Many small companies we work with operate in blissful ignorance of their competitors doing their own thing while others watch their competitors like a hawk under the impression that every move they make is an aggressive attempt to steal their business. Operating in a healthy position somewhere in the middle of these two is probably the best option
A vital aspect of building a successful marketing strategy is to look at what your competitor do and how it compares to your offering. Once you have done this you know where you stand what you want to aim for and how you might compare to other similar companies. It should also highlight where the opportunities are and what you can do about exploiting them to the best of your ability.
A good place to start would be a SWOT analysis for your own business. This starts with looking your internal factors, your strengths and weaknesses. These can be anything from your experience, your staff, your reputation to cash flow issues, location or supplier relationships.
You then need to look at external factors that make up opportunities and threats to your business and these can range from new products and services, expanding into new areas or the threat of customers moving to your competitors or even economic or political changes that might affect the success of your business.
When completing a comprehensive competitor analysis, it is worth comparing like factors with yourself in relation to a close competitor and perhaps one other that you aspire to being more like that would encourage you to grow. An easy way to do this would be to look at your websites and see what you can find out.
Some factors you might like to consider would be your product range, price comparison, quality offering, service levels, experience in the market and even location. You may think there are others worth considering. Every business is different and compares differently.
Once you have completed this step you will be ready for step 4 – watch this space
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