By analyzing your competitors, you can anticipate new opportunities and developments in the market, make better operations decisions and more effectively evaluate your strengths and weaknesses.
Start by identifying your competitors and gather information about them. The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) advises that you answer these questions:
• “What are my competitors’ strengths and weaknesses?”
• “How many clients/customers do they have? What type?”
• “Are my fees/revenues in line with similar businesses in my area?”
• “What, if any, groups of buyers are not being targeted by any of us?”
• “Are my competitors using new technology to increase their advantage?”
• “What kinds of investments are my competitors making? Are they in debt?”
• “Can I make my products/service better, faster or cheaper than theirs?”
You can answer many of those questions by combing through publicly available sources, including company Web sites (client lists, price guides and personnel biographies); media outlets such as journals, newspapers and newsletters; online forums; and databases and public records.