Know Thine Enemy: How to Understand Your Business Competitors Better



The world of doing business is not just about the products or services your business offers, but about understanding where you fit in in the grand scheme of things. Competition comes in many forms, like direct competitors and indirect competitors, who come in many different guises. This is why you must do some of the following to ensure you understand the competition in the round.

Liaising With Your Competitors

As simple as it sounds, if you ask the right questions of your competitors, you can get a lot of information without being underhanded. Sometimes, the simplest of information can give you the inspiration to be a better version of yourself. Your competitors are not going to divulge all of their strategies, but you can gain insights into a number of simple things, including the following. 

  • The markets they will move into. 
  • The legalities, for example, if they have a patent attorney on their side to steer clear of any litigation issues. 
  • The size of the company, for example, if they have slowly scaled up their business over time to deal with demand. 

It’s important to remember that it’s not just about looking at your competitors, but about recognizing that there may have gaps in their armory that can inspire you to be a better business person in the long run. 

Monitoring Social Media

Many social media sites can give us insight, not just into our business competitors, but what customers are saying about those competitors. It’s critical that we distinguish ourselves from the norm, and when we dig deep into social media sites or review sites, we can slowly build up a worthwhile picture of the competitors. 

Social media is part of the fabric of marketing and when we gain insight into what competitors are saying about the markets, but also how they conduct themselves, we are going to come away with more knowledge than ever. 

Go to Industry Events

Industry events, like conferences or seminars, can help you glean a lot of valuable information. It’s vital that we have a presence at expos and industry events of this magnitude that allows us to see how we measure up against others. 

Taking a simple walk around the floor can help you understand how your business is differentiating itself. The issue many smaller and younger businesses have is thinking that they need to match what others are doing. It’s important to stick to your guns, and recognize that you are doing something for your benefit. 

We should always look at what others are doing and we use this information to inform how we conduct our business in the round. The great thing is that you can look at the differences between a variety of competitors. and you can start to borrow certain components and mash them together to create something that’s unique to yourself. 

Remember, They Are Looking at You As Well

If you want to understand your competitor, you’ve also got to consider that you are being looked at from afar. It is vital that we remember to stay true to ourselves. When we speak to our competitors, they are going to do everything they can to glean information from us. It’s not about keeping your cards close to your chest, but recognizing that in order to be a competitive business, you are all doing the same thing. 

When a competitor is looking at us, they want to gain insight into what they are doing wrong, and when it comes to knowing your enemy, you don’t necessarily need to give them red herrings to throw them off the scent. Instead, you may recognize that your competitor is not necessarily viewing you as a competition. 

You may be covering the same market and offering similar products, but the reality is that you are both different entities. 

Speak to the Customers

When you speak to a new customer that’s made a switch from a competitor to you, you are getting that important insight into why they made that switch in the first place. It’s critical to reach, not just new customers, but older ones who may have left you for a competitor. It’s always a good idea to gather this information so you are understanding what your weak points are.


If you want to be a competitive business, you have got to understand your competition. Knowing your competition will guarantee some of the following:

  • You understand their business strategy. 
  • You discover gaps in the market. 
  • You find what makes you gain advantages. 

Ensuring that you understand your competition will always help you know yourself.

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