How To Better Understand Your Specific Market
Some entrepreneurs who have achieved business success did so by following their development and/or marketing instincts and governed using the “seat of the pants” method. Others “grew” their ventures in accordance with plans based on what they learned as “business administration” majors in college and/or en route to their MBAs.
One of the first steps to take while attempting to expand the scope and revenue of a venture must be an exhaustive analysis of the current and reasonably foreseeable competition that will exist in your market area. With an ever improving knowledge base regarding your specific market and your competition you should be well positioned to uncover and take full advantage of opportunities that can enhance your venture’s competitive position while hampering the opposition’s growth.
Whether or not you have an MBA or a BA in business or economics, you may gain some insights from reading the article linked below which provides ten very practical tips about conducting your own market analysis. For example, become a customer or client of a competitor. Pose many questions and, in a nonchalant manner, make notations. In addition, contact those competitors by phone or by visiting each competitor’s website. Learn as much as you can about each competitor from those contacts. You don’t have to be a seasoned CIA operative to garner a great deal of information regarding your competitors. Checking out a firm’s ability to serve you will reveal a good deal about your competition — good and bad — and could obliquely provide some data that might help your venture. Unless extraneous circumstances militate against it, a lot of information might be garnered by completing a transaction with each competitor. That will enable you to determine, first hand, how competitive each one is.
Another example, one of the best ways to gauge your competition is by taking a little time to investigate the people who run the company. If there’s an appropriate setting in which to meet your competition, take advantage of it. Where did members of management go to school? Where have they worked? How long have they been in the business? What are their strengths and weaknesses? What’s their reputation? Ask friends and colleagues what they might know about the owner(s) of the competitor and its staff.
This information can help you anticipate your competition’s moves. For example, a local farmer will run an agricultural business very differently than a young MBA just out of school will. Many business entities must disclose information to local, state and federal agencies, bureaus, etc. Much of this information is public, and you’re entitled to see it. This can be a treasure trove of information about your competitors and about your market in general.
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