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  Businesses exist to serve a market. Catering to as large a segment of their market as possible requires competing with other enterprises for customer’s attention, purchases, and loyalty. In today’s world, the rivalry between commercial entities is often intense; one comes away from it wondering whether they could ever recognize the good that others in their business space are doing. However, learning from competitors can be beneficial. This is especially true if they’ve proven to be formidable, operating with strategies that have helped them achieve great results (or even made you jealous). In this article, we’ll talk about 6 things you can do to harvest better ideas from your business competitors.
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Examine Media Coverage of Your Competitors

Perhaps your rivals are appearing in the news for some reason. It’s a smart thing to check out what they’re up to by reading, listening to, or watching reports about them. They could be interviews with their owners or upper management, announcements of new products coming onto the market, publications concerning their financial performance—whatever adds important detail to your picture of the way those businesses work.

Talk to Customers

The people you’re offering your products and services to probably have a perspective on your competitors that you don’t. As buyers and/or consumers, they constantly have to compare your brand with others in your industry to make a purchasing decision. The insight they glean from weighing the options available to them—including what your competitors sell –could prove invaluable, and inform your product development, marketing, and sales strategies.

Read Reviews

What do people in your target market think other businesses in your niche are doing right? You can answer this question by looking at customer reviews of those businesses, where they exist. Online reviews, such as extensive comments on the nature and quality of products and services supplied by companies in your domain, may provide you with information about how your competitors are pleasing their customers and attracting more of them. You could use those tips to your advantage by delivering improved versions of the products or services praised in the reviews.
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Visit Exhibitions

Exhibitions are a great place to see your competitors’ offerings and talk to their representatives about their product’s features and benefits. They could share information that you won’t find on their website for instance. Also, attending exhibitions may clue you into the latest trends in your industry, granting you extended exposure to interesting selling strategies and product design tips that you can adapt for your business’s use.

Attend Conferences and Seminars

Being at conferences can give you a sweeping view of the state of your industry, including what other businesses in the space are currently doing. You may get to learn what’s working for them and what isn’t and use those lessons to make your business truly formidable.

Monitor Social Media

There are several reasons why tracking the goings-on in social media would benefit your business in this respect. One is that your competitors are probably there, engaging their customers and the wider public. Monitoring their social media pages could help you understand their digital marketing strategy better, and decide whether it’s worth emulating. Another reason to keep tabs on social networks is that customers often leave reviews there. Their comments may reveal how other businesses in your industry have succeeded or failed at influencing the public’s purchasing decisions.
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Final Words

As we have noted, there’s a good deal you could learn from your business competitors. Finding out the best ways to capture those lessons is sometimes a challenge. The tips we’ve shared here should help you refocus your efforts in this regard, and reap the gains that come with adopting and adapting your competitors’ best growth strategies.
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This article was first published on 22nd February 2024


Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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