Who Against Whom?

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Business strategy makes as much of knowing who your competitors are as much as knowing yourself and your relative strengths and weaknesses. Neither can substitute for the other; if you want to get ahead you need to know both. This article will discuss the types of competition from the most narrow down to the broadest. In knowing this you will be better prepared to face them in the economic market.

The most simple competitor is the person who is selling the same item as you are. For instance, if you sell coffee cups than everybody else who sells coffee cups is your direct competitor. Straight, simple, and forward.  Now this doesn’t just limit you to everybody who sells blue tall ceramic coffee cups if that is what you sell. But it means everybody who sells a coffee cup and is therefore more in line to be a substitute for your product.

The intermediate level, indirect competitor is not as straightforward. This includes substitute items. In the coffee example we are also talking about things such as Styrofoam cups and thermoses to an extent. These products can be substituted for your own products. While they are may not carry the same sort of impact as direct competitors they do carry some impact.

In the largest sense, anybody out there who is competing for a consumer’s money is your competitor. It doesn’t matter if you are selling crafts from your home or cars in a major car dealer. Everybody is competing for money and there is a limited amount of money. This level of competition is rather broad, and doesn’t provide you with much worthwhile information directly related to your product.

Usually the best idea is to stick to a field with a niche small enough so that you can be known, but large enough that it will draw in a profit. That way you can learn from your competitors and emulate without imitating, marking you just as another lifeless clone. Studying their stories, what worked for them and what didn’t, can be the key to making it or being broken. Some of those stories can be found at sites like ProfitLance. But be sure to study. Cause as anybody who has watched GI Joe knows, knowing is half the battle.

write by Jason Wyman

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