Nature of competition

If it isn’t obvious, and you have something to gain from explaining, then start with the general nature of competition in your type of business, and how customers seem to choose one provider over another. What might make customers decide? Price, billing rates, reputation, or image and visibility? Are brand names important? How influential is word of mouth in providing long-term satisfied customers?

For example, competition in the restaurant business might depend on reputation and trends in one part of the market, and on location and parking in another. For the Internet and Internet service providers, busy signals for dial-up customers might be important. A purchase decision for an automobile may be based on style, or speed, or reputation for reliability.

For many professional service practices, the nature of competition depends on word of mouth because advertising is not completely accepted and therefore not as influential. Is there price competition between accountants, doctors, and lawyers? How much difference does a website, or social media engagement, make in choosing professionals?

How do people choose travel agencies or wedding florists? Why does someone hire one landscape architect over another? Why would a customer choose Starbucks, a national brand, over the local coffee house? Why select a Dell computer instead of an Apple? What factors make the most difference for your business? Why? This type of information is invaluable in understanding and explaining the nature of competition.

I’ve seen this done well as a single slide in a pitch presentation. It has a title like “Keys to Success in [your industry].”

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