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Researching Your Competition

Jun 13, 2018

We have all heard the saying “know your competition.”  It doesn’t matter if in business or sports, you need to know who you are going up against.  When pursuing state contracts this is critical.  This sounds like common sense, but businesses rarely do an in-depth review of the companies they are competing against.  Think of it this way, would Bill Belichick, the winner of five Super Bowls, stop researching his competition, of course not.  Things change and you must adapt to those changes.  That is how the Patriots continue to be a winning franchise.  When people hear the word “research” they panic and think of hours of pouring over sales manuals and spreadsheets of your competition.  I believe that by following these few steps, you will be prepared to take on the competition.

First, you need to know yourself:  

  1. Identify the key services or products you want to supply.  Do not try to do everything, that is the recipe for disaster.
  2. Identify your strengths.
  3. Identify your weakness.   
  4. Develop a clear message to your customer.  Make sure the audience understands what you do and how you do it.
  5. Does your company provide a unique product or service that separates you from the competition?

Second, research your competition:

  1.  Do they operate in the same space as you?
  2.  Do they have the same products or services, if so, how are they different from yours?
  3.  What are their strengths?
  4.  What are their weaknesses?
  5.  Who are their partners?  Do they subcontract or supply with similar companies as yours?
  6.  Do they have a current state contract? 
  7.  How does their pricing compare to yours?

Third, use the tools:

I would suggest that you go beyond a simple Google search.  There are many products and websites available to help you obtain information on your competition.  The information that you should look for includes more than their website, also their financials, their successes and failures, parent companies, etc. 

When operating in the public procurement space make sure to look for information available on vendors.  Governments have become more transparent and are providing more information on vendors and vendor activities on their websites.  I believe that if you follow these steps and suggestion, you will be steps ahead of your competition.  Know more about them than they know about you. 

If you have any questions on how MLC can help your business before, during, or after the procurement process, please feel free to contact me at 517.372.2560 or tony@mlcmi.com.

Michigan Legislative Consultants is a bipartisan lobbying firm based in Lansing, Michigan. Our team of lobbyists and procurement specialists provide a wide range of services for some of the most respected companies in America. For more on MLC, visit www.mlcmi.com or connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.