Every business comes with its own unique set of complicated tasks. When you are looking to promote your business, this can take up so much of your time and resources that you would forget about the other important aspect to keep ahead of the crowd: your competition. In looking at your immediate competition, do you have what it takes to get ahead of the curve, or do you even know what they do to keep ahead of the pack? This is why you need to effectively scope out the competition so you can put forward your own niche image. So how can you work covertly when it comes to researching your competitors?
Visit Them Regularly
If your competitors have physical stores, be sure to go there on a regular basis. It’s a great way to see what services are being promoted, as well as check on ongoing basics like prices and what they do to display their products. It’s much easier if you’ve got competition online, just hit up their website on a regular basis just to have a look at what they are doing this week.
Look At Their Ads
Their overall presentation in the media will give you a handle on, not just what they are up to, but your industry in general. It’s a bit harder if you are in direct competition with local businesses, especially if they don’t do much online promotion, but you can look at local business ratings. You can search Frog local directory, one such directory that provides local business ratings, and it gives you overall opinion of how they are doing in the industry, but also how the customers view them. That way, you can see if they actually have a good reputation in your industry.
Speak To Their Customers
Not just by looking at online reviews, but you could target their customers by asking them to complete online surveys. Beware in approaching the customers, because they could very easily be your customers too!
Be A Customer Yourself
If you really want to know what their service is like, put yourself in the shoes of a customer. That way you can remove your business hat and just sample their products and services on a basic level. If you are known to work for a competitor, then you might be better off sending a friend or a colleague to do it for you. It’s a convenient way to get some inspiration. By looking at how your competitors treat the customer, it can give you some handy hints on improving your business, but also it might make you realise what you’ve been missing all this time.
It could be a rude awakening to see that your business is struggling, especially when you have immediate competitors stealing your custom. This means you’ve got to work harder to keep your customers, but also make sure that you know the competition inside out. If you don’t know what you are dealing with, it’s going to leave you trailing behind, not just now, but for years on end, and it could be the difference between a successful business, and you filing for bankruptcy in a couple of years’ time.
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To your success,
Vinh Van Lam & Stuart Horrex
Your Creative Coaches @ CoSydney & ArtSHINE industries