Effectively researching your business competition is essential to the success of your own business.
It's imperative that you find out what they are doing right as well as what they are doing wrong. This will help you to set up your company to address the needs of customers that aren't being met by your competition as well as adopt business practices that work well. In order to find out the necessary information about your competition, you will need to be thorough in your research efforts.
Check Dunn & Bradstreet Website
The Dunn & Bradstreet website gives access to information about any company that has a business profile with them. You can view a company's assets, employees, finances, etc. Any business that has a credit profile under their business name will more than likely have records with Dunn & Bradstreet since they are the major suppliers of business credit reports.
Check Out the Store
Go to your competition's place of business and check it out if at all possible. Observe how many customers are there, how is the store set up, how do their prices compare to yours. This will give you an idea of what improvements need to be made in your business and what you may already be doing right.
Have A Friend Patronize
To get an idea of your competitions customer service practices, have a friend or a relative patronize them and actually become a customer. This will give you important information about how they handle their customers, product pricing as well as give you an idea of the overall shopping experience they provide. This information is a must have if you want to develop an edge over your competitors.
Talk To Customers
Make small talk with their customers to find out what they like and don't like about the opposing company. This does not mean try to steal them away. This simply means strike up a conversation with them in order to find out what their overall views are, both positive and negative, of the competition. A good thing to find out is why they choose to patronize them.
Attend Industry Trade Shows
An industry trade show gives you the opportunity to come in contact with countless competitors. Browse competitor's trade show booths yourself or send employees out to check out what the other companies in your line of work are offering. It's also a good idea to see what the suppliers are offering too. This is a good way to stay up to date with the latest trends in your industry and keep your company competitive with all the others.
Researching other companies in your line of work is a task that has to be done if you want to be a contender in your industry. Effectively researching your competition means you will have to use online and offline research tactics. If it's done properly, you will learn valuable information that is imperative to the success of your own business.