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Define Your Competitors?


Competitors are companies in a business’s market that compete for customers. They may be direct rivals or indirect rivals.

Understanding your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses will enable you to win more business. It also allows for the identification of market gaps or potential expansion opportunities.

Direct Competition

Direct competition occurs when multiple businesses provide products or services with the same target audience. Rivals typically engage in fierce competition to gain a larger share of the market share.

Direct competitors can range from large corporations to smaller local businesses. For instance, two women’s fashion boutiques in the same town may be considered direct rivals as well as digital companies offering similar features to their customers.

As a small business owner, it’s essential to comprehend how much direct competition you have so that you can plan accordingly. Doing this will enable you to build an effective company and avoid becoming overwhelmed by rivals.

Being able to identify indirect competition can be essential for the growth of your business. Indirect competitors refer to businesses that serve similar client needs but aren’t directly competing with you on the same front – like when people want steak but have the option of going either to your restaurant or a pizzeria. Knowing this information will allow you to differentiate between both options effectively.

Companies strive to stand out from their rivals through unique selling points such as design, quality and price in order to attract customers.

For instance, if you’re selling a help desk software tool, your competitor might highlight the speedy and accurate support of customers. On the other hand, they might emphasize user friendliness and flexibility.

Online streaming services like Netflix and Amazon operate similarly; both provide a platform to watch movies and TV shows and compete against each other for customer attention.

Direct competition can present businesses with a difficult challenge, but it’s essential for growth. Without competition, you won’t reach your full potential. Therefore, monitoring and analyzing competitors is beneficial; this helps improve marketing strategies and foster better customer relationships for your business.

It’s essential to consider the ‘jobs-to-be-done’ theory, which suggests customers don’t actually select a product or service but instead select solutions to their ‘jobs-to-be-done’. That is why it’s critical to understand what your competitors do – in terms of fulfilling multiple jobs your customers need or want done – and how they do so.

If you run an e-commerce store, for example, direct competitors may include eBay and Alibaba. Additionally, indirect competition can come from online marketplaces like Pinterest or Etsy.

Indirect competition can be tricky to identify, yet business owners must still stay abreast of what’s going on. In today’s digital world, this means keeping an eye on your own website analytics and social media accounts.

Substitute Competition

Substitute competition occurs when companies in one industry compete against industries producing substitute goods. In such cases, the threat of substitutes impacts the competitive environment for firms within that sector and hinders their ability to achieve profitability.

Substitute competition, also referred to as indirect competition in Porter’s five forces analysis, occurs when one product or service in one market competes with another product/service in a different one. This threat can arise due to various factors such as the availability of substitute goods, consumer demand and price elasticity.

First, the presence of substitutes on a market can influence consumers’ preferences for the main item available. For instance, if one product has an exorbitant price and subpar quality, consumers may seek out cheaper versions to save money.

Second, substitute products can increase a product’s utility in a market by giving consumers more choices. For instance, consumers may select to purchase something that offers them an exclusive taste or texture like chocolate or coffee.

Third, substitute products can create fierce competition in a market as they often outperform a company’s primary offering. In extreme cases, substitute goods may even drive an existing company out of business altogether.

Substitutes can pose a low, medium or high threat depending on several factors like the cost of switching, whether a substitute product is cheaper than your industry’s offering and the functions, attributes or performance of the substitute.

For instance, if you sell a particular type of bread, the risk of substitution from another product within your industry or at lower costs than yours is high. Furthermore, it’s likely that this substitute product has the same attributes, functions and performance as your industry’s product.

Low prices may also apply if a substitute product is of equal or superior quality to your industry’s product. This is significant, as consumers are more likely to try and purchase the substitute if they’re satisfied with their existing purchase.

Finally, substitute competition can be highly volatile as it impacts all products on the market, even those unrelated to your industry’s offering or service. Businesses in an industry subject to substitute competition may need to spend more money than usual on advertising and promotions when competing for market share with rivals.

When conducting environmental scanning, the threat of substitutes should always be taken into account. This helps you anticipate future dangers that could negatively impact your business and position yourself to attract more customers. Furthermore, it identifies potential growth opportunities that could help expand operations within the organization.

Potential Competition

Potential competition is a type of competitive threat that is expected to enter a market in the future and could potentially compete with existing products. It differs from nascent competition, which has already entered an area but does not yet pose any direct threats to existing items.

Potential competitors are typically larger companies that have not entered a particular market yet but may do so in the future. For instance, if your business is residential painting, potential competitors could include much larger national firms selling painting supplies.

Potential competitors entering an antitrust market could make it more challenging for an incumbent to sell its current products there. In some cases, this could result in higher prices and/or limited innovation for the incumbent’s current items.

When a potential competitor is anticipated to enter a market, courts must evaluate the applicable antitrust law’s legal standards for assessing nascent competition – which differ from general antitrust laws that govern mergers and acquisitions. These standards are based on “but-for” analysis, which measures the effects of anticompetitive conduct in an absence of such conduct.

Although these theories have received much attention from courts and antitrust authorities, they are not universally accepted. Nonetheless, plaintiffs frequently use them to challenge a variety of mergers.

For example, the United States Supreme Court has twice rejected the actual potential competition theory in antitrust cases. In 1973, a company purchased another brewer’s New England beer business which failed to meet this standard. More recently, however, the FTC challenged an acquisition by a potential competitor of Within, a VR-dedicated fitness app.

Lower courts have come to consensus on certain elements of theory, yet remain skeptical about perceived and actual potential competition claims. Firstly, the relevant market must be concentrated with few other entrants; secondly, the acquiring firm must have access to enter without merger and thirdly, it should have a reasonable probability of increasing its market share by entering on its own.

Courts have required that an acquisition by the acquiring firm not result in lessening competition but rather its expansion. Furthermore, a but-for world must be defined which accurately reflects competing products and geographic markets; this requires careful evaluation of the acquisition firm’s competitive strategy, potential future products/markets it is expected to enter, as well as entry and development timelines all without regard to any anticompetitive conduct.

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