Now its time to take stock of who is out there and what they are doing. You have this product or service and I am betting that you have some competitors. If not, awesome! But I am willing to bet that even if you have something totally new and innovative, it is probably doing something similar to what is already available, just better, cheaper, or more efficient or all of the above.
I usually start by sectioning out groups. For example if we look at women’s clothing we have national department stores, everything from Target to Nordstrom, and national specialty stores like Victoria’s Secret and Lucy and their online stores. But we also have local boutiques, vintage stores and resale shops.
Address each group as it relates to your business. Sure, you don’t compete directly with Nordstrom, but here is how you are better and serve this niche.
After generally addressing each sector, look at your head-to-head competition. Evaluate them, evaluate you.
- Name your competitors.
- What market share do they hold?
- Do they have an established brand name?
- How long have they been in business?
- What is the customer perception of their business?
- What is the strength of their company?
- How do you compare?
Your future competition will play a roll in your positioning and strategy as well. An analysis of potential new competitors and any barriers to entry should be part your plan.
At this point you can develop your company’s competitive position. Where do you stand on price, brand recognition, features, color, location, delivery, customer service, quality, value, durability, etc? Also address internal operations like your staff/talent, financial resources, marketing, access to suppliers/vendors, strategic partnerships, patents/trademarks, etc.
Next time: Marketing plan and sales strategy!