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Competitive intelligence is the ability to predict competitors' next moves. In the context of new ventures, the ability to anticipate incumbents' actions provides a preview of the future. Competitive intelligence is much more an art than an exact science, implying that predictions are inherently imprecise. However, approaching competitive intelligence both methodically and creatively increases the likelihood of spotting competitors' upcoming market-changing actions. The means of prediction include analyses of major changes in cash flow, product and service improvements in commodity markets, and scenario planning. Each of these provides anticipatory techniques for spotting competitors' impending actions.

First, predicting a major offensive based on a competitor's cash flow is typically the easiest method but yields the least specific predictions. Among the three major categories of cash flow—cash flow ...

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