Wednesday - Wednesday, May 07, 2008 For Small Business...

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008    Insider Secret: Spying on Rivals: Competitors May Hold the Keys to Your Success Competitors are excellent sources of business information. Are you taking advantage of what they have to show you? by  Alex Goumakos, CPA Note:   The following is adapted from Chapter 16 of  Gold Mine Tactics: The Business Owner's Success Manual. In order to succeed in today’s marketplace, you need to give your business the competitive edge it needs.  One way to gain this  competitive advantage is by collecting  strategic information  about your competitors.  This information, better known as  competitive   intelligence is simply the gathering of information about a competitor in order to acquire a new, previously unknown competitive  advantage or to protect an existing one.  Simply put, competitive intelligence is  spying. Whether you consider it unethical or inappropriate, the fact of the matter is, spying on competitors is a tactic that many businesses  in highly competitive industries and markets use on a regular basis. And it certainly isn’t anything new. Companies, especially large  ones, engage in business espionage not only consistently  but with gusto too! . Without regular and organized spying activities,  many of these companies would lose their competitive edge altogether. In the retail and merchandising environment, for example, many believe that spying on your competition is crucial to success. I  believe that competitive intelligence should be used as an integral part of any  company’s feedback strategy -- not just retailers and  merchandisers. Every business owner needs to know what he or she is up against.  What You Should Know About Your Competitors 1. How they’re viewed. For example, are they viewed as high quality, high price, or low quality, low price?  2. What attracts customers to them? 3. What are their strengths? 4. What weaknesses do they have? 5. What products and services do they sell? 6. What brands do they carry? 7. What prices do they charge? 8. How does their quality compare with yours? 9. Are customers satisfied with their service? The only way to stay ahead of the competition is to know exactly  what it is that they’re up to. Depending on the type of business  you’re in, you can be anywhere from a day to forever ahead of your competition. In other words, unless you know what’s going on, 
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you can easily lose market share to a competitor.  Keep in mind that your competitors are most likely checking up on you too! As a result, you can’t afford to be complacent 
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Wednesday - Wednesday, May 07, 2008 For Small Business...

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