Competitiveness involves an enterprise or industry developing and then maintaining an advantage over other enterprises in the same market space. Improving competitiveness is a function of increasing efficiency, improving quality, pursuing product differentiation, influencing demand or a combination of these individual strategies. Most SMEs do not have sufficient bargaining power with buyers in the market to influence demand. Questions to be explored in assessing enterprise competitiveness include

  • What are my production costs and methods? What is the relationship between methods and costs?
  • Will changes be required to sourcing of inputs in order to compete effectively?
  • Will my company need to undertake Business Upgrading* to achieve productivity and efficient production costs? (*introduction of technology, staff development, other investments)
  • How will I/ we finance appropriate market promotion?
  • How will I/ we handle the need for constant innovation?
  • Is seeking entry to this market the most efficient use of available resources? (Human, financial, etc.)
  • How will I/ we handle the need to undertake appropriate business planning and assessment of risks?
  • What linkages should I/ we form with other companies and institutions?
  • In what directions do I /we expect to achieve growth in the overall business through export? (e.g. new markets, new products, additional sales) What are the implications for costs and organizational structure and functions?
  • What support services will I/we need to access through local, regional and/or international agencies?