“Keep your friends close and your enemies closer”…. That couldn’t be truer in the business space, but it’s also not really easy to do. YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE CLOSE TO YOUR SO-CALLED “ENEMIES,” DO YOU? We don’t blame you. Especially if you’re trying to stand out. After all, that pie is only so big for you to just have a piece of it while you’re trying to break out in the industry.
Take It From the Experts, Though: Competitor Research Does Pay Off
If you’re a small business, you’re going to want to practically SPY on your direct competitors. Show up at their stores. Look around. See how they do business. Look at the aesthetics and the general operations. See if there’s anything you want to emulate — or better yet, see if there’s anything you make better. You do all of this just to see what is — and isn’t — working for them.
Of course, you’re not really spying on the competition, as it’s normal to introduce yourself to those local business owners. Why? Because while they’re in direct competition with you, they can also pool the resources of a customer base with you. Think about it:
There’s no telling just how much customer demand there will be, and having a competitor REFER customers to you means INSTANT business that you did NOT have to earn yourself.
Bottom Line: It’s All About Reputation Management and Rapport
You’re a professional, through and through, ironclad and without fail. This is the first real professional step into starting a business from scratch, either brick-and-mortar or online. Now if you’re e-commerce, take note — most of your research will be on the computer. But it all fits in the same bowl regardless.
Don’t just know your “enemies.” Go beyond that. Be friends with them!