July 20, 2010

Identify & Analyze Your Competitors

Have You Done Your Small Business Homework?
#2 of a 3 Part Series

Business Rule# 8- Identify & Analyze Your Competitors
Knowing your target market is extremely important to the success of your business but knowing who your competitor is, is just as important. Researching your competitors gives you an advantage because you are given a chance to study and learn from your competitor’s success and failures. Learning about your biggest competitor allows you insight on how to set up your business. You never want to completely copy a business but knowing what not to do and what's proven to work is worth noting.

Create another list of research questions that will give you insight on your competitors. Below is a starter list that you should begin with.

  • ·    What companies are already providing the same service or product?
  • ·    Who are the leading companies of market share?
  • ·    What are your competitor prices?
  • ·    What are your competitor’s strengths and weakness?
  • ·    How do your competitors attract customers?
  • ·    What similar businesses have closed lately and why?
  • ·    Are there any companies that could become a strategic partner?
  • ·    Who works for your competitor? (Staff)
  • ·    How do your competitors identify themselves to the market?
What other resource questions can you add?

The below are resources to help you find out who your biggest competitors are.

  • ·    Better Business Bureau http://www.bbb.org/us/
  • ·    County Business Patterns http://www.census.gov/econ/cbp/index.html (This website allows you to  get detailed information about the business in a particular area. You can even search by zip code.)
  • ·    Manta http://www.manta.com/
  • ·    Dun & Bradstreet www.dnb.com
  • ·    American Fact Finder www.factfinder.census.gov

Also, don’t forget to check and see if your competitors have been in the news by looking them through search engines such as Google. If they have a website, make sure to check that out as well.

Who is your biggest competitor? 
Do you think it's important to know who your competitor is?

"Copyright © 2010, Dawn Austin, Recipe for Small Business, writer, SmallBiz Stew. All rights reserved. Permission granted to reprint this article on your website without alteration if you include this copyright statement and leave the hyperlinks live and in place." 

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