Competition is a fundamental aspect of business, and it comes in many different forms. In general, we can think of competition as being either direct, indirect, or future. Each type of competition presents unique challenges and opportunities, and businesses that fail to consider all three types may be setting themselves up for failure. In this blog post, we will explore the importance of businesses considering all three types of competition and how doing so can help them succeed in today’s dynamic business environment.
Direct competition refers to businesses that offer similar products or services to yours and are competing for the same customers. For example, if you run a coffee shop, your direct competition would be other coffee shops in the area. Direct competition can be fierce, as businesses are vying for the same customers and often have similar offerings. However, it can also be beneficial, as it can help to drive innovation and keep businesses on their toes.
Indirect competition refers to businesses that offer products or services that are not the same as yours, but still satisfy the same customer need. Continuing the coffee shop example, your indirect competition could be a tea shop or a juice bar. Indirect competition can be more challenging to identify and track than direct competition, but it is still important to consider because these businesses may be drawing away potential customers.
Finally, future (also known as replacement) competition refers to businesses that do not yet exist but may pose a threat to your business in the future. For example, if you run a taxi company, future competition could come in the form of ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft. Future competition is often the most difficult type of competition to anticipate, but it is essential to consider because it can help businesses prepare for potential disruptions in the market.
By considering all three types of competition, business leaders can gain a more comprehensive understanding of their competitive landscape and develop more effective strategies for success. Conducting a thorough competitive analysis is a great way to ensure all three types of competition are being considered during strategic planning. This involves researching and analyzing the strengths, weaknesses, and strategies of direct and indirect competitors, as well as identifying potential future competitors. This exercise will also help clarify the business’s current strengths, opportunities, and vulnerabilities.
Still, knowing the competitive landscape does no good if it doesn’t yield action. The results of the competitive analysis must be used to develop strategy, plan innovation, improve execution, and effect lasting change.