Consultant’s Corner: Competitive Analysis

Competitive Analysis header

Q: As a small business owner, how should I determine next steps for my business in areas where I am experiencing uncertainty?

Amid the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, much uncertainty remains. Rising numbers of confirmed cases in metropolitan areas have forced governments in certain states to order additional business closure requirements, adding to the uncertainty of operating a small business.

Whenever a business owner is uncertain of a next step in any aspect of their business, especially when times of hardship are being experienced across the country, it is important to understand what competing local businesses and similar operations in other areas are doing to accomplish their goals.

Conducting a competitive analysis is a way for small business owners to identify and evaluate comparable businesses’ sales and marketing efforts, customer service policies, and other business processes and procedures. Doing so will help a small business owner determine areas in which they need to improve in their own operation, and areas in which they may have a competitive advantage. An in depth knowledge of industry and competitor business practices allows a business owner to understand their business’s position within a particular market and set goals to improve and/or maintain their position.

To assist you in conducting your own competitive analysis we have selected the following resources that outline the process in detail. The resources provided also detail conducting a competitive analysis for an online business.

Your ability to conduct a comprehensive competitive analysis will depend upon the information you can obtain from a variety of sources, including competitors’ websites, published marketing materials, library publications, internet searches, and other research resources.

The first resource provided below includes a general, high-level overview of the competitive analysis process, breaking down each of these nine steps:

  1. “Determine who your competitors are.
  2. Determine what products your competitors offer.
  3. Research your competitors sales tactics and results.
  4. Analyze how your competitors market their products.
  5. Take note of your competition’s content strategy.
  6. Analyze the level of engagement on your competitor’s content.
  7. Observe how they promote marketing content.
  8. Look at their social media presence, strategies, and go-to platforms
  9. Perform a SWOT Analysis to learn their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.”

For a more in-depth discussion, you can visit:

Online Business Specific Resource:

Taylor Hughes

Taylor Hughes

Taylor Hughes is a Small Business Consultant with and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Management from the University of Alabama. He has been part of the team since 2017. Taylor helped launch an outdoor recreation company near Yellowstone National Park, and has worked in logistics with John Deere.