Research Research Research
As well as having an understanding of our ideal customer, we need to make sure we know our market, is there a market for our product and if so, where do we position ourselves?
In a crowded marketplace, being clear on your position and your approach to customers can set you apart and keep you from being distracted from your plan.
Know your competitors
Knowing who your competition is can be of massive benefit to understanding the market as a whole and help you refine your offering to give you a competitive edge.
You will want to obtain as much information on your competitors as possible so you can get a full picture of how they operate:
Products or services – what do they offer? What sells best?
How long have they been in business? – If they have been going a long time then that suggests there is a recurring need for the service within the area which you can benefit from, if there are companies that start up but don’t stay in business long you may need to review what went wrong for them and what you can do differently.
Size of the business – do they have large teams of employees? Do they work with lots of clients or a few main clients that give them lots of business?
Areas of business – consider if they work locally or if they offer services further afield, if they sell products, how do they sell?
You could find lots of information online, by checking out companies house as well as their own online presence. Local and industry knowledge is also useful to find out more.
Routinely monitor your competitors marketing efforts, check out brochures, website updates and social media. Then use the data to consider what is what areas you can and cannot compete.
Trends and Industry Knowledge
When we completed our SWOT analysis we looked at opportunities and threats that could effect our business, If you are already working in the industry then you will be aware of what is going on through our continuous training but for the purpose of building our strategy, it is worthwhile taking a closer look by using a PEST analysis.
PEST stands for Political, Economic, Social-cultural & Technology
Similar to a SWOT analysis it gives us the opportunity to ask questions and look at the bigger business environment to identify opportunities and threats that come from factors outwith our control.
Local area and Suppliers
As well as ensuring that there is a demand or need for your product or service, you will want to research the expenses you will face when running your business, (costs of rents, website costs, wages & inventory) supplier availability, the area in terms of ideal location, competitors prices and what potential income could be.
If you are already in business this is the ideal opportunity to review if you could be getting a better rate with suppliers or if you could be increasing your prices.