When you think of an “entrepreneur,” what is the first image that comes to mind? Do you picture an idealistic and enterprising professional, or do you picture a driven, businessperson that is ready to conquer their chosen industry and market?

Entrepreneurs come from all walks of life and economic backgrounds, and not every entrepreneur is motivated, driven or “wired” the same way. Depending on the industry and even the community that hosts your business, you may identify more with the former entrepreneurial stereotype we outlined above or you may identify more with the later.

When it comes to your competition, you may be passionately focused on besting your competitors in business and reaching the top of your industry or you may choose instead to focus inward on your own business and your unique benchmarks for success. While neither extreme is necessarily wrong – after all, as an entrepreneur, you’re only answerable to yourself, your partners and your investors. But taking an objective approach to identifying and “sizing up” your competition can help you more efficiently manage and prioritize what’s important to your existing customers and your target market.

Does Your Business Require A Formal Self-Assessment?

The first step in the process of identifying your competitors requires you to impartially and honestly identify your own business and the products and services you provide to your clients. If you were required to prepare a comprehensive business plan when your business was formed, you may already have the information you need at hand. But if the original business plan is out of date, or if your business was self-financed and you weren’t required to prepare a business plan, it will be necessary to prepare an impartial and comprehensive description of your business.

Describe Your Unique

What is your business sector and industry? How would you formally describe your products and services? What are the profit centers of your business, and what drives revenue growth? Finally, what makes your business unique in your industry and in the marketplace? Formally answering these questions may seem redundant to an experienced entrepreneur with a successful business, but misidentifying the core components of your own business can cause you to misidentify your competitors.

Take a Closer Look and Learn

Once you have created a complete and accurate description of your own business, it’s time to begin identifying your competitors. Depending on your industry, your competitors can range from the largest multinational corporations to small businesses such as yours. Fact is, your competitors may be both, if you’re competing against a franchise! It’s important to note that just because another business sells the same type of product or service as you do, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re competing for the same group of customers. A high-end restaurant and a fast food franchise may both sell hamburgers, but they’re not necessarily competing for the same group of customers. It’s also important to determine if you’re only competing with geographically local companies or if you’re competing with a national or even global pool of businesses via the Internet.

Identify The Big Influencers in Your Industry

Take a close look. What can you learn? Make note of their tactics even if they do not completely align with yours they can help you improve the way you message so you uniquely position your offerings. While you don’t have to prepare a description of every one of your competitors to the same extent as your own business, it’s important to ensure that you are correctly identifying other businesses that are competing for the same pool of customers as yours. Can you determine which of these competitors are market or industry leaders and how do they influence the industry? Are these relatively young companies or old and entrenched? It can be easy to find information on public companies; conversely, it can be extremely difficult to find information on small businesses and privately-held companies.

If your business doesn’t have the resources available to purchase a market analysis, you can still find information about your competition by studying their websites, social media profiles, catalogues of products and services and even their physical storefronts. You can compile your own analysis of your competition and identify ways that you can improve on your products and services or your marketing and branding. Last but certainly not least, online reviews of your competitors written by their customers can provide incredibly valuable insights into what your competitors are doing right and what they’re doing wrong, potentially providing your business with a valuable competitive insight and advantage!

How We Can Help You Today

When it comes to identifying and learning from your competitors, you don’t have to go it alone. At Blue Zenith, we can help you both identify, assess and study your competition, allowing you to discover and capitalize on opportunities in your market that you may not even know exist!

Best of all, you can start the process immediately –Build your brand and grow your empire. Get the Brand Guide Workbook Now! What are you waiting for? It’s free!