May 15, 2017
Competitive analysis is an essential element of a business plan, but unfortunately, many startups aren’t ready to accept this fact. The result is in front of us — 90 percent of them fail within the first 18 months. As a business owner, it’s your job to handle this issue in an effective manner and forge ahead accordingly. If you wish to see your business touching new heights in today’s highly-competitive world, then take every possible step to know your competitors and shoot ahead of them before things become hot and bothered.
Competition: A Boon or a Bane?
Many business owners consider competition the biggest hurdle in the market. They believe they could do much better if there was no one to compete with. This is not true at all. Competition, in fact, is healthy for the market augmentation and helps consumers in a significant manner. It pushes large businesses to improve their services for the sake of expansion and allows consumers to make better decisions. For small businesses or startups, however, it creates stumbling blocks which they can approach as a boon or bane. It entirely depends on the individual mindset as to how he perceives competition.
Should you wish to fast-track your growth, then learn to handle competition effectively. As long as you compete with a publicly traded company, collecting information is very easy due to various legal implications. But if it’s a private company, then you may need to walk the extra mile to get desired results. What you can do is follow the below-mentioned five ways and conduct a competitive analysis to outdo your competitors before it’s too late.
Shop Their Products & Talk to Their Customers
Instead of using the latest tech-enabled tools and hire experts to collect information about your competitors. You could simply talk to their customer care executives and understand the pitch they use for selling. Lest your competitors have a strong offline presence, you can simply visit their stores and collect information about all the major products. It will help you figure out how their products can be further improved and launched in a revamped avatar.
In addition to this, you can check their reviews, opinions, and suggestions about the products and what improvements they would want to see in them. Doing so will give you a primary idea of what lies ahead and how much you need to improvise to get an edge over others.
Purchase Credit & Background Reports
The previous step is good to initiate the proceedings, but you cannot entirely depend on it to get desired results. That’s where the role of credit and background reports becomes important. The moment you use them, you get a clear idea of how much efforts you need to put to outdo your competitors. There are many service providers in the market that can help you with company credit check. Go with the one that carries a solid track record and can live up to your expectations.
Paid Directories And Mailing Lists
They are golden options for many businesses in specific areas. All you need to do is visit your local chamber of commerce or any other government department that deals with the business registration process. There you can find business directories, containing information about all the businesses operating in that area in a hassle-free manner. Besides, you can also opt for a paid directory service in your area and check out who else is present in the same field that you’re trying to explore.
Above mentioned tips are good enough for competitive analysis in the offline market, but since you’re living in the information age, you need to cover the online market as well. Most businesses try to maintain a consistent online presence through websites, blogs, social media accounts, forums, etc. You could hire a social media expert for company search or spend some time yourself and check out how well they are performing. This will help you stretch your own limits and perform better once you hit the floor and kickstart business proceedings.
Use Economic Census
Each country has its own economic census, which contains detailed information of all the businesses engaged in the production or distribution of goods & services in the online or offline market. For example, U.S. economic census can be accessed at www.census.gov/econ, while U.K. economic census is www.ons.gov.uk. Likewise, you can search for the economic census of any country and take a look at the lists of different businesses easily. It will give you a precise information about the number of registered businesses in any specific niche or market. Use this information to plan your growth strategy.
There are many other ways through which you can do competitive analysis; however, the ones mentioned here are widely used by many millennial entrepreneurs and new-age startups. You can give them a shot to make better decisions and outdo your competitors over time.
Read more tips on marketing at Tech.Co
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