There are plenty of online consultants willing to help business owners with competitive intelligence, although this is generally costly. Thankfully, there are cheaper ways for self-employed people to get the competitive edge, through their own DIY research, all it takes is a little time.
Look up companies house UK at Duedil.com. Companies house data is an online gateway to comprehensive business information, about two million companies in the UK. It’s free to check company names and addresses in a searchable index. Gather in-depth insights into the company’s filing history, document images and company reports.
Join the Twitter Chatter
Self-employed people who haven’t joined Twitter or underestimate its power, should rethink that decision. This social networking site buzzes with a constant stream of short messages, some revealing and others irrelevant. It’s possible to zero in on company’s daily ruminations, or prominent people’s thoughts on issues. It’s also possible to spot industry trends before they happen, and important need-to-know news.
Monitor Their Staff
Not nearly as creepy as it sounds. Start with the ‘About Us’ page on their website. Also keep abreast of their recruitment process and new job postings. This will reveal what qualities they are looking for in staff and any plans for future expansion in some areas. Take a forensic look at the backgrounds of the high flyers in the company. Normally, company executives will have their resumes available online, or the website will have insights into their professional past. This is helpful to learn about their management style and the future direction of the business should you decide to work with them.
Google Alerts takes the hard graft out of gathering data on competitors. It has the two-fold purpose of gathering intel on competitors, and also feeding back information about one’s own company. This is done by setting up alerts for particular keywords and phrases, that trigger an email notification, each time the word or phrase occurs in a news story or blog post.
For example, Google Alerts could be set up for your own business, plus a couple of main competitors and the directors of these companies. Yet another handy and free innovation from the web wunderkinds.
It’s never been more important to gather intel on competition, than right now. Self-employed people can swim alongside of the big fishes and those of many varying shades; when they look up companies house UK online, join twitter and follow the minutiae of their competitors working lives. All it takes is some strong coffee, some time and a good broadband connection.