As part of your overall business plan, it’s very helpful to figure out who your competitors and your potential business partners might be. Sometimes one organization/person could be either a partner or a competitor, depending on how you structure your business. Sometimes we might even revise our business plan depending on who out there might be competing with us or who might be a potential partner.
Friend or Foe?
Partnerships can provide you with many resources and skills you don’t have. It’s important to think about what the partners would want in order to sustain good relationships with them.
What your competitors do can impact your business. By identifying who your competitors are, and by learning more about them, you can find ways to make your business different.
You’ll discover that most of the people or organizations that you may at first have thought of as “competitors” are actually potential “partners,” if you look at them and approach them in the right way. If you can swing it, it’s much better to have a number of organizations helping you, rather than competing with you!
How do you figure out your partners and competition?
Use your Landscape of Players analysis to identify potential partners and competitors for your business. Let’s use the Grow-Well baby food business as an example.
Grow-Well Landscape of Players
Based on the outcomes of your Capabilities and Resources Analysis and Revenue/Income Streams exploration (i.e., the ‘What do I need to make it happen?’ and ‘Where is the money?’ challenges) think about the following:
- Could there be other potential partners or competitors?
- Is it possible that the roles change depending on your business strategy?
For example, online experts and bloggers could help promote Grow-Well and its brand, but if part of what Grow-Well wants to offer is online information on nutrition for parents, then maybe Grow-Well would be competing with those online experts.
Define your top 5 partners and competitors. For partners, think about what you want from them and what would make them want to work with you, as opposed to with your competitors. For competitors, think about what they are really good at and how you could differentiate yourself from them, because of what you’re really good at.
Doing a thorough analysis of your potential partners and competitors, and understanding how you can stand out from the crowd is a very important part of being an entrepreneur.