Checking out the competition

1. Overview

Everyone has competitors and it’s important to know who they are and what they offer. This section helps you identify your competition so that you can decide if you are up to the challenge of competing with them.

2. What do you need to know?

The first step is to establish who is competing with you for your customers’ time and money. Are you competing directly with like-for-like products or services, or are they offering alternative ways for your customers to spend their money.

For example, if you run a hairdressing salon, you are competing with other salons, as well as mobile hairdressers, but also possibly with beauticians, fitness clubs or personal trainers which can also help your customers look and feel good.

A good competitive analysis starts by looking at the nature of competition in your type of business and how customers appear to choose one provider over another.

Sources of information

You can find an amazing amount of information on competitors on the internet. A simple Google search followed by a look at your competitors’ websites and social media presence is a good starting point.

Follow this up with on-the-ground research. Be a ‘secret shopper’ and go into shops, give them a call or try out their online store. Listen to their sales talk, get a price list, ask for a brochure and observe how they operate.

This is one of those times when it is unlikely that you will get all the information you want. Your aim is to understand which companies you are competing with, the basis of that competition and how you can stand out against them.

Use this competitive analysis template (MS Word 15kb) to gather the information in a way that you can compare your competitors quickly and easily.

 

Next: Identifying Your Customers