Business internationalization

Week 5: Individual assignment: Competitor Analysis and Competitive Strategy (14% of course grade)

Resources:

Executive summary

Porter’s Generic Strategies

Sources of Competitive Advantage

Assignment overview: Individuals will conduct a competitor analysis and develop a competitive strategy for how the client company can win customers in the  recommended entry country. Grading rubric for Competitor assignment is here and posted in the module ‘Grading Guidelines and Rubrics.’

Assignment Objectives:  (1)  Each individual team member will identify and research 2—3 competitors in the recommended country, including at least one global competitor and one local competitor.

(2) Each individual will determine  the competitive strengths  and competitive weaknesses of the client company  by comparing client strengths and weaknesses with competitors’ strengths and weaknesses.

Note that not all your client’s Strengths are competitive advantages, since competitors may have similar strengths.  You are looking for those very few competitive strengths (in people, product/service, processes, or other resources)  that will give your company a  differentiator or cost advantage.

Similarly, competitor weaknesses that your client company does not suffer may give your client company a relative competitive advantage, even if you have not previously identified this characteristic as a particular strength of your client company.   It need only be better than the competitors in order for you to consider it as a competitive advantage (e.g.,more efficient processes than a competitor’s high cost production may mean your client can offer lower prices to customers than the competitor can).

(3) Applying Porter’s Generic Strategies, you will then recommend and explain a competitive strategy that will attract new customers by leveraging  the client firm’s competitive strengths (e.g., a more technologically advanced product with higher buyer value) and/or  mitigate its  competitive weaknesses (e.g., mitigating a relatively low brand recognition by saturating a niche market with a focused differentiator message: “we serve small businesses with software designed for small business”) ).

Assignment Requirements/format:

Step one: Using the summary information  from your group’s week 4 country selection paper, the Introduction to this paper should consist of (a) statement of purpose (b)  description of the company and its industry, (c) the  product/service that will be entered in the new country; (d) description of the target country and why it was recommended as better opportunity than the other country.

Step two:  The body of the paper (8 pages double spaced) will:

1. Assess each competitor’s  strengths and weaknesses

  • include in your assessment a competitors’ ability to mitigate the country level threats you identified  in Week4.  Competitors that are more adept at risk mitigation (e.g., via a process or asset advantage) will be more of a competitive threat. For example, in a politically unstable country (threat) , a competitor  with a wide network of associations (asset)  may be better able to weather political change (thus the network is a risk mitigating advantage)..

2. Compare Competitor Strengths and Weaknesses to your client’s Strengths and Weaknesses

3. Determine the two or three areas in which your client has a competitive advantage relative to competitors.  Explain how the advantage(s) represent a differentiation or cost advantage.  Be sure the data support this determination.

4.  Recommend a competitive strategy and explain why you have recommended the  strategy. Will this be effective against all or only some of the competitors?  Will you need a combined strategy or a tiered strategy (implemented over time) in order to compete for the long term?

  • Write a 1-2 page Executive summary for the entire paper (i.e., name the company and its industry; describe the  country opportunity; the competition and how your client can compete. Be specific about where cost advantage is or what differentiates your client).
  • Include a Title page (with your name!) and a Table of Contents, to be placed just after the Executive summary. After the Executive summary, include page numbers on the body of the paper, starting with page one.
  • Include a Reference list, using proper APA format for all references and in-text citations.

Post the assignment in your Individual Assignment folder AND in the Group Locker by the due date.

The posted individual papers in the  Group Locker will be for the team’s use in week 6 competitor research summary and competitive strategy recommendation .

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