Gaining information on a competitor is very easy with the use of technology. Gathering the information is the first step. I believe using Colonel John Boyd’s OODA loop is a great way to do this.
The OODA loop is the decision cycle of observe, orient, decide, and act, developed by military strategist and United States Air Force Colonel John Boyd. Boyd applied the concept to the combat operations process, often at the operational level during military campaigns. It is now also often applied to understand commercial operations and learning processes. The approach favors agility over raw power in dealing with human opponents in any endeavor.
The OODA in OODA Loop is an acronym that stands for:
The following OODA Loop is useful for small business owners:
- Observe: First thing you do is to observe what your competitors are doing. You do this by looking at their webpage, social media presence, ads they are running, and good ole spying by walking in their establishment (if a standard business) or watching what they do online (internet business). Then you take this information and analysis it.
- Orient: Secondly, you orient by reviewing what you are doing in business, understanding where you are financially and in the market. This phase is used to understand what your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats are.
- Decide: Third, you decide how you will respond to your competitor’s advantages or disadvantages. You analyze and synthesize the information and come up with ideas on how you will copy (legally) or counter what your competitors are doing by understanding their tactics, techniques, and procedures.
- Act: the last option is to use the information and act on it. If you want to copy what your competitor is doing, go for it. If you want to counter and exploit a weakness your competitor has from what you have learned in the previous steps, go forth and conquer. The key to OODA loop is stay fluid and having a plan to flex when you need to. The resilient small businesses consistently find new innovations to succeed, and that starts with having an entrepreneurial mindset.