start-new-business-many-competitors

Should You Start a New Business if there are many competitors in your market?

Starting a new business from scratch is one of the most independent, exciting pursuits you can undertake. Due to the sea of information and helpful tools available now, it is much easier to set up and run one, and much more fun.

While you may have your idea up and ready, one question may still be bugging you from taking that leap. The competitive business environment may be forcing you to ask yourself:

“Should I do it?”

This is a good question to ask, as all entrepreneurs (especially if you’re doing it for the first time) do come across thoughts like, “All good ideas have been executed already.”

Contrary to intuition, having a certain amount of competition can be helpful – and a competitive business strategy is best for the growth of small businesses. Inside this existential question for your business, you should analyze these different areas:

The Competitive Market

It may be tempting to get to the exciting stuff of setting up a business – but it is always good to conduct your research first.

You may feel that your product is perfect for the market. Nothing like it exists.

Or you may be overthinking competition exists already.

In both these cases, market research is a tool that comes in very handy. It can help you:

(a) Identify your market segment

Your market segment is the ‘segment’ of people from the ‘market’ who will be the ideal customers for your product. Identifying and understanding this group of people will help you optimize your product.

As you understand the problems they face, and how they like to solve them, you can identify where in the process you can make it easier for them.

(b) Understand Market Trends and the Market Picture

By conducting appropriate research, you can identify if there’s a market for your idea. It can help you determine your unique niche and how you can solve problems for that niche.

You can see if the industry you’re in is declining or thriving. It is best to go ahead into further stages of business development if the industry is stable and thriving/ new and on the road to a thriving future.

These two steps will bring you to the essential part of the analysis:

(c) Identify and Study Your Competitors

Your competitors, even if they’re not entirely similar, are your ideas put into a business. Healthy competition can look scary – but it is what makes the market colorful.

If many companies are doing well in your niche, it also means that people ARE looking for what you’re offering.

You can analyze your competitors to identify the trends in your niche, see what works and what doesn’t, and get a clearer picture of how running your business would be.

You can analyze their best practice strategies and content to apply them to your own business. Further, you can also see where they failed/ tests they conduct to save time and save yourself from making those same mistakes.

You can also look into how they nurture their leads, how their sales funnel works and how these could be improved to apply to your business model.

There are various tools available which you can use to analyze your competitors. These can help you track changes in your competitor’s websites, emails, social media campaigns, website tests – and their overall digital marketing strategy.

The deeper you look into your competitor, the more insight you can gain on how to improve your business.

This also has another helpful effect. As you understand what your competition is offering – you can even get what they’re missing – which can help you strengthen your proposition. This will again, make your product unique, and add value.

The Customers/Users

The user is the heart and driving force of any business. Great businesses are built on great ideas, no doubt, but those are ideas that add value for their users.

The users who are in your target segment can provide you a gold mine of information. Here are ways in which they can help various aspects of your business plan.

(a) They’ll help you identify if your product is needed

Sure, you feel like your product could help out a lot of people – but you need to ask your prospective customers if they would be using something like it.

For example, if you build software that sorts company files with a subscription price of 300$ a month – would a business buy it? They could just decide to outsource it pay a human to do it.

This exercise will help you in finding out if the users need your product. It can also help you in setting up a pricing range.

(b) They’ll help you see If your USP works

Your unique selling point (USP) is what sets you apart from other competitors. For determining the USP, it is best to learn about the problems the users face in real life, and the services they use to solve those.

While giving you an idea about your competitors, this will also tell you about the pain points of the user straight from the inside. Further, you can ask the problems they face with the current tools and services they use. It will help you identify where your competitors are missing the mark – and where you can make one.

If people are looking for alternatives to the current services, it is a tremendous opportunity to jump to. You can identify similar problems seen as a pattern among various users and build on that.

This will help you improve you USP further and evolve it into adding more value to the user.

For example – You’re developing customer support software, and many users tell you about not being able to sync their invoices to their email. This is a problem they face on a day to day basis and has not been solved yet.

You add this in your USP – and these users will be glad to shift over to your service.

The best ways of connecting with customers/prospects are usually by conducting interviews/ surveys.

These require significant efforts from you as well the consumer – another useful tool for analyzing the customer is through social media.

Social media is a significant communication channel for companies and their customers – and by tracking your competitor’s social media, you can get an insight here. This is another feature which competitor monitoring tools offer. This can also help you find and use channels where your competitors are not yet connected to their users on, and exploit it to catch up.

Many young companies face the problem of meeting the large “sharks” – the bigger companies which may be dominating their niche, and competitor analysis is how they can get ahead.

So, if you were questioning yourself about whether or not you should go ahead with your business idea – the best way to answer that is to do some research.

Once you find your value proposition, the only thing that stands between you and massive growth is how you promote yourself better than your competitors.

All the best – to more growth and great business ideas!

5-business-intelligence-tools

5 Business Intelligence tool your business should use

In today’s increasingly competitive world, using business intelligence to understand the inner workings of your business in detail is what will propel you above your competition. But choosing the business intelligence tool that will work best for your business can be a long-winded and difficult process. The business intelligence market has boomed in recent years and there’s a great many tools out there that promise to cater to your business’ every need. To help with your decision, we’ve collated a list of business intelligence tools that we believe are really best in class.

Business intelligence: a definition

First things first, business intelligence (BI) is a term used to describe a broad range of different technology, applications, and the collection of business information. Current and historical business information can be collected and stored, usually in a data warehouse or data lake, and then used to inform future business decisions and daily operations. Of course, this can help a business work more efficiently and make more informed decisions.

Because of its value and use to an organisation, a great many business intelligence tools have been developed and marketed. The trick for business owners is to understand which ones work best.

Business intelligence software: our top picks

Sisense: This nifty piece of BI software allows you to collate, analyse and quickly view business data in a user-friendly interface. The Sisense dashboard is incredibly easy to use, with a drag-and-drop function that even the most tech-phobic person can get their head around. All critical business data can be seen almost instantly – very helpful for timely decision making!

Tableau: Sifting through the masses of data produced by businesses every day is an impossible task. Tableau allows people to create clear and stunning data visualizations with little to no prior programming knowledge. Tableau can plug into several different data sources, bringing everything together into one visual place that can then be shared and published.

Domo: Domo offers business leaders the ability to view real-time data on a single dashboard, with multiple graphics and the ability to create personalised models. There’s also trend indicators and sparklines which makes snap decision making much more informed. To help get a second opinion, there’s also the ability to share with others and make PowerPoint style slides from it.

Qlik Sense: If you’re short on time, Qlik Sense will automatically create custom dashboards and reports. It works with businesses of all sizes, from global companies to sole traders. Qlik Sense is also one of the faster business intelligence tools, as it compresses any data inputted to up to 10% of its original size. For on-the-go decision making, Qlik Sense comes in a mobile version as well.

Woopra: Customers should make a key part of all business decision making, and Woopra makes this easy by analysing customer behaviour across different devices and platforms. It creates highly detailed visual customer profiles, which can be customised for several industries, including travel, finance, retail, and media.

Choosing a business intelligence tool

The above business intelligence software is only a small selection of the myriad tools available to businesses. When trying to find the right business intelligence tool for your company, it can be useful to list all of your ‘must-have’ features, all ‘nice-to-have’ features, and features that you’ll never really use. You should also consider how many people in your organisation will need to have access to the tool and their level of technical expertise. Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask to try a free demo of a business intelligence tool and see how well it works for your business in real life.

Business intelligence is a must for all modern businesses. But you do have to be smart when choosing the right business intelligence software. If you go wrong, it could be a time-consuming and costly affair that may also put your employees off using a business intelligence tool ever again. So choose wisely.

review alternative websites promote startup

Review and alternative websites to promote your startup

Entrepreneurs tend to work on improving their product and not priorities for promoting their website after the launch of their startup. Some just start building the product without even thinking how much effort does it take to attract visitors. “Build it and they will come” … right …

After launching your website, you should look for easy tactics to get some visibility on your website. This is the first article that will tell you where you can easily promote your website … and some results.

2017 Award Great User Experience2017 Award Rising Star

Review & alternative to websites

  • Finances Online – Very good position in Google, badge award if you qualify to give your brand some credibility;
  • CrozDesk – Nice UI, nice team
  • G2Crowd – maybe save this for last, it’s popular and it may require some user reviews to get on top. Approval takes 1-2 weeks;
  • Capterra
  • GetApp
  • AlternativeTo – very popular, also ranks well in Google
  • SaaS Genius – Specific for SaaS startups, a good place to submit your website and easy to get approved.

An easy thing to do if you want to be listed first on the category pages with your competitors: Try to get some of your initial users to give some reviews and like your product on those pages (social accounts are required to prevent abuse).

 

New logo update to help my startup take shape

When I started Competitive.Business from scratch, it helps me to have a visual identity; it makes sure the colors used in the interface are balanced, according to the created brand, it helps insert small visual images that are brand related (like the blue dot or the unique shape that represents the logo).

Now that I am planning to redesign the homepage and prepare for a public launch, I spent more time redesigning the new identity.

new colors competitive business

I know it may not seem vital to focus too much and spend time at this stage on the visual identity, but for me, it helps.

competitive business new logo

I am not a designer, but I have designing skills 😉 (I know Photoshop and Illustrator). I also had some help from two designers.

competitive business pitch deck

Pitch feedback for Competitive.Business

I almost always try to go to events that I think can help Competitive Business. I invest some time, but the focus, the feedback and sometimes the buzz around my startup always helps.

I’ve been selected to pitch at Rockstart Answers organized by Rubik Hub in my town.

Pitch preparation

The team at Rubik Hub did a great job preparing all of the selected startups for the pitch event. We had a few training sessions with a lot of feedback on how to present.

It’s not my first pitch experience, not at all. I’ve pitched at several startup events with my last project; I know how valuable pitching events are: you are in the spotlight, it’s all about your startup.

At 4:00 am I had to prepare the video training pitch (in my pajamas).

Final pitch video of Competitive Business

Sadly, they have filmed only the end and the Q&A.

… and the pitch deck.

The actual pitch text

Image you are the CEO of a startup.

Your job, as the CEO, is to make strategic decisions. You are more likely to make the right decision if you are well informed, correct?

———

So, for 6 years, on my previous startup, I’ve been manually watching over competitors to check out their strategy on social media or ads, their pricing, their copywriting changes, lead nurturing and it paid off: I had the right product, the right price, the right strategy so I made a profitable startup.

Let me tell you why knowing your competitors can be good for your business:
It will help you position yourself and differentiate from the competitors in the user mind (most of the users will ask why should I choose you and not your competitor).
price changes of your competitors can affect your revenue (think of some seasonal offers or maybe a discount if the user did not convert after the trial ending)
investors ask in a pitch deck to have competitors slide and say why are you better? How easy it would be for your competitor to do what you do.
know where your competitors promote themselves, find out influencers, affiliates, webinars and so on

Keep in mind while you develop your business, the competitors are doing this as well. Don’t fall behind.

—-

Competitive.Business will deliver by email on a weekly basis your competitors’ online activity. It will only take a few minutes of your time to review any key insights and help you make strategic decisions with your team.

This is how it currently looks, simple interface with powerful filters so you can immediately see only what you are interested in.

Now think that if you would manually visit competitors from time to time, you would have to remember what you have seen last time and if they changed anything. You may visit them for nothing or even miss some of their moves.

Competitive.Business alerts you only when something new happens. All the key information will be delivered to your email and you may visit the website for more information.

 

We are currently in private beta.

2 weeks ago I invited 50 startup founders. We’ve done a lot of bug fixing and received good feedback.

I plan to launch publicly in December.

—-

My question to validate and improve the product is: What public information about your competitors would you pay for? or would you be interested in?

 

Feedback on my pitch

At the end of the event, I’ve received 43 written feedback from the audience.

While in 3 minutes there isn’t really enough time for anyone to fully understand the business, when a lot of people write the same thing, it’s something you should focus on and see if you can do something with it.

To address some feedback that kept repeating:

  • You should monitor price changes on e-commerce websites.
    I don’t want to monitor price changes, there are a lot of startups and well-established businesses that do that very well (not that there isn’t enough space to make another one), but I targeted people with a different need, those who want to have an idea of their competitors strategy, what works well for them and what doesn’t.
  • Budget spent on ads; keywords that help my competitors convert
    Very happy to see interested people on ads & keywords. The feature should be available on Competitive Business in a month or two.
  • I am interested in user acquisition/sales strategy
    We are already monitoring competitors account emails/newsletters, social media and soon ads

Do you have a pitch prepared for your startup? Have you ever pitched at a startup event? How was it?

Displaying “Alternative to” competitors is good for business

Many people are afraid to say to their users who their competitors are, but if you do it and do it right, you can convert users that would choose your competition if they are undecided.

You don’t need to send the users a message telling them who your competitors are, but you can create pages on your website where you show the advantages of using your business vs. your competitors (remember that you control your website content, so you can write whatever you want that will gain the visitor trust).

Keep in mind that you, as the business owner, know very well your competitors, their strengths, and weaknesses, but the average user is not focused as much as you to know all of this. They will believe what they read.

Visitors arriving at those pages want exactly that, to see the differences, the advantages of using your software.

Be sure to include what features you have that your competitors do not, write in your own words what do you do better, compare the price and if it’s higher, explain why. Make a list of Pros and Cons to be easier to read, add a few screenshots and maybe 3rd party review sites if your score is higher.

Your page should always end with a call to action so the visitor can register to your website or subscribe to a newsletter so they can enter yours on boarding funnel.

Benefits for displaying your competitors

A lot of people are searching on Google for alternatives: “alternative to or “vs.” or “compare“. They are either unhappy with their current solution or want to see if there is a cheaper solution or just undecided.

Those users are either unhappy with their current solution or want to see if there is a cheaper solution or just undecided.

alternative to google trends

Websites like Alternative To and G2 Crowd rely on people searching for this keywords.

Make sure you create a page on your business website so you may rank in front in Google so visitors arrive on your website.

Examples of websites that display their competitors

Chargebee comparing to Chargify and others

  1. Address the pain point of the visitor in the first paragraph: “Looking for a Chargify alternative?looking-for-chargify-alternative
  2. 3rd party reviews from G2 Crowdg2crowd 3rd party review
  3. Feature comparisonfeature comparation
  4. Clients testimonials that say why did they switch to Chargebee (very smart).clients testimonials
  5. Other clients highlightclients highlight
  6. Links in the footer with the competition (benefiting a lot for search engine traffic).footer link competition

Other good examples of businesses showcasing their competitors on their website (in a smart way).

Drift as Intercom alternative – they rank #4 on Google on keyword “intercom alternative”, in front of AlternativeTo.net

drift intercom alternative

Chatra as Drift alternative – ranking #2 on Google for “drift alternative” (probably until Intercom decides to create a page to showcase the alternative of Drift). They have a nice image in the header.

chatra vs drift

Intercom as alternative to Zendesk for Customer Support – intercom is also targeting the market, adding “customer support” (Zendesk Alternative for Customer Support | Intercom) or “live chat” (Olark Alternative for Live Chat | Intercom)

 

Startup Strategies Track Competitors

Startup strategies to keep track of your competitors

I remember when I started my last startup, Monitor Backlinks, that almost every day I was tracking my competitors’ websites, blogs, social media and try to figure out what they are up to, why did they do the things they were doing.

You have to be honest with yourself; competitors know a lot more than you do about your niche; they have been working for years trying to optimize their business, increase leads and conversion rates, while you are just starting. You don’t need to copy their every move, but at least stay up to date with what they do so you don’t waste time making the same mistakes or optimize your website and startup faster.

Strategies that will help you decide what can you learn from your competitors

Tracking your competitor site changes

You only need to review once most of the pages of your competitor, to get an idea on how they organize the information they publicly display to their visitors. Some pages will require you to come back and figure out if they have changed anything.

From my research, I saw that the homepage and pricing page could change every month (usually small stuff, like adding a testimonial, a certificate or an award badge, the copy of the text …). As an entrepreneur, you will most likely try to remember everything in your head, but you can also try Competitive.Business tool to track the website changes and have a clear history (visually and text) on what changes; also you will get alerted via email when something changes.

Monitor the blog and social media accounts

The blog and social media are where your competition marketing employees will write articles about their niche (so your niche).

Do not think that this is random text, just to have some content on their website; the topic of the articles are usually well planned, targeting specific keywords that are well researched to get high keyword rankings on Google and drive free inbound leads that their sales team can work.

You do not need to read all the articles from beginning to end carefully. It’s enough just to scan their headlines and try to figure out if that article was written to target specific keywords to rank in Google or if it’s a very long article, to be very well documented and their audience will find it excellent and link to them, boosting their startup website.

Also, your competitors’ will announce new or improved features on their blog and social media. That means that you are already a step behind when you read that article, but it’s better to know and think if it’s worth implementing for your startup or not. And don’t worry, you are working on something else that your competitors are not working on while they improved their app.

Trial emails and their newsletter

Create an account on your competitor website and keep track of what emails they are sending. You will learn their free trial conversion funnel and apply some of the strategies to your startup. It’s common that they might offer a discount after the trial ended, or invite the user to a 1-on-1 demo call.

Also, their newsletter may contain invitations to webinars. If they are doing this, it is a confirmation that that marketing channel works for them.

 

Takeaway for your startup

All of the above strategies are free to do manually, and they provide a ton of knowledge, you have no excuses if you don’t do it!

There is a lot more to talk about when tracking your competitors, but just remember, knowledge is power, but also, knowledge is time-consuming. Find a balance, focus on building your startup while keeping an eye on your competitors.