“I have no friends and no enemies – only competitors.” Aristotle Onassis, Businessman. A business is impacted tremendously by the actions of its competitors. You need to be constantly on your feet and be aware of what your counterparts are doing in the market place. Thus, you need to be armed with a ‘Competitive Analysis’ at all times. Competitive Analysis is a process of collecting and analysing information about your competitors – current and potential, their sales, marketing and product positioning strategies, products and customers, strengths and weaknesses with the objective of assessing your current market position and thereby working on your product and marketing strategies. Identify your Competition: Like it or not, the hard truth is, your competitor is always waiting for an opportunity to wrestle your customer away from you. So, inorder to combat him, your first job is to identify him: • Do a market survey and make a list of who all are there in similar line of business in the neighbourhood/city • Do a Google search and check if there are competitors online too • Scout Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to see if they are there in the social-networks too Assessment of Strengths and Weaknesses: Make an assessment of: • How your product stacks up against the competition, • In what areas your competitors have an edge over your product and • In what areas your product is superior to theirs. This will help you to get a 360 degree view of your current product/services and device business strategies thereafter Improvements/ New Strategy: The above assessment will enable you to decide: • How and in what areas your product/services and practices must be improved to meet market demands or to stay ahead of the competition. • Identify improvement in areas like manufacturing processes and customer services. • Devise a new pricing strategy vis-à-vis your competitors in order to keep your customers. • Identify improvements you need to make in your marketing strategy, and how you can improve your marketing campaign. • Also identify ways of product positioning in order to meet market demands. Follow Competitor Strategies: No one operates in a cocooned world, and in order to stay ahead of competition, make sure you keep a tab on what your competitors are doing to sell their products/services. But remember not to employ unethical means to gain insider information on your business. Nothing hurts your business worse than a bad name due to unfair/ unethical practices. The goal of the competitive analysis is to better position your business to leverage your competitive edge. Under no circumstances should a business ignore competitive analysis. You can work with your team of employees to generate a custom comparison of yourproduct with your competition or better still, you can hire a third party to perform an unbiased competitive analysis.
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