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Pitch Deck
Building a standout competition slide

Building a standout pitch deck competition slide

Most pitch decks are simply uninspiring, following a set template with little thought. And it is just that - the thought you put into your deck - that makes you standout from the thousands of pitch decks investors see every year. In this series of blogs, we breakdown each section of a pitch deck in the journey to help you craft your perfect one.

Before we begin crafting a compelling competitive landscape, here's a few things to keep in mind -

What to keep in mind

  • DO YOUR HOMEWORK - in depth reserach breathes significantly more credibility into your deck
  • DO NOT DOWNPLAY COMPETITION - or worse, say you have no competition. This serves as a big red flag to investors.
  • PICK WHAT'S IMPORTANT - a fatal mistake that startups make is to pick irrelevant points of comparison in an attempt to showcase how much better their product is. Ensure your differentiators are ones that customers truly value.
  • PAINT AN HONEST PICTURE - an overly optimistic picture or a whiff of dishonestly is enough to put off investors. Use this time and space to paint an honest picture of the landscape and your startup.
  • KEEP IT CRISP - dedicate not more than 1-2 slides to competitive landscape.

What to include in the section

1. List of competitors

  • Include BOTH direct and indirect competitors - a competitor is anyone who solves the SAME problem for your customer.
  • Don’t feel the need to include every single competitor - keep it to the most popular and relevant ones

You’ll see below how airbnb lists cragslist, a classifieds platform as it’s competition

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2. Why will customers choose you (and not why you are better!)

Don't fall into the trap of focusing on why you are better - you can be better on a hundred parameters, but unless these matter to the customer, they will simply not switch.

While the below slide may seem like a showcase of parameters that Google does better on, if you look closely it is easy to see these are also ones customers value in a search engine.

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That’s it. You can add more to the slide, but these are the two components that you simply must include.

How to structure the competition slide

There are no doubt a hundred templates out there, each slicing & dicing information in varied ways. Here are some of the popular ways to structure this section, and also "my preferred way"

1. The “classic 2X2”

When to use this - use this format if there are two parameters that matter most to customers and you are simply better than competition on these two.

When NOT to use this - DO NOT use this if there are either more than two parameters that matter to customers, or if you simply don't strongly differentiate on these.

While it's a tricky format, airbnb get's away by focusing on two key points of comparison - is it online? and is it affordable?

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2. The “Union of features” (my preferred format)

When to use this - if you have one set of competitors that do well on one parameter, and another set that does well on a second parameter, and you combine both, this is a great way to showcase that.

When NOT to use this - DO NOT use this if your product does not offer most of the features that each of these competitiors offers standalone.

See below the example of Slack - and how it combines various features that standalone apps offer in one simple interface.

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3. The “Feature dump”

When to use this - If it’s hard to showcase what you differentiate on using the 2X2 or the union, a simple list of features with a tick or cross is the way to go. You can also do this with emojis!

When NOT to use this - If a 2X2 or a union works better, avoid using the feature dump

Here’s how Fibery, a no code company workspace manager, showcases its competitive landscape.

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One parting thought - while picking the right structure is valuable, it matters less than the ability to tell a compelling story in one slide!

#️⃣

Use Hashdocs (opens in a new tab) to share your pitch deck with your investors! Now manage secure access to your sensitive documents with powerful link controls and advanced tracking, all from one sleek dashboard.

What more, Hashdocs is open source, giving you the ability to view, audit and contribute to the project.