Judo is based on the idea that resisting a more powerful opponent will result in defeat. If you adjust and evade the opponent’s attacks instead of that, they will lose balance, reduce their power, and it’ll be easier to defeat them.
Like in Judo, you have to be smart about your competitors. Worrying about their every movement without analyzing how you can benefit from them is of no use.
Instead, you can focus on finding and leveraging their weaknesses.
You need to understand and know what the weaknesses of your competitors are. It can help you add value to your proposition. With this information, you’ll understand what’s your place in your Competitive Landscape.
Here’s how to do it.
By making a Competitive Landscape Analysis, you can find out who your competitors are, identify their weaknesses, and then plan how you’re going to leverage them.
Although this sounds like a fancy concept, every company can benefit from it. Small startups can discover how they differentiate from big companies. Big corporations can have more aggressive strategies.
Understanding the Competitive Landscape makes the difference between success and failure to find the right strategy to launch a new product.
It might sound overwhelming at first, but you don’t need specialized tools or expensive services to make this kind of analysis.
Let’s start with the first step!
The first step is to be sure about who your competitors are.
Maybe you already have a broad idea of who these companies are but remember, there may be other companies that you have no idea exist. You might also have indirect competitors, companies that are not selling the same product or service as you but solve the same problem.
The important thing is: you need to know who your competitors are.
These are some ways of finding them:
The following steps are about knowing deeply what your competitors are up to. It’s possible that after doing the previous searches, you find out way more competitors than you were expecting! You don’t need to analyze them all.
To start, you can choose the ones you think will be a more significant competitor. Just remember, things rapidly change, so you might want to be checking out the companies that you won’t include in your analysis.
Once you know who your competitors are, you can focus on understanding what makes them unique by understanding:
You get the idea. You want to know everything about these companies.
A simple spreadsheet is enough to collect all the information!
Once you know the offerings, you can start focusing on their weaknesses.
Weaknesses are hard to find because we don’t talk about them. You’ll never find a company that says they’re bad at something. You’ll have to discover it.
There are many ways to find them, these are some ideas:
To determine this, you can keep using your spreadsheet to fill out the information about your competitors, or you can make a Competitive Matrix, like this one:
By visualizing how your offering compares to others, it’s easier to find the gaps you’re filling or the areas of opportunity you can explore.
It’s important to know that those gaps might not be a weakness of your competitors. Getting back to the productivity software for startups software example, none of your competitors may be doing it simply because there’s no market for a tool like that.
That’s why, before creating any solution, you have to validate your problem first.
After you’ve analyzed your competitors and their offerings, it’s time to review what your value proposition is.
Remember the Judo analogy in the beginning?
The idea is to use the weaknesses and movements of your competitors to help you in your company.
You can use this information in three ways:
Analyzing doesn’t mean that you’re done. You have to repeat the process frequently.
As we said before, things can change rapidly. New companies may pop up, behaviors will change, markets might open. And you need to be ready for that.
Having a clear picture of how you compare to your competitors and using that information to make smarter, better decisions is crucial if you want to secure success.