Assignment 5

Assignment 5: Competitive Advantage Section (Version 1.0)

Competition section evaluation sheet (PDF)

Now that the target customer, value proposition, market opportunity and product are clear, success appears to be on the horizon, but it would be a shame to create a great opportunity and then have someone else swoop in and realize the financial and other rewards of all of this hard work. A strategy needs to be formulated to ensure that your team's competitive advantage will allow you to reap the fruits of your hard and smart labor. In the Competitive Advantage section you will want to cover things like:

  1. Did the student team describe what makes their offering unique? What is their USP (Unique Selling Proposition)?
  2. What are the options for the target customer?
  3. Were the current and future competitors named?
  4. Were the competitors analyzed? (see more info below)
  5. Was it clear how your student team will be different from these existing and future competitors?
  6. Did the team identify and talk about what their "core" was? This is your time now to describe your technology and why it is so great if that is part of your core. Do not get too deep into technology as this is a business class and not a science project.
  7. Did the team discuss how they are going to grow it and why it is sustainable vis-à-vis others?
  8. Was it clear which elements of the solution were non-core and how the company would deal with them so as to provide a 100% solution for the target customer?
  9. If appropriate, did the team describe an Intellectual Property strategy? Was it appropriate and credible?
  10. Did the team think creatively about how to create other areas of competitive advantage or significant barriers to future competitors who will want to enter the market?
  11. Were the team's investment and human resources plans consistent with this strategy to develop and protect the "core"?

When analyzing competitors (4 above), look at all the other companies serving the market now and those who you anticipate might enter in the future if you are successful. You might want to answer questions like:

  • How long have they been in business?
  • What is their stated vision and mission?
  • What are their revenues?
  • What is their annual growth?
  • Who do they have key partnerships with?
  • How are they financed? Who are their investors?
  • What is their target market? What geographic locations are they targeting?
  • What are the advantages of their product?
  • What are the disadvantages of their product?
  • What do customers think of them?
  • What is the web traffic on their web site?
  • What patents do they hold?
  • What is their key competitive advantage?

The competitive advantage section is a very important section. We urge you to capitalize on any great technology you have that will produce competitive advantage, but always remember two things. First, you win in the marketplace and not in the lab. You win when customers buy your product over the alternatives. Second, customers buy benefits and not technology or features.