Competitors pop up everywhere.
Just when you think you’ve found them all, you find another one.
Stop getting the feeling like your business is over every time you find one!
Back when we first had the idea for OAKTRAV, we scoured the internet for possible competitors. We found two and we thought we’d found them all. Naively stopping our search there.
Over the course of the year, we’ve been exposed to an additional 13 and every single time we found one I took it a little to close to heart. I felt threatened and immediately began deconstructing each business. Being very one sided, I determined that OAKTRAV was better in every way, without spending a good amount of time coming up with a ‘why’ we were better.
If you find another competitor, it’s so important to do an analysis to see where you sit in relation to them.
Over time I learnt to develop a spread sheet that compares us to our competitors, reasonably.
The following are the column headings and how to fill them out (Essentially a SWOT analysis):
- Name and website
- Product Offering — What do they do? Try to be as detailed as possible here. Identify everything they do. I go all the way down to explaining every feature and what it does.
- Threats — Try to think past the obvious ones. If someone has more users than you, well obviously that’s a threat but what about things like; how many clicks it takes to sign up, what happens if you forget to save a blog post — does it save or disappear and how easy is it to find other users. Look for things that aren’t obvious but are being done better than your product.
- Competitive Advantage — Again, look beyond the obvious. Do you and your competitor directly share the same market, if so, how are you better serving them. For example, all of OAKTRAV’s competitor’s openly advertise they want to partner up with Travel Bloggers but their platform doesn’t offer blogging capabilities. Doesn’t make much sense, right? It’s easy to think of the advantages such as; our product looks better or our functionality is better but try and look further.
- Opportunities — the most important column. This section will identify the things you need to do to be better than each of your competitors. For this section I like to look at marketing techniques and specific features. What are your competitors doing that you should also do? What one feature can you implement to get an upper hand? Is your competitor pushing their product too hard on social media? These are things you should be looking at.
Using all this analysis, you’ll be able to get a sound understanding of your competitors and begin putting together a good plan to get the leg up.
Every time you find a new competitor, there’s no need to feel threatened. If you have an idea for a business, you can pretty much guarantee that someone else already has the same idea.
You just have to figure out how to do it better.