Just about any industry is currently highly competitive and manufacturers are focusing on developing products that are a bit better, more reliable and faster than before. However, it may still not be enough in the highly competitive environment. It is important for business owners to focus on business intelligence and this is related to gaining critical information about the market and competition. SWOT analysis is the basic technique that businesspeople often do before they start a business. However, many business owners with limited knowledge on business management may know little about this. Any business should update the SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis regularly. This will help them to define their positions in the market, such as likely profit margins, growth directions, future financial positions and likely threats. There are actually business consultants who gather competitive information and it is quite common to pay a few thousand dollars to get latest market information. This small investment can help small and medium businesses to adjust their market strategy to take advantage of new opportunities and manage new threats.
In many cases, the number of competitors in our area is significant and understanding proper competition information can be essential for our long-term profitability. The market information is usually obtained through various surveys and latest news. We should get an accurate analysis about how the market is doing and whether we are able to sell our best products. Many market research companies make a lot of money by allowing business owners keep tabs on the overall market. They help business owners to learn about significant competitors in the market and why they are doing so well or so bad. This should allow us to learn some lessons on how to operate our business properly based on the current market condition. As an example, we could find out that we will be able to boost our profit by purchasing raw material from specific suppliers at specific times of the year. The analysis should help us determine whether the market is shrinking or growing. If it is likely to shrink, we should know how to prevent significant decline of sales and if it will grow, we should know how take advantage of the opportunity.
Once we know more about our market and competition, it is also important to know about specific services and products that are being developed. This should allow us to prepare for new products that will be released by the competition. In dynamic markets, consumers are expecting to get new features from latest products. In this case, if we have an assembly line, it is important to incorporate new features in our upcoming products. This entails different ways to get customer feedback and whether they want to get better access to our technology. We should also perform the “lost consumer” research, by performing surveys on former customers who switch to other products due to specific reasons. This way, we could define a strategy to win these customers back by incorporating features that they want in our products.