14. Competitive Advantage


Two all-beef patties and special sauce on a sesame seed bun.

IN PRESENTING YOUR competition, your audience needs to understand what makes your company unique. However, uniqueness is insufficient unto itself. The question that audiences will wonder next is how your company will keep ahead of the competition.

Keep in mind that once your product is out in the market, and especially once you succeed at selling your product or service to a large number of customers, your competitors will start analyzing your business. They will attempt to match or leapfrog your solution.

RULE 32:
Show how your efforts create a barrier to future competition.

To achieve those sales and stay ahead of the competition after those sales, you need a sustainable competitive advantage. Such advantages can be patented inventions, business partnerships, low-cost processes, or simply being first in the market (a.k.a. “first-mover advantage”).

In some markets, the largest provider gains an advantage simply by being bigger and better known (a.k.a. “advantage of scale”), which leads to a greater market share. Think Windows operation systems, Google web search, and other trusted/loved national brands, such as Starbucks. In other markets, the lowest-priced competitor has the primary advantage, such as Walmart and Hyundai.

For Ensibuuko, the competition is the status quo, and the competitive advantage is their first-mover advantage.

For Concrete Battery, the competitive advantage must be explicitly stated after describing the competition.

Concrete Battery—[Competitive advantage, reprise]


“Focusing on a simple, low-cost, cost-effective solution will allow Concrete Battery to gain initial sales, grow in scale, and use that success to further lower the costs of production. Having a solution that can be installed anywhere will help Concrete Battery compete against other technologies. Patents will be filed on all key early learnings, further protecting the market share and building a barrier to competitors following in our footsteps. And, as the market grows, Concrete Battery will be poised to grow along with it, as a proven, trusted, affordable brand for energy storage.”

For most companies, the explanation can be this brief. Sometimes this information comes up during the competition slide, but it is important enough to repeat in its own slide if you have the time.

If the competitive advantage is not clearly obvious to the audience, take note of that fact, and question whether your company truly has any competitive advantage to tout.

Further Reading

The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen


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