As the leader of your franchise operation, you will need to understand all aspects of your business — inventory management, customer service, franchise hiring and many others. But to truly excel in your marketplace, you will also have to understand all of the other companies operating within it. That’s because staying on top of your competitors is essential to staying ahead of them.
What Is A Competitive Analysis?
A competitive analysis is a process in which you take the time to identify your competitors — comparing their products and services as well as their strengths and weaknesses to your own. If you’re not sure how to do a competitive analysis, here are five great ways to help you start the process:
Go To Their Website
This is an obvious first step, but it is an essential one. Visiting the competition’s website is a great way to see how they go to market. Scour the site for pricing details, company history, their sales pitch and any additional pertinent information you can glean. You can also learn a lot about the company just by looking at their site — is it updated and informative, or outdated and difficult to follow? The state of the website can often serve as a reflection of the state of the company itself.
Review The Customer Reviews
Review sites like Angies List and Yelp give customers a voice. Thankfully, they also give you an easy way to research your competition. Go to these sites and take the time to read through all of the feedback to find out what the competition is doing well and where they are falling short. If you come across a disgruntled customer, reach out to him or her and explain how you could do better. If the reviews for a particular company are all positive, consider ways you can implement some of their best practices to improve your own business.
At Bin There Dump That, we understand the power of the customer review, and we welcome and encourage feedback. That’s why we have a national partnership with Angie’s List, ensuring that our franchise operators are prominently featured in search results.
Find Them On Social Media
Eighty-eight percent of brands use social media for marketing purposes, so chances are you will find your competition on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or other social media sites. Continuously monitor their posts, tweets, blogs and other content to learn how they communicate to their customers, what topics they speak about (and if they are knowledgeable on these subjects), who they follow, who follows them, etc. The more you can learn, the better.
Check Out The Headlines
Go to Google News to find out if your competition has received any recent press. If the news is negative (e.g., layoffs, data breaches, lawsuits, etc.), you can use this information to your advantage when speaking with potential customers. If the news is positive (e.g., charity initiatives, promotions, awards, etc.) it will give you a glimpse into what they are saying about themselves and the type of company you are competing against.
Be sure to set up Google Alerts as well to ensure that future news stories about your competition come to your email address automatically.
Give Them A Call
Review sites will let you hear the voice of the customer, but it’s just as important — and just as enlightening — to hear the voice of the competition itself. Call up your competitors and ask meaningful, customer-oriented questions such as “How many staff members do you have?” “What makes your service unique?” “How do you calculate your fees?” and “Will the owner of the company be overseeing my job?”
You can also use this as an opportunity to find out what the competition thinks about you. Tell the person you are speaking with that you are deciding between a few companies, and ask him or her to tell you why you should choose their business and not yours.
This approach may be a little underhanded, but the information you can gather may help you to overcome your competition.
If you are interested in becoming your own boss and experiencing the benefits of starting a franchise, we invite you to learn more about us. With our unique franchise business model, an unparalleled approach to customer service, generous territorial exclusivity, a commitment to franchisee training and support and one of the best franchise leadership teams ever assembled, you’ll find that there really is no competition. Get started by requesting your free franchise kit now.