The competition slide in a pitch deck includes information about your competitors. It outlines their share of the market and the amount of investment they are pouring into products and services which are similar to yours. It also compares and contrasts your product/service against theirs.
To make a successful pitch deck, your competition slide must include critical information conveyed in an appropriate way. In this article, I’m going to share with you exactly why a competition slide is important. I’ll also outline what you should include in your competition slide to make that killer pitch deck as opposed to going into a detailed business plan.
Why is the Competition Slide in a Pitch Deck Important?
The competition slide in a pitch deck outlines a key aspect of your business. This aspect is central to everything you will or won’t achieve. Many entrepreneurs focus on a detailed business plan and why they have the talents to make that plan a success.
Of course, these things matter! But, if you leave this one key aspect out of your pitch, talented investors with the capital to make your business happen will cast your pitch deck aside.
What is this key aspect? The challenge.
The competition slide of a pitch deck shows investors what they are up against. You could make a great pitch about a solid idea and show a wide range of opportunities for growth. But, if there’s a competitor who is about to do exactly the same thing, especially with a larger budget, this could sink your business unless you discover a unique selling point (USP).
If potential investors see that you’ve missed out on the competition slide of your pitch deck, they will get suspicious that you are hiding this sort of scenario.
Instead, put forward a competition slide that shows who your main challenger(s) will be. Design your pitch to show why you have an edge on that competition. That edge could be getting to market first, a unique feature, or an existing network of outlets ready to stock/market your brand.
Tailor Your Competition Slide to Your Audience
Now you know how important your competition slide is to your pitch deck, what should you put in it? I could give you a generic answer, but the truth is it depends. Those familiar with my articles will know that I favor a bespoke approach to pitch deck design, built upon an accepted structure.
While your pitch deck needs to include the framework, what you put on those slides should be catered towards your audience. If you are pitching to angel investors, then your competition slide should contain competitor challenges over the next 12 months or so.
If, on the other hand, you are pitching to VC firms looking to exit in 3 – 5 years, then you need to list competitors and what they are likely to do across that timescale. Know your audience and alter your pitch deck design and its competitor slides accordingly.
Two-Part Structure of a Competition Slide
There are two types of information you can put on your competitor slide for angel investors, these are stats and USPs (Unique Selling Points). The stats include performance metrics and investment amounts for competitors, while your USPs include anything that gives your product/service an edge over competitors.
How you structure these categories is up to you. You could put all of the stats on one slide and then the USPs on another. However, investors appreciate a concise pitch. So only do this if you feel it’s necessary to present your business idea and its challenges fully.
What to Include in the Competition Slide in a Pitch Deck
Beyond this, your best approach to a competitor slide is to list your company, product or service’s benefits alongside your competitor’s existing achievements. These will usually be the USPs of your products versus the features of another.
Though many use a magic quadrant design to show the differences between a pitched idea and its competitors, a power grid (table) design can be more effective. Either way, the purpose here is to simply show why your product is better than its competitors.
One of the advantages of a power grid design or table is that it allows you to contrast your product against those of several competitors at once. A simple tick for an existing feature is a clear way to illustrate that your product or service has something unique and that your competitors are lacking in this regard.
When you are in the startup fundraising process, it’s best to keep your comparison table to about 5 rows or so, with a column for your product and then a separate column for 1 – 4 competitor products. This is a concise, visual representation of why your product/service is better placed to be successful over what your competitors are offering.
Get this slide right and investors will be much more interested in offering you capital.
What Should be in Your Power Grid Table?
My advice is to distill your product/service down into its most desirable features. List the top 5 or 6 things you believe will make your product great. When writing this list, think about it from the perspective of the consumer. What will they be looking for from your product? What will entice them to buy it?
Prioritize this list from the most important USP to least important. When creating your grid on your competition slide, list the most important USPs first.
Do the same for each of the competitors you are contrasting your business against, focusing on what you have that they don’t.
What makes your product/service stand out for investors and consumers could be a lower price point, being first to market, operating in an untapped marketplace, having a killer feature competitors don’t have, or even having an established audience or install base ready to go.
In rare instances, an entrepreneur will have a product/service unlike anything else out there. In this case, it’s difficult to compare and contrast. However, most of the time someone has released something similar or within the same niche which you can contrast your USPs against.
Alejandro Cremades is a serial entrepreneur and the author of The Art of Startup Fundraising. With a foreword by ‘Shark Tank‘ star Barbara Corcoran, and published by John Wiley & Sons, the book was named one of the best books for entrepreneurs. The book offers a step-by-step guide to today‘s way of raising money for entrepreneurs.
Most recently, Alejandro built and exited CoFoundersLab which is one of the largest communities of founders online.
Prior to CoFoundersLab, Alejandro worked as a lawyer at King & Spalding where he was involved in one of the biggest investment arbitration cases in history ($113 billion at stake).
Alejandro is an active speaker and has given guest lectures at the Wharton School of Business, Columbia Business School, and at NYU Stern School of Business.
Alejandro has been involved with the JOBS Act since inception and was invited to the White House and the US House of Representatives to provide his stands on the new regulatory changes concerning fundraising online.
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