You might think you have the best business idea ever, but conducting some competitive research is a critical first step to take before establishing your startup. If there’s one universal truth about the highly connected world we now live in, it’s that there will already be a multitude of other people working on much the same thing as you. By learning from their experiences, you’ll be better equipped to succeed.
1. Choosing Your Marketing Platforms
There are dozens of ways to market your business online, but different platforms suit different industries and audiences. Learning what the most successful among your competitors are doing will help you to identify the most effective marketing tools, such as social networks, directory listings and more. Competitive research can also yield invaluable insights into the most effective funding methods for your startup.
2. Identifying Strengths and Weaknesses
Companies appearing on the first page of the search engine results will typically be the largest and most successful, but by browsing over their social profiles and websites, you’ll be able to identify the things that make them strong. Continue through the search result pages to find some of the less successful companies, and you’ll likely find they’re not as good at establishing a wide-reaching online presence.
3. Learning about Customer Service
A startup needs to work especially hard to build up its reputation from nothing, so you’ll want to thoroughly analyze your competition for customer satisfaction and engagement. Find out how they are connecting with people, how they approach their customers and keep them interested and entertained. If you see a flurry of complains on social media, for example, you might be able to win over the frustrated clients.
4. How to Find Your Focus
In the highly competitive digital environment, you need to be able to provide something unique, and copying the competition simply isn’t going to cut it. However, competitive research will help you to narrow down your focus to fill an underrepresented area of the market. Your startup needs to have as original an idea as possible, so you’ll also need to find out what your competitors aren’t doing.
5. Determining the Threat Level
Your startup won’t stand a chance if there’s a well-established competitor out there which is already doing the same thing, and while you’ll always need to find a unique focus, you’ll also need to make sure you’re entering a marketplace which has a healthy degree of competition. Find out what sort of clients your competitors are targeting, and use the information you find to target a distinct audience.