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Friday, November 08, 2013

'Determining competitors’ capabilities' in Business Plans For Canadians For Dummies

Here are some of my comments about the book and extracts from the book, Business Plans For Canadians For Dummies 
  • Nada Wagner
  • Paul Tiffany,  
  • Steven D. Peterson.
  • Overview of the book:Build a winning business plan with expert tips and strategies
    • Creating a great business plan is the first and most vital step to business success. Packed with Canadian resources and anecdotes, this friendly guide takes you through the planning process. From scoping out the competition to planning for growth, this book is your ultimate reference for determining and meeting your business goals.
    • Business essentials — from creating your company's mission statement to setting goals and objectives
    • Competitive analysis — from analyzing your industry to tracking your competitors' actions
    • Market research — from identifying your market to meeting your customers' needs
    • Financial information — from reading income statements to understanding balance sheets
  • You must read the full book to get a real feel of the do's and do it now type of 
  • competitive intelligence, esp., Chapter 8: Checking Out Your Competition.

    This book is very good for the Canadian business planners. Its content is excellent reading and refreshing, with many ideas / resources that are so really informing and Canadian, eh!!! This is the strength. And, hence reading the following extracts (although generic and good for a business anywhere), gives an opportunity to feel the depth and breadth of the book.
    Sample from the book from the section 'Determining competitors’ capabilities' in Chapter Eight (pp. 134-135):
    "You need to ask the same kinds of questions about your competitors that you ask yourself when you complete a company checkup... ""The capabilities that you're most interested in tell you something about your competitors' ability to react when your industry changes.""To determine your competitors' capabilities, start with this list of important business functions and areas..." 
    "The following questions should get you going...:

    • Management: What do you know about the background and experience of the company's chief bigwigs...
    • Organization: How structured and centralized is the company's organization?...
    • Customer base: What's the company's share of the market?...
    • Research and development: Is the company known for innovation technology and its intellectual property?...
    • Operations: How modern are the company's facilities and business processes?...
    • Marketing and sales: How strong are the company's  products?
    • Distribution and delivery: How many distribution channels does the company sell through?
    • Financial condition: Is the company's revenue growing?... " (pp. 134-135)
    The last question, about finances (read also as: revenues) of the competitors, is one major area that is difficult to dig. So also the portion on essential/required research about customer (pp. 90-94) and market (pp. 104-105) are very insufficient for gathering the competitive intelligence. Whereas a value added book, at least for the information professionals is: Bates, Mary Ellen. Building & running a successful research business: a guide for the independent information professional:
    From my desk:

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