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Finding the key factors for success in an industry

Ten questions to help to identify key factors for success in an industry:

  1. What really important market trends are now taking place? Growth? Cyclical trends? Essentially static market? Massive cheap imports? Major new product innovation?
  2. How important are our existing and new customers to our business? Is it essential to keep current customers? How does our marketing compare with our competitors – expenditure, range, innovation, etc?
  3. Why have competitors grown to the position that they now hold? What have they done and what skills do they have? What advantages can they offer our customers? Will they be persuasive? Why? Lower price? Better service? Higher marketing spend? Stronger sales force? Better distribution?
  4. What are the largest cost areas of our business? And the business of our competitors? Are they critical? Do competitors share the same cost profile?
  5. How important is research and development and market innovation, even if original research is not involved? What areas are we strong in?
  6. Is our business capital intensive? Are there long lead times for customer orders? How do our resources and order book compare with the competition?
  7. What worker and management skills are particularly crucial? How do these compare with our competitors?
  8. How important are sudden movements in currency and tax to our business?
  9. How important is quality to our business? How do we and competitors maintain our quality? How do our customers define ‘quality’ – for example, including after-sales service?
  10. How important is location to our business? Do we need to be in a special location (or locations)? How do we compare with competition?


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