There is one mistake that businesses, bloggers, and marketers do that is so grave and grievous it will make your head spin. A mistake that could be fixed but more than likely you won't because you have no idea that it is even a mistake that you're making. So are you ready to know what this mistake is?

This may seem like a no brainer but you must know your competition, a swot analysis of sorts. Can you imagine going through your business strategy without knowing what is going on with everyone else? You'll have no knowledge of what is happening with your surrounding, especially your competition. Competition matters, so act like it.

Yep… The mist take that is being made is not learning about your competition. But let's be smart about this, If you're a leader at Starbucks, you wouldn't be SWOTing water. This is strategic and competitive.

How Can You Learn About The Competition?

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Website

First, check them out on their website. You can tell a lot about ones business or personality from their website. You can tell personality, the way a company operates, and how informed they are with what they are doing (Yes, this is a thing… Some companies don't have an overall goal and it is apparent). Don't keep any information bottled up, but be sure not to put the poisoned apple out there either. You want to supply a great portfolio and show that you're a model business.

For example, if their websites doesn't have contact information, that tells me that they aren't very personable. They seem to be a closed knit source. My thought is, if you have to pull teeth to get the information that you want, then move onto the next company in line. Is this how you want to come off to your consumers? If you're really stingy about your information being listed and you don't want it to be displayed, make a trade, ask for their email and send them your info.

Also look for an “about” section on their site. The about section will give you the knowledge about you want and need for what their site is. You'll be able to get an idea of how their business runs, what their values are, and where they started. This is their identity of sorts. This starts a test, if a consumer will get past the about section on their page, they're interested in what you're offering.

Social Media

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Like their website, their social media platforms will tell a lot about what they are all about. Mainly focus on a sites website to learn how they do business. For example, they may post sales or deals on their social media platforms. You'll gain the knowledge of what you need to know about monetization. You may not get the full picture, but you'll get an idea of what you need to know. Remember to follow this closely if you are really looking to get inside part of their monetization strategy. You may even get social tips that you didn't know you needed! This is a great way to look at global businesses without leaving your pad.

Their Facility

If this is an option, go to their facility. See how they have their brand or brands set up in person. Go and look at Zara Gucci or  Coco Chanel, they're premium fashion and will more than likely have an extravagant setup. Where as if you go to a Puma or Nike store you'll find more of a sporty image rather than anything geared toward clothing.  You don't have to go there to buy anything or as a business profession. Go as a consumer. Going as a consumer gives you the chance to give everything a look from your consumers point of view.

Seeing things from a different point of view is great, not only for you but for the rest of your team and your consumers as well. This gives you the opportunity to learn how consumers think, this give you a report to take back to show your team. Use this as a learning tool and visual of how you can be doing things differently.

The Questions You Must Ask When

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More than likely you're thinking about how you can ask these questions… Yeah, it's tricky. More than likely these are questions that you would ask at an interview in a more personal setting. But these questions can be very telling about a company. You can also ask these question to yourself when trying to learn more about your competition.

Are Values Recognized?

You'll find out if the company values their employees. Valuing employees is the first place to start. If they value their employees, they value their consumers. The definition of a company should be found in the values.

Are Employees Allowed to Grow and Learn As They Please?

This goes along with the recognized values. If a company is willing to recognize their employees' equity and happiness, more than likely they are willing to recognize the happiness of their customers.

Are There Future Plans For The Company?

More than likely, finding out what the future will look like will tell you how they are going to perform in the now. Your goals may be different than the company you are scoping out, but you can learn from their answers. This could lead to the evolution to your company.

What Makes You Proud To Work For This Company?

If you were to ask me this questions, my answer would be, “The pride I have knowing that I am a team. The knowledge that I learn each day and the security knowing that I will never be bored”. How would you answer this question? The sentiment behind the companies answer will say a lot not only about their branding, but their company as well. You aren't just a name or a price tag to them.

You would probably respond negatively to someone who answers with a negative response. For example, if someone were to say, “Nothing, I am not prideful at all” or “I am not sure… the coca cola is pretty good, yum!”, you wouldn't have a positive thing to say about that.

More than likely, you'll learn how to treat your employees and customers but you'll learn there is more to a business, than just business.

What Is One Thing You Would Change About This Company If You Could?

Take note about this one. What a company would change about their company is what they don't like about their company or what isn't working. Maybe this is something that you could take away from or change with your company. A change with employee positioning isn't a big answer, but if they say something about creating a chain, this means he or she has big thoughts about this company.

How To Utilize the Info You've Got

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Set Yourself Apart

Set yourself apart from your others. Now that you're in the know, you are able to set different goals and standards for your company; You can get national results. Give the outside world knowledge and intel on why you are different from other companies. Don't mudsling, but just let your consumers know that there is something different to look for from yourselves and your company. Showcase yourself!

You May Be Able To Set Your Communication To A Higher Bar

Communication is the key in any relationship. Why would a marketing relationship be any different than a personal relationship? It wouldn't. By being informed of the competition and what they have, you can communicate what you need to do or what needs to be done to execute the plan.

Communication doesn't have to be words, have a pdf file with tips and tricks reminding everyone of your values or write a poem that all your employees will remember. There can be images or pictures or a packet explaining what you need. Be sure that you execute a level of communication that is understood by every single member of the team so that everyone can communicate to your consumers effectively.

You'll Be Clear Who Your Competitors Are

You will know exactly who your competition is. Apple's competition is Samsung. The crows competition is the dove. Ethan Allen's competition is VF. Knowing the competition is the first step. What you do with the knowledge that you have is where this knowledge is important. There will be similar businesses in the area or close to you, but sadly some of them won't even be competition, whereas others will be blatant, exemplary examples of competition.

You'll Be Able to See A Return On Sales

You'll be able to see a return on sales? How? This isn't something that will be instantaneous. Remember how I said that you'll have a clear sight on who you competition is? By knowing and understanding how your competition acts and reacts, you'll be able to make a plan to “one up” the competition. When your consumers see that you've taken things up a notch, they'll want to understand where the change is coming from. Thus, leading to a spike in sales.

In Case Those Tips Didn't Work

We've left our biggest tip for last. The other tips that we've given you will give you a wonderful starting point to get your foot in the door to get the knowledge that you need to get the know on your competition. After you've utilized the first three tips, you'll be a pro. You'll more thank likely be able to figure out the analytics of a business and get a good idea of what they've got going.

BUT! And this is a big but… You'll also need the knowledge to:

Rank higher than your competitors on Google.

Get higher conversion rates.

Improve strategies.

And lastly, how to save time and money understanding what is working for your competitors and what isn't.

Zaid Ammari is your guy. He will take you as a digital marketer, a small business owner, or an SEO expert through this course to teach you how to do all of this and more. I mean, how amazing is this guy to show you all of this in a compact two and a half hour video?? All you need is internet access.

Don't think that because you know who your competition is, you know what is actually going on with them. Dig deep to get a good feel for the people and businesses you call your competition. This is a learning curve. Once you know your competition, you'll have the tools to take them down. Well… Not really, but you'll have the tools to gain yourself their ideas, their customers, and their revenue. Be smart and play it smart and you'll have a smart business strategy and a great business analysis.