- Assess How Your Home Business Contributed to Your Goals
- Review your Customer Acquisition and Retention Strategies
- Analyze the Financial Numbers of Your Business
- Think of a Backup Plan for Your Business
- Analyze Your Web Analytics
- Prepare Your Mind for New Challenges Ahead
- Assess Your Marketing Strategies
- Make a List of Strategies that Worked
- Check Your Competition
- Develop Your Goals and Strategies for Next Year
- How to Start a Successful Small Business
Check out your competitors. You don’t operate in a vacuum. Hence, it is important that you take time to see what your competitors are up to. Big businesses have departments dedicated solely to understanding the competitive landscape. Just because you don’t have dedicated manpower to find out what others are doing doesn’t mean that you can’t do it.
- Identify your competitors, both old and new. Are there any upcoming businesses that cater and address the same consumer needs as you are?
- Analyze their product offerings, including quality of their goods and services. Are there similarities to yours, or are they offering something that you are not? See the strengths and weaknesses of their products.
- Review how they offer their products. Check their prices and see how yours compare to them. How is their customer service?
- Review their web sites. What have they done differently this year? How does their web site compare to your site, in terms of navigation, look and aesthetics, and overall feel? Are there new content or features on their site? If you are in the same online retailing space, are there new product categories or lines? The web site is the first place where you can investigate about your competition. Make a list of the approaches and strategies they use on their site, and see how they differ from yours.
- Look them up on the social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, among others. This is how you can find out quickly about the latest happenings with your competitors and what strategies they are using to market to their audiences and increase their reach.
- Compare their web presence with yours. Analyze their web site to see where their strengths lie, especially if they rank higher than your site. Use a keyword competition check tool or Yahoo Site Explorer to check the number of backlinks your competitors have and who are linking to them. Examine their title tags and how they use their keywords on their pages. Look at how they craft their copy and their call to action.
- Lay out your plans as to how you will compete with your competitors. How can you offer better quality products? Will you compete based on price by lowering your prices while making sure that you don’t severely undercut your margins? Or will you offer something extra special in terms of customer service?