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Business Competition and Partner Research

Aug 17, 2007
The business world is full of ever changing markets and corporations, making it hard for businesses to keep up with "who's who" in business. This ever changing atmosphere makes it difficult for any business when it comes time to select a business partner or assess a competitor. Such matters cannot be something taken lightly or quickly by the business involved. Since the business world is changing by the second, a business must thoroughly investigate the company they plan to partner with or the competitors in their market. This research process will give the business information about the company or competitor's current standing in the business world, and allow for the highly beneficial ability to see where the company or competitor will be in the future.

Before beginning the research process, it is important for a business to create some type of plan containing what the business is looking for and what information must be obtained. Also, the business should plan out strategies for research. It may be helpful to review sample business plans and scholarly articles on business research or search a business encyclopedia to help get started on research plans. Business research sites such as Thomson Gale's Goliath contain easy access to such knowledge. Also, many business research sites contain contact information for company heads that could provide useful advice.

The process of business research must be done thoroughly and precisely. When thinking about acquiring or merging with another company, a business should begin by viewing the company's website. This simple task will provide an overview of what the company is like: what products they sell, who they are associated with, and recent happenings within the company. Also, how well the website is maintained will give insight into how well the company itself is managed. However, viewing the company website does not complete the research process. It is also important to find a way to assess the leadership ability of the company because this essentially dictates the company's success and failure. Business articles or press releases on the company can give insight on leadership ability. Also, the same articles could provide insight on how the company is viewed by other businesses in the same market. Goliath and other sites hold a wealth of articles and press releases that are replenished daily and can be quickly searched.

It is also important to know the current and past financial standing of the company in order to evaluate whether or not it would be an asset to the business. Companies with erratic financial history or high debt should be avoided. Financial record sites such as Manta.com would be useful in this area.

A final area that should be researched is how the company is connected to other businesses inside and outside of its market. By accessing corporate linkage websites businesses can view all a company's connections. A business should make sure it is not merging with a company associated with its competitors or one with which it is already in some way connected. Also, researching the company's connection would avoid costly conflict of interest lawsuits and other problems associated with conflict of interest. LexiNexi's CorporateAffiliations.com is especially helpful in this area because it not only assesses a company's linkage with other companies, but also asses all the branches of the companies as well.

Another type of business research involves researching a competing company. This research will not only keep a business up to date on its competitor's actions, but will provide ideas about what is needed for a business's industry that it does not already possess. When a business is researching a competing company, its research process may differ slightly. The first step for a business is to identify its competitors. This can be done by finding business magazines pertaining to the target market or through a site that offers a look at all the companies in a particular market.

As with acquisition research, the next step in competitor researching should be to compile a research plan. Following this, a business should view its competitor's website and first make sure to confirm that it is in fact a competitor. This step may seem obsolete, but there is a chance that the researched company has a slight difference in product, eliminating it from competitive status. Once confirmed as a competitor, a business should search the company's site for future plans, their affiliates, general facts and figures, etc.
Once the website has been assessed, a business should go to business information and research sites to view the financial records of the competitor. Knowing this information will allow a business to rank where the competitor should be among all the business's competitors. If its records show debt or low income it would not be seen as a threat, but if the competitor seems to be doing well it would be watched closely. Also, comparing a competitor's financial records, stock market rank or popularity allows a business to asses its own rankings in such areas and identify where progress is needed.

Besides financial information, the competitor's history and current standing in its market should be evaluated. In addition, press releases can also provide information on the upcoming plans of a business's competitors. All of this information can be obtained through company chronology, press releases and scholarly articles that can be found on sites similar to Goliath. Such sites can also offer contact information for executives that may be necessary for use in the future. Finally, these same sites offer current articles and press releases that can keep a business up to date with its competitor's actions.

A final item that should be covered in competition research is identifying the companies with which a competitor is associated. Knowing this information will be helpful if a business plans to avoid a certain competitor or if it plans to associate with companies linked to the competitor. Also, knowing the corporate linkage for a competitor will prevent any problems a business may have involving information leakage. Corporate linkage sites can provide this information. It is also important to know the many divisions of a competitor so that such companies will be immediately recognized as competitors as well.
Performing the necessary research on competitors and possible business acquisitions is essential to keeping up with the ever changing business world. Not only will the information acquired be helpful at the time, but it will also be again in the future. Knowing competitors and possible business partners well gives a business the edge that it needs to stay on top of things in the corporate world.
About the Author
Sarah Deak is a contributing business writer for http://goliath.ecnext.com. Goliath is one of the Internet's largest collections of business research, news and information.
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