Once you have data on your market and competition, how can you use that info to shape and refine your business idea?

To find out, we asked small business experts for their thoughts in informing your chosen business idea.

We'll be discussing this topic, and others about creating a profitable business, in our fireside chat via Google Hangout on February 10. Don't forget to RSVP!

I believe the best way to overcome a saturated market or otherwise one filled with competitors is to learn from them. This is a literal process where you used their business model to shape your business. For instance, if they are offering a particular price point you have to decide whether you can match that or provided a lesser one. You further refine your idea from the initial onset to an actual business concept, one that is not solely based on an idea but tied to a theme. If your research indicates that competitors are selling shoes for $9.99 a pair and they have a back to school campaign. You may use that info to create a theme of 'cure cancer one shoe at a time campaign' where a percentage of the proceeds is donated to help fund cancer research.

Catherin Delcin, Attorney at Delcin Consulting Group

The answers to competitive analysis questions will help you position your company and hone the way you represent your brand. It will also help you avoid any mistakes that your competitor has made, enhancing your business from the beginning.

Danielle Tate, Founder and CEO at Blueblird

Competitors have done much of the hard work for you, so its vital to study their business models, marketing, structure, pricing models, etc. to learn how they have succeeded (so you can repeat it) and failed (what to avoid). The end goal is to make your own company your greatest competitor as you disrupt from within and make all other competitors obsolete.

Daryl Gibson, Founder at Innovative X

If you decide that you want to go into business, understanding the competition is a brilliant way to position yourself and your business for success.

Before you consider opening a business, you owe it to yourself, your family, and your investors to do your homework. Research, research, research your industry and the market so that you can first make sure that there is a need and a desire for your product or service and second you have a clear picture of the potential for profit.

Once you know what you are up against you can decide what you want to do to distinguish your business in the marketplace. Consider all the elements of your brand. Will your business do something better, cheaper, or in a more friendly way than your competition? Why would a consumer say 'Yes' to you over the other guys?

After you have a sense of what would make your business stand out from the pack you can make some educated guesses about how much of the market share you'll be able to capture and perhaps what it will take to compete with the other businesses out there.

Understanding how your business stacks up can be a great positioning tool for you and for everyone on your team. Sell your strengths and be knowledgeable about your industry it can save you time, money, and energy and better position you and your business for success.

Jennifer Martin, Founder at Zest Business Consulting