Be the best; learn from the rest

After your customers, the people you should pay most attention to are your competitors.

They help you SO much.

Not intentionally of course; but they are a fantastic source of inspiration.

By keeping tabs on your competitors you can see what’s working for them and anticipate what they’ll do next, so you can keep ahead of them.

A thorough competitive analysis allows you to identify your competitors and evaluate their respective strengths and weaknesses, which you can then work to counter.

The internet’s an obvious tool in researching competitors.

Their web site and google search results will be invaluable, so too are google alerts, which will flag up any mentions.

Subscribing to their eBulletins and social feeds will provide instant insight into developments and what people are saying about them

You should be regularly speaking with your customers and suppliers about your own performance. start asking them about their views of and experiences with the competition.

Expanding these one-on-ones to a survey is a simple way of gaining wider insight into broader competitor issues like speed of response and service levels.

Visit Multimodal and other trade shows to see how competitors present themselves, what they are promoting and what people are saying around them.

Check out industry reports. Transport Intelligence, KeyNote and Plimsoll will all provide performance and financial insights, but the latter may be a few years old.

A tactic that’s ethically questionable, but very widely adopted is interviewing (and employing) key competitor personnel, to gain insights.

With the emergence of social media, it’s easy to see what people say about your competition.

Monitor conversations and see how they develop.

When you analyse what those people are saying, watch out for threads of discontent, which may highlight underlying problems in specific areas and success stories which are of equal interest.

By considering what your competitors are excelling and failing at, new business opportunities and new points of differentiation will be uncovered.

In developing effective competitor analysis you will learn their situation and how to anticipate their actions, which will lead to a better understanding of how to adapt your services, what new products would be most appropriate and how to position your business for maximum effect.

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