Regularly monitoring the competition gives the competitive edge that makes a business grow
Any modern business plan has to include a competition matrix analysis but doing this only during the planning phase for the start of a business is no longer enough. Constant monitoring of competitors is now required to stay ahead in today’s fast and ever-evolving commercial environment.
Country Manager for Namibia at Business Partners International, Gerschwyne van Wyk is of the opinion that regular monitoring of developments at competitors has become imperative for businesses to endure over the long run.
In today’s networked business arena, it has fortunately become much easier than even only ten years ago. The digital revolution has lead to increased transparency allowing constant real-time review and analysis of competitor data through the internet. From business websites and social media pages to advertising campaigns and PR coverage, everything you need to monitor your current competitors is just a few clicks away.
Van Wyk stresses that “it’s important to always remember that the goal is to innovate your business to remain competitive and not imitate what the competitor does”.
“Monitoring the movements of another business should never be a means to blindly duplicate their efforts but this should be used as a strategic tool to achieve the following five objectives,” he said.
* Avoid potentially costly mistakes
Through monitoring the movements and strategies employed by other businesses, you should be able to learn from their mistakes. Assessing unsuccessful tactics, strategies that seemed to miss the mark, or business decisions that resulted in a loss for other companies, you can determine fairly accurately what went wrong and either improve or avoid potential pitfalls going forward.
* Discover where your business needs work
The best way to pinpoint areas of the business that need a little extra work is to acknowledge where similar or competing businesses are doing something better. Take time to assess what these other businesses are doing differently and work out a strategy to adapt aspects of your own business to tap into proven successful channels.
* Capitalise on your competitive advantages
Knowing who your competitors are and what they are offering, will also help you to make your already successful products, services and marketing tactics stand out even more. So be sure to take note of which areas your business seems to be thriving in, and capitalise on those strengths to maintain and strengthen your competitive advantage.
* Remain competitive in your pricing strategy
From a purely practical perspective, ongoing competitor analysis is vital for ensuring your business’ products and services remain suitably priced at current market standards. If your prices are too low, you’ll be missing out on potential profits, and if you’re well above market, you may be outpricing potential customers and missing out on sales.
* Identify gaps in the market
By keeping an eye on what other businesses are doing, you can identify potential gaps in the market that can be exploited in future. Similarly, it should help in identifying areas of the market that may becoming over-saturated, compelling you to focus on less competitive areas.
By monitoring their competitors over time, business owners will begin to get a good feel for their overarching business strategy and before long, they will be able to anticipate their competitors’ next move. “This will ensure you are always one step ahead – something every business owner strives for,” according to Van Wyk.