3Find and Know Your Competitors

In planning and launching your startup, it is important to develop a clear, detailed sense of the companies that you will be competing with. Customers almost never make a buying decision in a vacuum. Instead, either consciously or unconsciously, they measure the value to them of a particular product or service by comparing similar offerings from one or more competing firms. Doing this as a company founder is known as competitive analysis and should be an ongoing activity for every business.

Identifying Your Competitors

You may think that you are familiar with most of the leading competing firms, particularly if you are launching a business in a field in which you've already worked. However, in this era of fast startups and the long tail of entrepreneurship, I can virtually guarantee that you have competitors about whom you don't have a clue. To put things in perspective, there are currently over 500,000 startup companies on the Gust platform that are working with or seeking angel investors.

The odds that none of those startups is competitive with your startup is (quite literally) one in half a million! So before you get too cocky, check your knowledge and expand your awareness of competitors who may be off your radar screen by employing some or all of the following techniques:

Survey Potential Customers.

As part of the planning process before launching your business, consider conducting a survey of your potential customers. One topic to ask ...

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