Local rivals can probably be found in the Yellow Pages, online or through your chamber of commerce. Finding national competition takes a broader approach. Start with a trip to the library. Industry associations, trade publications and an Internet search can help turn up some names.

The best way to get the scoop is at the source. Try to question their customers. Go to their stores, buy their products or use their services, and evaluate their policies. Then determine how you can beat them.

Excerpted from Get Smart: 365 Tips To Boost Your Entrepreneurial IQ