To find out how you stack up against your competition, take a little time to analyze your competitive status. This exercise will help you understand and emphasize your unique selling position. How do you differ, and how can you position yourself for the best competitive advantage?
There’s no single formula for conducting a competitive analysis; it’s mostly just good business sense. Try to stay aware of what your competition is doing and how your business stacks up against it. For example:
- Are your prices and costs competitive? — Do customers who compare costs come back to you?
- Do you compete effectively in terms of product or service quality?
- Are you seen as the vendor of choice? — Why do people seek you out?
- Are you growing, losing ground or just holding onto your market share? — Are you waiting to see what will happen and hoping to react in time?
Staying competitive also implies being aware of trends and reacting to changes faster than your competitors. How will changes in technology and society affect the competition? Are your products or services more advanced than those of your competition? Do your competitors have the jump on you with online marketing/social media?
Understanding the driving forces in your industry — growth rates, shifts in buyer demographics, product and marketing innovations, the entry or exit of other competitors, changes in cost or efficiency and so forth — will make you a top competitor.
I highly encourage you to take some time this week to sit down and ask yourself the questions listed above. Once you’ve done this, come back and leave a comment explaining what you learned about your company’s competitive position.