Whether you are conducting a strategic planning session, developing your marketing plan or creating your brand, knowing your competitors is a key to success. As Sun Tzu said in The Art of War, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.”
But exactly which competitors should you study and compare? You don’t want to dive deeply into every peer group and crunch numbers on your entire market. As with all things involved in strategy you should focus.
In a recent pre-strategic planning session I was conducting with a client one of their board members had a fantastic recommendation. He noted there were some competitors you want to study for growth purposes, some for similarity purposes and some for financial purposes.
Here are four key competitors to compare and analyze:
- Fastest Growing—In your market who has outrageously fast growth? This could apply to assets, loans, new consumers or other key ratios you study. Speed matters, especially in today’s quickly paced financial services environment. Blink and a competitor can pass you. Do they have some secret sauce they are using? Examine whether or not they are employing different tactics than you. Are they buying business through special rate deals or is their growth more organic in nature?
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