All companies in every industry need to look at five main forces to gain a competitive advantage. The first is the number of suppliers to an industry. The smaller the number of suppliers, the more vulnerable a firm is to price rises. The second is consumer interest in the product. The smaller the number of consumers, the less potential the company has. The third is rivalry amongst industry competitors. Having several companies selling rival products to the same consumers threatens profits. The fourth force is the threat of new entrants to the market. This is greater if there are few barriers to entering the industry. And the final force is the threat of substitution. Firms need to consider other products that perform a similar role to theirs, as consumers could switch to these. Watch Macat’s short video for a great introduction to Michael E. Porter’s Competitive Strategy, one of the most important business books ever written.
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