It takes little more than a laptop and a social media page to get a legitimate business off the ground these days. As a result, it’s next to impossible to create a unique product or service.
While the presence of well-established competitors is daunting, it’s entirely possible to use this to your advantage when starting up a small business. Market research is invaluable in the early days, and established competitors are a great way to gather a ton of this with little effort.
Here’s where to start:
- Check out the basics - Find out how long different operations have been around, what kind of advertising they do, how they are priced, how many employees they have and so on. Getting a clear picture of different-size competitors will show you where you can slot in and the long-term potential of your business.
- Be their customer - If possible, play customer and try out the products or services of key competitors. This way, you’ll get a solid understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. For example, are they booked up for weeks or slow to return a phone call?
- Read their reviews - Online reviews are a fantastic source of honest customer feedback, giving you plenty of insight into what competitors are doing well or not so well. It’s these strengths that you need to replicate and weaknesses that provide an opportunity for you to do things better.
- Google them - Search rankings aside, have a look around your main competitors’ websites. Once again, see where their strengths lie and where opportunities exist. Are their sites easy to navigate for the information a customer needs?
Keen to find out more about how your competitors are your greatest asset when it comes to market research?