Understand your competitors

Who are your competitors?

All businesses face competition. Even if you're the only restaurant in town you must compete with cinemas, bars and other businesses where your customers could spend their money instead of with you. With more and more goods, services and leisure options being bought or researched online, you are no longer just competing with local businesses.

Your competitor could be a new business offering a substitute or similar product that makes your own redundant. Competition is not just another business that might take money away from you. It can be another product or service that's being developed and which you should start selling or license before somebody else takes it up.

Identify your competitors

It’s important to stay aware of what your current competitors are doing. You should also be on the lookout for possible new competition.

You can learn who your customers are from:

  • local business directories
  • the Northern Ireland companies directory
  • your local Chamber of Commerce
  • advertising
  • press reports
  • exhibitions and trade fairs
  • questionnaires
  • searching online for similar products or services
  • information provided by customers
  • flyers and marketing literature that have been sent to you - quite common if you're on a bought-in marketing list
  • searching for existing patented products that are similar to yours
  • planning applications and building work in progress