Who Are My Competitors?
Q: As good as my product is overall, I unfortunately must keep in mind that I’m not the only business who creates what I do. How important is it for me to get information on my competitors? What areas of my business should I focus on that would make the most difference in determining my competitiveness?
A: A common mistake made by many business owners is to look down on the competition in some way, to find fault, criticize and make light of them and what they offer. After all, how can they possibly be as good as you, right? Well, the smart business owner respects his or her competitors, studies and learns from them.
Take the time to investigate them to learn their strategies and tactics for market penetration and business success. Discover how they position their products or services as well as why people buy from them. What is their pricing policy? How do they service their customers? What is their approach to quality control?
Once you have the above information about your competitors, turn your attention on you and your business and see how you stack up. What is (are) your area(s) of excellence compared to others? How much better do you do it better than others (i.e. what percentage)? Identify your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) – something that you do that definitely benefits your customers and that no other individual or company can offer. This item can be the difference between why a customer will patronize you or not. Your next step will be to appropriately position your product or service in the marketplace to capitalize on this identified area of excellence (and there may be more than one). This includes how you set your pricing and determine your sales and marketing strategies.
Will the information on competitors fall in your lap? Of course not! Establishing awareness of the importance of competitive research is the message here. The next step is to have a plan to conduct the research and be committed to carrying it out. Such a focus will greatly increase your odds of achieving your business goals.
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