Do You Have a Plan for your Business Competitors?
Making plans for your business is an important part of maximising your chances of success. You need to think about what you want to achieve and how you want to achieve it, try and anticipate the risks and setbacks you might face and think about how you can minimise the damage they can do to your business. More complicated kinds of planning take in the brand you’re building – will your projects support it and expand it or undermine it and make it less coherent?
Without plans like this success is a difficult thing to find. One aspect of your planning you need to include is your competitors – who are they and what are they doing? If you don’t know then you risk big, expensive surprises.
It can be worth looking into professional business strategy consulting to help you make the best plans for your future success, but let’s start here with the competition.
Who Are They?
The first thing you need to do is identify who your competitors are. This isn’t as exhaustive as it sounds – you don’t need to know every single business operating in your industry, just the ones you’re in direct competition with. That could be other businesses local to you, as well as the online competition that your customers are tempted by. For example, if you’re running a bricks and mortar retail business in a small town, then your significant competition could be other shops in neighbouring towns, specialist online retailers in your industry and of course the behemoth that is Amazon.
If you have the resources it can be helpful to get some help with this aspect of the problem. Competitor Intelligence agencies can help with this prioritisation, finding the businesses that are directly competing with you for the same audience and ranking them against each other (and yourself!) so you know who you need to be most worried about.
Who are You?
The best way to insulate your plans from competitive threats is to identify and emphasise the unique features that distinguish you from your competitors, but to do that you need to know what your customers see in you! Spending money on products, branding and marketing that leans heavily on your green credentials, for example, isn’t a good use of resources if that’s not an important factor for your customers.
Market research can tell you where you already stand out from the competition and allow you to emphasise those qualities further as you build your business and ensure you’re offering a clear beacon to your customers.