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When I started my blog, I never paid attention to my competitors.

I never realised that despite starting early, I still had and have competition from all sides.

When someone asked Beyonce why she doesn’t have followers on Instagram she said, ‘So she can keep up with herself and not what another person does’.

There’s influence from outside forces and we need a strong mental presence in this social media world and societal pressures to be like Beyonce.

Keeping up with your competitors is a good move for your business but don’t be too vested you forget about your business or why you got started.

You can learn about your competition from social media or by analysing their websites.

Understand what your competitors offer and why, how they market their products/services and learn what they’re not offering.

Set yourself apart from the competition by doing what they are not doing or what they undermine.

And as Beyonce said, ‘Choose to be your own competition’.

She meant, become better than you were yesterday.

If you didn’t care about editing your blog posts or if you missed deadlines of your work, ensure that next time you edit posts or never miss a deadline. Always look for ways and strategies to become better and never remain in mediocrity.

The best competition is you, learn from yourself.

What is Competition?

Competition refers to when a business operates in a given market, but there are other businesses providing the same goods and services. These two or more businesses are in rivalry. They want to attract more customers at the expense of the other business. 

Competition can also be a product or service offered by a rival business. 

Being competitive means more customers use your products and services than your rival’s. 

Businesses may compete on the prices of goods, quality of goods or the services rendered in order to win new customers or retain those whom they already have.

Some businesses do not understand competition and if they do, they do not take it seriously. 

Competition is good and is an important part of the business journey. 

Who is Your Competitor?

A competitor is anyone operating in your market and offers a similar product or service to yours. 

Your competitor is not only a business or a company taking your money in exchange for goods and services. It can also be a rival product. 

Products can compete as substitutes for one another. For example, tea and coffee are both beverages. 

What are the Types of Competiton in Business?

  1. Direct competition. This is when a business offers the same exact products or services to customers. For example, two fast-food restaurants selling fast foods. 

2. Indirect competition. This is when a company that does not operate in the same industry, competes alongside the industry. This means that products and services offered are different, but can meet the same need. For example, butter and margarine. 

3. Emerging competition. This competition is hard to spot because it takes effect in the future. Here, the competitors provide goods and services which could easily be used as substitutes for what the business offers, but the consumer will prefer one more.  For example, KFC and Chicken Inn.

How Do I Identify My Competitors in Business?

Some business owners make the mistake of saying they do not have a competitor when asked who their rival business is. 

Do not say that you are the first to venture into a particular business.

Or that nobody is doing things in the exact same way as you. The reality may be different that even Solomon the King said, ‘There’s nothing new under the sun, everything you think hasn’t bee done has actually been done”.

What Solomon meant is that even though all businesses seem to be taken, why not come up with an innovative way of doing it? The innovative way is by looking at yourself and asking how can you stand apart from the competition.

There is always competition in every facet of the business world. There are always people who want to take your place.

So, how do you know who your competitor is?

Conduct thorough market research. What is the market indicator? Is there a high demand for products and services offered? What are the competitor’s points of sale?

Ask customers. A customer can directly pinpoint who a rival business is when they want to compare your products or services. Ask questions and be attentive when customers speak. 

Google search engine. You can know who your competitor is with a single click. Use Google search engine to find out who your competitors are.

Keyword search by conducting a thorough SEO analysis. This will help you know which business you are competing with. 

Social media. Check their Facebook and Twitter pages and sites. These platforms are used for marketing. A rival business may post pictures of the premises, its products or list their services. If they are in line with what you do, they are your competitors. 

Read press reports. Read flyers. Listen to marketing press reports. This can give you easy access to knowing who your competitor is.

How Do I Obtain Information About Competitors in Business?

Social media. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are used to market business products and services. You can check their pages online, and going by the number of likes or comments, see how much of a competitor they are to you. 

Look for articles. Read press reports. Watch ads in the marketing press. This will inform you of the business’s reputation if it’s either an appraisal or a critical report. Read flyers.

Customers. Ask them questions if there are any new trading businesses that offer the same range of products and services. In this way, you gain real information on the structure of the market.

Check with your supplier to know how far the supply chain extends and whom else it serves. This will help you obtain information about your competitor. 

Internet search. Do an online search. Most businesses these days use both online and offline services. Google to see what comes up that may be of use.

Hire employees from your rival business. This creates an opportunity to learn the tricks and secrets of the other business and incorporate them for business success. 

Conduct a survey. Ask many people questions on what they know about business progress in the area to see if there are any potential competitors. The questions should be suited to address your needs. 

What Do You Need to Know About Your Business Competitors?

  1. Who are your direct, indirect and emerging competitors to your product or service?

2. Are your competitors available online, offline or both?

3. How are their products marketed? 

4. What do consumers think about your competitor’s products or services? Are they valuable? What is their pricing structure?

5. What are their strengths and weaknesses? A SWOT  analysis will help you establish this. This will also give you the advantage of identifying any opportunities or threats.

6. What are the benefits of their products or services? What are they doing?

7. Are you competing on quality, price or any other point of difference? This helps you to look hard in the mirror of your own products and then see what your rivals are offering and compare.

How Do I Analyse My Competitors?

In order to analyse your competitors, look at:

  • Products the business offers.
  • Services offered
  • Market served. 
  • Location
  • Points of sale; where the customers can access the products.
  • Pricing structure
  • Strengths of your competitor 
  • Weaknesses of your competitor 

What are the Objectives of a Competitor?

A competitor’s objective is to:

  • Access new sales networks.
  • Penetrate new customer segments. 
  • Eliminate the rival business.
  • Enter new geographical markets.
  • Extend supply chain.
  • Gain competitive advantage.

These objectives are aimed to achieve long term business success. This means that the business should eventually be sustainable in the face of competitor action and changes in the market. It should also be substantial enough to make a difference and to create meaning and value for customers. 

What are My Competitor’s Strengths and Weaknesses?

Reduced prices on goods and services in order to attract more customers.

High-quality goods and services are offered in order to improve customer preference and satisfaction. The downside to this is that the cost of the products may go up, in order to sustain production. 

Better customer service in order to maintain and attract new customers. The downside is that the business may incur training costs for the employees. This might be expensive. 

A business can sell a wide range of products due to high demand. This, however, will increase its storage costs and decrease the economies of scale (benefits due to size).

A business can establish a better location for the operation. High footfall, however, means high costs incurred.

Note: There may be more competition or less competition at one given time. These have an influence on the business. More competition means improved quality of products, improved customer service and lower prices on products.

Less competition means higher sales because consumers have fewer options, higher profits due to higher sales and raised prices on goods and services.

Competition may also be at optimum.

How to Deal With Competitors?

Do not take them personally. Competition is a part of business and can be thorough and cutthroat. It is important to understand that it is part of the process for a business to stay at the top of the game

Point out their good achievements and try to learn from them. This will win you, new customers, once your business starts delivering quality products and services. 

Explore the new market. This will give you an edge in approaching your new customers first before they pick up. 

Be innovative. This will help you produce new products and services in order to boost customer satisfaction. This will also attract new customers. 

Know their strengths and weaknesses. This gives you a platform to improve on their weaknesses and address their strengths, thereby creating value for your business. 

Improve your marketing strategies. Find a way to reach new markets and keep the existing ones. Branching out of a shared market will help you reach more target customers and reduce competition. 

Update your image. This means improving the general outlook of the business. From the paintings of the business premise, decor and general ambience. This will attract customers to your business as an image is an indicator of quality.

When Should You Work With Competitors?

You may just be starting out on a new business venture and the market is not saturated with competitors. In this case, you may help other businesses to improve their model so that they may challenge you to improve business approach through sharing of ideas. 

When you want to establish dominance. Helping your competitors may indicate that you are superior to them. This makes you more valued and respected. 

There is a notion that says ‘ Your competitor is your enemy.’ Competitors can be crude and intense. However, it is important to establish a good relationship with them. Do not publicize negative information about them or be critical about how they operate. Remember that they are also working with their best interests at heart.

Why Is It Important to Know Your Competition in Business?

The key importance of knowing your competitor is so that you can have a competitive advantage over them.

Competitive advantage is the favourable position a business seeks, which makes your products or services more meaningful than your rivals and more valuable to the customer.

For a business to gain and maintain a competitive advantage, it must strive to be cost-effective and to be able to offer products and services which customers regard as preferred to those offered by their rivals.

A business may look at:

  • Quality of the products and services 
  • Price of the products and services; to provide  a benchmark that will allow you to calibrate your pricing.
  • Level of customer services
  • Marketing strategy 
  • Location of the business. 
  • Knowledge, skills and experience 
  • Availability 
  • Business reputation 
  • Days or hours of opening
  • Business image
  • Uniqueness 
  • Parking facilities 

Gain a competitive advantage in these aspects by differentiating yourself. Make yourself unique. Also, ensure you have the necessary resources to pursue your target market successfully. 

What’s the Importance of Competition?

  1. Competition fosters innovation. When businesses are in competition, owners become creative and come up with new methods, ideas, processes and new products and services. This will dictate if you win yourself more customers through wanting to meet customer satisfaction. 

2. High-quality products and services offered. Due to innovation and implementation of new technology to produce products and offer better services, customers are satisfied. 

3. Optimum utilisation of business resources. Resources are scarce. You must use the available resources sparingly to satisfy customer wants.

4. Improved customer service and satisfaction. A business wants to ensure customers have the best experience while they are in their hands. This is so that they can have a better reputation.

5. Creates market awareness and penetration. A business may want to reach new target customers away from those it shares with its rival. It may advertise itself, thereby informing more customers of its existence. 

6. Provides a platform for decision making. After thorough market research has been done, the business may use the information it has obtained to look for a way forward. 

7. Address strengths and improve on weaknesses. The goal is customer satisfaction. Weaknesses are likely what consumers are dissatisfied about. Strengths are what consumers are happy about. 

Competition is healthy for business operations. There must always be competition in your field.

It is necessary to find out who your competitor is, what they do and how they are doing it so that you can formulate ways to stay above them.

Knowing your competition will give you a way on how you will position yourself in comparison to your competitors. Make a decision on whether you want to beat your competitors, meet them or counter them.

Do you know who your competitors are? What sets your competitors apart?

What can you do to make your product or service offering better than your competitors? Do you know why it’s important to know your competitors in business?

Who are they? And why do people rush to your competitors and not to you?


stephanie

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