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Seven Things You Can Learn From Your Competitors

Want to know how your business will make it big? Learn from your competitors. Your market rivals can provide insight for how you can strategize. Shadow their techniques and you might find a way to better compete with them. Your competitors can provide you with a framework for growth.

Industries that do not promote competition or are based on a monopolistic market are most likely to stay stagnant.

While it’s easy to consider competition a threat to your operations, it can be a valuable source of information that will guide you to make the right investments and choices. You can easily observe the moves of your competitor and invest in marketing techniques that go after a larger segment of your target audience. Learning from your competitor’s successes and mistakes can save you a lot of time and money.

Bear in mind that while you are planning to learn from your competitors, nothing can be more important than maintaining brand differentiation. Here is a list of 7 things that your competitors will teach you.

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1. Pricing Strategy
As competitors, you are dealing with similar products and the pricing strategies can be matched. This is best, however, for industries that are saturated with competition and in which there is vast research supporting their pricing strategies.

2. Financials
The best way to keep the financial health of your business stable is to keep an eye out for the retained earnings of your competitors. Pay close attention to their balance and income statements. Retained earnings will show you what they are reserving for investment. You can obtain information from the IRS and Bureau of Industry and Security statistics. As a second source, you can find data in a business library or by consulting industry associations.

3. Research
For any business to flourish, it’s necessary to continuously develop and bring your processes up to date. You should know about product development research techniques that your competitor is using and be aware of available research to understand consumer behavior. You can understand the service standards and tools that your competitor employs by playing “customer” for a day.

4. Hiring
What is the criteria for joining your competitor’s firm? What types of research specialists or product developers are they hiring? Are they currently hiring? As a competitor, you need to know the force behind the brand. What kind of people are working for your competitors and what are their strengths?

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Game plan on chalkboard

5. SWOT Analysis
SWOT analysis (mapping out strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) is a technique applied to understand the strength and weaknesses of your competitor. This will also help you determine what opportunities are open in your industry and what possible challenges you may face from your competitors or other market forces.

6. Brand Differentiation Techniques
Try to understand what your competitors are selling as their unique selling point, what makes them stand out and how you can utilize those cues in your business to create a differentiated brand that people will choose over your competitors. Create a persona that associates you with the industry while maintaining your separate identity.

7. Social Media Presence
Social media will remove the boundaries from your target. You can use a Twitter, Facebook or Instagram presence to attract customers who are interested in your product no matter where they are. Social media networking can offer you a platform to interact with your customers at a personal level. Keep an eye out for what your competitors are posting and keep up with what is trending. Read their posts and comments. Observe the customer service they provide and how they interact with their customers.

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