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How to analyze your competition

Every business has competition. However, many business owners make the mistake of thinking that because their product or service is so unique that they don't really have any competition or they simply don't have to worry about the competition. The bottom line is that no matter how unique your product or service is there will be some business, somewhere that if offering if not the same thing at least something that is quite similar. Savvy business owners know that they need to take their competition into account when they plan their marketing strategy.

You will need to not only know who your competition is but also what their strengths and weaknesses are and how you will use them to your advantage. You will need to plan your marketing strategy in terms of how you will outperform your competition. This is where it is crucial to be able to analyze your competition. Here is what you need to know about how to analyze your competition-
- Know who your competition is-The first step is to really determine just who your competition is. Keep in mind that today because of the internet your competition will be more then just a local store or two. You may find that you are competing with businesses that are located half a world away. You should also consider not only businesses that sell the same product but any business that also sells a similar product or service. Once you have a clear idea of who these businesses are then you can begin to analyze them.
- Determine their strengths and weaknesses-You will need to take a close look at every business that you consider your competition. You will need to discover what their strengths and weaknesses are. This is crucial since your marketing strategy will be based on letting your customers know why they should shop with you rather then your competition. This means that you will need specific data that will allow you to determine what your competitive edge is in your market. In order to do this you will need to collect data that shows the product and/or service information, financial information, and even leadership information of your competition.
- Find your competitive edge and use it-In order to have a clear understanding of your competitive edge you will need to know your competition in every possible what that you can. You may even need to purchase their product or use their service to truly understand what you are up against. You should also look at their business plan if possible and any public records about them. While this can take time, money, and effort what you can find that this can make a huge difference in how you market. Once you have this information you can determine what your competitive edge it and capitalize on that in your marketing. However, keep in mind that you must focus on something that is truly important to your customers in order for this to be effective.
- Continue to monitor and review-It is important to understand that marketing is a dynamic process. This means that your competition will always be changing. Some businesses will fall away and new competitors will come forward. Some of your competition will offer additional products and service that may affect your marketing strategy. Because of this it will be crucial to continue to monitor who your competition and what they are doing. You should periodically review what your competition is doing and see if you need to make changes to your marketing strategy. This will also help you to see what trends are emerging and what trends are current in your market which can also be another important part of your marketing strategy.

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