WHY IT’S SMART TO KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR COMPETITION September 1, 2020 | Business Tips | business growth , small business By Zach Vesper, NPI, Inc.'s SEO and Marketing Specialist There are countless ways to educate yourself as a business owner. With books, classes, online materials and networking groups, options abound for every busy schedule and personality type. One other important means of learning that doesn’t often get lumped in with the list above is studying your competition--and it may just be the most worthwhile of all. The insight you might gain just through the power of observation can help you avoid certain missteps and grow your business that much faster. Here’s what to look for when it comes to analyzing your competitors. Recognize the Good Without Ripping it Off We’ve all seen a business concept done exceptionally well and said to ourselves, “ I wish I would have thought of that! ” Remember, there are always new ways to put your own spin on an idea and make it entirely your own, if not even better. Never resort to copying another’s idea verbatim, but notice what you like and look ahead. How could your own business benefit from a stellar marketing campaign or a revamped inspection package? Rather than get stuck in an endless loop of comparing your business to a competitor, focus on bettering yourself. Identify Competitors Identifying competitors can be an intuitive process, but the first page of Google search results holds many clues. Which business comes up first? Which has the most Google My Business reviews? What are those reviews saying? Have you noticed agents tagging any inspection companies frequently on Facebook? Are you seeing competitor brochure holders in offices? Sometimes, identifying competitors is as simple as keeping your eyes peeled for other vehicles advertising inspection services in your city. The vast majority of inspectors won’t be your actual competition, but you can bet that the ones you’re seeing around are the ones that have a marketing plan in place that just might be working. Examine Content Now that you have the names of who you are potentially up against in your area, take a look at the information and images they’re putting out there. Advertising is important for every company, and the best understand this and leverage it. There are multiple outlets to promote your business such as email marketing, fliers, promotional videos and web advertising. Look at not only how competitors are advertising, but what they’re saying. Who do you think is their primary audience and what is it about the material that would appeal to them? Are you attempting to reach the same audience, and would it be worth your while? Customer Engagement No company is complete without customers, and when it comes to repeat business, incentives never hurt. Try to find out what your competition is offering to customers by way of incentives, packages and coupons. You may be inspired to exceed customers’ expectations in your own way. In researching competitors, you’re also sure to stumble upon things you shouldn’t do. As mentioned above, reading reviews is one way that you can find out what a business is doing well and where they need to improve. Prioritize Your Own Business At the end of the day, you know what’s best for your own business. No matter what your competitors are up to, only you can decide the next move and whether it’s right for you. Be strategic about your competitor research, but don’t let their ideas dominate your next move. Contact the NPI, Inc. Marketing Team for assistance. Our team can help our franchisees run a thorough analysis of their local competitors. For assistance, contact firstname.lastname@example.org . About the Author Zach Vesper, SEO and Marketing Specialist Zach brings more than six years of SEO experience to the table, making him your go-to web optimization specialist--he knows how to help your website reach the first page! He's always more than happy to answer your questions about all things Google. Zach is a film buff, an old-fashioned connoisseur and an avid reader of science fiction. When he’s not working, he’s hanging out with his wife, Stepha, and basset hound, Frank.