Knowledge of Competitors
- Competitors: Sometimes you can get information directly from the competitor. Call their business or visit their website or location pretending to be a customer seeking information.
Sign up for their e-mail newsletters, or follow them on Facebook or Twitter to see what marketing methods they’re using. Sometimes, geographically distant competitors will be willing to give you advice and ideas if they feel you aren’t going to be competing for the same customer base.
- Suppliers: You’ll need to contact potential suppliers to research your costs and product availability. While you’re at it, see if you can get information about competitors.
- Competitors’ customers: Social media has made it easier to contact your competitors’ customers and ask what they like (and don’t like) about the competition. You can also see what the competitors’ customers are saying about them online.
- Trade associations: Trade associations will not reveal information about specific companies, but they do have general information about benchmarks, trends and averages in your industry.
- The internet: Set up a Google Alert on your competitors to receive news and information about them. Search online articles to learn about their growth strategies and future plans.
To create your brand, begin by thinking about what you want your business to be known for. Do you want to be the low-price leader? The premium luxury product? The company with the fastest service? The company with the friendliest employees?
Analyze what makes your products or services stand out from the competition, including:
- Special benefits (How your product/service fills a need or solves a problem)
- Unique features (Physical attributes of the product/service)
- Limits and liabilities (What kinds of guarantees or return policies do you offer?)
- Production and delivery methods (One-day delivery? Hand-made products?)
- Suppliers (Are you an authorized reseller of a well-known brand?)
- Intellectual property, special permits (Is your product/service one-of-a-kind?)
This series ongoing series handbook prepared by Marjorie Weber was prepared will also be part of the Miami Bayside Foundation to qualify small business owners for the Miami Bayside Foundation loan program.
Handbook series Small Business Start Up Part 1: Small Business Start Ups Making It Legal; Part 2: Small Business Start Up Capital Access Primer and Key Steps ; Part 3: Definitive Steps to Create the Optimal Small Business Growth Team Part 4: Once You Have the Dream Team, It’s About Employee Retention, Part 5: Delegating Responsibilities Policies and Procedures – Letting Go Part 6: Breaking Down the Set Up of Small Business Financial Records Part 7: Three Best Bet Picks for Small Business Accounting Software Part 8: To Lease or To Buy? Issues Relating To Both In Today’s Market part 1 Part 9 Decided on a Business Lease? 20 Lease Provisions Part 10 What Small Business Contracts Are Required and Who Reviews? Part 11 What are the most serious small business risk and coverage issues? Part 12: Keeping Sightlines on Specific Small Business Target Markets