…almost done! Again, THIS is the link to the outlining for a minimal investor pitch deck. This post covers the details of slide 7 with enough commentary to give you a sense of what you need to think about during a discussion on competition and your unfair advantage in this market.
It’s important to realize that investors (any many other people) will begin to understand what your company does by ANALOGY. Having seen many different companies over time (and understanding how THEY operate), understanding your company is largely an exercise in figuring how how you are similar to dissimilar to the companies that investors know well. Framing up a set of similar and/or dissimilar companies is one of the key purposes of the competition chart.
It is universally accepted that the standard “check-box” comparison chart will start with your company in the first column, having the vast predominance of boxes checked, and then proceed to list 3-4 other less-checked competitors that you’re in the process of wildly out executing. The example Slide 7 has three examples of these charts.
While nearly cliche, such a slide still serves the purpose of listing the competitive criteria that you deem important relative to your company and this market and how other companies in your space stack up. …and it’s probably best to NOT use the phrase “secret sauce” in your pitch…we’re using it here colloquially.
The set of competitive criteria for your company – the rows on these sort of slides – leads directly to your company’s unique competitive advantage (aka “secret sauce” or “unfair advantage”). There are a number of standard, competitive differentiators: being first to market, unique technology, patent protection, your amazing team, and others; these differentiators all have varying degrees of “defensibility,” which is an important concept when it comes to decribing your company’s competitive advantage. For example, being first to market may simply illuminate the path for a larger competitor who is willing and able to fast-follow your strategy and throw huge dollars at solving the same problem. Is that true? why or why not? Have your data-backed (versus emotional-bias-backed) answers ready!
The question that investors will have and that you must answer as best you can is this: if your company is successful, how will you defend its business from competitors who see your success and want some or all of it for themselves? What can you do differently? What can you do uniquely and realistically for how long? What CAN’T (or is really really hard to) be duplicated?