How to Analyse Your Business Competitors

If you have a lot of competitors you may have to choose a few key ones to analyse. There are many sources of competitive information. You should obtain your com­petitors’ brochures and promotional material to understand what they believe are their strengths and how they present them to customers. Relevant trade journals have comparisons of products and reviews of things that are new. If it is sufficiently important, you can buy reports of competitive comparisons from market analysts. Your customers and prospects can also be a source of competitive knowledge as can people who join your organisation from a competitor. Now relate this information to your customer by making a chart of your competitors’ ability to meet the decision criteria of your customers, using the customer value matrix. You should note where they are nearer to the customer’s ideal than you are.

Most organisations see their current competitors as providers of similar prod­ucts or services. In fact this is not the case. There is often another way of doing things. If, for example, you intend to run a helicopter service carrying business people out to remote islands, a current competitor may be an­other contractor offering to run the same route. It is possible that future competitors may be video-conferencing companies who would render the journey unnecessary. Think about what your customers require and what other ways they could meet their needs apart from using your types of products and services. Think widely about competitive possibilities, be­cause it is certain that there are other organisations thinking widely about their prospects in your chosen markets.

The market does not stand still – nor do your competitors. What a customer found interesting and satisfying for even a long time in the past will not last for ever. Whole organisations have in the past been caught out because a product feature introduced by a competitor has become desirable and even fashionable. You have to be ready for such a change, or to react quickly if you did not anticipate the event. You should try to be in the position of the person who first brought out the new feature.

Look, in the end you are going to have to explain to customers and prospects why they should prefer your offering to other people’s. So work it out now, and keep working at it until you have convinced yourself.

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About the Author: Marie Mayle is a contributor to the MegaHowTo team, writer, and entrepreneur based in California USA. She holds a degree in Business Administration. She loves to write about business and finance issues and how to tackle them.

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