Common mistakes to avoid when starting a business

Business mistakes: taking your eye off the competition


During the busy start-up phase it can be easy to forget to set aside enough time to monitor the competition. However, it's essential that you are ready to respond to competitors in your marketplace and to new developments.

Failing to actively monitor the competition

Failing to monitor your rivals will stop you from seeing what competition or threats to your business exist in your marketplace.

Competition is not just another business that might take money away from you. It can be another product or service that's being developed that you should be selling or looking to license before somebody else does.

You can get clues to the existence of competitors from:

  • advertising
  • press reports
  • exhibitions and trade fairs
  • questionnaires
  • searching on the web for similar products or services
  • approaches reported by your customers
  • flyers and marketing literature that have been sent to you - this is quite common if you're on a bought-in marketing list
  • planning applications and building work in progress

For more information, see understand your competitors.

Failing to act on competitors' information

Failing to use information gathered about your competitors will weaken your position in the market.

Feed any useful information into your marketing plan. Your marketing plan and research will help you to set realistic targets and deadlines, and allocate appropriate resources. You can then decide to focus on building relationships with your existing clients or attract new customers. Your marketing can then be turned into sales by selecting your sales methods - see write a marketing plan.