Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Learn From Your Competition

Most of you who read this post will have competition. Competition is what makes us better business people. Your first step in reviewing the competition is Know Who the Competition is! I can’t tell you how many people go into business without knowing who their competitors are and what they do. Not knowing who your competition is would be like a team from the National Football League preparing for the Super Bowl and not know who they were playing and not doing any scouting report. You are not learning who the competition is so you can worry and obsess about them. You are learning who the competition is so you can learn from them and develop strategies to compete against them.

One thing I always used to do is go to trade shows to seek out who my competitors are. Trade shows are a great way to stake out your competition. Get information from their booths and even speak to their representatives. Look at their advertisements; discover the different ways they market and communicate to the market place. See if you can figure out how their logistics work or if they use contract manufacturers. See if you can find out what their distribution strategy is. If you market regionally you should develop relationships with businesses that do what you do who are not in your market. I cannot overemphasize the abundance of information you will get out of those relationships.

Take what you learned from the competition and put together a plan on what things you will do the same and what things you will do differently. You need to figure out what separates your business from the competition.

A valuable CFO Service is to help and influence business owners to learn more about what their competition is doing and then help them figure out a strategy to compete against those competitors.