In a typical pitching situation, startups are repeatedly asked about their competitive landscape. Why? To find out in which market the startup is and wants to be, what is the target group and what is the unique competitive advantage.
For established enterprises evaluating the competitive environment is constant. Differentiating from the competitors is established through multiple channels. However - more of a rule than an exception - our experience shows that the evaluating competitive landscape is quite often limited within other larger corporations. It shouldn’t.
Here are 3 reasons why larger companies should extend their scope to the startup landscape.
1. If you are planning to or already working with startups, you ought to have an understanding of the competitive landscape. How else would you be able to determine whether you are working with the best ones?
2. Scouting can open up areas of future growth. Startups are usually the first ones serving customers beyond the traditional sphere. Studying startups and VC investments goes a long way detecting patterns of new, growing markets.
3. Seek opportunities for collaboration. You might run into a product or service that would a perfect complementary addition to your company’s own.
Screening startup landscape keeps surprising our customers frequently (and us too). Almost invariably we stumble on to startups using novel ways to solve traditional customer problems. Often even startups solving solutions to completely new, previously unidentified needs.
Findings as mentioned above can prove out to be extremely valuable. After all, in order to keep up in the competition in the developing markets or to move to completely new markets, listening to the customer is not enough anymore. As the old saying goes: If Henry Ford would have asked what the customers wanted, they would have said faster horses.
Key takeaways from understanding your startup landscape:
1. Find potential areas of future growth
2. Seek potential partners for collaboration
3. Clarify strategy and competitive advantages of e.g. own internal ventures