How Staying Aware of Competitors Gives You The Edge
Over the past two decades many business owners have been advised to study Lao Tzu's The Art of War. Whether or not you view business as "war", one undeniably apt recommendation by the ancient philosopher is "know your enemy" - or in modern business parlance, "know your competition".
If you are like most child care providers, you have probably never analyzed your competitors. And those that have done so, usually do it too infrequently.
What do you have to gain from such analysis? The knowledge of exactly how you differ from your competitors. You will know what sets you apart (or not) from them. This gives you a handle not only on their strengths and weaknesses, but yours as well.
It is extremely important to be aware of what occurs in your local market. Experts suggest conducting a "competitive analysis" of your top five (or more) competitors every six months.
In conducting a competitive analysis, these are the questions you will want to be answering:
- Who are your top competitors?
- What services do they provide in comparison to yours?
- What are their unique benefits?
- What is their pricing?
- How do they market (communicate) the things that make them unigue, special or different?
- What is different about their facility?
To differentiate your business and determine what makes you unique, you need to be absolutely clear about what you offer in comparison to your competitors. You will ned to look at items such as:
- Number and qualifications of teachers and their tenure
- Program quality/kindergarten readiness/early education
- Hours/days of operation
- Security and safety
This analysis allows you to know what you offer in comparison to others in your market and how you differ from them. Those differences and unique aspects are what you will want to communicate to your prospects.
So, how do you conduct a competitive analysis? Start by making a list of your top five competitors. Research their websites and make notes. Lastly, have a friend, employee or relative act as an inquiring prospect and call and/or visit your competitors to gain the information you need.
Things change rapidly in business, which is why you should be doing an anlaysis every six months. You want to be the facility that can always clearly communicate to your prospects the things that make you unique.
Don't be a center that's being analyzed, be the one that is doing the analyzing.