So, you have a product/service that you want to sell, but how do you know who is competing for your potential clients and how would knowing affect your business?
A competitor is any person or entity that is in the same or a similar industry that offers a similar product/service as you intend to offer. This definition can differ based on the type of product/service that you offer. For example, if you are a brick and mortar store (have a physical location that customers can come to in order to purchase your product/service - not including a home business), then you may only have competitors within a particular radius of your location. On the other hand, if you sell products online, then you may very likely consider any similar person or entity as a competitor.
First, let's discuss the reason this information is important to your new business venture and then we'll determine how to find your specific competitors.
When one or more competitor is present, factors such as price, quality of product/service, customer support and additional elements are affected. For example, if you planned to start a local restaurant, you may find that there are a number of other eating establishments within driving distance from your potential clients. For this reason, you might decide to offer low-cost options on your menu in order to draw in clients. Other possibilities include offering coupons to draw in traffic, offering high-quality menu selections, offering a type of food or menu options that are exclusive to your establishment, creative marketing (catchy slogan or branding your company towards a particular type of clientele), etc.
Don't think that presentation is the only factor to consider. Expect to fail (at least a time or two). You can't make everyone happy, and although a mindset to do so is definitely a great quality, you should take any "fail" as another opportunity for victory. Groove reports that "Businesses that grow their customer retention rates by as little as 5% typically see profit increases ranging from 25% to 95%."* This means that you have the opportunity to turn a problem that your consumer has into a growth opportunity, if only you offer a quality customer support experience. A customer that feels that you care and can acknowledge your mistakes could potentially be one of your best customers.
Now that we understand why we need to know who our competition is, we need to determine who exactly we have to compete with. Here are some great ways to help you:
Google generally will provide you with local options and competitors' ads at the top of your search and then gradually branch out from there to a wider scale. If you are wanting to know just those that are near your current location, you can search "(name of product/service) near me" or if you aren't currently in the area that you are looking for, you can search "(name of product/service) near (city/state/zip code/country)."
You'll need to have at least a personal Facebook page in order to do this one. Go to the search box and type in the information you are looking for. This is also a great way to discover how your competition is marketing as well as at times, their current clients. (See "How to Stalk Your Comps")
This is not only a great way to learn who your competition is, but this can also be the perfect opportunity to start a conversation that could generate business. (See "Stop Selling, Start Listening")
Although there is a fine line at times when hiring your competitions' ex-employees, if done in good taste, you could potentially learn sales strategies, operations and more about your competition. However, if that isn't a possibility, you might find that they are hiring. You could try scanning job search sites for positions that would pertain to your field/industry. This could help you learn what qualifications and roles are necessary, areas covered, or even to determine what new products/services they plan to roll out. (See "How to Stalk Your Comps")
Now, take some time to determine who your competition is and let us know how these methods worked or didn't work for you. Also, if you have other ideas then feel free to share them as well. If you have benefited from this information then be sure to subscribe to our blog post by entering your email below.
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