Knowing your competition is an important part of running a successful business, but it is also a part that many otherwise good business owners forget. Owners who invest even a small amount of time into researching other companies can gain valuable insights into their own business and how to improve.
Researching competition is especially important for small businesses, which are trying to sell their products and services to a smaller customer base. If a small business owner doesn’t pay attention to similar companies in the area, they might lose business.
Fortunately, there are some very simple things you can do to find out more about your competitors and use that information to your advantage.
But before you can begin researching your competition, you need to identify as many of your competitors as possible. This may seem obvious, but you might find that your competitors are not who you thought they were. You might think that the other independently owned shops in your city are your main competition, but your biggest rivals are probably large out-of-town retailers and online suppliers. When you consider how Amazon has been putting small bookstores out of business for decades, it becomes clear that Internet-based venders are big competition.
Once you know what you’re up against, you can start gathering information. There’s a lot to be learned just from an online search. You can visit their website, read customer reviews, and see how they present themselves on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for their email newsletters to get the latest company news and read their blog posts.
Research in the competitive market can help you evaluate how your business, as well as your services or products, measure up to others.
Ask yourself questions like, “What is my competitor doing that I’m not?” and “What can I offer to customers that my competition doesn’t?” You might also benefit from asking yourself, “What are they doing better than I?” If you can answer questions like these, you can make smarter, more informed decisions about the development of your products or services, your advertising and marketing strategies, your customer relations, and even your pricing.
Regardless of what you’re selling or the size of your business, make sure knowing your competition and what they’re doing is a priority. Contact us today to find out how we can help with your competitive market research.
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