Start Right or Don’t Start at All

When you’re faced with starting your first DIY CI project, your instinct probably tells you to dive into it.  That is totally wrong.  You have to step back and consider what it is you are going after before you go after it.

Start by writing or typing what it is you want to know.  Let’s say you found out that the competitor has launched a new product.  Your question may be “What does that mean to us?”

That is too broad.  Try narrowing the question down by asking couple of sub questions like, “What do they expect to gain by offering this product?”, or “Is it aimed at eventually replacing a product already in their inventory?” or “Is it the first in a line of future products?”

Then look at these questions, and eliminate those that really are not important.  The goal is to leave you with a targeted question that you can focus on.

If this sounds too bookish, try another approach.  Ask yourself,

“If I had the answer, the competitive intelligence, that I think I need, what decision could I make or what action could I take that I can’t do now without it?”

If your answer is unclear or uncertain, then why are you doing this? Your goal is unclear.

What I’m trying to show you is that you should use CI for “need to know“, not “nice to know” problems.  Nice to know is – well – nice.  Need to know is actionable and in your hands the CI you develop can be proactive.