2. Market & Competition
[Throughout this series of articles to explain how to build an investors deck we are using the example of Pant Station, an imaginary company that sells panties for men, to illustrate the different parts. If you want to read this series of article, I advise you to start with this one.]
This part is your opportunity to explain what’s unique about your value proposition.
Many make the mistake of jumping right into competitors to show how they compare and what unique proposition value they bring to the table.
We are going to show you how to get better at this exercise and how you can make your ideas shine to the eyes of investors. To make investment decisions, VCs need to be able to assess the risks to revenue ratio. To do that, it’s essential they understand your market, competitive landscape and your USP (unique selling proposition).
It’s demonstration time: Let’s say you are a brand of underwear for older men named PantStation.
There are already lots of brands playing on the underwear market, which means you need to be convincing with your targeting. Are you planning on selling to CSP+ woman with an appeal for jewelry or to a older man who wants to start exercising? Your value proposition is not the same depending on who your customer are.
Now onto the market sizing: in your deck investors will want to see you’re addressing a big crowd and the selling potential is huge. Basically, many customers > large market > large business.
Let's go back to Pant Station: In France there are 9 843 021 men over 50 years old according to INSEE. That’s a pretty broad market even if we are several players.
Since one man owns on average 10 pairs of briefs and they have to buy new ones every year we could have a potential market of 98 million briefs per year (everyone will agree that’s A LOT of briefs).
Find your customers main criteria
In order to make a relevant competition analysis you need to identify your customers’ needs and expectations towards the product you are planning on selling them. It’s your market fit you’re looking for and it all comes down to one question: What do customers really want?
To do that correctly you need to find existing proof like surveys or feedback, any kind of data that can actually prove you’re not making this up to fit your purpose.🕵️
You’ve done your homework and found out people choose their underwear using mostly these criteria:
Specifically for our target we can notice two criteria coming first: Quality / Comfort.
You now need to show how your competitors are currently responding to your customers’ needs and show the loophole you’ve identified along with how you are going to give customers exactly what they need.
It’s time to gather information about your main competitors, those who operate in the same country as you but also in other parts of the world where you would be interested to expand later on.
For those main competitors you need to know:
📅 When they first launched their product or service
🌎 Where they operate
#️⃣ How many customers they have
🔦 Their business models
🤑 Whether or not they have raised funds before
It’s a great first draft to compare and know what you’re up against. Make sure you find your information from reliable sources (write down those sources to prove you’ve done your homework the best possible way).
Time to show off 🔥
Let’s get back to our mapping process: the best way to show investors where you are positioned.
Now that you know who your customers are, what they are looking for and who your competitors are you need to put it all together by assessing your competitors strengths and weaknesses for each criteria you’ve found relevant to your market.
Your assessment can be very simple. You can rank your competitors’ performances from GREAT to BAD with AVERAGE in the middle.
Begin by defining what’s GREAT, AVERAGE or BAD for each criteria:
Quality: Lasts 3 to 5 years
Price: From 1 to 6 euros
Comfort: soft, doesn’t leave marks, true to size
Design: trendy, large color choice
Quality: Lasts 1 to 3 years
Price: from 5 to 10 euros
Comfort: bad sizing, not breathable, leaves marks
Design: basic, neutral
Quality: Lasts less than a year
Price: 10 euros or more
Comfort: itchy material, see-through
Design: ugly, badly cut
Next step is to evaluate your competitors for each criteria. Thanks to this you can see directly where you add more value.
You can clearly see that PantStation strengths compared to the competition are great QUALITY and great COMFORT. Those are the main criteria for your target (it means you have created something super relevant for your customers).
Now you can map it choosing those two in particular like so :
And there you have it! You can proudly include this mapping in your deck and have all the back up research to help you answer any specific questions from investors! 😎