Understanding competitive analysis for founders

Competitive analysis is an essential aspect of strategic business planning, enabling founders to comprehend the strengths, weaknesses and market positions of their competitors. By thoroughly analysing these factors, entrepreneurs can identify opportunities for differentiation and understand the competitive landscape of their industry. To aid founders in mastering competitive analysis, we have curated a detailed collection of resources, including influential books, insightful analysis reports and podcasts.

Key Books

  1. Competitive Strategy by Michael E. Porter – A cornerstone text that provides foundational strategies for analysing competitors and understanding market dynamics. Porter’s frameworks offer deep insights into industry structure, competitive forces, and strategic positioning.
  2. Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne – Although not exclusively about competitive analysis, this book introduces the concept of creating uncontested market space and making the competition irrelevant, encouraging a different perspective on competitive strategy.

Insightful Analysis Reports

  1. Boston Consulting Group (BCG) Competitive Analysis Reports – These reports delve into the competitive landscape, offering nuanced insights into competitor strategies, market trends, and potential areas of opportunity or threat.
  2. McKinsey & Company Industry Reports – Providing a comprehensive overview of various sectors, these reports are invaluable for understanding the broader industry context in which competitors operate.

Articles from Leading Journals

  1. Strategies for Staying Ahead of the Competition – Featured in the Harvard Business Review (HBR), this article outlines innovative approaches to staying competitive in rapidly changing markets.
  2. You Need an Innovation Strategy– Also in HBR, this piece highlights the importance of innovation as a key differentiator in competitive analysis.

Additional Resources

  1. SWOT Analysis Tools – Online tools and frameworks that assist in conducting a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis, providing a structured approach to evaluate competitive position. Here are some great analysis tools:
    1. Visual Paradigm: Offers a comprehensive set of strategic analysis tools including SWOT analysis, value chain analysis and more. It allows for easy development of SWOT models using a list-based data editor and automatic presentation of information in SWOT Matrix form.
    2. Gliffy: A free online tool that simplifies creating SWOT diagrams with drag-and-drop functionality. It supports collaboration, allowing team members to view, edit and comment on diagrams.
    3. SmartDraw: Provides quick and easy creation of professional-looking SWOT diagrams using built-in templates and extensive libraries. It also allows for easy sharing and collaboration on SWOT diagrams.
    4. Creately: A cloud-based tool that offers real-time collaboration on SWOT diagrams. It’s known for its easy-to-use interface and affordability, with a basic plan available.
    5. Canva: Offers free SWOT analysis templates, making it easy to turn your SWOT data into professional and comprehensive presentations. It also allows for customization with stock images or your photos.