I’ve always believed that having a business competitor is a good thing and that growing a business is not about killing the competition – if you think that’s what it’s all about then I’m afraid for your business. If your business is providing excellent products and services to the point where you’re significantly better than your competitor and it loses its share of the market to you, then that can result to an eliminated competition. But treating your business like a blood sport isn’t the key to success.
Your business can benefit from competitors when you use them to gauge how your business is doing and to grow your business based on gathered information. Does your shop in a local area have one-fourth of the market while your competition has the significant majority? Then it's time to asses why people are flocking to the other shop instead of yours. Maybe you'd find areas for improvement in your business or opportunities for growth. Are people all of a sudden ditching your competitor for your services? Then that could mean you're doing something fantastic or the competition's doing something unsatisfactory.
The first step to leveraging on competition is to know your competition. We at Freelancer.com track everything – we even hire freelancers on the site to help us gather and file data. Doing this has been beneficial for us, I recommend it for your businesses when you need an extra hand or if you don't know where you can get the professional help your business needs. You can conveniently connect with thousands of virtual assistants, marketing and PR professionals, or business analysts on the site. Going back, when I say we track everything, of course, that includes competitors because like I mentioned earlier, doing that helps any business excel.
There are many different aspects you can track your competitors on but one thing I'd like to specifically point out is their PR activities. Based on experience, I've seen how effective good PR is in growing a business; you can boost your sales and number of customers in a single prime-time television show appearance. When you see your competitor getting media coverage for a certain topic, being in the same field, that means you can also work to get some media hit for a similar topic. Pay attention to the content because you might be able to gather some information about people's interests, sentiments and concerns in the industry your business is part of.
You can also track your competitors on social media. Find out what content they're producing, and what they’re communicating – observe if they’re active at product updates, customer support or promotions. Also, one thing I like about social media is it allows people to conveniently connect with companies and organizations. Paying attention to their tweets will inform you of their sentiments, and this can give you ideas for improving your products and services.
We have access to a wealth of information online. Always keep in mind to use information to grow your businesses and be proactive in gathering and analyzing these.
Enjoy our weekly installment from Sebastián Siseles, the international director of Freelancer.com, the world’s largest freelancing and crowdsourcing marketplace by total number of users and projects posted. View previous posts here .