How to present your competitive advantage in your investor pitch deck

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Most likely, your business has competitors and investors will expect to see how you stand out amongst them. Having an advantage over your competitors will enable you to grow faster and capture a greater market share than them. In the unlikely event that you do not have any competitors, investors will still expect to see that you have a very good understanding of the state of the market and that you will be prepared for the arrival of eventual competitors.

In this article, we will outline how to identify exactly which aspects of your business can be presented as a competitive advantage, as well as how to condense and communicate these effectively to interested investors.

How to identify what sets your business apart from your competitors?

The first step is to demonstrate the level of research and understanding you have of the competitor landscape i.e. who are your competitors, where are they in their lifecycle, what have they achieved so far, and who are the people behind it (both the team & investors).

Never say that you don’t have any competitors/or no competition.

If you genuinely don’t believe you have any competitors, then outline the market – who else exists in the market, why haven’t they done what you do yet. You need to demonstrate to investors that, even if you think you’re the only company in the world doing something, you act as if you aren’t and therefore are always on your toes. You’ll be in a far better place to deal with competitors and stay ahead.

How do you communicate it effectively to investors?

You should have to hand 4-7 key criteria against which you compare your business to others.

Key criteria can include:

  • Prices
  • Operating costs
  • Quality of customer service
  • (If tech/product) Breadth of functionality
  • Strength of the branding
  • IP/Patents
  • Growth, scalability, market penetration potential
  • Customer reviews, NPS

When communicating your competitive advantage to investors, the essential is to distill the key factors/metrics against which you compare yourself with competitors and identify where you fit. And always remember to present yourself and your key metrics in a positive light.

What can constitute a ‘competitive advantage’?

Having already outlined the competitive landscape, the reader should already know how you are different/better. Now is the time to pick out elements from the competitive landscape and zero in on the substantive areas where you can show your superiority.

A competitive advantage section is about identifying 2-4 of the key, biggest, defensible competitive advantages that will enable you to win over others.

For example:

  • First mover advantage – grabbing initial market share, creating brand awareness, and forming an association amongst consumers between your brand and your product/service by being (one of) the first to introduce it to the market.
  • Defensibility – patents, IP, intangible defensibility (know-how, expertise, knowledge), etc. Anything that can demonstrate that your product or service cannot be easily replaced by new entrants into the market.
  • Growth strategy – any means you have of capturing market share quicker, rapidly getting in front of users, marketing strategy, anything that gets you where you want to be quicker.
  • Team – background, experience, history of growing and selling previous businesses. As with all of the above, when it comes to the team, it is important to highlight credibility. That is, to convince investors that behind the company is a team that has the necessary skills and experience to take it to the next level.

If you are not very confident in your competitive advantage, what should you focus on?

The simple answer is to look at the market. Figure out who is doing what and find where the gap is. Once you fill the gaps that exist in the competitor table, there is your competitive advantage. The more knowledge you have about the market and who is in the market, the more impressed investors will be.

While your competitive advantage is a very important part of your investor deck, the rest of the deck is important too. Click here to watch a video by our founder, Helena Murphy, about the 5 things you need to consider when writing an investor deck.