideas will definitely result in profitability and growth of your business.
Identification of weak points
Researching your competition will also enable you to be familiar with their weak points and thereafter exploit them. For instance, if your competition has poor communication channels with its clients, the information gotten is enough ammunition to establish effective and efficient communication that will not only lead to retention of your customers but also attract your competition’s clients.
Stay ahead of them
Understanding your competition will also give you the competitive advantage that will ensure you always stay ahead of them. This can be in terms of the strategies you adopt to respond to their marketing initiatives.
These are some of the benefits that you can get just by keeping tabs on your competition. However, you are possibly asking yourself on how you can be able to gauge your competitor’s strategies and performance without getting caught. This leads to our next section on how you can be able to research on your competition.
How to research your competition
There are numerous tools that have been designed to offer you with a comprehensive analysis of your business marketplace in comparison to that of your competitors such as SWOT analysis and market research. All these strategies allow you to gather intelligence from your competition and put the information into ways that can be beneficial to your business. Some of these tools and strategies include:
SWOT analysis: the SWOT analysis primarily focuses on four different sectors that can be used to determine your competitors’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The strength and weakness are the tangible factors that can boost or diminish the market presence of your competitors. You can be able to ascertain this by listing all of your competitors assets and liabilities such as location, employees, employees programs, their profitability, their income, funding as well as investments.
On the other hand, opportunities and threats are the external factors that either positively or negatively impact on their business. This may include their economic trends, technology, new products hitting the market, supplier just to mention a few. This analysis offers a glimpse picture of your competition’s health and where they are most vulnerable. It is also important to also do a SWOT analysis for your business to you analysis for your business so to get a clear picture on where you stand at the moment as compared to your competitor.
Market research: market research is also an efficient way in collecting and analyzing data about your competitor as well as that of your business. This is particularly useful if you are a new entrant in the market as it can save you a substantial amount of time and capital as you can be able to if the product or service you are about to launch will prosper or fail. Market research can be done in three ways including:
Field research: as the name suggests field research involves gathering your competitor’s information by using questionnaires, surveys and other similar research tools.
Third party: you can also opt for external firms such as agencies to undertake the research for you. You can easily hire a freelance virtual assistant from Upwork or other platforms for $5-$10 a hour to have them do all the research while you are at work.
Assessing you competition’s offer
Fortunately, if you are short in funds to finance a market research, you will be delighted to know researching is actually easier than it sounds or seems when you do it yourself without having to spend a dime or a lot of time. From the information available in the web or publications such as flyers or price list or even buying their product and comparing them with your own products to collect information.
However, before doing the analysis, it is important to ask yourself the following questions:
Are their products’ or services’ prices lower?
Are their products or services of better quality?
Do they have a highly regarded customer support team?
Is their marketing strategy more engaging?
Being critical to your business and taking some inspiration from your competition will definitely help you in becoming more competitive and well-positioned to deal with the competition.
In a nutshell; understanding your competition is of utmost importance and should not be overlooked in any way. the information gotten through the tools of analysis will definitely help you in growing your business as raking in more profits which are possibly the primary objectives of your business.