As a startup, your competitor analysis template is one of the most important and influential parts of getting off the ground. Here’s what to include in your competitor analysis template.
Every startup has competition. If you don’t see it, it is even more of a threat. If you don’t acknowledge it, prospective investors won’t take you seriously.
Without really knowing your competition and the competitor analysis template, you really don’t know if you have a viable business idea. You won’t be prepared to navigate the market. Poor competitor analysis is one of the top reasons that startups fail. From looking at some of them you’d think they’ve been living in a cave for the last decade and have done zero research. Not even a quick Google search on their market.
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Creating Your Competitor Analysis
Your competitor analysis template is often going to be summarized as a part of your business plan, marketing plan and as a box graph in your pitch deck. It can also be its own fully-fledged and dynamic document for empowering your team to their best work and keeping you focused and ahead of the curve.
As an inspired entrepreneur and startup founder, you are already juggling a lot. Yet, everything else may be for nothing if you haven’t done this properly.
You can buy market research to speed up your findings. You can hire freelancers on platforms like Upwork to expand on your initial assumptions. You can do some market research yourself, and then double-check it and have your fundraising advisor provide their insights.
Competitor Analysis Template
You can include a quick summary here. Mention your target market, general market landscape, the goal and role of this document and the data sources being used.to complete it.
Who are your competitors in this market? Who are future potential competitors?
When applying this to any other documents or campaigns, you may only list 3-4 main competitors.
However, for your knowledge and best work, and for all the applications of this research, you should include two to three times more than that here. The more complete your list the better.
You may need to strategically show certain types of competitors on your competitor analysis template when you are out fundraising. For example, who has raised money in this space, and how you are better. When it comes to M&A activity you may also be including other types of competitors in your pitch book. For example who else has been bought in this space, and for how much.
Then you have your competitors which are most applicable for your marketing strategy and completing your marketing plan.
Competitors’ Market Share
How big are these competitors is a critical part of the competitor analysis template? How much of the market do they each control? What geographic regions and niches do they occupy?
What you learn in this section may surprise you. It can give you great insight into some really powerful strategic moves to make.
Products & Services
What products and services are your competitors offering? You can also list specific features, pricing, design, and customer experience items here.
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Many of your competitors may try to hide some of the most important facts from competitors like you on their public websites. You may want to call, sit through demos, and even buy the product and go through the experience to test it for yourself.
Next layout your products and services. Put the facts side by side on paper for comparison.
Then pull out your differentiating factors. How are your products and services the same and different.
Now ask how you can differentiate even further.
Strengths & Weaknesses
Where are your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses is one of the things to think about as part of your competitor analysis template? This can cover pricing, branding, product-market fit, the potential for scale, positioning, credibility, funding, advisors, delivery, customer service, production, and team.
Next layout your own strengths and weaknesses. Where are you weak? Where are you stronger? What are your competitive advantages? Maybe they are larger and better funded. Maybe you can move faster and bring an appealing alternative to the market and gain more buzz, and deliver a better user experience.
Maybe you can operate on much better profit margins. Maybe they have larger teams and can and are willing to take billions in losses for years to eat up market share.
What has all of this analysis shown you are available in opportunities?
What voids are there you can fill? Where can you outperform your competitors? How can you leverage them to stand out and pick up more business?
What are your plan b and c options if your primary opportunity is cut off?
This section from the competitor analysis template is even more important than the opportunities. If you are oblivious to the threats, they will get you.
What threats are there to your business and from these potential competitors?
This may include price wars, new partnerships, imitation, first-mover advantages into new markets and niches, and legal challenges. Sometimes competitors will just think it is easier to tie you up in court and distract and bankrupt you with legal cases, than for them to try and improve their product or service. Be sure you have a great corporate lawyer and don’t look like an easy victim.
Wrap up with a summary of your findings, where this leaves you, and what’s next as part of the competitor analysis template.
What does it all help confirm? How can this data be used for fundraising and marketing or negotiating M&A deals?
What has it made you aware of? Where can you shore up the risks, and pursue the best opportunities?
Remember that storytelling plays a key role in fundraising. This is being able to capture the essence of the business in 15 to 20 slides. For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash.
Remember to unlock the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.
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