When determining whether to franchise your business or grow your existing franchise, it is helpful to know what your competitors are doing to determine how to differentiate yourself and stay ahead of the pack for marketing and product development.
In order to stay ahead of your competitors and set yourself apart from them, you must first determine what they are doing. There are many ways to find this information. Our experienced attorneys may suggest a few methods on how to research franchise competitors
Obviously, one of the easiest, fastest, and cheapest methods to perform franchise competitor research is a simple Internet search for other businesses in your industry. When doing so, you should look at Internet reviews through websites such as Google and Yelp. Many times these websites give insight into what customers are enjoying or not enjoying about a brand. By researching this you have the ability to improve your services in areas that your competitors are seemingly falling short and possibly enhance those areas within your own business where your competitors are excelling. One note of caution with doing research on the Internet is that many times by the time something reaches the Internet it has already been implemented and has been vetted by the competitor which puts you behind on innovation in that particular area.
Another option when researching your competitors is to secret shop them. Secret shopping involves using another person or company to act as a customer at another business or your own business and asking that person to document their experience with your competitor. By doing this, you could get first-hand knowledge about how your competitors treat and communicate with their customers and generally how they hold themselves out to the general public.
Customer surveys are way that any business can improve. By giving your customers the ability to give you real time feedback about their experience with your business, you are given the opportunity to make almost instantaneous changes to improve your business and customer relations. Franchisors can use the same methodology to improve their system as a whole by surveying their franchisees to learn what can be done to improve the system as a whole.
If you are an existing franchise already, you can rely on advice, recommendations, and other thoughts from your existing franchisees. Franchisees regularly research their competitors and are solicited by local marketing agencies, newspapers, etc. These resources typically give franchisees a good insight into their local market and what their competitors are doing. By taking this information, a franchisor can improve the marketing campaign of the franchise as a whole.
Depending on how complex and how much data you want to gather, you can perform any of these options on your own or you can hire a company to perform them for you.
When you’re researching your franchise competitors you should also be aware of the likelihood that your competitors are also researching you. Because of this, it is advised that you regularly monitor your own business’s online brand. By researching your own business in these ways, you can quickly learn where you need to improve your own business.