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How Your Competition Can Help Your Business

Aug 12, 2008
Admit it, your business has competition. No matter how successful the business, there still remains other businesses in the same field trying to outdo one another, and your business is no exception. However, don't be discouraged by competition but instead look to it as an asset to your business. It may seem strange, but true that your competition can help your business grow.

Your competitors are your business, but only slightly different this makes them perfect for experimentation. That doesn't mean go to your competition's company and start testing chemicals on them, but instead look to your competition to see how they rebound from bad breaks and what they do to find success. Using your competition in this way will allow you to take all the same chances they take but without any of the consequences (good or bad).

In order to learn from your competitors, you must start keeping tabs on what they are doing. This can be done by checking out their websites or looking in local papers. Also, search for press releases on your competition to see their different innovations and the reactions they received. It may be helpful to ask around in your community to see what people like and dislike about your competition. When the opportunity comes up, mingle with your competition at professional activities such as dinners and conferences. Finally, if any of your competitors (and let's face it, there is probably more than one) have a mailing list, sign up to get information about how they are targeting customers and what they see as their best assets.

Before you begin looking at your competitors, you should find out who they are. Simply look for the big players in your industry, even though who aren't in your area. If you own an internet search engine, Google and Yahoo are your competitors even if they seem to be out of your league. Keeping track of their progress will help you to realize what your business can do to grow.

When looking at competitors, try to find patterns in their business and see if these patterns work. If you cannot find a clear business pattern, perhaps the patter here is to change frequently (i.e. switch suppliers, use new marketing strategies, etc). See if this tactics works as well. Also, look at the way your competition organizes their business. Target specific departments and see if the structure being used works for your competition. Use the information you gain to tweak your own business to be more successful.

One of the most important parts of your competition to watch is advertising. Find out what demographics your competitors target and what methods they use to get across their message. See if they are successful in their attempts. Figure out their angle and use this to your advantage. If they are doing something that works, don't copy it exactly but use the essence of the idea to add to your own advertising.

Find out what it is that makes you different from your competition and vice versa. These differences are important whether your competition is more or less successful than you. By looking at these differences you can learn what not to do or what to do if your business is more or less successful than your competition. If there has been a recent change in your competition to cause them more or less success, look specifically at what caused the change and learn from their actions.

Make sure you watch your competition constantly. Assessing competitors should not be a monthly or yearly task but should be happening daily. You may want to even track the progress of your competition. This will help you to see when your competition took up or down turns and look closely at their causes.

Watching your competition will help you now and in the future. By watching competition you will know what chances to take and which to leave by noting what worked for them. Knowing this will save you losses in the future and keep you on your toes and one step ahead of your competition.
About the Author
Melissa Mashtonio writes for Manta.com, the go-to site for company research. The site (http://www.manta.com) offers free research on more than 45 million companies worldwide.
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