Today I had the pleasure of serving as an advisor during #StartupChats on Building Competitive Advantage for Your Startup, powered by Scotia Bank. The event had 27 contributors, 23.4 million impressions, and trended nationally at #18. Here were the questions asked and my answers:
- What is a competitive advantage and how important is it for a new startup?
A competitive advantage is something your ideal customer values and differentiates your small business startup from your competition.
- How do you define who your competitors are, as someone starting up?
Entrepreneurs & Small Business Startups need to research — like their ideal customers would — their competitors, that is companies that compete in the same industry or a similar industry and offer a similar product or service.
- How do you assess the relative strength of your products in opposition to what your competitors are offering?
Small Business startups need to do competitor research regularly to ensure they remain competitive. I keep a google sheet of my competitors with links to their websites and key differentiation points and how I’d rate them.
- Who do Canadian entrepreneurs need to talk to to discover their competitive advantage? Where can you seek advice?
Entrepreneurs & small business startups seeking help discovering their competitive advantage should ask their clients & tap into the many business resources available today e.g. the one @startupcan did for women (www.suesutcliffe.com/resources-for-canadian-women-entrepreneurs)
- What tools are available to better understand your competition? How can you get a peek into their strategy?
Websites, social media & newsletters make it easier than ever for entrepreneurs & small business startups to get a quick understand of their competitor’s strategy, but going further by simulating a customer and spying is a time-proven strategy to gain competitive intelligence.
- How should Canadian entrepreneurs communicate their competitive advantage to their different stakeholders?
Canadian entrepreneurs & small business startups need to ensure their competitive advantage is clear in their key messaging and ensure all marketing communications to different stakeholders communicate it well.
- What are the different types of competitive advantage entrepreneurs can capitalize on?
There are three different types of competitive advantages Canadian entrepreneurs & small business startups can leverage; cost leadership, differentiation & focus.
- How can entrepreneurs find their competitive advantage in a saturated market?
Canadian entrepreneurs & small business startups operating in a saturated market should focus on their brand story, packaging, how they can add more value, untapped markets and perhaps finding a sub-niche that’s less saturated.
- How often do you need to revisit your competitive strategy? How often should you be analyzing your market?
Canadian entrepreneurs & small business startups should have a system that researches & analyzes key markets & competitors (direct, indirect, and replacement) and revisits competitive strategy on an ongoing basis, but at least once a year.
- What recommendations do you have for entrepreneurs to use to prove their competitive advantage?
The best way for Canadian entrepreneurs & small business startups to prove their competitive advantage is through their competitor’s voice. Video — with subtitles — is always best, followed by written testimonials, case studies, portfolios, etc.
- Do you have any final tips or advice for entrepreneurs looking to build their competitive advantage?
Canadian entrepreneurs & small business startups looking to build their competitive advantages should schedule time in their calendars to do the work to ensure their brand stays competitive.
Thanks for the likes, comments and shares @Startup_Canada @yrraByrraB @OKsuziMarketing @dainikjanuday @StartupsBot @cenario_app@RSMorrison @MindofSari @CEEINCA @boina92 @Jade_A_Consult @paul_brassard @DellSmbCA
Want to see everyone’s comments on this topic? Here’s a link to the wakelet here.