Ten Things You Must Know About Your Competitors
You can learn a lot for your business by paying attention to two great 'teachers': the customer and the competition.
Listening to your customers is not difficult. By observing them during regular business interactions or asking them precise questions (during face-to-face conversations and phone calls or through short feedback forms), you will get valuable information you can use to improve your business.
Studying your competitors typically requires more effort but the insights you will gain from that effort make it worthwhile and essential for business development.
How do you study your competitors?
1. Buy their products or use their services, documenting the experience for easy reference.
2. Monitor their websites and advertisements, looking out for their style of marketing communication, offers and information about their products or services.
3. Speak to their customers, asking particularly about the quality of their product or service and attention paid to customers' needs.
4. Follow them on social media, noting the effectiveness of their messaging (based on visible engagement) and the way they interact with customers (response time and quality of responses).
5. Speak to their current or past employees, asking casually about staff strength and business structure while resisting the temptation to request for outright trade secrets.
6. Ask your customers what they think about them.
What must you know about your competitors?
Through your study, get answers to these ten questions:
1. Who are your top competitors and where are they located?
2. What is the range of products or services they offer?
3. Are they growing?
4. What do their customers dislike and like about them?
5. Why do their customers pick them over you?
6. How do they price their products or services?
7. How do they market their products or services?
8. What do their employees think about them?
9. What advantage does your business have over them?
10. How can you differentiate your business from theirs?
Have you ever studied your competitors? How did you do it and what did you learn? Send comments and tips to firstname.lastname@example.org, we may publish them with full credit and a mention of your business.