How to get to grips with your competitors

If they use different suppliers, why do they? Are these new suppliers worth investigating? 10 Minute Guide: How to get to grips with your competitors …

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How to get to grips with your competitors
This item provides tips on how to get to grips with your competitors. Many businesses see competitive information gathering as a cost, but, as a list of benefits shows, the value to be gained far outweighs the costs. Listed here are 10 questions about competitors that most businesses need to answer along with the different sources of information available, much of it free.

Why it is important
It is important to seek information about your competitors and use it in making business decisions. By doing so you will be able to: * Evaluate your own performance against other suppliers * Identify and exploit competitors weaknesses * Address competitor strengths * Get new ideas * Identify new customers * Improve sales forecasting * Keep your business planning focused There are also other benefits, which are arguably more important, but difficult to measure. Competitor intelligence helps you to: * Reduce complacency and improve discipline within your own business * Foster an acceptance of continuous change * Respect that other suppliers have satisfied customers and reasons for the satisfaction * Create a recognition that the business must continually seek to improve

What it is
Competitor intelligence is information about other businesses that may have a significant impact on the way you conduct your business. These may be * Your existing direct competitors whom you encounter on a daily basis * New competitors who may enter your market, offering a new technology or simply to take a share of the market * Indirect competitors who offer a substitute product. For example, Kelloggs\’ competitors include not only Weetabix and manufacturers of other breakfast cereals, but also the makers of alternative breakfast options such as croissants and the traditional cooked breakfast ingredients

What you need to know
The key thing to decide at the outset is what sort of competitor information you need. This will depend on the type of business you are, type of competition you face and market or industry sector in which you are operating. However, most businesses need a basic set of information about their competitors. Listed below are 10 key questions most businesses need to answer.

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