Stay on top with regular competitor analysis
No business operates in isolation, nor is it completely free of competition. All businesses in some way operate in a competitive environment so they need to provide affordable, innovative and quality products and services.
However, many businesses undertake an analysis of their competition when they commence business or when they are developing new products but sadly, this is often the only time that such a review is done.
Competitors are regularly changing their business and it is fair to assume that this is the result of a change in the activities and the needs of their customers or the market.
To understand your competition, you ultimately need to understand how you are positioned in the market and why people buy your products and services over theirs. It is therefore essential that you have a clear view of your competition - not only the major competitors, but also the less obvious players that may well grow into major competitors in the future.
To undertake a review, you need to have quality insight to really understand competitors:
Products and Services (their Value Proposition)
Customer Mix (and who they are targeting)
Service Delivery Model
Pricing and Trading Terms
Why Customers choose them (stay with them or leave them)
Some of this information can be sourced from general publications, competitor newsletters, media announcements and websites. However much of the information may not be readily available. Many businesses therefore rely on insightful conversations with customers, suppliers and related service providers in the industry to build a more robust view of the competition. When included as part of the Team Sales Meetings the use of shared learning creates far greater insight to each team member
So why go to such efforts to build this amount of insight?
Understanding your competitors affords a business considerable value:
It reveals opportunities in the marketplace you can identify areas where there is latent demand for services that are not currently being fulfilled.
Changes in competitor operations will highlight changes in the needs of their customers.
You can use this knowledge to help avoid the "mistakes" your competitors are making.
You can better understand the variety of choices your customers have so you can adjust your offerings accordingly.
This knowledge is a key to successfully competing in your market and should not be underestimated. Only through a strong knowledge of your competition, can you offer a more appropriate and cost effective product range and service offering that ultimately adds Customer Value.
Tips from John Buchanan, Beyond 19, Coaching Practicing Lead:
1. In order to be the dominant player in your market, it is essential that your business 'scans the horizon' to know what is happening with your competitors, and indeed what may be happening in other sectors which would be new and relevant for your business
2. You know your competition is looking at you, the goal is that they become too concerned with what your business is doing, and feel they are behind before the 'day' gets started
3. Your insights to the market, possible disruptions to the market and your existing competition in the market are all necessary to complement your main focus which is making sure your business is running at peak performance.