Monday Challenge: Writing a Business Plan: Week Four

As a recap, during week one of writing our business plan, we created our Purpose Statement; week two, we created our vision statement and  monetary goal. Week three we began by delving into what we sell, both products and ideas.  Next we want to take a look at our competition on Etsy.

Why study the competition? We have to look at our competition in order to see where we stand in the marketplace. We want to know what other shops customers may do business with over us. And we want to know why they would do business with the competition over us. This information will allow us to create a  marketing plan to reach more of our customer base.

Who are our primary competitors?  These are the shops that meet the same customer needs as our shops and currently dominate our individual markets.

We are going to do a small market analysis to get us started:

First, pick out the three primary competitors in your individual market. (For me, this would be the top sellers of crochet housewares.)

Next, study each of the three and determine their strengths:

What draws customers to their shop? Is it shop cohesiveness, photographs, pricing, product uniqueness?

What makes their product unique?

What “idea” are they selling?

Look at their About Page. Visit their Facebook page, blog, or website. Are they marketing heavily offsite?

Are they a member of a treasury team? a promotional team?

Next, based on the competition, determine if there are improvements you need to make to your own shop to get in line with, or exceed, what the competition is doing. Do you need better photos, a more cohesive shop, a price increase? Do you need to do a better job of selling your “idea?”

Is the competition doing something that you can’t compete with? For example, they use live models and you don’t.

Is there any negative impact for the customer from this? Example, they use live models which might mean they have to charge more for their products.

Is this something you could use to your advantage? Your products are cheaper because you don’t spend money for live models.

Just as valuable as analyzing competitor’s strengths is analyzing their weaknesses. What is missing from the competition? What could you provide customers that they can’t provide, or are not currently providing?

For discussion, this thread.

Our competitive analysis should not end with this initial research. It should be a continuing business practice! Otherwise, how will we make it to the top if we don’t know what the top is?

And now… we have….


…a headless elephant:)

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