Hwody folks – I am the author of the above title – and each morning, over coffee, I like to hold a virtual book reading. Today’s passage if a FAVORITE TOPIC of mine and relates to competition. You ahve it, I have it, everyone has it!
Harry Brelsford, CEO at smb nation www.smbnation.com
Microsoft Small Business Specialist SBSC, MBA, MCSE, MCT, MCP, CNE, CLSE, CNP
PS – did u know I host a technology conference in the New York City area each spring? Save the date for March 6-8, 2009 and watch “voice meet data” in the SMB space!
PPS – my SBS 2008 book will be out in mid-November 2008!
PPPS – my Microsoft Response Point Primer book is here NOW!
In the business of writing a business plan, the fastest way to lose credibility is to proclaim “I don’t have competition!” That simply isn’t so. Not only are you fooling yourself, but you won’t be taken seriously if your business plan
is being used to impress other stakeholders, such as a spouse, lender, or landlord.
Competition is typically discussed in a business plan as primary and secondary competition. Don’t ignore this section.
The primary competition includes the other entities against which you are most likely to bid. This might be other individuals providing similar SMB consulting services, often people you know. Your primary competition should receive your greatest attention, both in your SMB business plan and your day-to-day operations.
BEST PRACTICE: Be sure to bookmark your primary competitors’ Web sites and have a Favorites folder titled COMPETITION. Revisit these sites frequently to monitor what services your primary competitors are offering, what marketing message they are communicating, and what rates are being charged.
Another time-tested trick to monitor your competition is to walk the show floor at tradeshows. Visit the booths of your competition. You’ll see what other SMB consultants are doing and what emerging industry trends are.
This broader category of competitors can potentially range from the high school student who works in technology at a fraction of your billing rate to the big consulting firms that are testing the SMB consulting space. Firms like IBM will periodically try SMB consulting and charge significantly more per hour than most SMB consultants. Be sure to include a list of secondary competitors in your SMB consulting business plan so that these other forms of competitors remain uppermost in your mind. If you don’t think that’s necessary, then you may go the way of the once-popular railroads, which would have been smart to consider secondary forms of competition, such as road and air travel.