Don’t worry about your competitors, worry about your customers.

As part of my BeTheBusiness mentoring I have been working with a small business on-line retailer for children’s toys. My client was keen to talk about competitor analysis.

Competitive analysis in marketing and strategic management is an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of current and potential competitors. This analysis provides both an offensive and defensive strategic context to identify opportunities and threats.

After some dialogue we agreed that sales and success comes from understanding, serving and delighting your customers, and for a small business this need to be the focus.

Squabbling over market-share is something for the big-boys and whilst there is value in knowing how you intend to be better, cheaper, faster,  nicer than the competitor, the person who decides and buys is the customer.

The best way to find out what customer value is to ask them. We agreed surveying between 100 and 1000 of his target-audience in a shopping mall would be the simplest way to ask and find out what customers value.

We also discussed what will he do to ensure that the experience is fun and memorable for everyone he meets (so that they might remember, recommend and buy) and what he can do to be special, different from everyone else.

If you are a micro-business it is really important to specialise in order to be unique and valuable.

Here is an example….

Company 1 provides food

Company 2 provides pet food

Company 3 provides pet food for dogs

Company 4 provides pet food for Dachshund dogs

Of these Company 4 is likely to be remembered and have a following (amongst Dachshund owners) and if you are a micro-business that is probably plenty enough business to be unique and valuable.

The number of Dachshund (Miniature Smooth Haired) registered in the United Kingdom witnessed a significant increase in the last decade, with annual registration numbers rising from 2,857 dogs in 2011 to more than 14,800 dogs in 2021. Food will be your main regular expense, perhaps £40-50 per month depending on what brand you buy (plus, of course, treats for training and rewards).

So 15,000 dogs x £40 Month x 12 Months = 7.2 million pe year market, even 1% of that is £72k

The point is not about Dachshund, but knowing your niche. £72k per annum may not be enough, but at least understanding the customer, need, product and market will help you make then right choices.

The point for a micro-business is that you cannot win against the giants on price, so you really need to do it on personality of yourself and your product. Be special and memorable, be specialised and valuable.

As an experienced mentor I can act as your sounding board. We will meet regularly to discuss business challenges and develop your leadership skills, making the most of access to online resources and support to make your connection a success.

The programme will offer you new experiences and fresh perspectives vital for long-term business improvement.

Free and impartial resources

Developed from real business experiences

Created for busy people

Accessible from wherever you work

Mentoring is to support and encourage people to manage their own learning in order that they may maximise their potential, develop their skills, improve their performance and become the person they want to be.’ Mentoring is development driven, looking not just at the professional’s current job function but beyond, taking a more holistic approach to career development.

Mentoring is non-evaluative, while coaching is based on measuring performance change. Due to the personal nature of mentoring, a mentor will more often than not draw on their personal experiences and expertise to help their mentee. This could be in the form of sharing a story that taught them a valuable lesson, or a challenge they overcame in their career. 

If interested get in touch. I love drinking coffee and exchanging ideas, so if you are curious please feel free to message me.

Tim HJ Rogers

MBA Management Consultant + Change Practitioner

ICF Trained Coach, IoD Business Mentor, Mediator

Mob 447797762051

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