To Analyse is to Strategies! Move forward by finding out what are the others up to

It amazes me how disorganised some companies are, yet they still manage to keep their head above water. Those that engage with a mentor, business coach or such like then gain clarity of direction and whatever the set benchmark, production/sales/profits improve exponentially.

Fighting the internal battle is only the first step … Next you have to worry about what the competitors are up to, especially the ones that have the edge on you! Who knows, they may well use a strategy tool created by Michael Porter known as ‘Porter’s Four Corner Model’.

A leading authority on company strategy, Michael Porter is the Bishop William Lawrence University Professor at Harvard Business School (highest professional recognition that can be awarded to a Harvard faculty member). His model is a framework to look at what’s going on behind competitor’s doors, the strategy they are likely to adopt and key factors that will probably influence their decision making:

To begin, consider a 2×2 matrix. Top left is ‘Corner 1: Drivers’ (Motivation), Bottom left ‘Corner 2: Assumptions’ (Motivation), Bottom right ‘Corner 3: Strategy’ (Actions) and Top right ‘Corner 4: Capabilities’ (Actions).

DRIVERS: These are what Motivate your competition. Areas such as what drives them forward? What are their values? And really, what makes them tick? Understand what ‘motivates’ them and you can start to see where the energy lies.

Including Financial goals, Business philosophy or Leadership background.

ASSUMPTIONS: This isn’t your assumptions, this is their Belief about themselves! Look at how they perceive their competition (including you). What assumptions do they make and how do they perceive themselves compared to others within your business arena. How do they assess their own strengths and weaknesses against their rivals? Do they become defensive or aggressive in their approach, are they pro-active or reactive? Consider company’s perception of its strengths & weaknesses, Belief about competitor’s goals or Organisational value.

STRATEGY: This is all about how they compete in the marketplace! There could be a difference between what is their ‘realised’ strategy and the ‘intended’ one as laid down in their annual reports. Now this is where it’s important to see if this occurs and with some research, can be found. If their strategy appears to be yielding a good return, then it is safe to say they will continue doing what they do best, nonetheless, is it still abiding by its intended strategy and could further improvements be met? Look at how they create value, established relationships or where investment is made.

CAPABILITIES: Here you assess how the competition acts! It may well have the motivation/drive to initiate a strategic plan but the question is are they ‘capable’ of seeing it through? How will they react when your market share or another group’s start to grow? Will they simply start to slash prices or do they take a different approach of aggressive marketing campaigns? Taking from the SWOT analogy, what are their strengths and weaknesses? Look at training, financial strengths, marketing skills and Leadership qualities of senior management.

With this information set in your armoury, you can now analyse this framework to plot both the ‘Offensive’ and ‘Defensive’ scenarios of your competition. Carry out the same exercise internally and see the areas of difference emerge and then formulate a plan based on actual data rather than guess work!

Coaching to success help organisations, such as yours, to plan ahead and then create staged plans to achieve organisational objectives that will be met. This is in part, due to the motivation offered while the sense of ownership being established through being held responsible to someone else! The first thing to do is contact Neil directly on 07761 187238 or email neil.nutburn@coachingtosuccess.co.uk to have a complementary and confidential discussion or meeting to see how we can help you grew your business through market and, more specifically, competitor awareness and strategy planning.