15. Competitors

15.1 Identify the top three competitors.
15.2 To what degree are these other firms true competitors? Do they actually supply the same product or service?
15.3 What are the percentages of the industry that your target firm and each of its major competitors control?
15.4 Is one of these firms emerging as a leader?

Firms often identify competitors on their web page. The D&B reports (which you must purchase) also provide basic information on competitors.

Businesses must register with the Secretary of State office in the state they are located. Search Systems provides a meta search for all states in the U.S. and provinces in Canada. The best way to proceed is to choose “Corporations and Companies” and then select the state or province where the firm is headquartered. This will bring you to one or more corporate directories. This may vary by state or province. You can also search by state or province alone and explore all the possible information that is collected.

Open Corporates also provides access to public records on privately held firms worldwide.

When evaluating competitors, it is important to identify if they are true competitors. Do they actually produce the same product mix and have similar clients or customers?

UMass Resources (for UMass students only)

Business Insights: Essentials and Mergent Online are great places to begin competitor research. After searching by name, make sure to “link to full text” to see the entire report. Mergent Online provides more comprehensive information on privately held firms. Check “D&B Private Company Database” on the home page and make sure to click “full private company report” under the reports tab.

CFRA’s MarketScope Advisor Database and IBIS World industry reports are also excellent sources of information on competitors.