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3 Reasons You Should Spy on Your Competition One of the best ways to thoroughly understand your market is to take a look at your competition.

By Andrew Medal

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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When strategizing and contemplating your next business endeavor, it's easy to think you know everything about your product or service. After all, you've probably been perfecting your venture for a substantial amount of time.

However, at some point, having enough resources or experience with your product will not be enough. Successful businesspeople understand not only their product but also the respective market as well. If you don't understand your market and your competition, your venture is sunk before it's even afloat.

Related: 3 Reasons to Start Copying Your Competitors Today

One of the best ways to thoroughly understand your market is to take a look at your competition. By not spying, you are at a significant disadvantage. Here are three reasons it's a good idea to spy on your competition.

1. It'll help you prepare.

Without spying, it's impossible to know what you're up against -- as a result, you can't completely prepare. You might be able to make sure that everything you control is market-ready, but if you don't know what your competition is doing, you could find yourself in a precarious situation.

In the world of AdWords, for instance, spying is imperative to ensuring that your ad stays in the most visible spot on the page. If you're monitoring your competition's actions, you'll know right away when it's time to respond in order to keep your ad visible. There could be a long delay in time before you realize what is going on, and that delay could be the difference between a success and a failure.

Related: 4 Ways Small Businesses Can Compete Against the Major Competitors

You can also track your competitor's AdWords to see what happens after the initial click to gather even more data. You can spy on whether potential customers are taken right to the competitor's website or to a landing page tailored to elicit more consumer interest in the product. If your spied-on sample size is big enough, it should be fairly simple to determine if something like that would be beneficial for your business, allowing you to truly prepare your product for launch.

2. It's easy to do.

Don't be discouraged from spying on your competition by assuming that it is daunting or resource intensive. By looking at your competition's websites, social media posts and existing ad campaigns, you'll be able to see what they're doing -- what works, what doesn't work and what would work better with a different approach.

If spying still seems daunting, automated tools can further ease potential burdens by helping you gather and interpret enormous amounts of web data concerning your competitor quickly and accurately. For example, Mention lets you set up notifications for whenever your competitor's name is mentioned anywhere on the web.

Related: The Secret to Outpacing Your Rival? Competitive Insights.

3. It would be wasteful to not spy.

Speaking of wasted resources, without spying on your competition it's very easy to waste time trying to find your ideal market and your reach. Finding outlets that want to work with you and distribute your product is initially one of the most time-consuming and necessary elements of building your business. Therefore, it makes sense to spy on your competition so you can improve on their efforts, including what they've done regarding marketing and reach.

Just as an apprentice learns from a mentor, you can learn from what your competition is and isn't doing so you can avoid pitfalls that have probably cost them a lot of time and money.

Andrew Medal

Entrepreneur & Angel Investor

Andrew Medal is the founder of The Paper Chase, which is a bi-weekly newsletter. He is an entrepreneur and angel investor.

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