Halloween is filled with spookiness, haunted houses, ghosts, goblins and the like. Don’t let the scares and surprises of the season creep into your business. It’s a fact that if you don’t keep your eyes and ears open, you could be in for a real shock.
In a previous post, Owler CEO Jim Fowler (@Fowlinator) discusses the three reasons the best leaders keeps tabs on competition. Gathering competitive intelligence is important in today’s competitive business environment, and business professionals need to be well informed of competitors’ movements in the marketplace, and be prepared for whatever may come. Owler gives critical insights like information on the competition’s funding, staffing increases, and breaking developments that may affect your business.
Filter the noise
Getting complete knowledge can often be a challenge when the landscape is cluttered, and it’s just too noisy wading through the muck to reach the data you need.
Instead focus on a single source of competitive intelligence that does the heavy lifting for you, filtering through news and alerts, and sending curated news on the companies that matter to you.
Read the tea leaves
Witches, fortune tellers and mystics read the loose leaves or even coffee grounds in tea cups, looking at the patterns and divining their meaning. When a business professional gets usable data, it’s like tea leaves in a cup – something awesome may be in there, but they need to know how to read them. Think outside the box – and ask what do these member contributed signposts mean?
Has a main competitor seen a sharp rise in their estimated staff count? Maybe they are preparing to ramp up production on an existing product, or are getting ready to deploy staff into a new market.
As a business professional, you have to be aware of market dynamics and know if you’re being outsmarted – or hopefully outperforming the competition. Risk assessment is a must – when you read and know the changes happening in the external business environment, you’re prepared for how they will influence internal decisions – for example marketing strategy, as well as the long term view of the company.
Protect your blind side
Survey the landscape and examine which past surprises – both the threats that came out of left field, and the missed opportunities that affected your business. It’s much easier to spot the zombies and ghouls on the horizon when you know what you’re looking for, and it’s always easier to defend a weak spot when you know where they are.
If a business is susceptible to volatile changes in commodity prices, or is dependent on a particular supplier for the next two quarters, it will want to have a keen eye open for alerts on those vulnerabilities. On a larger scale – professionals operating in an industry that could be crippled by new regulation, can’t afford to be the last to know – advance warning will allow them to tackle it head on, lobby and influence the regulation if possible, or pivot the business if necessary.
Owler’s Competitive Graph is also extremely useful for protecting blind spots – by discovering new and unknown competitors. This secret potion even allows professionals to map a competitor’s competitors – It lets you see them coming from a mile ahead.
According to Jim Fowler, “Monitoring the competitive landscape requires discipline. Fortunately, technology makes it easier than it’s ever been. With the importance of thoroughly understanding your competitive arena and the ease with which it can be accomplished today, there’s no reason to not keep tabs on your competition”.
Capitalizing on Treats
Be on the lookout for opportunities that exist with a pre-defined SWOT analysis, while at the same time being prepared to seize opportunities that may not even be on the radar. The best businesses are prepared and responsive.
For example, you may discover through Owler that a competitor suddenly exits a segment of the market that could immediately be serviced by your products. Or, a competitor’s next big move may represent a drain on their resources, opening up the opportunity to strike at a newly exposed achilles heel .
Similarly, breaking news stories delivered in the Daily Snapshot about deregulation in an industry, could mean it’s time to set up a new planning and implementation team in anticipation of the opportunities presented.
Increase your data points
Unfortunately, identifying upcoming opportunities can be a challenge without sufficient data points. And, the time to analyze these data points, which let’s face it, most of us don’t have a ton of time for.
Owler’s community includes over 800,000 active business professionals that contribute unique insights at a rate of every 10 seconds. This crowdsourced business data is radical, disruptive and efficient. It’s changing the landscape of business information in the same way Wikipedia did for encyclopedias. You can read more on crowdsourcing as the new model for collecting competitive intelligence on our blog here.
Reliable, up-to-date data
Business information is fluid, and ever changing. Business professionals require the latest information to make the most critical and strategic decisions. Having stale or out-of-date company information can lead to poor decisions and serious long term ramifications. Meeting this challenge, the Owler community is responsive in a way no traditional business data company could ever be.
Owler’s community of business professionals provide 30,000 unique pieces of business insights each day, supplying the most up-to-date, reliable source of crowdsourced competitive intelligence on the market.
So, remember to keep your eyes peeled, your ears open, and protect your blind side. Stay ahead of the ghosts in the data and make your own sweet treats with Owler.