Exercise 5. Competitor deep-dive
Why do this?
As a future product founder, it’s important that you understand the players in the market you’re trying to enter, what audiences they’re approaching, what solutions they offer, and how they’ve built their business model.
This exercise helps you create your own mental models for positioning, audiences, feature sets, and how products in your vertical can be monetised. It’s a lot harder to decide how to build a sustainable business out of your product if you don’t know how others are doing it at the moment.
It gives you a sense of the existing products in the space you want to enter, as well as the market expectations on what is ‘average’ and what is ‘outstanding’ in that specific area.
What you need:
A mindmap of the problem you’re researching
An internet connection and time
The template we’re offering
What to do:
Research around 5-10 competitors that have built a product for the problem you’re trying to solve.
Download the competitor deepdive template
While you work:
Research your own vertical (industry), but don’t hesitate researching horizontally, as well. You might be tempted to look for digital products if you’re building a digital product, but consider if:
- Someone is offering a service that could be an alternative to your product
- There is a pen and paper solution for the problem that works just as well
- If there are no digital solutions in the industry you’re trying to enter – Why is that?
Keep in mind that several meaningful and different finds that can give you insights into their business models (especially if they are successful or you find insights on why they failed) are more useful for you than finding 10 products that are exactly the same.
Useful places to look for competitors or alternative solutions is to use search engines to research a specific vertical (e.g. top apps for [your specific interest]), the app recommendations and search options in the App Store or Google Play, or asking potential users directly what they’ve used or tested in the last year.