A Business Education Lesson Plan
Here is a short business education lesson plan on how to conduct the Competition Analysis portion of a business plan. You’re ready for this step if you’ve completed the essential preceding steps of the business plan process. The real objective of this process is differentiation. You must constantly look for how you can differentiate yourself from the competition.
This will be crucial as you build a business. If you can’t stand out in the market place as unique, then no one will ever see you. Then your business will become one of the failure statistics. The following steps provide a business education lesson plan on how to analyze your competition.
You have to see the forest before you can see the trees. Start your competition analysis with a “big-picture” look at your industry. Here’s some questions to ask:
- What is the nature of the industry?
- What are the trends?
- Industry’s overall reputation? (with general public, government, etc.)
Nature of Competition
Now start to look more at the details. Describe a general overview of the nature of the competition you expect. Who are the specific companies or individuals that will be your significant competitors? A common mistake is to believe that there is no competition. Be assured - there is always competition for your product or service. If you are fortunate enough to have no competition – you soon will.
List your primary competitors. Determine exactly how they will compete with you. Same location, same product, same market, You will analyze their strengths and weaknesses during this business education lesson plan in a few more steps.
Competition’s Products / Services
What is the specific product or service that each of your competitors provide? Compare their products to yours. Look for how your products are better or different.
Industry Trends / Changes
We already covered the importance of trend analysis during the Market Analysis section of this business education lesson plan. Look at your competitors and determine how well they are postured to take advantage of these market trends. Assess how your competition is reacting to changes. These insights can provide key indicators to assess their strengths and weaknesses.
Competition Strengths = Threats and Risks
Analyze the strengths of your competition. If you see anything that makes you think:
- How can they do that? - OR -
- I wish I could do that?
then it is a strength. Also ask yourself,
- Is their product better or worse than mine?
- How so?
You must not be shy about listing your competitor’s strengths. If you don’t find them now, you will find them later. It’s better to build your strategy on how you will deal with now, rather than later.
Competition Weaknesses = Opportunities
This is where you’re USP (Unique Selling Proposition) will come into play. Look for a common weakness among your competitors – that could become your USP. Here’s some things to look at:
price, quality of product, convenience, reliability, service, delivery, experience, location, and accessibility. Once you’ve done the homework on your competition, you can find a spot, or niche, and offer something (or a combination) that no one else offers.
Some Ideas for a USP:
Cheaper Price. Be careful on trying to compete on price alone. Somebody will almost always undercut you on price. People can and do buy expensive products (if they are postured to meet their solution image)
Unique, hard-to-duplicate Product. Proprietary or patented products are even better.
Excellent Customer Service
Accessibility or Convenience – longer hours, better parking, etc.
Your USP could be a combination of the above elements.
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