Identify direct competitors

1. Create a spreadsheet named Direct Competitors.

2. In the first column, add rows for Business Name and Market Availability, then Product/Service and Value rows for every product you offer.

3. In the second column, fill in the information in each row for your own business.

Fill in the market availability based on where your business can distribute or supply your products, such as national, regional, state, local, or online/global.  In the Values row, enter the problems that your product solves. In the case of headphones, for example, you could write down listening to music, taking phone calls, or isolating noise.

4. Ask members of your sales team which other businesses are often mentioned by prospects and add a column for each.

As additional research, you may even ask your sales team or customer service/satisfaction team members to connect with brand advocates to see which other businesses they also considered before choosing you.

5. Search online for each product you offer and write down the name of each business that offers the same or similar.

The first two pages of results are enough.

6. Search online for the values you’ve listed for each of your products and list any products that share the same values in the next blank column.

Use the phrase how to best ____ and fill in the blank with each value. For example, how to best isolate noise. A similar product that would likely appear in search results might be earplugs. List this in the product/service row.

7. Search each product you’ve identified that share the same values as yours and document the business that offers them.

The first page of search results is sufficient. You may have to create additional columns, as there will likely be several businesses for each product. For example, write down any businesses that make earplugs, creating another column for each business that makes them.

8. Search the website of each business you have listed and fill in the fields created in the spreadsheet.

Take note of any additional products they offer that are the same as or similar to yours and their respective values, as well as the business’s market limitations. Repeat this process until the business name, market limitations, products, and values are complete for each business.

9. Highlight similar products, values and business names in a color.

Similar businesses are businesses that share at least one product or value, as well as the same market availability, with you.

10. Shift the column with most highlighted fields to the immediate right of your business.