Before you jump into any business, you should have a clear understanding of who your competition is and what they’re doing. Or maybe you’re already a few years in, and just haven’t taken the time to research your competitors.
Fortunately, the web makes researching your competition much easier than ever before.
Here are some steps you can take to research what other similar small businesses are up to:
- Facebook. This tool works well for both identifying current competitors and researching them (especially the latter). Facebook is actually one of the largest search engines, and has plans to challenge Google for search dominance. Just start typing in the keyword that relates to your business niche (“restaurant,” for example), and local names start to pop up.
Once you’ve identified your competitors, you have access to free market research that used to take years to compile. You can find out specifically what customers do and do not like about your competitors. You can check out the offers they use. Finally, it’s also possible to see how they engage their own customers, and which conversations lead to the most engagement.
- If local, use the Yellow Pages. Even the old school Yellow Pages still works in this day and age, and you can simply go online to check them out. Besides finding your competitors, you can also see how they try to sell to their customers in their ads.
- Shop their location, if you can. Most likely, you can at least call your competitors, visit their offices, and even buy from them. Observe other customers and their reactions to the service. Lay out some objections to their reps, and see how their customer service reps respond.
- Check out online reviews. You can’t always get them, but when you can, they’re very helpful. Google reviews are the best. Any competitor with more than a 4-star rating is doing very well. Above 4.75 is superb.
Whether they’re getting good or average reviews, see if there’s a common theme to what people experience. You’ve just found a competitive advantage if the same complaint pops up repeatedly.
- Research their online marketing strategies. SpyFu is a great tool to see which keywords and PPC terms your competitors are targeting. It can take months to rank in search, and hundreds and thousands of dollars to make your PPC efforts profitable. A little research ahead of time is well worth the effort.
And if your business needs funding for expansion…
Reliant Funding gets you the capital needed to make it happen. You can get up to $500,000 per location in as little as 3 business days.
Find out how you can get financing by calling our alternative lending specialists at 877.850.0998 or contacting us online.