Understand your market and competitors

Growing your business without understanding your competitors is risky. Market research can prepare you for changing markets and prevent your business being left behind by the competition.

Conduct market research

Market research involves collecting and analysing information about your market, including your customers and competitors. It is vital to research any new market you are moving into to avoid wasting time and money on failed projects.

There are 3 main ways to conduct market research:

  • desk research - using existing information from the internet and industry publications
  • field research - gathering the information yourself using surveys, questionnaires and other research tools
  • commercial agencies - hiring external organisations that carry out the research for you.

Learn more about researching your market.

Assess what competitors offer

Researching your competitors is easier than it may seem - for example, you can simply collect any flyers and price lists they produce for customers, read their online material, or even buy their products and services to compare them with your own.

Analyse what they do better than you:

  • Are their prices lower?
  • Are their products of a higher quality?
  • Is their customer service highly regarded?
  • Is their marketing material more engaging?

Ask yourself these questions to see where you can improve. Being critical of your own business and taking inspiration from your competitors can help you be more competitive.

Undertake a competitor profile.

SWOT analysis

A SWOT analysis can be a useful way to assess where you stand in your market in relation to your competitors. It is a common and easily used business analysis tool. A SWOT analysis can help you to:

  • build on strengths (S)
  • minimise weaknesses (W)
  • seize opportunities (O)
  • counteract threats (T).

Also consider...