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Continuing from where I left off, the next item on the pre-business list is Stuff. Before going into business, you need to know your stuff – this entails knowing the opportunities and threats in your industry, as well as knowing your strengths and weaknesses, and those of your competition. This is what professionals call SWOT Analysis.

In order to accurately identify the opportunities and/or threats of an industry, and exploit them for business success, you need to first take note of its trends. Trends create opportunities. Trends precede the introduction of innovative products and services. However, you need to understand that trends also have a life cycle – embryo, growth, maturity and decline. Hence, in the same vein, trends reveal threats. Trends signal the end of an era.
For example, over a decade ago, personal computers and the internet gave rise to website development, and interactive software and programs for work, school and play. Now, as most people use their smartphones and tablets for browsing, games and so on, personal computers are being phased out, and the new trend is apps. There is an app for almost everything now. Any company still focusing on website development will soon become relevant if they don’t add mobile site development to their services, or evolve into an app development company.

Spend sometime learning more about yourself, and leverage your unique skills towards your business advantage. If you start a business, and don’t have a unique selling point (USP), you may not excel. You need to make time to study your major competitors also – learn what makes them tick in order to compete, and what makes them suck and exploit those cracks in their operations, product quality or customer service. This will give you the necessary edge. If you cannot offer people better services or better products than your competition, to the consumer, you’re just the same with a different name.
Competition makes business exciting 😀

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