My jaw dropped and my fear kicked into overdrive along with my embarrassment. After all, something like that never happens to someone like me: 30+ years running businesses and teaching many others how.
Here I am in front of my team a few weeks ago with serious egg on my face.
I was meeting with them as we are building out my newest company. We were reviewing our revenue model and putting together the business plan.
When we got to the competition analysis, one of the team members said, “Let me research that,” to which I responded confidently, “Don’t worry, I have a list of them already. We did a lot of research on that a few months ago.”
He convinced me to let him do a quick check. As the minutes flew by watching him, so did my amazement at how many new competitors were uncovered. Many of which just opened up.
A whole new playing field… in just three months. Yikes!
Here’s the deal: if your business is meant to be more than just a hobby, staying on top of your competition is crucial.
Three reasons why:
- More Memorable—how are you better or different.
- Better Pricing—how to position yourself based on the other guys.
- Less Reinventing—don’t waste resources! Mimic things the competition is doing well and avoid those they are not.
Question: Who is your key competition and what are the top three ways you are different or better?
If you cannot honestly answer that, with certainty and the confidence your information is current, you must find out.
Especially today, where the playing field is changing much quicker than ever before.
So, get on it!
Action Steps for the Week:
When was the last time you’ve explored the competition around you? Your primary and secondary.
Primary = direct competition. You sell apples, your competitors sell apples too.
Secondary = businesses that customers would go to instead to satisfy a need. You sell apples, your competitors sell pears or bananas.
If you feel your information is outdated, research it ASAP. If you have a business library near you, hit it. For example, the New York Public Library has over 60 databases to help understand your industry and competition. Of these 60+ databases, only a few are available outside the library on the Internet.
If no library, online searches can be helpful.
Be clear on what you are looking for. When you research, block off some time and organize the competition by metrics that matter to you (i.e. technology, geographical location, and/or target customers, etc.)
After you feel you have done a very analysis, select the top five competitors. And then make a list of the top ten features before comparing them with what you are doing.
Most likely you will be surprised and a bit overwhelmed with how many folks are doing what you are doing… and how quickly they’ve come into your space.
Don’t fret. Stay focused on the purpose of doing this: how are you different, better, cheaper, faster, stronger, and of course making a better difference for your communities, the environment, etc.
Make a list and build your list of benefits from this. Remember, features tell, benefits sell.
Finally, once you’ve done this, you should feel more confident how to position yourself in front of your target customers.