By knowing your competitors, you get a leg up on your target market. Gain knowledge that allows you to benefit from the competition’s weaknesses by developing innovative strategies, as explained by our Acclr experts in the Info entrepreneurs resource centre.
At the heart of every entrepreneur is the need to be the first, the best or even the most surprisingly innovative. Use this ambition to get a deeper understanding of your competitors.
How can you keep ahead of them if you don’t know their methods, strategies and projects? This knowledge is your best asset and will help you forge the best initiatives to stand out.
» Consult our Understand your competitors guide for a more detailed look at each key step to distinguishing yourself from your competition.
How do you know who your market competitors are?
Keep in mind that your competitors can be direct or indirect. They represent alternatives that are more or less similar to your products or services. If, for example, you offer a catering service, any industry that offers prepared meals—like grocery stores, convenience stores and even fast food chains—is your competition. Pay close attention to find out why clients would go to one of them instead of you: proximity, speed, price or something else?
"You need to think outside the box"
Make sure you have a big enough piece of the pie
Before launching a new product or service, make sure that you, as a competitor, are healthy and unimpeded. Visualize it with a pie chart: the more competitors you have, the smaller each section will be. As a result, your share of the market will be considerably diminished, along with your chances for profitability and growth.
How can you learn more about your competition?
By learning more about your competitors, you can understand their service offering, means of promotion, clientele, etc. and compare them with what you’re offering. You should be aware of their strengths and weaknesses, as well as your own. This way you will learn what you could do better or differently.
The importance of competitive intelligence
Besides doing online research on your competitors on their websites and social media, you should also use content aggregators that will keep you informed about the competition’s slightest moves.
This information collection makes up your competitive intelligence. It is an invaluable tool that finds your chosen keywords in order to gather all publications about your industry. Google Alerts is one possibility, but also try other kinds of aggregators like Netvibes, Feedly, Hootsuite or Digg Reader.
Then, select the media that you want to filter using these tools, for example, Les Affaires and local online newspapers, and see new results daily. In this way, you can stay up-to-date on economic issues in your region in order to make the most of them and keep an eye on new companies in the sector.
Meet your competitors
During networking events, you will inevitably meet some of your competitors. Rather than stay away, approach them and get to know them.
"Far from being your enemies, your competitors can become allies in some circumstances."
Take advantage of any occasion that gives you the opportunity to talk to your competitors. Pay attention to their methods and know how to ask tactful and diplomatic questions. If your offerings are similar but complementary, you could even develop nice partnerships.
How can you benefit from your competition’s weaknesses?
How can you benefit from your competition’s weaknesses? Among other things, you can know if clients are unsatisfied and develop solutions to avoid pitfalls on your end.
Concentrate on what makes you different, worse or better than your competitors and adjust your offering and customer service accordingly. Remember that, other than your product, it is your service before, during and after a transaction that will distinguish you and foster customer loyalty.
Competition is an integral part of your entrepreneurial development. Whether you are starting out, growing or about to launch a new product, keep an eye on your competition. They are a precious asset for innovation in marketing, communications or services.
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