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The Competitive Analysis section of your business plan is devoted to analyzing your competition–both your current competition and potential competitors who might enter your market.

Every business has competition. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your competition–or potential competition–is critical to making sure your business survives and grows. While you don’t need to hire a private detective, you do need to thoroughly assess your competition on a regular basis even if you only plan to run a small business.

In fact, small businesses can be especially vulnerable to competition, especially when new companies enter a marketplace.

Competitive analysis can be incredibly complicated and time-consuming… but it doesn’t have to be. Here is a simple process you can follow to identify, analyze, and determine the strengths and weaknesses of your competition.

Profile Current Competitors (…)

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