Competitive intelligence


There is need for an entrepreneur to do enough research and get informed about the competitors around. This can be done individual or seek the help of well-established organization that can give you all required information. Competitive intelligence essentially means understanding and learning what's happening in the world outside your business so you can be as competitive as possible. It means learning as much as possible--as soon as possible--about your industry in general, your competitors, or even your county's particular zoning rules. In short, it empowers you to anticipate and face challenges head on. One of best websites for gathering competitive intelligence is Hoover's Online, which, for a fee, provides in-depth profiles of more than 18,000 public and private companies. However, there is also free content available. You can research competitors, track stock market performance, and keep tabs on IPOs. Other good sites include: Dun & Bradstreet, which provides information on companies relevant to your business through a searchable database of companies in the United States and around the world for a fee. Dialog, which has a pay-as-you-go option, called Dialog Select that allows you to search through 50,000 objective and respected publications and documents online and pay for each article or report on a case-by-case basis. Sourced from: Competitive intelligence doesn’thave to be all about finding information about your competitors. It can mean finding ways to gain new business grounds this can be achieved through games that provide tangible results if the action is implemented. In April 2010, Mars, one of the world’s largest privately owned businesses, embarked on a breakthrough initiative. For the next year, Jessica Eliasi, then the director of Competitive Intelligence at Mars Chocolate, travelled the world running “competitive simulation” games with local market teams from Russia to Mexico to Turkey to England. These simulations were not some computer-based hypothetical games. They were intense, intelligence-based, role-playing immersion workshops that got leaders to see the market from a different and unfamiliar perspectives. Such games have become more popular among leading edge corporations. But Jessica’s approach was still unique. While large consulting firms push expensive “war games” at the leadership level, Jessica ran cheap and quick local games based on local market dynamics. She then fed the results as market intelligence input into a senior leadership competitive game. The workshops brought the “voice of the markets” to Mars’ leadership’s doorstep. By connecting the dots across a series of markets, brands and competitors, Jessica identified the key global insights that provided both risks and opportunities for the global firm.  She brought her on-the-ground experiences to life through a “game” that was played with the business unit’s top management team, pressure-testing some closely held beliefs.  The insights and the workshops have since influenced how Mars assesses risks and opportunities and develops strategy. This is just one example of how Mars is trying to create and sustaining agility through competitive intelligence (CI). Simply and clearly put, CI is a perspective on changing market conditions. This means identifying risks and opportunities early enough to allow the company to adapt its strategy or in extreme cases, change it. That simple definition forcefully delineates it from all other information, data, and research services. Information alone is not a perspective on change — information does not automatically lead to insight. Yet the vast majority of companies and executives confuse these two to the detriment of their performance. The popular literature is filled with definitions and images of competitive intelligence taken from the realm of the government and the military. These cause more damage to the discipline than if management was simply ignorant. They focus the discipline on competitors (“the enemy” in military parlance) instead of the market as a whole — the entire competitive arena. They talk about intelligence “collection,” as if more searches are the essence of perspective. In recent years with the big data craze, collecting digital data has replaced strategic intelligence. Many companies either waste millions on massive databases or research projects that don’t yield useful insight, or throw the first available junior marketing or information specialist at the job and push it down to tactical product level, missing out on the true value of competitive intelligence as a purveyor of strategic change. Used properly, CI leads to greater strategic agility — the ability to adapt to changing market circumstances. To become more agile, start by rethinking your competitive intelligence process. That means having a clear definition of scope and role, as well as following a few simple steps — such as mandating intelligence reviews at critical decision stages, ensuring the CI analyst has direct access to and input into strategic meetings and reviews, and smartly tapping an informal internal community of practice. The essence of the competitive intelligence perspective is the view of the competitive set as a whole. Consider the example of Pratt and Whitney, a United Technology company. The commercial engine division, under the leadership of Stephen Heath (since retired) and Todd Kallman spent two intensive days in 2006 “war gaming” P&W’s strategy as its two bigger rivals, GE and Rolls Royce, divided the market between them. Looking at the market dynamic between Airbus, Boeing, GE, and Rolls Royce led to P&W deploying a breakthrough strategy for their new Geared Turbofan (GTF) engine. Looking at each competitor separately would have made this insight so much harder to see. If you want your company to become more agile, start by rethinking the design of your intelligence process. Focus on building a strategic early warning capability so you don’t miss the big picture. Sourced from:

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Useful And Practical Insight Into Mastering Change In Business

A recent article by Stuart Hayes sheds light on mastering change in your business, here's some of what he had to say:

Change is the key element of growth and in business change calls for vision, a driving team and a tight context if it is to be delivered effectively and positively. This is why powerful leadership is so essential in a business.

However while taking a look at change, it is necessary to not throw the baby out with the bath-water because, on the other side of the coin is the value of consistency and consistency is also vital, especially in processes that apply to product, quality, profit or even, to some extent, natural growth.

So, this pair of contrasting principles must exist side-by-side in a healthy company. How do we get to that? The answer is to recognize that successful companies need both change as well as consistency. Change is the realm of business leaders while consistency the specialty of business managers.

Thinking about this pair side by side, it is not difficult to see why consistency along with change (or for that matter managers and leaders) are commonly challenging to unify.

In his article, he fleshes out the core components of adept leadership including how these aspects work together to effect favorable and enduring change. As a professional leader, the formula he utilizes to produce this adaptation involves a simple 4-step procedure, as outlined here:

#1. Ask yourself the challenging questions

#2. Feel the reason

#3. Design a straigtforward plan of action

#4. Attain positive and sustainable change

After going into depth on these points he goes on to say, importantly, as leader, the code of conduct or 'context' you establish around your group as well as its behavior is pivotal to their capability to unify and accomplish outcomes. Your team will look to you to live up to this code at all times and when you do it will start to have a life of its very own.

This is where staying on track as well as achieving positive and sustainable change needs your individual dedication, courage as well as discipline: being consistent with the message you teach and then getting in touch with your group in a genuine fashion when delivering it is most important.

Your capability to create and cultivate a compelling context is directly commensurate to your ability to do these things, and with a solid context your group will self manage; self align; move mountains; and then create the positive and sustainable changes you desire.

Stuarts recommendation: Take a deep breath and be prepared to be human, to admit shortcomings and to be open to change yourself. You will certainly be appreciated and also followed as a leader in a far more powerful fashion when you have the nerve to do these things.

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