Researching and deal with your competitors is the key to survive in this economy.
It has been attested, time and again that if you are venturing into a startup business in any industry then you have to be somewhat aggressive.
That rings even truer for beginners on the business scene. And even tried and tested names still fail due to over-aggressiveness. Remember that any rivalry for the top spot in a certain business niche isn’t always about aggressive tactics. You need planning beforehand. That is why business plans are necessary components of all startups.
This is where comprehensive competitor analysis comes into the picture. It is a blend of passive and aggressive strategies. As long as it’s carefully thought out, then it will work.
Here are some instances by which pure aggression fails businesses in their many dealings:
Aggressive financial practices – Not being able to handle rapid growth.
Aggressive with cold calling – Overboard sales pitches that look like spam.
Aggressive attitude – solid clever plans combining aggressive and intellectual choices win in the end.
Toppling competition isn’t all about being two steps forward. Sometimes all it takes is a step backward to further understand what your competition is up to. Spying is one proven strategy and you’ll be amazed by how much everyone does it.
Spying on your competition can breathe a new life to your business rescue operations.
You have two options on how to deal with competition
• Read or watch the news so you know their standing in the media. Reputation is something that’s built over time and digging up on issues might tell you something about things they have done erroneously and incorrectly in the past.
• Attend trade shows and company site tours to learn the latest products they banner. By doing so, you can brace yourself and prepare for products that would edge their offerings.
• Be a secret shopper and watch company culture like employee behavior or customer service satisfaction. Whatever you liked or did not like, take note and implement the strong points in your own company or improve on it.
• Take advantage of public documents to determine their legal compliance in taxes and permits. If they have some anomalous documents, you can devise plans to avoid the same pitfall.
• There’s always LinkedIn to spy on their current and past network of hires and employees. You can connect to them and find out why they joined the company or why they left it. In that manner you would learn the process of their recruitment strengths and weaknesses.
• If you’re into SEO domination, try web tools such as SpyFu, Complete Search Analytics and Google Trends etc. It is important to know what keywords they are strong at so you can prepare optimized content that would outplay them in their own SEO game.
• If you want to compare websites and its facets, try Statbrain, Web Page Readability and Alexa Rank among many others. Analyzing competitor website, its visitors, the way they present their content or what they say about their products is one way to learn if it’s successful or not so you can do something different or similar.
• Social media can become bane for competition if you can infiltrate their tweets and Facebook chats.
• Look at how they present online job ads in leading platforms and see how you can edge their job offers so instead of them getting the best hires, it ends up in your backyard.
• Online advertising is the used extesnively right now, so your competition has surely set up something online. Know which among their ads are appealing or not and effective or not; always end up comparing their ads to what your ads are. Contrasting the ads that worked for them and didn’t work for them may give you a clue on what drives their sales.
Caution: Be aware that your competition might also be spying on you; it is a double edged sword. It will only boil down to who’s doing the better job at espionage. Move a step forward and make measures for counter-intelligence strategy. Protect your online information such as backlinks and SEO strategy beforehand. There are devices and software programs commercially available.
Also: Spying isn’t always about gathering information from competition without them knowing and using it to your advantage, sometimes it is also important to build alliances with other competition to become a better solid block against a common enemy. Treat it like real modern warfare; the more the better.
Information is power and to deal with competition, being informed of what your competition does best can also bring out the best in you. Combine these strategies and start winning when you deal with competition at their own game without them knowing.