No matter if you already have a business or you’re just starting out – you have competitors.
Sometimes, the competitors you think are the biggest are not your competitors at all. Starbucks isn’t necessarily a competitor to a small local coffee shop, even if they’re next door to each other.
On the other hand, some businesses you don’t even know about are your competitors. Especially if your company is a startup — there may be might be a startup that, but they’re just as new so you haven’t found them yet. Sometimes your competitors depend on their location, services, communication, or on the products they sell.
With all these factors to consider, it can be confusing to accurately pinpoint the competition. Let’s talk about who your real competitors are and how you can identify them.
Your True Competitors
Not everyone is your competitor. It’s important to understand this because otherwise you will waste so much time trying to compete against brands who don’t even notice you. Don’t go too far off course. It takes a bit of research to identify your true competitors, but it’s worth it!
If you’re a life coach who is just starting out, Tony Robbins is not your competitor. Competitors are businesses and brands you are directly competing with.
Maybe one day, when you get “there,” when you become popular, famous, and great at marketing yourself – yes, you might compete with Tony. But right now, he is not your competitor. Your competitors would be life coaches focused on the same topic, life coaches just starting out who have similar-sized audiences, or people in your networking groups who offer similar services.
On the other hand, if you think that you don’t have any competitors — that your business is unique, different and something the world has never seen before… well, that’s almost impossible. In today’s world there is always competition, but there is room for everyone too.
Take small steps to find your competitors. When you find an online article in your niche, research the author of that article. Conduct research about the main players in your industry that are at a similar level as you. Even though much business is conducted online, don’t ignore the local competitors that exist.
Here are five simple strategies that will help you identify those competitors:
5 Strategies to Identify Your True Competitors
- Simply google each service or product you offer
- Find websites that write about those terms, and see what those websites offer.
- Add a location to your search (eg: life coaches in Austin TX)
- That way you can see who is in the same city/town – your close competitors.
- Add your business to Google Maps if you have a brick and mortar business
- This is similar to the previous strategy, but even more specific. Make sure your Google Maps listing is active and up to date.
- Research on social media (this is good for location-independent companies)
- Find all Facebook pages and groups that are related to what you offer, and see who administers them. Find the websites of the administrators to learn more about their brands and what they have to offer.
- Find other hashtags and profiles on Instagram that use your business’s key words.
- Browse through tweets and hashtags on Twitter.
- Don’t forget about in-person interaction!
Once you have a list of your “competitors,” check if they really are your competitors. See if they are in the same year of business as you are, if their target is similar, if their services/products are similar (or even the same), if their voice is similar, and what their website, social media, and logo look like.
These are the steps on how to find your competitors, but keep in mind the most important part is the reason WHY you’re doing the research. It’s all in order to position your company better than the rest, to make people choose you over others, to stand out, look better, provide more value, and in the end: scale your business.
Are you looking to identify your true competitors? Aventive Studio offers competitor research and brand positioning services to help your company boldly stand out from the rest. Drop us a line to schedule a consultation, and let’s scale your business through the power of branding.