By: Andrea Helaine
Creating a competitive strategy as part of a marketing and business plan can aide you in competing in the marketplace and focus your efforts. When developing a competitive strategy, it is imperative that your organization determine if the advantage is sustainable over time. As you plan, it is crucial to adopt a competitive strategy in an organization to bring value to your consumers and the community.
1.) Identify the focus areas of your organization and how you differentiate yourself from the competition. Will your organization be a leader, follower or a company that provides challenges? Determine who your target consumer is and identify your target population. Consider what kind of clients you serve or will serve and their characteristics, what you will provide, and where you will provide them. This is important on several levels, as it will help your organizational strategy.
2.) Make a list of competing organizations in your area or online that may have part of the current or future market share. Rank the competition from the strongest competitor to the weakest and consider trends in the market that may affect its size and consumer base. Outline the strengths and weaknesses of companies that offer the same or similar services. You may consider breaking this into four distinct categories, including consumer base, funding/investors, human resources, and online or regional publicity. Making this determination can help you find ways to push yourself ahead as a leader in your market and give you methods of competing with others in the marketplace.
3.) Create a list that focuses on how you will expand your market. This may include finding new users, creating new customers or even encouraging more usage of specific products or services. Based on this information, consider how you can protect your current market, while increasing your relationship with untargeted consumers.
4.) Gather all the information you have created and write a statement that describes your organizational strategy and your competitive strategy. You may also consider writing a statement that brings the two together, focusing both on the competition and organizational strategies.
5.) Examine and discuss the competitive strategy with shareholders or other organizational executives. You need to determine if the statement can prove sustainable over the next several years. Once you have a consensus that the competitive strategy will remain sustainable, you can then adopt it as your organization’s business strategy.