Guide

Understand your competitors

Use competitor research to improve your business

Evaluate the information you find about your competitors. It may help you spot gaps in the market you can exploit or indicate an oversupply in certain areas. This can lead you to focus on less competitive niches.

Draw up a list of everything that you have found out about your competitors, however small.

What they're doing better than you are

If your competitors are doing something better than you, you need to respond and make some changes. This could involve: 

  • improving customer service
  • reassessing your prices
  • updating your products
  • changing the way you market yourself
  • redesigning your literature and website
  • changing your suppliers

Try to innovate not imitate. Now you have got the idea, can you do it even better, add more value?

Your competitors might not have rights over their actual ideas, but remember the rules on patents, copyright and design rights. See protecting intellectual property

What they're doing worse than you are

Exploit the gaps you have identified. These may be in their product range or service, marketing or distribution, even the way they recruit and retain employees.

Customer service can be the difference between businesses that operate in a very competitive market, it's important to understand your customers' needs. Renew your efforts to exploit any deficiencies you have discovered in your competitors.

Don't be complacent about your strengths, or areas where you and your competitors take the same approach. Your current offerings may still need improving and your competitors may also be assessing you. They may adopt and enhance your good ideas or be planning their own improvements.