I was invited to lecture on the subject of competitor analysis, market size and sales projections for entrepreneurs, at the start-up complex in Rishon LeZion. This is not my first time lecturing, both in Israel and abroad…But there is still preparation to take care of…
80% of start-up companies err big-time when speaking about competitors. It's especially critical when presenting to investors who, at times, may be more familiar with the market than the entrepreneur!
A quick Google search by the investors is liable to reveal additional competitors who did not appear on the comparison benchmark – particularly the most notable examples, or ones who were not mentioned at all! It's therefore crucial to research the competition and know who your competitors are.
As each entrepreneur in turn presented the name and subject of the project in 30 seconds, I realized that there was an abundance of ventures from a range of worlds of content: video news, green energy, a variety of commercial spheres, financial education, programming, wholesale business, smart homes and more. It’s a challenge.
In a split second of improvisation, I decided to change the order of the lecture and turn it into an interactive workshop. In my experience, interaction lowers barriers and reduces concerns (which it turns out entrepreneurs have too), and leads to greater openness, readiness to participate and effort by the entrepreneurs.
Instead of merely listening and occasionally asking questions, there is a change of approach and actual work begins on your project; dealing with issues, understanding what may not be clear, using a critical, illuminating, stimulating eye. Through this process, it immediately becomes apparent who is "strong" and immersed in their project and the journey they have taken, and who is not.
This sort of exercise is productive in comprehending the entrepreneur and how they handle change, rapidly or slowly. The subject of "flexagility" (flexibility + agility) helps to understand how entrepreneurs deal with the uncertainty and ambiguousness so common in the post-Covid era market, and in general.
The workshop was divided into three sections:
A short theoretical section
An explanation of the various models for competitor analysis, market analysis, obstacles and trends, types of analysis tables, a presentation of benefits, value proposition, differentiation based on order of importance, from most to least important. In what order are the competitors presented?
Individual work and feedback
At this point we moved on to the crux of the matter – practical, individual work by each of the entrepreneurs in their field, searches for accessible and hidden market research, distribution channels, potential markets and more. I moved around among the entrepreneurs, answered questions and focused the lights on those areas from which they could arrive at conclusions vis-à-vis their initiative.
The simplest is to help by providing the answer right away… However, it's more of a challenge when the entrepreneurs need to reach it themselves. How? By asking difficult questions; those which lead them to search, wonder, share, take responsibility and believe.
To conclude, each entrepreneur presented the results, including feedback on the products. As a complementary part of the exercise we carried out a market size analysis, examined the potential of the global market, TAM (Total Addressable Market), focusing on one territory (a derivative of resources, obstacles, competitors, standardization and more).
We analysed weaknesses; these will become targets, goals, initiatives and operations for teams in the organization, as we built an operational work plan. We calculated the optimal and real market potential and constructed a sales forecast for a year ahead, based on work assumptions.
What did the entrepreneurs get?
1. Individual attention, 1:1 questions
2. Work on their initiative and on the spot feedback
3. A wide range of means of action/solutions
4. Sharpening and focusing unclear subjects
5. Relevant examples from their sphere of content
6. In-depth handing of other subjects
7. Practical tools and case analysis
8. Tips for presented market analysis to investors
Best of luck to the entrepreneurs.