The ability to make incisive decisions is one of the major skills of being a successful business owner. Wise business decisions don’t just appear out of thin air and the fully informed person has a higher chance of making the right decision when it counts.
If you’re thinking of creating a start-up or are already building your own business then utilizing competitive intelligence will help you to become fully informed about your marketplace.
The benefits of competitive intelligence
Competitive intelligence (CI) is the gathering of information on your intended business market. This will mean researching vital information required by businesses including your position in marketplace, target audience, the need for your business and your competitor’s stake in the market. Assessing your competition is vital and this includes researching their strengths and weaknesses, how large of a market slice they have and how successful their business methods are. Competitive intelligence isn’t a way to steal your competitor’s customers but simply a way to help you find out if your business is feasible and if there is a need or place for your business.
Conducting your competitive intelligence research
One of the major business information gathering resources is the internet. It’s a good starting point to get online and subscribe to sites such as Companies House Direct in order to benefit from business information such as company accounts records, annual returns reports, business name changes, overseas trading and business insolvency reports. All of this information will help you to build a clearer picture of your intended marketplace and how much of this marketplace your competitors hold. Any information that can give you an edge over your competitors and help you to gain a bigger market share is worth its weight in gold.
Cover your research bases
When it comes to gathering competitive intelligence you can access a lot of information on your competitors through the use of business websites. Remember to check popular websites such as Linkedin and Zoominfo. Take a look at customer feedback on sites such as Trip Advisor, Amazon and social networking sites to view your competitor’s public reputation. Your competitor’s weaknesses can be turned into your strengths and can help you to capture a bigger slice of the market.
Being fully informed
If you’ve undertaken the correct amount of competitive intelligence research you should now be able to make fully informed decisions on the direction of your business. Analyzing your research will help you to move forward with more certainty, especially when planning your strategic business moves. Using this information means you will be able to make wiser business decisions and wiser decisions will save you time and money. Competitive intelligence research takes a minimal amount of money and time but should pay off in the long run.
It’s important to remember that competitive intelligence gathering should be an on-going process. This type of research is invaluable towards the long-term success of a business and even foreign expansion, which is why many companies employ market research professionals. Market information is one of the most valuable commodities towards being informed and making better business decisions, and there’s no excuse not to use this vital but simple research and assessment tool.