Business is all about competition. There is no business without a competitor. Whether you know them or not, they exist. All businesses face competition. It’s normal. But do you know who your business competitors are? Have you ever endeavored to find out about them?
In our conventional business, we made a survey when we were writing our business plan. It helped us to know our business competitors. These are businesses in the same industry offering similar products or services. They make stamps and identity cards like us. They engrave like us. They offer media printing services like us. They design graphics, which we also do. They design websites, which we also do in our company.
To find out more about our business competitors, we went to their businesses. We visited their websites. We purchased items from them. We got their contacts. We befriended their workers just to know more about our business competitors. We did all that because we wanted to know more about the following:
• The products and services our business competitors offer
• The customers they target
• The prices they charge
• What kind of people they are
• The kind of technology they use
• The type of businesses they run
• The size of their businesses
• Their marketing techniques
• How they deliver the products and services
• The kind of people they employ
• How long they have been in business
• What is unique about them
The above information helped us a lot to know more about our business competitors. For instance, I discovered that most of them produced their products and services not using modern technology. In the area of engraving, they focused more on services like making signage and awards. I also found out that most of my business competitors were not keeping records of their customers.
The above discovery made us to think about venturing into laser engraving that produces high quality products and services at a very high speed. It also made us think about concentrating more on producing gifts like wall hangings, ornaments, wedding cards, laptop and phone customization and many more.
Why is it therefore important to know your business competitors?
As already mentioned, competition is everywhere in business. Having business competitors should be looked at in a positive way. Never feel bad about your business competitors. Knowledge about the competition you face helps you to do better in your business. You learn from your business competitors. It helps you to come up with marketing strategies that take advantage of the weaknesses of your business competitors with an aim of improving your business performance.
In a related scenario, I recently tried to find out who my business competitors are in the area of “online home business”. I made my search online and the following is the information I discovered about them:
From the simple analysis I made about my business competitors above, I discovered that 72.2% of them had a better “Daily Time On Site”. My homework now is to find out the reasons as to why their visitors stay longer on their sites than on mine. This will involve looking at their website design and the kind of content they have.
I also discovered that 83% of my business competitors enjoy better “Daily Page Views Per Visitor”. They all have a lower bounce rate. They all have a better global traffic rank as well.
I also went ahead to check the search engine visibility of my website vis-à-vis that of my business competitors. Most of them are visible on the first pages in Google, Bing and Yahoo. My site was not anywhere on the first pages in Google. Luckily, it was visible on the first pages in Bing and Yahoo. That was quite encouraging. What was encouraging too was that my Facebook page was visible in the first pages in all the search engines.
I also discovered that some of the content that competed with me on one of the websites of my business competitors (dailymotion.com) was posted by me on that site. That was a very good learning lesson.
The information I collected was just to help me identify my business competitors. And I successfully did it. What’s now remaining is to learn more from them by understanding their winning online marketing strategies. When I make a detailed analysis of my business competitors listed above, it will help me to:
• Know what I do better than them so that I strengthen.
• Identify what they do better than me so that I learn from them.
• What they do like me so that it helps me to become more creative.
How can you learn about your business competitors?
I have already mentioned some of the ways in my personal experiences above. But let me summarize it to make my point clearer. You can learn about your business competitors in any business you do by doing some of the following:
• Read about them. You may consider reading their business literature, reports, if available.
• Visit their businesses and befriend their workers where possible. They will give you detailed information.
• Go to trade fairs or exhibitions and see what your business competitors exhibit, their promotional activities and the kind of visitors they get.
• Visit websites of your business competitors. A lot of information can easily be found there.
• Interact with some of the customers of your business competitors. You will get to know why they are attracted to them.
Competition is everywhere. It’s normal. There is no single business that does not have business competitors. Sometimes one may not bother to know them. There are also people who feel bad about them when they see them doing more business than them. Ideally, that’s not good. What’s healthy is to know them and try to learn from them to make changes for improved business performance. They will help you to work on your business and finally you will be better off.
Do you know who your business competitors are? How did you find out about them?