Pequenos negócios 43

No matter what type of business you own or are planning to start, other companies want your customers. The fact that competition exists means you have tapped into a viable market with customers who want to buy the goods and services you have to sell. That's why other businesses, like yours, want to profit from them. Even if you are trying to sell a new type of product, such as a ground breaking new technology, expect competition. There may be no comparable product on the market, but there's probably something else that fits the market need. Take the photocopier, for instance. It was the first product of its kind but still faced competition. People were already duplicating documents using carbon paper and mimeograph machines. The words "we have no competition" in a business plan indicate to potential investors that a) an entrepreneur hasn't fully examined the realities of the business, and/or b) no market exists for the concept. If you're sure you have a market, you can be sure you have competition. In the short term, understanding -- and describing -- your competition helps you present a stronger case to your business plan readers. In the long term, keeping an eye on your competition keeps you on your toes and helps you build and run a better business. Just as important as knowing your competition is learning from it. Watch what your competitors are doing right and doing wrong. That will show you how to better serve your potential customers and uncover strategic opportunities in the market. Understanding your competition proves you can: Distinguish your company from others Identify factors that will make customers choose your offerings over others Respond to the need that aren't currently being addressed by competitors Figure out what you're up against and be prepared to tackle competitive obstacles to your success.

Fonte: Abrams, Rhonda (2005) Business Plan in a Day. Palo Alto: The Planning Shop, p. 45.
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