When I started my first business from the ground-up, I was so focused on what I was doing that I barely even knew who my competitors were, let alone how I was different. After my first year in business, I was extremely frustrated because I was working really hard trying to build a successful company but I didn’t feel like I was making any progress.
One day I had a realization, an epiphany if you will, that I had spent my entire personal life avoiding mistakes by watching other people make them, yet I wasn’t carrying over that same skill set into my business.
I started researching my competition and bigger companies in my industry and realized that they were actually my new best friends. Today, I want to share with you three of the main reasons why knowing your competition is important.
1. You can learn from their mistakes
In today’s digital world, corporations and small businesses aren’t able to hind behind constructed brand identities like they could before. It’s amazing what information you can find online about virtually any company that exists.
By doing a little digging online, you are bound to dig up some mistakes that your competitors have made. Social media is an easy place to search to see what people are saying about your competitors. When you find mistakes or things that didn’t seem to work very well for your competition, take note of it. Work to avoid making the same mistakes you see your competitors making.
2. You can model what works for them
As you research your competition also look for what’s working really well for them. It’s very important that you model what is working for your competition and do not copy your competition directly. You want to look for strategies they are putting in place and overall marketing efforts they are making to give you ideas on how you can make your company better.
If they have an e-mail newsletter, subscribe to it so your competition does most of the work to keep you in the loop.
It’s important to note that just because your competition is doing something new that appears to be working, there is a good chance that they have not tested it either. Be careful and always use your best judgement.
3. They reveal opportunities in the marketplace
Looking at each of your competitors, you should be able to determine what segment of the marketplace they are targeting and what type of customers or clients they are looking to attract. Through reasonable deduction, you can find new opportunities and untapped markets for your product or service.
One of my friends is a great example of this. These days it seems like everybody and all their moms are social media experts, rather than being just another social media expert, my friend decided to be the social media expert for Janitorial Supply Companies. It doesn’t sound glamorous but it’s brilliant. He had extensive background in the industry, knew it inside and out, and planted his flag in the ground. Instead of competing with literally tens of thousands of “social media experts”, there may be a handful of people that do what he does.
Focusing your skills, talents, and abilities on a specific area of the marketplace that’s not being served by your competitors is a formula for success. However, in some cases there may be specific reasons why certain demographics aren’t being serviced. There may not be a market there, so always test and use your best judgement based on credible facts and data.
Taking it one step further
I hope this information helped you better understand why knowing your competition is important. If you really want to grow your business and leave your competitors eating your dust, it’s extremely important that you critically analyze your competitors and strategically position your products & services in the marketplace.
In my product, The Strategic Marketing Compass, I have put together an extensive competitive analysis section that guides you through the necessary steps to strategically positioning your business. If you’re ready to take your business to the next level, The Strategic Marketing Compass will help you gain clarity on how to differentiate yourself from your competitors and operate your business in lucrative areas of your industry.
If you’re interested in learning more about The Strategic Marketing Compass, check out my blog post that gives an overview of my Strategic Marketing Compass Framework: Introduction to the Strategic Marketing Compass
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