No matter what profession or field of business you are in, finding out what your competition is up to is a vital component of being a good business leader. However, if you have a lot of competition, it can be difficult to keep track of everyone, and it can be even harder to actually evaluate where they are in the industry.
This is where using a strategic group map can come in handy.
What Is a Strategic Group Map?
Strategic group mapping is a technique that businesses are using to allow them to look at how rivals are competing in the same business.
To run a successful business, it's important to know where your competitors stand. That means you need to take time to research what they are doing so that you can rectify any issues they may be causing you and get an edge over them in areas where you have the most competition.
Strategic group mapping allows you to have a better look at what your competitors are doing, and it looks kind of like the mind-mapping technique you learn in school when it comes to note-taking. You'll have different sections with different bubbles that represent the other businesses and what they're doing.
Using this strategic plan allows you to get a more focused look at the competition. When you have a more focused idea of which parts of business they excel in over your company, you can start making a plan to increase potential in those areas – giving your company a leg up.
Why You Should Know the Status of Your Rivals
There are many things that strategic group mapping can do for you, and politicians can use group mapping to look at their constituents and see where everyone stands on specific issues just as well as businesses can use it for customers.
It will definitely help you gain an advantage, which can be beneficial in so many areas. And, it's a way to assist in improving strength in the industry and more.
Issues that can be brought to light with this graph of bubbles and information include:
- 1Seeing where your business can more easily gain benefits
- 2Identifying who is the best in your business, which will also help you increase your position on this map.
- 3You can identify your major rivals and come up with the steps to put yourself ahead of them.
There are many vital things that go into making one company, or one candidate, better than another.
You may look at pricing differences between your company and others, or even customer service differences. What specific differences you're evaluating will determine how your map is laid out.
How to Create a Strategic Group Map (and Use It)
These are just a few of the things you can do, but you also need to know how to structure your map.
Much like the mind-mapping technique, there is a layout that helps you get
started with strategic group maps. You'll want to begin with a basic grid.
When it comes to constructing your group map, the main things you are going to look at (and map out) are:
- Who your major rivals are in business.
- Which areas you want to focus on (price, area
1. Who Are Your Competitors?
Before you start to form your strategic mapping, you need to list your top 5 (at least) biggest rivals in your field. If you're lucky enough to have fewer than 5, kudos to you. You may find that you have more than 5, track them.
You'll want to create a profile for each of the businesses you've included on this list. This will help you design your list, get a better understanding of your competition, and learn which areas in which you need to work on growth within your ranks.
- The services provided by each of these businesses (don't compare them to your own quite yet, but this may help you create more services or refine the ones you already offer).
- What kind of impact are they making? Look at local and national impact (if they are a company that is beyond local).
- Consider who benefits from this business, as well as who they're getting money from (especially important in nonprofits and politics).
- You also want to consider what changes they're planning to make in the future (their plans could affect your business as much as it affects their own).
2. What Is Driving Your Success?
The next thing you need to consider before you start working on your map is what is driving your business to success. Are you successful because you have a lot of money backing your business up (beneficiaries)? Or is your business successful because of the products and services you're offering which continually bring in income and new customers?
There are numerous reasons for a successful business. It could be that you're offering something unique to your customers, that they have a one-stop shop with you, or that your customer service is beyond compare and the talk of the town.
This is a factor that will come in handy when it comes to your diagram, as the things that are driving your success are some of the things you're going to want to compare to the competition.
3. Creating the Diagram
The next step is to draw up your diagram, which will include quadrants drawn up within a square.
You will have some items listed on one side. That side is where you might be
comparing the differences in product or services costs with your competitors.
Then you will have another item listed across the bottom. The bottom offers a place where you will drive comparisons, like how many locations your major competitors have.
Then you will implement the circles in which each competitor will be listed. These circles will range in size – larger circles for those that are bigger players in the market. Where the circles are placed depends on where this particular business is in that cross-section.
An example would be that a restaurant that charges more money than yours, per plate, would be higher on the graph,
but if they only have one or two locations, they may be located toward the left
of the grid (keep higher items to the top and right, and lower items to the
bottom and right).
This lets you see that a successful small chain restaurant may be able to charge more per plate than a major change, or vice versa, giving you some knowledge in how successful you could be increasing (or decreasing) food costs at your own restaurant.
That's just one easy example of strategic group mapping. It can be used in any industry. You can use it to compare where you and other political constituents stand on different laws and government practices.
Why You Should Create Your Own Strategic Group Map
Sure, you can just write down lists of the differences you and your competitors have and look at that list, trying to decipher who has the best idea and plan when it comes to striving for success.
But strategic group mapping gives you a more visual look at these things. Graphs allow you to get a better view of where your competition stands, and they can be helpful whether you have two competitors or twenty.
You can also use maps that you've previously completed to compare to newer ones, which will let you see changes in the competition, and compare it to your own changes. You may see that a major competitor changes prices and then lost business, which will tell you to stick with your prices. It's all part of your strategic plan for business and financial success.
Final Thoughts on the Strategic Group Map
There are many tools that are beneficial to businesses and politicians. Strategic group mapping offers you a free tool that can help you get some insight into the competition while also looking at your own business failures and successes.
By implementing this fairly easy strategic tactic, you can start making plans for future changes in your business or your campaign that will help you increase your success and put you above (or farther above) the competition.