How to Learn from Your Competitors

Looking to gain marketshare and increase revenues? See what your competitors are up to. Observing others in your industry can help you learn from their mistakes, get ideas for your own business, and fill in gaps that they’re not servicing with their customers.

Identify Your Competitors

This might sound easier than it is. Sure, there are probably a few key players who offer similar services to you in your town. But if you serve a national or even global audience, your competition pool gets bigger. Also consider indirect competitors: those that fulfill a similar need as your company, but in a different way. So if you sell copiers, you may be indirectly competing with companies that sell multi-function printers that also make copies.

Scope Them Out Online

Start your research by visiting a few key competitors’ websites. See what they sell, and also pay attention to how the site is designed. Is it easy to navigate? Appealing? How can you make yours better? Are there elements you’d like to include on your own website?

Also look at the social presence of your competitors to see how they’re using blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to get new customers.

Learn From Their Mistakes

In your research, you’ll find many areas where your competitors are doing well. But if you pay attention, you can also see where they’ve fumbled. If the company has had negative PR due to some mistake it made, learn from that mistake and do better with your decisions. Paying attention to the mistakes of your competitors can help shorten your own path to success.

Look for What They’re Leaving on the Table

Your competitors have a focus: something they do really well. But they can’t do everything as well, so they’re leaving some opportunities on the table. Perhaps they’re not using social media for customer service. That’s an area you can easily dominate, in that case. Or they’re not moving into niche markets. You can.

By paying attention to what your competitors are (and aren’t) doing, you can build your strategy to find your own strengths. There’s plenty of marketshare for everyone, especially if you dive into different services or niches than the competition.

 

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