By now, you’ve definitely heard President Trump accuse President Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower during the campaign against Hillary Clinton. It makes for great headlines and does pique interest. But at this juncture, there’s not much information about the veracity of the allegation. However, it does serve as a reminder of what goes on behind-the-scenes for those seeking to beat out the competition. And, it can be found in just about any aspect of life, social or professional. One thing is sure — you need to know what your competition is doing so you make informed decisions.
How to Spy on Your Competitors
You might recall a spying scandal erupting in the NFL a few years ago, when the league ordered the New York Jets locker room searched for bugs before a game against the New England Patriots. That’s now a forgotten incident. But it does demonstrate how far some organizations will go. Spying is part of business because you need to be in-the-know. Otherwise, you’ll fall prey to the fake it until you make it fallacy.
Competitors. 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. Keeping tabs on your competition is a great strategy for growing your business. —Inc.com
Okay, so it isn’t necessary to go the corporate espionage route. There are plenty of ways to learn what your competitors are up to and how they are doing it. This is particularly helpful in circumstances where you’re trying to survive a sales slump or want to gain a foothold on a new revenue stream. Regardless of the reason, you do need to have a solid idea of what your competition is doing to be competitive yourself. So, here are some helpful suggestions about how to spy on your competitors:
- Ask vendors about your competition. You’re probably using at least one or two of the same third-party vendors. And, it’s likely you chit-chat with them regularly. Put that time to good use to nonchalantly ask about your competitors. If it’s appropriate and you feel comfortable, ask more detailed questions.
- Do a little cyber snooping on your own. A quick Google search will turn up a lot of information. You’ll also find public records online. In addition, you should definitely be perusing their websites and social media profiles. Their websites and social media accounts will likely be a treasure trove of useful information.
- Become a secret shopper or hire someone. Another way to spy on your competition is to become a customer. You’ll find real value in being a secret shopper. But if you’re known to your competition, you can always hire someone to do a little secret shopping.
- Look at your competitors’ job openings. Keep tabs on your competitors’ job postings because these will reveal key details. You’ll be surprised at what you are able to glean from a job description.
- Talk to former employees and partners. Yet another source of information about your competitors are their former employees and business partners. You’ll be able to gain a significant amount of insight through these sources. And, if you gain customers because they left your competition, be sure to ask why.
What methods do you use to keep tabs on your competition? Have you found good ways to stay in-the-know? What other suggestions do you have to gain a leg up? Please share your thoughts and experiences!