Step One: Who Are My Competitors?
Step One: Getting StartedResearch
What do I Want to Sell?
The Next Step
Who Will My Customers Be?
Who Are My Competitors?
Where Should I Locate My Business?
How Do I Finance My Business?
Programs and Incentives for Minority and Women-Owned Small Businesses
The Business Plan
Your Final Decision: Analyzing the Facts
What Is My Business Objective?
A Word About Marketing
Small Business GuideAbout North Carolina
About Small Business Center Network
About NC Community College System
Step One: Getting Started
Step Two: Operating A Business
Step Three: Business Plan
Before deciding where to locate your business, you will want to find out about your competitors. Who are they? How many are they? Where are they located? Although there are exceptions, you probably will not want to locate your small business close to someone who would be in direct competition with you.
Finding out as much as possible about your competitors will help you in many ways. You may be able to avoid mistakes they made. You will gain information that will help you with decisions about where to locate your business, what to charge for your products or services, and ways to advertise your business.
How do I find out about my competitors?
If you have completed research about your industry and about your customers, you have already done some of the necessary homework for finding out about your competitors. Industry research will let you know, for instance, how many other businesses like yours are operating within your city or county. Customer research will guide you to where your potential customers are shopping and why. As part of your competitor research, you may want to ask potential customers survey questions geared to discover information about the competition. If they currently use products or services like yours, where are they buying them? What are they paying for them? What do they like and dislike about your competition?
Once your industry and customer research guides you to who your competitors are, visit their web sites (if they have one). You can learn a lot from a visit to your competitors' web sites. For instance, they may have information about prices, services, locations and contact information. The look and features of the web site itself will give you an idea of your competitor's professionalism and possibly his or her resources as well.
After visiting web sites, you may want to call your competitors directly to find out more about them. Ask the kinds of questions a customer would: questions about the prices they charge, the types of products and services they sell, turnaround time for service, etc. If your competitor has a shop, visit it for ideas about products and advertising.
Another way to find out about your competitors is to talk to other business owners who have had dealings with them. What kind-of service did they provide? What were the pros and cons of working with them?
Use the Competitors Worksheet to help identify and document your competitors.
This web site provides information about researching your competitors:
|For more information, contact:|
Community Programs Coordinator
Director of Small Business and Economic Development Programs