If you’ve been doing business with the government for any length of time, you’ve probably noticed that the public sector market is very competitive. Niche companies often know exactly who their competitors are and may be constantly jockeying for position with one or two key players. Companies offering a broader range of services have their main competitors too, but they must also continue their competitive market research to be on the lookout for new players just entering the field. Regardless of company size or area of expertise, a healthy awareness of market intelligence is a vital component of any public sector development program.
Many companies, especially small businesses, make the all-too-common mistake of surveying market data once and assuming it will stay the same. A surprise might be nice on your birthday, but when it comes to your business opportunities, a surprise is the last thing you want. With adequate market intelligence, it’s entirely possible to plan ahead so that your business is primed to rise to any upcoming challenge – or seize any upcoming opportunity.
Competitive Market Research
If you’re going to go head-to-head with other bidders on government projects, it’s important to know who you’re up against. Regular competitive market research helps you plan your strategy. Chances are, there are few companies out there that are exactly like yours – each business has its own strengths and weaknesses, and its own value proposition. Being honest with yourself about your own company’s strengths and weaknesses will help you use them to your best advantage. Once you have a good idea of who your competitors are, you can better position your company when writing proposals for projects you know they’ll be bidding on, too. Accessing competitive market research will also give you early insight into emerging new competitors.
Break out your competitive market research by your competitors’ overlap with your own products and services, but also consider conducting your competitive market research by region. This will give you more visibility into areas that are currently under-served in your market, cluing you in to expansion opportunities. After all, the best defence is a good offense!
The other side of competitive research is ongoing market intelligence. A lot of companies turn to public sector projects as a reliable source of work; the government will always need goods and services, and a public sector body is less likely to fold under economic pressure than a private business. However, government spending fluctuates with the economy just like private-sector spending: lean times are lean for everyone. In an economic downturn, that means fewer opportunities for the same amount of competitors.
Keeping that in mind, it’s easy to see why keeping track of market intelligence is so important. With fewer opportunities available, planning ahead becomes integral to your government contracting strategy. Tracking market trends, purchasing activity and other market intelligence by both time of year and region will help you make the smartest decisions possible. Having a solid overview of the current state of your market helps you allocate time and resources and target the contracts you have the best shot of winning, as well as allowing you to plan for the lean times that might result from downward trends.
Tracking Down Market Intelligence
Naturally, getting a hold of this kind of data can be difficult – most businesses don’t even know where to start. Having a solid awareness of your market can make a big difference. The Gateway Network can provide in-depth market intelligence for all areas of public sector.
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