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An Effective Competitive Analysis : Part 1 of 3

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By Debbie Gregory.

LinkedIN Debbie Gregory VAMBOA VAMBOA Facebook VAMBOA Twitter

 

What is a competitive analysis?

A competitive analysis is defining and evaluating your major competitor’s strengths and weaknesses then comparing them with your own.

 

Why do a competitive analysis?

When you have a better understanding of your competition, the greater your chances are to outperform them.

 

A competitive analysis can be a very effective tool to help you grow your business. The more comprehensive and in-depth your analysis, the greater benefit to you and your business.

 

Types of competitors:

There are many types of competitors. You may have a fairly accurate sense of who your competition is but you might be surprised to learn that you overlooked some competitors.

  • Direct competition – These are the businesses that offer the same products and services that you do and service your target market.
  • Indirect competition – These are the businesses that offer the same or very similar products and services that you do but they target a little different market than you do.
  • Tertiary competition – These are the businesses that offer something that may vaguely link to your business but isn’t in direct competition with you.

 

Search for information about your competitors:

Begin your analysis by compiling a list of names of known competitors as well as keywords or phrases that are linked to your products and services. Once you have that list in hand, select your favorite search engine and use it to locate your competition.

 

Search engines are wonderful for helping you figure out who your competitors are as well as helping you to gather data on what they are doing. Don’t stop there! You will need to click on their sites, social channels, articles, and more to gain the information you need to do you analysis.

 

Ways to find out who your competitors are:

  • Look at the ads / sponsored listings when you do your searches
  • Use content analyzing tools to search blog posts and social media for company names
  • Ask your current customers, or prospective customers, who else they use or have used
  • Read trade publications
  • Check social media channels
  • Look at popular forums

 

Put the data in a spreadsheet:

Once you have your list compiled, you can begin your actual competitive analysis. It is a good idea to use a spreadsheet to keep all the information you collect together and in a format that is easy to read and access.

 

Obtain a basic overview of your competition:

 

Include information:

  • Number of employees
  • Noteworthy employees
  • Number of offices and locations
  • Number of clients
  • Annual Revenue
  • Products and services offered
  • Area(s) they operate I
  • Websites and social media channels they own
  • Company history and significant milestones
  • Message/Brand

 

Next, you want to take a close look at how the company sees itself. The easiest way to do this is to look at the content they put out under their brand. How do they talk about their own products and services?

 

Look closely at items such as:

  • Website copy (the text on the site)
  • Social media channels
  • Printed materials (flyers, brochures, trade materials, etc.)
  • Employees speaking at events
  • Press releases or appearances
  • Interviews given by employees or management

 

The messages they put out will provide valuable insight into what they feel is important, the key areas they focus on, and the type of customer they are targeting.

 

Ask yourself these types of questions while compiling the data:

  • What is their opening piece of copy on their homepage?
  • What features/products do they emphasize?
  • Who (what types of people or customers) are they specifically talking to?
  • How do they talk/what language do they use?
  • What are their main selling points?
  • What imagery (graphs, charts, cartoons, photos, etc.) do they use?
  • What competitors do they talk about, if any?
  • What clients do they highlight, if any?

 

Please stay tuned for Part 2 of this series will go into greater depth regarding the information you should be collecting such as pricing, financial records, job postings, and their website.

 

By Debbie Gregory.

LinkedIN Debbie Gregory VAMBOA VAMBOA Facebook VAMBOA Twitter

 

VAMBOA hopes you will enjoy these quotes from famous and successful people.  We hope they will motivate you and help you achieve success in your business.  Often failure will lead to success and many highly successful entrepreneurs have failed a few times before reaching their goals.

We need to learn from our failures and not quit because of them.  There is a saying that doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the definition of madness.  By recognizing the things, we do wrong and acknowledging our failures, we can achieve success.

 

Please enjoy and give each one your consideration:

  1. Failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be.” —John Wooden
  2. “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” —Thomas Edison
  3. “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” —Albert Einstein
  4. “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” —Winston Churchill
  5. “A person who doubts himself is like a man who would enlist in the ranks of his enemies and bear arms against himself. He makes his failure certain by himself being the first person to be convinced of it.” —Alexandre Dumas
  6. “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” —Napoleon Hill
  7. “You build on failure. You use it as a steppingstone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.” —Johnny Cash
  8. “It’s not how far you fall, but how high you bounce that counts.” —Zig Ziglar
  9. “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” —Jack Canfield
  10. “Success is most often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.” —Coco Chanel
  11. “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” —Robert F. Kennedy
  12. “The phoenix must burn to emerge.” —Janet Fitch
  13. “If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.” —Ken Robinson
  14. “An inventor fails 999 times, and if he succeeds once, he’s in. He treats his failures simply as practice shots.” —Charles F. Kettering
  15. “Our greatest glory is, not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” —Oliver Goldsmith
  16. “Failure after long perseverance is much grander than never to have a striving good enough to be called a failure.” —George Eliot
  17. “A man may fall many times, but he won’t be a failure until he says that someone pushed him.” —Elmer G. Letterman
  18. “You’ll always miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” —Wayne Gretzky
  19. “A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.” —John C. Maxwell
  20. “There are no failures–just experiences and your reactions to them.” —Tom Krause
  21. “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent in doing nothing.” —George Bernard Shaw
  22. “When you take risks, you learn that there will be times when you succeed, and there will be times when you fail, and both are equally important.” —Ellen DeGeneres
  23. “It’s failure that gives you the proper perspective on success.” —Ellen DeGeneres
  24. “There is no failure except in no longer trying.” —Chris Bradford
  25. “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” —Thomas Edison
  26. “It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” —Bill Gates
  27. “Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” —Richard Branson
  28. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” —Winston Churchill
  29. “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” —Paulo Coelho
  30. “The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” —Mark Zuckerberg
  31. “No human ever became interesting by not failing. The more you fail and recover and improve, the better you are as a person. Ever meet someone who’s always had everything work out for them with zero struggle? They usually have the depth of a puddle. Or they don’t exist.” —Chris Hardwick
  32. “The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.” —Elbert Hubbard
  33. “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got.” —James P. Lewis
  34. “Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever.” —Lance Armstrong
  35. “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” —Winston Churchill
  36. “I’d rather be partly great than entirely useless.” —Neal Shusterman
  37. “We are all failures–at least the best of us are.” —M. Barrie
  38. “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” —Henry Ford
  39. “I think you have to try and fail, because failure gets you closer to what you’re good at.” —Louis C.K.
  40. “I thank God for my failures. Maybe not at the time, but after some reflection. I never feel like a failure just because something I tried has failed.” —Dolly Parton
  41. “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything–all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.” —Steve Jobs
  42. “Part of being a man is learning to take responsibility for your successes and for your failures. You can’t go blaming others or being jealous. Seeing somebody else’s success as your failure is a cancerous way to live.” —Kevin Bacon
  43. “I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” —Michael Jordan
  44. “Giving up is the only sure way to fail.” —Gena Showalter
  45. “If you don’t try at anything, you can’t fail…it takes backbone to lead the life you want” —Richard Yates
  46. “Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead-end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” —Denis Waitley
  47. “Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.” —S. Lewis
  48. “Winners are not afraid of losing. But losers are. Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success.” —Robert T. Kiyosaki
  49. “Failure is so important. We speak about success all the time. It is the ability to resist failure or use failure that often leads to greater success. I’ve met people who don’t want to try for fear of failing.” —K. Rowling
  50. “A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.” —James Joyce
  51. “Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself.” —Charlie Chaplin
  52. “Please know that I am aware of the hazards. I want to do it because I want to do it. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be a challenge to others.” —Amelia Earhart
  53. “We need to accept that we won’t always make the right decisions, that we’ll screw up royally sometimes–understanding that failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success.” —Arianna Huffington
  54. “The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows.” —Frederic William Farrar
  55. “You have to be able to accept failure to get better.” —LeBron James
  56. “I don’t want the fear of failure to stop me from doing what I really care about.” —Emma Watson
  57. “Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out.” —Benjamin Franklin
  58. “When I was young, I observed that nine out of 10 things I did were failures. So I did 10 times more work.” —George Bernard Shaw
  59. “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” —Henry Ford
  60. “With a hint of good judgment, to fear nothing, not failure or suffering or even death, indicates that you value life the most. You live to the extreme; you push limits; you spend your time building legacies. Those do not die.” —Criss Jami
  61. “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.” —Abraham Lincoln
  62. “Success is not built on success. It’s built on failure. It’s built on frustration. Sometimes its built on catastrophe.” —Sumner Redstone
  63. Failure happens all the time. It happens every day in practice. What makes you better is how you react to it.” —Mia Hamm
  64. “When we give ourselves permission to fail, we, at the same time, give ourselves permission to excel.” —Eloise Ristad
  65. “What is the point of being alive if you don’t at least try to do something remarkable?” –John Green

 

Small Business Ideas for Veterans – Part 2

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By Debbie Gregory.

LinkedIN Debbie Gregory VAMBOA VAMBOA Facebook VAMBOA Twitter

VAMBOA hopes you enjoyed Part 1 of Small Business Ideas for Veterans.  Please find below Part 2 of this 3 part series with more small business ideas for entrepreneurs.

 

Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Business (HVAC)

There is a great demand for HVAC experts and requires special training and licensing.  You can count on being extremely busy when temperatures are very high or low.   You might want to focus on maintenance and annual service calls as well as new installs.  You may also want to work exclusively in residential or commercial.   As a service-disabled veteran business owner, you have extra points when you bid on some contracts.

 

Home Inspection Services

The home inspection service business requires you to have knowledge of the construction and real estate. Plan on climbing up on roofs, attics and into crawl spaces. Having ASHI or NAHI certification may be required.  There is a huge market because almost every home sale requires a home inspection.

 

Identity Theft Protection Agency

If you are well versed in cyber security, this is a good business for you to get into as ID theft is a constant threat that costs consumers and businesses billions of dollars.

 

Junk/Trash Removal Business

You make money when people are moving, renovating or cleaning out their homes or businesses. You can also expand into document shredding.

 

Landscaping Business

If you have a green thumb, gardening tools and equipment, and are physically fit, this could be a great business for you. You can also provide artificial turf installation as this is a popular trend.  You may wish to focus on residential or on commercial.  Again, if you are a service-disabled veteran, companies seeking a diverse supplier network want to do business with you.

 

Locksmith Business

Locksmiths can be heroes to anyone who has ever found themselves on the wrong side of a locked door.  Additionally, tenants move, employees leave and there is a demand to change locks and update to locks and security that is better and offers more technology.

 

Off Road Tours Business

The ability to drive in rugged terrain and a love of the outdoors can lead you to start an off-road tour business.

 

Painter

Some jobs are best left to the experts, especially when they involve ladders, scaffolding and expertise.   You may want to focus on residential or commercial.

 

Personal Security/Bodyguards Business

More and more, people who are targets for kidnappers due to their wealth or fame are utilizing personal protection services. Prior security experience is highly recommended.  It addition many corporations provide their top management bodyguards.

 

Pest Control Services

Insects and wild animals are often a nuisance for residential homes and businesses. Your business will identify and eradicate these pests.  You can obtain monthly contracts too.

 

Photography

A picture is worth a thousand words, so if you have the talent to take beautiful photographs or capture precious moments at special events, consider a photography business.

 

Private Investigation Firm

Move over Magnum PI.  This business is a good one for those who are inquisitive and like to investigate, who are resourceful and are detail oriented.   resourceful.

 

Remodeling Business

If you can use remodeling design software, have a flair for design and are up on the latest design trends, this could be a great creative outlet as well as a lucrative business.  Perhaps you might want to focus on one area such as additions, fireplaces, bathrooms, kitchens.

 

Residential Security Consultant

You will provide expert advice and tips on various security issues to homeowners.  More and more homeowners are securing their homes with technology that they can access with their smart phones. Security stores and companies might want to partner with you for a mutually beneficial relationship.

 

Restaurant Business

You need to have passion for cooking and love to try out new recipes as well as be service oriented and understand all the aspects of running a business that is usually open seven days a week.

 

 

Veteran and Military Business Owners Association, VAMBOA.

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