In order to compete effectively and outperform competition you need to know their strengths and weaknesses. Your product or service has to be unique or stand out against prime competitors.
To test your competitive intelligence; ask yourself:
1. Product mix
What products do you offer that competitors don’t offer? Is there a market void you can fill?
Are your employees as well trained to service customers as your competitor? Can your employees answer questions about your competitor’s products? Can you identify competitive weaknesses? Are you vulnerable in any way?
Are you familiar with competitive messages? Check their websites, brochures and promotion material to understand their positioning and how it affects you. Does your competition spend more advertising and promotion that you do? How does that affect how you compete?
4. Supply lines
Do you know your competitors customers, suppliers and distributors? You need to know how strong their relationships are to know how you can compete most effectively.
Understanding your competition not only allows you to understand where you compete best but may offer the opportunity to collaborate in areas in which you do not directly compete. A competitor may be willing to refer customers to you if you offer a particularly unique product or service. This can only happen if you know your competition and develop a relationship of trust between you.
In the end use this knowledge to strengthen your own position and build your strategy and a place in the market.