All too often, the competitive efforts of many companies are internally focused. Many businesses seek to develop better products and services without knowing enough about their competition.
To truly hone your competitive edge, you need to constantly ask one simple question: “What are they up to now?” And the best way to get answers is through the practice of competitive intelligence.
Legal and ethical data gathering
In the information age, companies have a strategic imperative to analyze every bit of data they can on what the competition is doing at all times. Of course, ‘at all times’ does not mean ‘at any cost.’ Competitive intelligence is the process of legally and ethically gathering data on competitors. And your purpose is not to undercut what they are doing but to anticipate trends, compare best practices and target opportunities.
What you need to track
Specifically, you need to stay apprised of your competitors’ product and service lines, financial standing, and market position. You also should track whether the competition is expanding or contracting. Mergers, acquisitions, or strategic alliances could mean you need to play defense, while closures or bankruptcy may mean it is time to go on the offensive.
Crafting a policy
Before you dive into competitive intelligence, it is important to establish a formal policy governing your efforts. Please contact our firm for assistance. We can help you craft a policy, in consultation with your attorney, that enables you to gather the right information while minimizing the inherent risks involved.