Competition for Business: Stay One Step Ahead

How to stay abreast of what is happening in your marketplace.

Today more than ever, when competition for business is so tight, the way to stay ahead of your competition and keep yourself current on market conditions and trends is to gather information. I do that by reading – a lot.

Because my livelihood depended on being able to improve common everyday household items I felt I needed to keep myself abreast of what was happening in the marketplace – and what products or improvements would be needed in the future.

To do that I subscribed to women’s magazines (for my work on cosmetics and sanitary products), children’s magazines (there is a huge toy market looking for products) and business magazines to keep in touch with what different companies were doing in relation to products and development, when they were spending money and when they announced cutbacks. Many times over the years articles I have read in magazines have helped me to either get work, progress on a project; or I have found either a contact name I needed or an idea for a future product.

There is so much information available it almost becomes too time consuming to read everything; so a good researcher should learn to sift through the massive amount of data available to glean the information that will help him or her.

I feel that you can get all the data you need in a couple of productive hours a day.

I know people who are spending a couple of hours each morning just reading their e-mails; in fact not even reading them, just going though the messages that might be pertinent to their business, because there is just too much mail to go through and not enough time.

Two hours of looking at e-mails and answering them is a big chunk of an entrepreneur’s day. So what should you do?

I have my assistant read and respond to my email messages, which saves me a great deal of time. It’s funny that e-mail started out as such a convenience and has now become quite the opposite. If you have an assistant, designate that job to him or her. They can print out anything that would need a personal response from you.

I call people whenever possible because I want to be able to ask them questions and get answers right away, thus saving back and forth e-mail messages!

I still prefer to get my information from magazines and newspapers. You can read to unwind at the end of the day or when you have a few spare minutes any time. You can carry them with you if you travel. Magazines are usually available in airplanes and hotels.

Reading a lot, even if you are not absorbing it all, will help you develop the skill to know what information can be valuable to you. Sometimes information is right there in front of you; sometimes it is embedded in another story. Try to skim through every article. The more you do it the more skilled you will get at flipping those pages and finding what you need to be successful!

Article © Copyright 2001 Stanley I. Mason. Syndicated by Paradigm News, Inc.

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