Competition is one of the biggest challenges in business – whether you’re entering an established market as a competitor, looking to disrupt it and grab a share for yourself, or if you’re an established presence facing the presence of new challengers disrupting your carefully established status quo.
Today we’re taking a look at how you can face this challenge and build a business that will not just cope, but prosper!
Who Are Your Competitors?
Competition doesn’t exist in the abstract. Your competition comes in the form of specific businesses – the other shop on the high street, the big store outside town, the online giant who might not even know you exist but could strangle your footfall without noticing.
Gathering this competitor information is something you may be able to do for yourself – simply from talking to your customers, you may be able to get a sense of where the pressure is coming from. For deeper analysis though, you may need professional help.
Competitive Analysts are a sort of business consultants with a very specific brief: to help you identify and prioritise your competitors in the market (a similar business to yours on the other side of the country, with no online presence is a low priority, for example), and come up with tactics to help you plan around them.
This can range from predicting when they’re planning events like sales and product launches, to wargaming hypotheticals – so you can make informed guesses about how they might respond to things in the future, whether they’re changes in the market or things you plan to do.
One of the most important ways to co-exist with your business rivals – if not outcompete them – is to identify what your USPs are, or could be. Market research and competitive analysis can tell you what the stress points are with your competitors, suggesting ways you can differentiate yourself.
Whether it’s offering cheaper or faster shipping, bringing a new product to the market without some key drawbacks shared by your rivals or simply offering a different kind of experience when shopping, finding the areas where your rivals aren’t serving their customers means finding your opportunities!
Perhaps the most valuable insight good competitive intelligence can give you is timing: you’re on a similar calendar to your competitors, experiencing the same seasonal rises and falls in interest and pressures, but if you’re able to find your space within those periods of opportunity to push your services and products, away from your competitors own marketing pushes then you can get more for your spend – by going head to head with an equal, you force your customers to choose, and push up prices by bidding over the same marketing real estate. Avoid the competition, and get better results!