Cohres has been working with investors and startups on a global basis for over 7 years and we believe that startups from Southeastern Europe always maintain their focus on competitor analysis. Competitor analysis is essential for startups from SEE because they are from small countries and face fierce competition in the global market. As frequently mentioned, startups from SEE are unique because they need to have a global mindset from the get-go as each individual home country is too small of a market. This means that startups from the region need to focus on who their competitors are on a global scale, as it is often the case that they are first-movers or already unique in their home markets. By conducting a thorough analysis of their competitors, these startups can identify their strengths and weaknesses, learn about their marketing strategies, and gain insights into customer preferences. This information can help startups to refine their products or services, differentiate themselves from their competitors, and target their marketing efforts more effectively.
Furthermore, competitor analysis can also help startups to identify emerging trends in their industry and anticipate future changes in the market, allowing them to adapt and stay ahead of the competition. The analysis will also teach them how to approach potential investors and learn from the mistakes of failed startups in their target markets. Investors, especially globally oriented investors are going to ask you about your potential competitors. Ultimately, conducting a regular competitor analysis is crucial for startups from Southeastern Europe to remain competitive and succeed in the global marketplace.
Our advice when conducting a competitor analysis is the following:
1) The best method is to concentrate on understanding competitors rather than trying to beat them. What are the factors to success? How do you differentiate? How easy is it for customers to switch from your products or services to theirs? Are there any areas where competitors are falling short?
2) Competitor analysis should not just focus on direct competitors, but also on indirect competitors and potential market disruptors. This will help you stay ahead of the curve and anticipate changes in the market. It can be a company that is similar to yours, operating in a different industry. You can analyze their innovation, customer behavior, business model, etc. to improve your strategic planning.
3) Competitor analysis should not be a one-time activity but should be an ongoing process to keep up with changes in the market and your competitors’ strategies. Many startups conduct the initial analysis when first launching their product, and seem to disregard the emerging competitors that later enter the market.
4) Competition is not always a threat, it validates that your market has potential. In many cases, if there is “no competition in the market” as many startups claim, there is a valid reason for it. It is often in their individual home markets that “no one else is doing this” however if your target is to expand to Western European and North American countries, you should already look into the competition before expansion. If you truly are a global first-mover, then you need to analyze what actions your business should undertake to create barriers to entry for your eventual competitors.
5) Competitor analysis should not be limited to one analysis. The analysis should not just be secondary research such as online searches but should also involve gathering information from other sources such as industry events, customer feedback, and employee insights. Startups from SEE should utilize opportunities for networking, even online industry events, to better understand their market.