Entrepreneurs tend to feel more enthusiastic and motivated about executing their idea when they believe they were the first to think of it. This motivation can turn to frustration when they find out that someone has beaten them to it.
But competition might be a blessing in disguise, because it provides the entrepreneur in question with information – and motivation – that will enhance their project, develop their idea, and improve their performance.
This is why it’s important to clearly determine who your competitors are. If your list is limited to those who offer similar products or services as yours and target the same customers, your answer is incomplete. Rather, your list should include those who receive similar amounts of money from your customers as you. Coffee shops might not offer the same services as movie theaters, but the fact is that there is bound to be a potential customer looking to have fun with their friends and a new coffee shop might draw his attention more than the movie theater.
Here are four simple tips for you to benefit from competition:
1. Look for gaps.
A previous Wamda article included the practice of looking for gaps in the market among the best approaches to identifying major entrepreneurial opportunities . Studying and observing your competitors, whether they work in the same field or not, will help you find these gaps.
2. Understand the traditions of your marketplace.
Avoid trying to re-invent the wheel. Every market has its traditions, culture, and rules to which customers and companies are accustomed. What are the most popular methods of payment in your market? Where do your competitors focus their work? Is it in malls or online? What are the products or services that your competitors offer most, and why? What is the competitive alternative that you will offer?
Answering such questions will save you time as an investor when looking for easiest ways to enter the marketplace. However, this doesn’t mean that entrepreneurs should not take the risk and always try new ways to exploit options that their competitors haven’t deployed yet.
3. Ask for feedback on your project.
The products and services assessment phase before official launch helps avoid many defects or deficiency that your clients might notice. Entrepreneurs often ask their friends and family for opinions, but friends can sometimes be too nice when giving feedback, tending to look for the positives of the project to motivate its owner.
Do not hesitate in employing specialists, or presenting your project to your mentors, especially those familiar with your competitors. This will afford you insight into their experience with your competitors.
4. Learn about the best marketing methods
As long as you and your competitors are targeting the same markets, learning from their marketing experience will save you some money. Observe them to determine what marketing methods they use the most. If your competitors always use the same methods, it means that they are satisfied with the results.
Among the useful questions that you can search for answers for: What are the major exhibitions that your competitors participate in? What methods of advertising to they use? When do they launch their special offers and when do they step up their marketing activities? What are the activities or events that they sponsor?
Other things to try:
- Visit your competitors. Drop by their stores, shop their
products, and try their services. Call them and ask a question to
find out how their customer service measures up.
- Check their websites daily. Review their products, prices, promotions, etc. Follow them on social networks and don’t forget to read their customers’ comments, complaints, or problems to get to know their weak points from which you may be able to benefit.
Do you have other examples of information you’ve learned from your competitors? Let us know in the comments.