Courtesy, Wikimedia Commons 

It's important to monitor your competition in the geospatial market, but it's just as important that all your employees are pulling on the same rope to tell your story.

Do you know the number of competitors in your region? Do you know who they are and what they do? How about what they charge?

I feel it is part of my job as a principal to be constantly evaluating the competition. My assessment includes comparing services offered, equipment and even staff. Yes, I do compare fees. However, I believe that the expertise of our staff and the level of service we offer warrant the fees we set. Therefore, we strive to set the standard for fair pricing.

But I do more than watch what is happening in the local geospatial market. I check trends, what other companies are doing, throughout the U.S.. By being involved with professional organizations, such as the U.S. Institute of Building Documentation, I can listen to what others are saying about business trends and opportunities. This research sharpens our focus to ensure that we are offering what clients need and want.

On the other hand, it is vital that we do not become obsessed with tracking and, worst of all, copying what our competitors are doing! It is easy to get overly concerned with checking competitors’ websites, which can cloud one’s own market decisions.

Honestly, our research rarely uncovers anything that makes us change our target market. We have added equipment through strategic planning; we’ve increased our space as the business has grown; and we've added services to stay ahead of our competitors. We don’t make these decisions in response to them.

The information we glean from our competitors encourages us to focus on what we are doing for our customers and to fine-tune our offerings and the language we use to educate them. It’s important to have a base of knowledge about your competitors, but it’s equally important to recognize what you do best and tell that story. Clients are willing to pay for that kind of expertise.