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Who is my competition?

All businesses consistently face competition. Even if they currently own a monopoly on a certain service in a specific area, businesses still need to worry about potential customers spending their money elsewhere instead of their venue.

The increased importance of managing an online business also makes it more difficult to keep up with and stay ahead of the competition. You should make sure that you have the ability to maintain your business while monitoring the competition and their strategies, which you can potentially use to modify your own and gain the upper hand. If you provide international delivery services, the scope of competitors is potentially much larger than if you simply provide local products or services.

How to Determine Who Your Competitors Are

Competition will consist of not only businesses that can outsell you, but also potential products and services that are currently in development and ripe for licensing and selling before others can.

You should also make sure you remain aware of new competitors as they come, as they can pop up unexpectedly and steal business from you as an unpleasant surprise.

You can locate existing competitors by looking at clues such as:

  • Advertisements
  • Your local Chamber of Commerce
  • Local business directories
  • Exhibitions and trade fairs
  • Press reports
  • Searching for specific products and services
  • Questionnaires
  • Competitors spread by customer word of mouth
  • Flyers and marketing literature that you've received
  • Searching for patented products that are similar to your own
  • Planning applications and building work in progress

Each of these can help you find and learn about competitors both old and new, ensuring that you stay on top of them whenever possible.

How Can I Stay Ahead?

Learn as much as you can about each competitor who appears to be a valid threat to your business, including who they are, what products or services they offer and market, pricing, distribution and delivery methods, brand design and values, methods for enhancing customer loyalty, and back-up services that they offer, along with many other types of information.

The more you know about the competition, the more you can engineer your own campaigns to work for you.