Two Killer Things They Need Before They Attack
For a competitor to decide on an action, they need two killer things. Two things to enable them to move into a new market, acquire a company, attack your market, enter your country, take your customer etc. They need capability and intent. Simple and true. When assessing what your competitor will do next decide if they have the capability and intent. Both are needed to become a significant threat.
What are their Capabilities
Many companies will have the capability, but the intent is not there; they will not take action, and if they do, they will do so half-heartedly. From micro to geopolitical level, if the intention is backed up by capability, their chances of success are higher. You better be prepared for a fight. Look at Iran and the USA. The USA has the capability, but do they have the intent? The Iranians may have the intent, but do they have the capability?
What are their intentions?
Thinking about intentions and capabilities is one way to develop a strategy much more straightforward. Intentions are a fickle foe and can suddenly change. On the other hand, capabilities are usually relatively stable.
In the military, for instance, capabilities are a mix of doctrine, hardware, and personnel. Their armed forces. They are real, accountable, and they are not going to disappear next week. Also, they are not going to reallocate submarines to the air force to become fighter jets. And this makes competitors capabilities much more straightforward to analyse than trying to work out their intent.
Finally, the mistake many people (and some of our own competitors) make is assuming capability is the same as intent. Or, worst case completely, they ignore intent. So, do you what more answers to the questions you need to ask? Does your competitor possess those two killer things?