10 Ways To Use Competitors To Your Advantage

Learning from the competition can help you better position your business for success


Studying up on what others in your industry are doing should be part your routine. No matter what business you’re in, you will benefit greatly from studying your competition. At the same time, when it comes to analyzing your competitors you need to know what to look for if it is to benefit your business. BlackEnterprise.com reached out to the Young Entrepreneur Council to ask this question of members of its Startup Collective: As a small business owner, how can I use my competition to my advantage? Here are the top 10 responses we received:

Out-Innovate Them

“Look at what your competitors are doing and where they have assumed the same outcome — whether that be market, product offering, etc. — and then try the opposite of what they’re doing. Companies that follow will never prosper. Be the company that takes the lead and explores new territory, and you might end up taking the entire market!”

Liam Martin, Staff.com

Attack Their Biggest Weakness

“A lot of people see competition as a negative, but there’s always a way to leverage it to your advantage. One of the most effective ways of doing that is to find your competition’s most glaring weakness and attack it head-on. If you can do this one aspect so well that your competition’s customers simply can’t ignore you, then you’ve already won a significant battle.”

James Simpson, GoldFire Studios

Monitor Complaints

“Monitor complaints that customers of your top competitors make via Twitter or Facebook, and try to glean insights from them. We launched free shipping after seeing a ton of complaints from customers about shipping charges on some of our competitors’ sites.”

Josh Weiss, Bluegala

Support the Larger Community

“By listening on social media, you can hear the problems customers are having with your competitors and offer solutions. While you can’t offer full tech support, you can offer ideas, generalized information, and most importantly, help them switch to your product. You can jump out in front of your competition by helping people with their products directly.”

Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting

Partner With Them

“I find that your competition can actually be a great partner for two reasons. First, there is often enough to go around — people usually read more than one blog or buy more than one kind of coffee. Second, no product offering is exactly the same. Highlight your differences, package your products or services together, and then share marketing costs.”

Vanessa Van Edwards, Science of People

Analyze Your Competitors

“Analyzing our competitors has honestly been one of the best sources of data for our business. Analyzing where they put their marketing dollars, the way they organize products on their sites, their best-selling products and the site design elements they use — have all helped us greatly. ”

Pablo Palatnik, ShadesDaddy.com

Learn From Their Mistakes and Successes

“Let them figure out what works and what doesn’t, and learn from it — you can often avoid costly mistakes by paying attention to your competitors!”

Alexis Wolfer,The Beauty Bean

Use the Advantage of Multiple Winners

“In a big market, there will likely be multiple winners. You can use that to your advantage. When a competitor gets press in one outlet, try to get similar press in another. This will raise the profile of the industry as a whole. Even if you wind up in second place, the pie has still gotten a lot bigger and your business will have grown.”

Wade Foster, Zapier

Spy on Them With SpyFu

SpyFu exposes the search marketing secret formula of your most successful competitors. Search for any domain, and see every place they’ve shown up on Google: every keyword they’ve bought on AdWords, every organic rank and every ad variation in the last six years. Then, use your competitor’s online activities to improve your own.”

Brett Farmiloe, Markitors

Use the Association of Professionals

“As fellow professionals, other attorneys are actually one of my best sources of clients and can be great resources for my practice and clientele. I may bring them in for a client because of a conflict with one of my other clients on a project, for extra help during an upswing in business, or if the other attorney is just a better fit for the client’s immediate legal needs. ”

Peter Minton, Minton Law Group P.C.

The Young Entrepreneur Council is an invite-only organization that comprises the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

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