Unless you have a monopoly – all business has competition. The level of competition increases when your business model has lower barriers to entry, in talent and treasury. The second determiner is if your business is more of a commodity such as bookkeeping, auto repair, roofing or, eek consulting. Yeah, without the right brand strategy you could become a commodity.
Step one is to know your competition. Who are your competitors? Your competitors should be viewed as those enterprises that compete for the dollars of your customers. So looking at resident roofing contractor in San Diego, is a roofing contractor in Dallas a competitor? No, the issue of distance is a barrier to completion as well as licensure. What about a consultant in Los Angles – would a consultant in Philadelphia be a competitor? It is possible. The more narrow the field of specialization the less distance matters. For auto repair, is a repair shop in Phoenix competition to a shop in San Francisco. No, not unless there is a narrow specialization such as repairing classic cars. Would a car dealer be a competitor to a repair shop? The answer is yes – in two ways – they have their own repair facilities – but also the customer could choose to buy a new car and not fix their old car. Competition is about winning the customer’s dollar and not always specific to a trade or service.
You need to study the competitors and see what you like and what you do not like. What stands out to you? Read the online reviews, ghost shop them to see what they are like, speak to former employees, and take copious notes on their strengths and weaknesses as a competitor. Now – speak to your customers see what they like and do not like and, if possible speak to your competitors’ customers and ask the same questions.
You must perform better or at the least equal to the competition where possible. You must also innovate in order to differentiate your enterprise from the competition. Being as good is often not good enough, you must innovate and evolve your business to continue to be unique. By doing the market research on competitors you can work out exactly how to provide a product or service that is superior.
Keep your innovations private and away from the competitors. Sure a competitor may see some difference but do not share them. Remember they can research your practices just as you have theirs. So keep the edge as long as you can.
Do not obsess with competition – deal with them by keeping ahead of them and possessing a unique compelling difference.
And if you don’t know how to do this, or do not have the time or bandwidth, we can help. Contact us today.