To figure this out, there are other questions you need to ask including:
• How many are there?
• Where are they located?
• What products/services do they offer that you do not?
• What products/services don’t they offer that you can?
• What is their advertising strategy? Where are social media do they advertise?
There are several great things you can learn by researching your competitors.
• You can potentially avoid the same mistakes they’ve made.
• You can gain information that will help you with the decisions you’ll need to make about where to locate your business, what to charge for your products/services and what advertising strategy might work for you.
How do I find out about my competitors?
You need to do research about the industry your business is positioned in. You want to find out how many other businesses like yours are operating within your city or county, or on the web if you are a computer based business.
According to Johnston Community College in North Carolina, “Customer research will guide you to where your potential customers are shopping and why. As part of your competitor research, you may want to ask potential customers survey questions geared to discover information about the competition. If they currently use products or services like yours, where are they buying them? What are they paying for them? What do they like and dislike about your competition?”
Once you have identified who your competitors are, be sure to visit their web site if they have one and their social media sites. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook and Pinterest and other sites. You can learn a lot from their web sites and social media sites. For example, they may have information about prices, services, locations and contact information. The look and features of the web site itself will give you an idea of your competitor’s professionalism and quite possibly about their resources.
You might consider calling your competitors directly asking the kinds of questions a customer/client would. Those questions could be about the prices they charge, the types of products and services they sell, turnaround time for service and anything else you need to know. If your competitor has a storefront, visit it for ideas about products and advertising.
Another way to find out about your competitors is to talk to others who have had dealings with them including their customers, other businesses who had dealings with them and their suppliers if know who they are. You can find out what kind-of service they provide, how well they work with their suppliers.
The Johnston Community College has the Competitors Worksheet available to help you identify and document your competitors. Take great notes and refer back to them when trying to create your business plan and marketing strategy.
This lesson is meant as an overview. You will have to do some research on how to do the research. Try asking Ehow.com how to research competitors, how to do market research and how to do industry research. You will have to use google and other search engines to decide on the key words you’ll need to use to find your competition.
At this point, you’ll need to ask yourself again, “Are you committed to your dream and to doing whatever it takes to make it happen?”
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