Welcome to Module Five
This module will take you through the research piece of your plan, identifying key players, what they are doing, or not doing and give you a snap shot of your industry from a new perspective.
Researching Your Industry & Competition
There are two approaches we will look at in this module I want you to consider. The traditional approach and Encore approach.
Traditionally, businesses strive to capture or steal market share, and a competitor is defined as any rival in the same industry offering a similar product or service.
There are several benefits to having competitors. When companies compete with each other, consumers get the best possible prices, quantity, and quality of goods and services, and both consumers and businesses benefit. Competition can also create new and better products or more efficient processes.
If you have players in your industry you need to know what is going on with them and every business has competition. I’ve heard a number of times from students; “No one is doing what I’m doing”, - an assumption and we know how dangerous assumptions can be. If you haven’t checked out the landscape of your industry, how do you know that no one is doing what you are doing?
How do they interact with their clients?
Who are their suppliers?
What does their marketing look like?
How long have they been in business?
Why should you care? Because your clients care. They will be the first to educate you on the competition. Consumers are highly educated today, and if you don’t know what your competition is up to, you risk losing clients that take the time to do their own research.
If your customer can buy exactly what they want from another company that offers better delivery options that you didn’t know about, you’ve lost them. Perhaps the other company added the latest and greatest automated widget that cuts production in half, resulting in deceased costs they can pass along to the customer.
You don’t want to have to compete on price. As a small business, you will never win at the price war. We will go further into this with pricing strategies when we get to your marketing plan. Knowledge is power!
The Encore Approach
This brings me to the other approach to this module: creating vs competing. Stepping back to look at your competition from a new perspective.
You + Them
When we try to compete at another companies level, we lose our footing on the creative ledge, falling into mediocrity and blending in with every other company out there.
Setting yourself apart requires you to do things differently. Your story is not your competitor’s story. You need to know what they are doing, but it doesn’t mean you have to do it too, unless it fits within your vision. Go back to module one and dust off the first exercise if you haven’t written your value and vision statement.
The more you know about your competition and the industry, the more creative you can become and if you look at the research exercise from a creative mindset - curious and open, perhaps you will discover a potential collaboration.