The Business Plan: Conduct A Competitive Analysis

A competitive analysis includes identifying the top competitors in your marketspace, comparing their products and services to yours, and planning how you’ll mitigate those risks.

An analysis of your top competitors should consider both those who are currently providing the products and services in your geographical location and/or online.

Complete this analysis by doing a simple online search using Google,, or  Pick five who are successful and compare their products and services, physical location, and marketing approaches to what you have planned for your start-up.  For each criterion list your approach and theirs and, if they have the advantage, develop a mitigation strategy.

For example: they have both a bricks and mortar location and a huge online presence and you have a small EMAIL list of friends and family, your mitigation advantage is you don’t have that overhead so you can produce your product less expensively; they have a mature product set and you have one or two products or services, you can focus on building those products using the feedback of your initial customer base.

Several years ago, I was launching a low-cost start-up and was overwhelmed by the amount of competition already out there who had the advantage of already starting and securing their customer base.   The number of steps just to get my product to market felt overwhelming and I began to doubt that I could be successful.

Then I realized I had the advantage of seeing what was working for them.  I could leverage the work they’d done to not necessarily compete with them, but to either expand the market or develop mitigation strategies that would attract the business I needed to my start-up.

It’s important to remember that you’re launching a new business and need a successful launch.  Limiting your launch to a manageable set of customers or clients to ensure you can successfully deliver your product and understand the full business cycle may feel like an extra step, but it mitigates the risk of not being able to deliver your product successfully

Leah Ward-Lee is a management consultant and business writer based in Dallas, Texas and the author of $1,000 Start-Ups.  She’s currently developing a course and the $1,000 Start-Up Workbook to help entrepreneurs launch low cost business start-ups.

Published by Leah Ward-Lee

Leah Ward-Lee, the author of "$1,000 Start-Ups", is a serial micro-entrepreneur. She opened her first business at ten after lobbying for and receiving a shoe shine kit for Christmas. She pulled her wagon through the neighborhood, going door-to-door, offering to shine her neighbor’s shoes for twenty-five cents a pair. Once her wagon was full, she took the shoes home and polished them. Unfortunately that business was short-lived. She hadn’t tagged the shoes and couldn’t remember whose shoes were whose, so her dad went with her to retrace the route until every pair was returned. Since then she’s had businesses developing and teaching college courses, instructing aerobic classes, owning half a plane that was rented to a flight and maintenance school, and renting homes. She’s also owned a consignment store, a gift shop, a gift basket business, a consulting firm, hosted The Executive Toolbox (a weekly radio show), and a publishing company. She also spent twenty years in the US Army, served as the Chief Information and Technical Officer for two major insurance companies, and has a second career as a management consultant. Leah resides in Dallas, TX and on Amelia Island with Sammy and Goliath, her two rescue dogs.


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