When you’re running a business, without a doubt your customers are the most important group you need to worry about. They supply your revenue, work of mouth marketing and your very reason for being. Shortly after them come your employees: they are the experts who design your products, get them where they need to be and sell them to people. If you don’t invest in them, give them a reason to stay with you, you could find yourself a general with no army.
Running a very close third, however, are your competitors. You really need to keep track of who’s on your heels, chasing your success and wanting to wrest your share of the market away from you, and indeed who’s just ahead of you in the pack who you’re trying to grapple a share of success from.
Informing your business decision making with an infusion of competitive intelligence means learning just who your competitors are, and then beginning to take account of their likely plans. But why is this important?
Learning Who They Are
It might seem like one of the simplest things in the world to know who your competitors are, and on the face of it this is the case. The reality is much more complicated, however. It’s easy to spot the big players in the field – whatever your field is. They’re likely the reason you’ve started your own business, you may even have worked for them. For now, however, they’re well beyond your reach. You have the resources or reputation to even begin to touch them.
What you really need to be wary of are the small companies, the lean, hungry start-ups, like yours, who may be flying below your radar until they’re ready to launch. It’s hard to know just how many potential competitors you might have until you put the time and effort into getting some expert insight.
Once you’ve identified your competitors you need to start accounting for their actions in your plans. Coordinating your product launches to avoid theirs is an elementary way to maximise your revenue. If you want to see an example of this on a grand scale, look at the summer cinema release schedule. If you follow the news, you’ll notice blockbusters jostling in the schedule so each one gets it’s own time to shine, rather than making people choose between one studio and another on an opening weekend.
Gradually, using this insight, you take your place at the head of the pack, and assure your success long into the future.