I run across a lot of business people who feel like they’re competing with the entire world. They’re scared of the big companies and any little mom & pop store that shows up that might be somehow related to what they do. You may feel similarly – like the whole world is out to get you… but are you actually competing with all these companies?
Who Are You?
The first step is to understand exactly who you are and what you do. This might seem obvious, but putting a bit of thought into this can help you understand what your market is (and who your customers are). First you need to figure out who you are from your customer’s perspective – how they view your company and your products. Second, what skill does your company possess that gives you a competitive advantage (your core competence)? More about figuring out who you are in Monday’s post.
What Business Are You In?
From your pondering on who you are you now need to figure out exactly what business you’re in. This should be related to your core competence, what benefits/value you bring to customers, and how you’re going to make revenue. Ideally you’ll be able to narrowly define your market so that you are the market leader. If that’s not feasible, you’ll still need to figure out what sets you apart in that market.
Who Are Your Actual Competitors?
Now that you know what business you’re in – who else is in that same business. Avoid trying to look at a wider industry or related markets. Just because a company does something in the same industry doesn’t mean that you should consider them competition. By figuring out exactly what business you’re in, you’ll be able to focus on competitors who are in the same business – which makes things much more easy to tackle.
Next step: Figuring out how to market to your customers…
(photo by Sir Mervs @ Flickr CC)