I want to find competitors for my fictitious SaaS application. Well, let me be clear. I don't want to find competitors already producing my brilliant offering, but I know it's smart to look for them before investing a lot of time (and time is money, in business), in developing and marketing an idea that's already available.
I am unsure of who my competition may be. As stated, I really don't want to find any, so my brain probably isn't accessing the possibilities of who these companies could be if my heart isn't into the competitive analysis process. I need a plan, a method, some steps to follow and perform, to find out what I don't want to know. I must be brave, and locate my competitors.
To quickly locate direct and indirect competition for your offering, use the iterative search process, previously discussed. Choose keywords and phrases closely related to your offering as search terms. How do you choose the most efficient words to begin your initial search? You have bullet lists of keywords and phrases directly related to your offering on your first 4 (of 8) Productization lists.
Utilize these Productization lists by lifting words and phrases to use as search terms. Find competitors producing an offering directly or indirectly related to yours, meaning, not only very close to your offering, but similar offerings as well.
Of course, you're going to find competitors, if you are thorough, and tenacious, and keep searching until you find them.
When you do, you may start to think it would be brain dead to spend time developing and launching an offering already being done by others, currently building the market share you want. Most every innovator runs up against this issue when they perform competitive analysis. But remember, it doesn't mean your idea is dead, just because you've got competitors. A part of your job as the CEO of your idea, is working around roadblocks. THINK about what you must add to your original product idea to make it unique. Consider what your target users are not getting from your competitor's, and provide them your improved offering. Disrupt an industry, or the status-quo with your unique new offering to the business marketplace.
It is critical to the success of your business, any business, to keep a dynamic list of your competition. Carve time out of each week to do a quick Google search. Fridays, with your morning coffee, iterative search the internet, and identify any new competitors that have popped up, or discover a known competitor's product upgrade or new release. Do not delete competitors that go out of business, but indicate the date they folded or liquidated. There is a wellspring of information in a business failure, and a user-base looking for an alternative to the defunct business.
By continually searching for your competition, you'll find out about them quickly, and be able match, or surpass each of their offerings with great new offerings of your own. And it's imperative you release updates, or new offerings every 9 months or so. If you don't, your competitors likely will.
Welcome to the Internet Age.