This article describes how to benchmark your competitors and offers several areas to focus on. Accompanying this article is a free template for you to get started with competitor bench marking. The best way to benchmark is to look at your own business first so you can compare yourself with your competitors. Follow this process on your own organisation and then turn your thoughts on your competitors.
Description of the business
Looking through the eyes of your competitors, what industry and niche do they think they operate in? A compelling, interesting and initially simple question to help you understand what a competitor is – What does the company do? And why?
What are their strategic objectives? Do they achieve them, or are they just platitudes? Is there anything missing in their strategic goals that you exploit?
What are their missions, vision, values and are they all written down? Are they real or just virtue signalling without any substance? Do their stated goals reveal what happens, and you see any discrepancies, like poor communication or misaligned systems? Do you think the business has more than one strategy at play? If so, are they agreed on the other strategy?
Customers, products and markets
What products do they offer and what do they not provide? With these products or services, what sort of customers do they prospect? Which kind of prospective customers do they avoid? Which markets are they in and which markets do they think they are in? Are there any markets they are struggling in or entirely missing out on? Try and find out if they have left any markets in the last few years or stopped supplying certain products and services. And find out why.
Which part of the industry are they not strong or ignore completely? Why are they focusing on these customers and not others? Why are they creating these products (or providing these services) and not others?
Beliefs and assumptions
What are their beliefs and assumptions, and do they differ from those of the industry’s they are in? How do they think they have gained a competitive advantage, and does this differ from others in the industry sector? What distinguishes them from you? Can you challenge any the assumptions?
What skills does your competitor have, which are better than what you can do? And is it a sustainable competitive advantage? How are the company regarded in the industry or by outside experts? Do outsiders see their strategy different from what they do?
What are the company’s strengths in creating a world-class organisation, and what are the biggest challenges they face, which prevents them from becoming world-class?
This article called how to benchmark your competitors and offered a number of areas to focus on. The article is accompanied by a free template for you to get started with competitor benchmarking.