Ideas are not unique. Everyone has them. Your business idea is been thought of by me, your friends, people in another town etc. We are your competitors. However, we may seem to all be your competition but we are not. It is important to clearly define your competition. Why? Let us use Inteco to illustrate.
When we started out the competition was PNG’s Always and other brands in the market. Those were the customers’ alternatives. The business was now a sanitary pad manufacturing business. This meant that Inteco was a sanitary pad company which is not true. I was not convincing users to ditch Always for example and try Inteco’s. Inteco had no sanitary pad of its own.
After long hours of reflection I realized that my alternatives were not other pad companies but retail shops. The supermarkets, the chemists, the local kiosks and I were competing to deliver this service to the customers. This paradigm shift changed the entire playing field. It changed how we marketed the service.
Another change was defining what we are selling. Initially I had put down that our product was sanitary pads. That was Inteco’s main activity. Later on I realized this was also untrue. We were not in the business of selling pads because we had none of our own. We were selling a service to the users. This had a drastic impact on our marketing. Our focus moved from making people focus on the sanitary pad to the benefits of the machine as a whole. This way our customer is not focused on the brand of sanitary pad but on the overall function of the machine.
I hope the illustration helped you understand the importance of defining your competitors correctly. The same way you can have a market niche is the same way you should have a competitor niche. In the previous post you have defined your alternatives. I believe this approach will save you the trouble of defining the competition wrongly the way I did at the beginning.
Until next time