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How to Write a Competitive Analysis for Your Small Business (With Template)

Profile Current Competitors

❶What common customer problems or goals do they often refer to?

How to Write a Competitive Analysis (with 3 free templates)

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Your Competitive Analysis: Preliminary Information
Identify Potential Competitors

You can do this by going through their marketing materials, social media pages, website, blog, seeing where they advertise, etc. This material will help you figure out who they are trying to reach. Include other information such as pricing for installment plans, pricing for product and service packages, as well as shipping fees. The more they are familiar with your message and find an affinity with it, the more likely they are to choose you.

Deconstruct how their marketing works. Next, find out what makes each competitor unique. Why would some customers pick them over you or your other competitors?

According to the NFIB survey , the most common ways that small business owners compete is by providing the highest quality product or having better service. More than percent of business owners indicate that they compete by using each of these two criteria.

This section serves as a summary and analysis for all of the research you've done so far. You'll review all the aspects of your competition's business and determine whether they are strengths or weaknesses.

List their strengths and advantages under "Strengths" in the worksheet. Note down how equipped you are to deal with these strengths. Can you do better than them or would it serve you better to outdo them elsewhere?

The same goes for their weaknesses. Do their weaknesses present an opportunity for you? Will they be able to overcome these weaknesses easily? Search for their business name or products on social media and see what people are saying. The trick is turning that information into action. Will you be changing your pricing model to reflect what your competitors do, or will you aim for a different market altogether? You don't have to compete with them in all aspects of running a business—everything from marketing to product quality—but you do have to find the one or two things that will be your own competitive advantage.

Competitive analysis graphic Knowing more about your competitors requires a lot of research and observation. Preliminary Information The first part of your competitive analysis only requires basic research.

Your company can use this information to build up its strengths in areas where your competitors show weakness. As an example, if a competitor's weaknesses is its inability to bring its newest product to market quickly, then your company can take advantage of that weakness by bringing a new product to market sooner and establishing greater market share faster.

Living in Houston, Gerald Hanks has been a writer since He has contributed to several special-interest national publications. Before starting his writing career, Gerald was a web programmer and database developer for 12 years. Video of the Day. Brought to you by Techwalla. Competitor Analysis Example Client Heartbeat: How to Write a Competitor Analysis. Here is a simple process you can follow to identify, analyze, and determine the strengths and weaknesses of your competition.

First develop a basic profile of each of your current competitors. For example, if you plan to open an office supply store you may have three competing stores in your market. Online retailers will also provide competition, but thoroughly analyzing those companies will be less valuable unless you also decide you want to sell office supplies online. Although it's also possible that they--or, say, Amazon--are your real competition.

Only you can determine that. To make the process easier, stick to analyzing companies you will directly compete with. If you plan to set up an accounting firm, you will compete with other accounting firms in your area.

If you plan to open a clothing store, you will compete with other clothing retailers in your area. Again, if you run a clothing store you also compete with online retailers, but there is relatively little you can do about that type of competition other than to work hard to compete in other ways: Once you identify your main competitors, answer these questions about each one. It's easy to identify weaknesses in your competition, but less easy and a lot less fun to recognize where they may be able to outperform you:.

While these questions may seem like a lot of work to answer, in reality the process should be fairly easy. You should already have a feel for the competition's strengths and weaknesses Keep in mind competitive analysis does more than help you understand your competition. Competitive analysis can also help you identify changes you should make to your business strategies.

Learn from competitor strengths, take advantage of competitor's weaknesses, and apply the same analysis to your own business plan. It can be tough to predict when and where new competitors may pop up.

For starters, regularly search for news on your industry, your products, your services, and your target market. But there are other ways to predict when competition may follow you into a market. Other people may see the same opportunity you see.

Think about your business and your industry, and if the following conditions exist, you may face competition does the road:. In general terms, if serving your market seems easy you can safely assume competitors will enter your market.

A good business plan anticipates and accounts for new competitors. The Competitive Analysis section for our cycling rental business could start something like this:. Our nearest and only competition is the bike shops in Harrisonburg, VA.

Our next closest competitor is located over miles away. The in-town bike shops will be strong competitors. They are established businesses with excellent reputations. On the other hand, they offer inferior-quality equipment and their location is significantly less convenient. We do not plan to sell bicycles for at least the first two years of operation.

However, sellers of new equipment do indirectly compete with our business since a customer who buys equipment no longer needs to rent equipment. Later, when we add new equipment sales to our operation, we will face competition from online retailers.

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Competitive analysis can also help you identify changes you should make to your business strategies. Learn from competitor strengths, take advantage of competitor's weaknesses, and apply the same analysis to your own business plan.

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How to Write a Competitive Analysis by Michael Knowles. There are few documents that get the attention of product planners and marketers the way that a competitive analysis does. A good competitive analysis is a scouting report of the actual market terrain that your company must navigate in order to be successful.

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The competitor analysis section can be the most difficult section to compile when writing a business plan because before you can analyze your competitors, you have to investigate them. Here's how to write the competitor analysis section of the business plan. A good competitive analysis is a scouting report of the actual market terrain that your company must navigate in order to be successful. And there is no person better equipped to write one than a market-savvy technical writer.

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Crafting a competitive analysis report can be a challenging, time-consuming and interesting piece of work, but it will give you lots of competitors’ information and also helpful for you to develop effective marketing strategies to grow your startup business. A competitor analysis report shows how your company compares to its competitors in a wide array of areas. The results of these reports can be highly valuable, especially in competitive industries. Your managers can learn where your company has a decided advantage over your competitors and where they have room for.