Not knowing about or keeping up with your competition can be the difference between success or failure for a business. Do research on their strengths and weaknesses, and how they market their business. and their prices! You can use this info to help you later develop a sales strategy and pricing strategy. PLUS they can definitely help you in figuring out some of your customer segment info!
Visit them, check them out online, and talk to their customers!
Go to your geographic area and explore
Then know everything about them!
What kind of quality do they have?
Who are their customers?
What are their price points (this is 1 strategy for pricing for yourself).
What makes them better?
What makes them worse?
What do they do different? The same?
What are their sales?
If needed, stand in the business and take real counts of sales, customers, how many just look and leave, how many come in and buy, how many return, how many.... etc. You get the point!
Is there a market gap? Meaning is something missing in the market that customers want that you can fill in?
Remember that there is indirect and direct competition. For example if you were to open up a café in downtown Lowell, you might think that competition is all the other café and lunch spots. But an indirect competitor would also be when someone brings lunch from Market Basket instead of going out. Think of indirect competition as another solution that customers may want, but that doesn't fall in the same category as what you are providing.
A mobile dog grooming business based out of Maine.
Click here to see the information they gathered about their key customers.
What similar information do you need to figure out for your business?