If you can’t think what your competitors can do you will be someone’s lunch soon.
In my earlier posts I have written about why it’s important to have competition. For one it shows there’s a market. That’s a very critical point.
Second if the competitor has entered the market before you then you can learn from their mistakes. Third it helps you define your niche even better.
But competition is a very dynamic thing. The horse carriage people did not think Automotive would make them a relic.
Especially when you are doing product management in a technology industry you need to look out where the next competition will come from. Generally it never comes from your known competitors.
Did Nokia realize that Apple will totally decimate them. Or for that matter Kodak even though Kodak itself had built the first digital camera.
One of the best ways to understand where you competitors could hurt you is by placing yourself in your competitor’s shoes. Knowing the weaknesses that exist in your existing product or service or technology identify where could some other company come and displace you.
This may not always alert you to the company who could hurt you but it could help identify trends in the market which could go against you.
Which brings me to the other aspect of product management. Be out there in the market, in the store or with a customers, consistently trying to understand why customers are looking at something else instead of buying from you. It’s most often not only about price.
Till next time then….keep watching for your competitors.