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Six Ways To Analyse Your Competition In Business

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You can’t solve a problem or take advantage of an opportunity until you know it exists. You can’t be creative in generating alternatives until you have a reason to do so. Rational techniques for environmental analyses focus on standard control processes and environmental scanning, but there are more recent, less traditional approaches that we will discuss today.

All companies want to be the best in their industry, but what does it take to do so? In a live trends news, Andrew King and Karim R Lakhani write for the Harvard Business Review how benchmarking against others can help determine if you are actually doing better or worse than your competition.

Companies benchmark their best practices to track the progress of their competitors, identify potential problems with their own company’s performance and set goals for improvement. The following list some new ways to conduct your own environment scans:

Benchmarking

The term ‘benchmarking’ is used to describe the process of measuring and comparing a firm’s performance with that of its competitors. While this practice has been around for over 50 years now, organisations have started using this only in recent decades as part of their strategic plan by choosing specific initiatives where they want to be number one or two within an industry.

A true benchmark comes from something measurable such as sales per square foot (for retail stores), quality ratings (in healthcare) or and customer satisfaction levels.

 

Advantage Of Benchmarking

  • Benchmarking helps to identify the best practices in a certain field.
  • It is a method of comparing one’s performance with that of others.
  • It can be used for analysis, diagnosis and problem-solving.
  • It provides an opportunity to learn from other organisations’ successes and failures.
  • Benchmarking is a systematic process that involves identifying key aspects of the organisation’s operations, then collecting data on these aspects from comparable organisations.
  • The benefits of this method are: improved efficiency, increased productivity, better quality products or services, reduced costs and improved customer service.
  • Benchmarking is a cost-effective way to reduce costs.
  • Benchmarking can help you find the best suppliers for your company.
  • Benchmarking can help you identify competitive advantages in your industry.
  • It’s easier to benchmark when you have an existing system in place.
  • You don’t need to be big or well-known to benefit from benchmarking.
  • There are many ways that companies use to benchmark. Some of them are more effective than others, so it’s important to know which ones work best for you and which ones will give you the most accurate results.

Phantom Competitors

There is such a thing as ‘phantom competitors’, which gives off the impression of being ahead of the rest when they are really not even close. Phantom competitors are a concept in a market where you can’t see your competition. This is because when customers search for solutions to the problems they face, they don’t consider all of their options equally. They may only look at one or two different ways that could solve their problem before settling on what seems like the best idea.

The result is that oftentimes, there are other companies out there who offer similar products and services but never get seen by potential customers because they’re not considered during customers’ searches.

Best Practices

Companies that try to beat others’ ‘best practices’ may find themselves outpaced because this concept doesn’t account for things like customers’ preferences. Benchmarking should rely on data instead of assumptions so that we know where our business stands relative to peers.

  • Use a checklist to make sure you forget nothing.
  • Be prepared for any situation with a well-stocked emergency kit.
  • Keep your car in good running condition by changing the oil, rotating tires, and getting an annual tune-up.
  • Make a plan to get out of debt or save money before it’s too late.
  • Protect yourself from identity theft by shredding all personal documents that contain sensitive information before throwing them away.
  • Plan for retirement — Start saving early and invest wisely so you can live comfortably when you retire.

Hiring

Hiring a futurist or other consultant can provide you with new ideas and insights. For example, they may be able to see the forest for the trees so that what is important stands out from everything else. This could help someone close to the situation who might not have this perspective as easily since it’s all around them every day.

Advantage Of Hire Futurists

  • Provides a lot of information
  • Gives tips on how to be successful
  • Inspires others to do well in the future
  • Encourages people to take risks and not worry about failure
  • Allows you to learn more about yourself and what you want out of life
  • Helps build new relationships with other hire futurist members

Monitor Weak Points

In order to make a successful real estate investment, two developers decided to buy inexpensive properties that were likely to become profitable soon. They did this by selling their own expensive property during the recession and using those funds for additional purchases of cheap yet promising land.

Real estate developers used weak signals in the market to find new, affordable investment opportunities during a recession. Real estate forecasting services and attending industry events helped these two determine what properties were about to be released from bankruptcy or foreclosure proceedings. They purchased many of those distressed assets at low prices with funds generated by selling some prominent realtors’ high-priced inventory (that they had acquired earlier).

Advantage Of Monitor Weak Signal

  • Monitoring weak signals can help you find opportunities for business growth.
  • Weak signals are often ignored by the competition, giving you a competitive advantage.
  • It is cheaper to monitor weak signals than it is to advertise.
  • Weak signals give insight into customer needs and wants that may not be apparent in traditional market research methods.
  • Monitoring weak signals can lead to new product ideas or changes in current products.
  • Using monitoring technology is the best way to keep up with your competitors’ activities.

Never Miss An Opportunity

A manager shares how he reads science fiction to find new ideas for his business. This helps him avoid being limited by traditional sources, which provide an opportunity for search that can lead him somewhere completely different. He also shares some tips on what you can do to try something new and not limit yourself, including researching the latest trends in your industry with questions about their implications applied towards your own business goals/tasks.

Advantages Of Opportunity Search

  • Opportunity Search is a free service.
  • It’s easy to use and can be accessed on any device.
  • It has advanced search functionality that you won’t find anywhere else.
  • You’ll get matched with people who are looking for what you’re selling 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Opportunity Searches save time by matching your business to potential customers in their area of interest or need.
  • You can create your own profile page where you will receive notifications when new leads are available in your target market.
  • Opportunity searches are the best way to find relevant, qualified leads.
  • Opportunity searches are a great way to find potential partners for joint ventures.
  • Opportunity searches can help you identify new markets that your business is not currently operating.
  • Opportunity searches allow you to easily search through thousands of databases, social media sites and other websites at once.
  • The information provided by opportunity searchers is all up-to-date. It’s never outdated or out of date like what you might get from an online search engine.
  • You don’t have to spend hours looking for relevant information on different websites when using an opportunity searcher — everything is right there in one place.
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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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