Keeping tabs on your competition is a great strategy for growing your business. Follow these tips, from fellow small business owners, on which tools are best and how to get started.


 Whether you want to admit it or not, they’re out there and they’re hungry for your customers. While it might seem unfair given everything else you need to keep on top of in building up your business, you might want to consider devoting the time and energy into keeping tabs on your competition You can then plan your own strategies so that you keep your customers and win (not steal) customers away from competitors.


  • Tap the social network. Of course, given how companies are increasingly using social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter as marketing outlets these days, you might be able to pick up interesting facts about your competition—and maybe even your own company—just by tuning in.
  • Ask your customers. When it comes to identifying sources of information about your competition, don’t skip over the obvious ones—like your customers. Customer expectations can change dramatically when economic conditions are unstable. Find out what matters to your customers now – is it lower price, more flexible service, the latest products? Revise your sales and marketing strategy accordingly.
  • Attend a conference. Attending industry trade shows and conferences—as well as joining industry associations—can be a great way to learn about who your competitors are and what they’re offering
  • Check in with your suppliers. If you work in an industry where you share the same suppliers as your competitors, it could pay to ask them some simple questions. Talk to your suppliers and spend time getting to know them.

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