After evaluating your own business, it’s time to take a detailed look at the competition. Without such an evaluation, you may miss opportunities and threats that might affect your success. Here are ten things you need to know about your competition to identify your path to success.

Competitors1. Identify your competitors – The first and most important aspect of checking out your competitors is to identify who they are. Start by doing an internet search of similar products or services. Search the local magazines and newspapers to get a feel for how many businesses of this type there are in your area.

2. Know their strengths – Knowing your competitors’ strengths is important, as it can highlight your own weaknesses. If you know your competition’s strength then you will be able to improvise and be innovative with your own products and services.

3. Know their weaknesses – If you know your competitors’ weaknesses, chances are you will be able to use that knowledge to maximize your company’s strengths.

4. Know their products, services, or goods – What products, goods, or services does your competition provide? Are they similar to yours? What unique twist might they offer on their services? How do they market them; is it through traditional advertising, online, or through video sales?

5. What their social media status looks like – Does your competition get many likes or comments as feedback on their blogs or websites?

6. Who owns this business and what kind of individual is he or she – Does the business owner stand out on the front line or behind corporate walls? Is the business owner someone who is philanthropic and altruistic? Does the persona of the business owner maximize its sales? Are they out in the public eye a lot?

7. What their price points are and are they competitive to yours – Do they have a lower price but cheaper quality as well? Do they mass produce, saving money for their customer? Are you able to compete with that?

8. Know their annual earnings (if this information is available) – Are their annual earnings public or private? Can you see their growth or decline in business over the last year?

9. Management analysis – Does this company or business have a quick turnaround of management professionals? If so, can you spot why and where their weaknesses are?

10. What types of guarantees and warranties do they put forth on their product or service – Does each competitor valiantly offer beneficial warranties and guarantees on their products and are their customers satisfied customers? Do their social media comments, tweets, and likes show happy consumers?

Only by studying these aspects of your competitors’ businesses will you identify opportunities to bring added value to the marketplace. When you identify things your competitors are not doing, that you can add, you will find a way to set your business apart.