Who Are Your Competitors?

This seems like a simple question. You may be thinking, “Well, there’s Bob over on Main Street and HandySew in the Hubbard Building,” but, in today’s global and online marketplace, there are more than just the traditional competitors to think about.

Traditional Competitors
These are the businesses that offer similar products or services. They may or may not be geographically close to you, depending on your product or service.

Examples of traditional competitors would be Pepsi and Coke or two beauty spas from the same area.

Online Competitors
This is where it gets a little more tricky. Online competitors could be in competition with and for:

  • Your product or service
  • Your URL (which usually relates to your business name)
  • Your search engine keywords
  • Your AdWord keywords
  • Your potential customers’ blog-reading time (if you have a blog)

Overwhelmed? You don’t have to be. It’s not necessary to become insane over the details of who your competitors are; it is necessary to be at least aware that competition exists on many different business playing fields.

What’s an Entrepreneur to Do?
Spend some time looking at where your greatest competition lies.

Is your product competing against a wide range of similar products? Be sure to carefully articulate why it’s so special.

Can’t get your business name in a dot com URL? Think of a phrase that describes your product in a memorable way and use that as your URL.

Keywords seem saturated? Don’t despair; this is very common. Ask friends, family, and clients what words they would use if they were searching for you on Google. You may be surprised at what they offer; these keywords may be exactly how your customers will search for you but be very different from how you or your competitors would describe the product or service. For instance, a colleague wrote keywords such as “non-communicating toddlers” for a client’s speech therapy business but found that people actually search with terms such as “baby won’t talk”, which has very low online competition.

And lastly, nobody has unlimited time to review newsletters, blogs, and online news sites. Make the content interesting, relevant, and even entertaining.

Take a look at where a competitor might be hiding. Once you uncover them, they’re much easier to take on.