There’s a lot you can learn about your competitors based on their public paperwork filings. This is an area of research that a lot of people simply never take the time to look into. You can often figure out exactly what your competitors are working on, what their past results have been and what problems they may be having – all based on public record information.
==> Patent and Trademark Filings
You can look into all the patents and trademarks that a company holds or is filing for.
This can give you some very valuable information about the direction a company is planning to head in.
For example, if an online competitive research firm starts filing trademarks and patents for technologies designed to research radio or television, there’s a very good chance they’re about to break into a new market.
This could allow you to check out the new potential market and see if you’re also interested.
==> Legal Proceedings
Every company gets sued at some point. In fact, most large companies get sued several times a year. Some companies can deal with literally hundreds of lawsuits every year.
Whenever documents are disclosed in these lawsuits, they often become public record.
If your competitor has to disclose financial information to prove they didn’t do something wrong for example, that financial information becomes public. Most people won’t think to look, but if you pull up those records, you’ll be able to instantly see how well or how poorly your competitor is doing.
==> Information on Staff
Some tax information is public, some is private. For many companies, you can learn quite a bit about their staff based on filings available to the public at the tax assessor’s office.
==> Architectural Blueprints
Another useful piece of information you can get is building blueprints. This is completely open to the public.
For some companies, this wouldn’t matter at all. However, for others, it makes a huge difference. If your competition is a server hosting company for instance, you can learn a lot about their server setup based on how they laid out their building.
==> Public Companies
If your competition is a public company or a subsidiary of a public company, you’ve struck public filing payday.
Public companies have to file detailed reports about all their earnings and expenses. You can also see where the company might be heading in the future, as well as specific breakdowns of how they’ve used their capital.
Doing competitive research often involves doing a little digging. If this information were easy to find, everyone would be doing it. If you’re willing to put in a little bit of extra effort, you’ll be able to walk away with a treasure trove of useful information that you can use against your competition.