Mind your own business

businessstartup

Have you ever tried taking an exam without studying? How about cooking a dish from your favorite restaurant without following the recipe? Now imagine trying to run a business without knowing your competition. The underlying principles remain.

Understanding the competitive landscape within your market is a narrative that business owners and managers often overlook. It’s one thing to know your company inside and out; i.e. labor cost, cost of good sold (cogs), sales, etc. but taking a step back can give you a fresh perspective that will not only help your organization internally but also provide your customers with a better experience.

Know where you fall within your market. What’s your competition charging? What type of packaging do they use? What’s the average portion size? Average sale price? What type of ingredients are they using? Do they sell online? Do they use a co-packer? Is there new technology that can steam-line your process? On the surface some items are easier to recognize over others but once you scratch below the surface you’ll find the magic lies within the details. Don’t be afraid to get specific. Analyze the micro and macro trends. Look at the flow of traffic, the presentation of the product, or the logistics of the supply chain. It’s easy to become complacent when you’re riding the wave of success but never assume that’s the end-all.

Remember, this is continuous exercise that should be revisited every couple of months. We leave you with this challenge: every quarter go back and run a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) comparing you along with your top 5 competitors. Don’t think of this as a burden; try to have fun with it. Pick a night, bring a colleague or business partner and take a moment to enjoy your meal. If at the end it feels like a dead end, try to keep with it but be humbled at the fact that you now know your market better than your market knows itself.

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