How to Conduct a Competitive Analysis For Startups

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(Last Updated On: April 25, 2017)

Bunker Labs RDU, premier accelerator for veteran founded startups and small businesses, has invited Dragana Mendel to their Brain Trust Thursdays event to present on competitive analysis and SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats). Needless to say, the flier and marketing collateral created by Charlie Harper, founder of WooshData marketing agency is taking competitive process to the dog fight level!

Competitive Analysis Presentation at Bunker Labs

Charlie is not alone in using fighter pilot terminology to talk about business competition.  Reid Hoffman, influential Silicon Valley entrepreneur and a venture capitalist, uses OODA term:

“Observe, orient, decide, act. It’s fighter pilot terminology. If you have the faster OODA loop in a dogfight, you live. The other person dies. In Silicon Valley, the OODA loop of your decision-making is effectively what differentiates your ability to succeed.”

“The essence of strategy formulation is coping with competition.”

— Michael Porter

It is important to perform competitive analysis because market is in constant flux, product lifecycle is shrinking, global competition increasing, customers’ tastes changing. To get into a habit of keeping an eye on your competition and changes in the market place, create a structure for collecting, organizing, and analyzing competitor information that includes four areas of interest:

  1. What are the competitors’ objectives?
  2. What are the current strategies being employed to achieve the objectives, and how successful have they been?
  3. What are the capabilities of the competitors to implement their strategies?
  4. What are their likely future strategies?

Presentation: How to Conduct Competitive Analysis

Even though business owners and startup founders know that competition should not be ignored, some people still do not conduct competitive analysis on regular basis because they are too busy getting the business off the ground, or because they are simply overwhelmed with the amount of work required to perform a thorough analysis. In either case, this presentation lays down the steps that are essential for a good competitive analysis process.

Competitive Analysis Steps

  • Monthly: collect data on your competitors. Spend a day or two each month collecting data about your competitors and new entrants from search engines, trade journals, local and national newspapers, press releases, SEC fillings, Form-D filings, patent and trademark applications.
  • Quarterly: organize & analyze collected competitors’ data.
  • Semi-annually or annually: assessment & strategic planning.

Competitors’ ScoreCard

Once you have all competitors’ data compiled, it’s time to analyze their threat to your business by distilling down unstructured data into a simple scorecard. Don’t forget to assign a score to your own business. Rank all your competitors in a scorecard. Focus on competitors with large and/or increasing market share. Think about strategies that you can use to to acquire and keep your competitors’ customers using one or two basic building blocks of sustainable competitive advantage: customer responsiveness (my top recommendation for startups), innovation, efficiency, or quality.
Download a comprehensive competitor’s
 score card:

Get Competitive Analysis Report for Your Business

New businesses are usually strapped for resources, so we are happy to work directly with small business owners and startup founders to lay down a foundation that can help them execute competitive analysis systematically, at least once per year. Each business is different, so we customize competitive analysis report and an action plan based on the specific sitation that pertains to your business values and goals. We have an access to a number of market research databases that helps us benchmark your business and your competitors against industry average so you can focus on few, most important areas for the improvement. Call us today!

About Bunker Labs RDU

Founded in 2014, Bunker Labs is a national not-for-profit program. We believe veterans are our greatest national human asset – we aim to inspire, educate, and connect transitioning service members and veterans as they seek to launch their own ventures. Our locations nation-wide provide our members with weekly programming and entrepreneurship classes, a support network of 500+ professionals, access to fundraising, and more.

Bunker Labs RDU targets existing veteran-owned tech startups and aspiring entrepreneurs to inspire, educate and connect the business world through their ideas, hard work, and strategy.

About Dragana Mendel 85 Articles
Dragana Mendel is a President and Principal Consultant at ANAGARD, LLC. In her role, she provides management consulting services to small and medium size businesses on the best strategy to achieve their short and long term goals.