You may have started your own business. And to move forward in this world of business can be a very harrowing experience if you have not done your homework properly. In the words of Mike Michalowicz,
“Keeping tabs on your competition not only gives you information on what your rivals are up to, but also gives you invaluable insight into your own company. … The more information you have, the better business decisions you’re able to make.”
For this, you have to first learn who your competitors are and what have they already done to grab the market. This should give you a very healthy insight into how your competitors really work to keep their customer base with themselves.
But at the same time, you should not be over-worrying about your competitors. You have to understand the fact that the stage you are in and your competitors are in, is very different. While you are growing, they have an established business. Comparing your business with your competitors’ is like comparing two very different vegetables available in the market. Moreover, this over-worrying attitude might make you push too hard for unrealistic goals. This can prove to be bane for your start-up.
Worrying about the competitors is not bad, but you should have the knowledge of the right time for worrying. And for what aspects to look for, all the while you worry. These valuable insights will help you take right decisions for your business at the right time.
Here are the five things you should mainly concentrate upon, while vying for the competitors’ market share in a healthy manner.
Market Presence and Market Share: The most important aspect is to know about the market share of your competitor and the presence of your competitor. Or to say, which segment does your competitor cater to? A well-organized market research can reveal the basic statistics about your competitors. The best way to grab the market is to take up the segment which was hitherto ignored by your competitors. But you should start as early as possible to score points against your competition.
Products and Pricing: A marketing research that is well organized can reveal a whole lot of information. You can get to know about the products of your competitors that exist in the market and the share of the customers they command.
Go through business journals to understand the pricing and the price regulation mechanisms that are in place. While the price of your goods and services need to be competitive, they need not be very low as compared to existing ones. You have to understand the reason why your competitor’s goods and services are priced in a particular range. This will also let you understand how to price the value-added goods and services. Always remember that a customer will opt for a low-priced product only if he is on a very tight budget.
Attend trade shows to get an insight of what is the new product that can be expected from your competitor’s stable in near future. This should be enough to give you insider information.
Social Outreach and Advertising: Every business, big or small, has a page dedicated to itself in social media. The page also acts as advertising platform. But this page can be great place to find out about the customers’ complaints and problems.
One has to understand that a full-page advertisement or presence in a yellow pages directory is passé. You can use a variety of resources to find out the extent of social presence of your competitors, the number of pages they have got indexed and the page ranks for their website. What matters most is how close you reach digitally to your customer.
Top Keywords: You have to be a trend-spotter to understand what is the current trend and technology in the market. This is, in fact, very dynamic.
You can browse through your competitors’ websites and find out the top keywords that attract customers towards them. You can also make use of these keywords in your website to attract some of their business towards you also, eventually grabbing the market.
Customer and Employees Retention Policies: Last, but not least, you have to take note of what your competitors do when it comes to retaining customers and employees. What do they do to keep customers engaged, and to keep them happy and loyal? What is the prevailing work culture in the company and the pay-out of the employees? This can give a rough idea about their revenues.
Though it may appear that some of the things listed above are underhand tactics, in reality they are practical and completely ethical.
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