Eyeing Your Competition – How Black Panther Keeps Ahead of the Pack

A few months back I shared this presentation with students of Maricopa Community Colleges as they prepared for The Big Pitch, a startup pitch competition with a $20,000 prize for the top new business idea. This presentation is a fun way to think about how to keep an eye on your competitors as you navigate the business landscape of your new venture.

The presentation is focused on three main points regarding 1) Identifying Competitors, 2) Tracking Competitors, and 3) Learning from Your Competitors.

1 – Identifying Competitors – We know that any opportunity will bring competition, this is as simple as supply and demand. So we should not fear competition as it is an indicator that we are in a prosperous industry. Many times our competitors are obvious, but we must know that other competitors often lie in wait, sometimes in a similar industry and are delaying until the right time to show their strengths and attract market share. It is important to do a robust search for potential competitors, starting with Google and expanding into industry lists as well as discussions with industry insiders that have deep knowledge of who works (or may work) in the field.

2 – Tracking Competitors – Once the competition has been identified, it is key to track them to understand their movements as they expand their presence into the industry. There are software tools specifically built for competitor tracking but I often recommend to use an existing CRM such as Hubspot or even a simple Google Sheet. Most important is to set reminders so that you track your competitors’ offerings at a consistent rate, at least quarterly.

3 – Learning from Competitors – The most important aspect! Gathering key insights from your competitors. A key point to consider is whether your company leads the industry or trails slightly behind the leader. Both strategies have their advantages and companies can become successful from either position, it is just important to know where your company resides. Leading the pack can be advantageous as you will be known by customers as an innovator and can blaze a trail filled with headlines about your company’s endeavors. However, following just behind the leader can have significant cost advantages as you learn from the leader who is paying to introduce a category or product to the consuming audience. They experience heavy costs for doing this but your company will also benefit from this introduction at a much smaller cost.

For the entire presentation, please feel free to click through the Slideshare below, and download and share. There is also a resource slide at the end of the deck with several helpful links. Enjoy.