The 9 Hour Small Business Tune-Up
Your competition can be a great advantage to you. Many business owners dread the competition and would like to be rid of them.
I disagree with this concept. Competition keeps the market alive. Studying the competition keeps you on your toes, and your business will benefit.
I would rather have my business running at its peak than spend time worrying that my competition is getting some of the market share In some instances, the competition is a bonus because their advertising and efforts to create awareness of their product can rub off on you, especially if the product or service is new to the market.
I don’t like putting down the competition in advertising, because it seems petty. It’s like playing baseball and, in the middle of the game, the players stop the game and start yelling insults at each other. They forget about the game and why they are playing.
A rock-solid business that offers customers what they want with superior value and service does not need to publicly attack a competitor. Wouldn’t it be wiser to study your competitors, know their practices, and strengthen your own business by filling in the gaps in your service or products?
Watching the competition helps you determine what the market wants, and keeps you up-to-date in your field. When you must take action against a competitor, do so in a way that will benefit your business by building it up. Keep your focus on increasing benefits to your customers.
Some Tips to Keep in Mind When Studying the Competition:
1. Look at the market as a whole and then fill in any profitable gaps in product or service that you identify.
2. Make improvements that are missing in the industry.
3. Develop a new trend in your industry.
Exercise 1: Complete the items listed below. Afterward, you may wish to consider visiting your competition to take notes.
1. List five of your top competitors.
2. List each competitor’s primary advantages.
3. Reviewing the list above, can you identify any missing services or products?
4. What advantages do you have over the competition?
5. What advantages does your competition have over you?
6. List five steps that you can take to overcome the advantages of your competition.
7. List five major ways in which your customers benefit by doing business with you instead of the competition.
Note: This above exercise should reveal gaps that exist in your industry, which translate into opportunity. Also, you should know your strengths and weaknesses.
Most people work to improve their weaknesses, which is okay, but it is much more productive to build on your strengths. Your strengths come naturally and it’s easier to build on a strength than to correct a weakness.
Exercise 2: Using the above research, create a plan that will improve your business and give it the competitive advantage.
To better benefit from the above exercise ask yourself the following questions:
1. What can I add to my business that is not available in my industry?
2. How can I use my strengths to gain market share?
3. How can I use my strengths to create a niche in my industry?