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Research: The Key to Crushing the Competition

Are you looking to start a new business? Or maybe you already have or are a part of an established business, but are looking for your next step, and your next next step? So what’s the first task on the never-ending list? Research.

The only way you can approach a new business venture is by educating yourself in the industry, the customers and the competition. This will give you an insight into key players in the field, networking opportunities, who to look out for (competition-wise) and what’s already been done.

So where do you start? Google.

When you’re in the beginning stages of a new business or a new service/product/ strategy, Google will be your best friend. Simple searches such as “Virtual Assistant Businesses in…” “How do I become a…” “Process to start a business in…”

You’ll likely be overwhelmed with results that appear in seconds (depending on your internet connection), and we’re going to help you pull out the important information and skip the fluff.

Look at Competition

No one likes to think about it, but competition is everywhere. You can be at the top of your game, and still, have competition from other industries trying to knock you down. It’s all about how you react, and the best way to get ahead is with knowledge.

We recommend starting with your top 3-5 competitors. Analyze their websites, social media and anything they’ve had their name on or in. You can create a spreadsheet to help you visualize how they differ from each other and from you. Pressure points would include services or products, reviews, popularity, and their customer base.

Look at Customers

Customers are obviously a large part of owning a business. You need customers to turn a profit, to spread the word about your business, to support your business, etc. You would start by analyzing your business and what you offer. Who would benefit the most from your product or service? How would they benefit? Is it something they can live without?

Once you’ve sorted out who your target audience is (gender, location, age, etc.) you’ll want to look at your competition once again. Who is their target demographic? Are they similar or different? Is this something you can use to your advantage?

Next, you need to find out what works for that target audience. Are they drawn to social media ads, TikTok dances, magazine reviews, or TV segments? How do you/are you planning to market your business to customers, and how does your target audience align with this marketing strategy?

Understanding who you market for, is crucial for taking the next steps in your planning process. Launching a new product or service or business, without considering marketing is a huge mistake and can cost you a lot of time and money in rework.

One way a lot of companies will go about developing their marketing plan is by conducting interviews and surveys with audiences of various demographics. This gives them the data they need to form an educated approach to their marketing plan prior to launching.

Look at the Numbers

You don’t have to be a math person to start a business or to successfully run one. However, you will be coming into contact with numbers frequently, so it’s best to educate yourself and familiarize yourself with that beforehand.

When it comes to what numbers to look at, you’ll want to start off with statistics surrounding the health of the industry, wages and earnings, turnover rates and business survival rates. Understanding how you can approach a business plan to optimize your footing within an industry is important so you can enter the ring head-on and with some knowledge under your belt.

Price points within the industry are also relevant for you whether you’re just starting out or already established. Part of owning a business that provides a service or product to consumers is re-evaluating your prices and wages yearly to accommodate inflation, competition and consumer market.

In addition to price points, looking at the health of the industry you’re in or going to be entering, is an important step before you make any big decisions. This way you can understand how to best approach the launch of your new business or product/service. It also allows you to make an informed decision about which industry your business will be most successful in and the likelihood of growing a profitable company within said industry.

Lastly, in terms of numbers you’ll want to know the legal requirements of owning a business, introducing a new product or service (especially one that’s already being offered by competitors) and tax requirements within your location and industry. If you can afford it, a lawyer would be a beneficial hire to provide you with valuable legal information and recommendations based on your business and personal goals.

Ultimately, no business can survive without on-going research and it’s important that you as a business owner, or an employee, is able to understand that need, and fulfill it by regularly staying up to date with competition, trends, analytics and more through various research methods.


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