Dallas Business Consultant Elijah ClarkDallas Business Consultant Elijah Clark

Doing a competitive analysis

In getting started with selling and promoting your business, one of the most important items that I consider is monitoring and analyzing my competition. In business marketing this is what is known as a competitive analysis.

When it comes to generating sales or leads, one of the biggest worries is, how do I get new customers, is my product good enough, is my price point good, is my resume good, do the customers know I even exist?

Fortunately, most of these questions can be answered by looking at your competition. If they’re successful, or not successful, you can simply follow or not follow their lead. There is more to it, of course. But, if you really take a look at your competitor with a fine-tooth comb, you can see where their strengths and weaknesses are and use them to your advantage.

However, this all starts with a competitor analysis, which is a strategy where you identify major competitors and research their products, sales, and marketing strategies. By doing this, you can create a business strategy that improves upon your competitor’s.

Investor pitch decks

Have a Great Investor Pitch Deck

Startups frequently prepare a “pitch deck” to present their company to prospective angel or venture capital investors. The pitch deck typically consists of 15-20 slides in a PowerPoint presentation and is intended to showcase the company’s products, technology, and team to the investors.

Raising capital from investors is difficult and time consuming. Therefore, it’s crucial that a startup absolutely nails its investor pitch deck and articulates a compelling and interesting story.

Too many startups make a number of avoidable mistakes when creating their investor pitch decks. Here is a list of general do’s and don’ts to keep in mind:

Pitch Deck Do’s

– Do convince the viewer of why the market opportunity is large.
– Do include visually interesting graphics and images.
– Do plan to have a demo of your product as part of the in-person presentation.
– Do tell a compelling, memorable, and interesting story that shows your passion for the business.
– Do show that you have more than just an idea, and that you have gotten early traction on developing the product, getting customers, or signing up partners.
– Do have a soundbite for investors to remember you by.
– Do use a consistent font size, color, and header title style throughout the slides.

Pitch Deck Don’ts

– Don’t have too many wordy slides.
– Don’t provide excessive financial details, as that can be provided in a follow-up message.
– Don’t try to cover everything in the pitch deck slides. Your in-person presentation will give you an opportunity to add and highlight key information.
– Don’t underestimate or belittle the competition (and never say “we don’t have any competition”).
– Don’t have a poor layout, bad graphics, or a low-quality “look and feel.” Think about hiring a graphic designer to give your pitch desk a more professional look.

For additional advice and a sample pitch deck, see you can purchase my pitch deck template.

Building your website

Build a Great Website for Your Company
You should devote time and effort to building a great website for your business. Prospective investors, customers, and partners are going to check out your site, and you want to impress them with a professional product. Some tips for building a great company website include:

– Check out competitor sites.
– Start by sketching out a template for your site.
– Be sure the site is search engine optimized (and thus more likely to show up early on Google search results).
– Produce high-quality original content.
– Make sure your site is optimized for mobile devices.
– Make sure the site loads quickly.
– Keep it clean and simple; visual clutter will drive visitors away.
– Make the navigation bars prominent.
– Obtain and use a memorable “.com” domain name.
– Make the site visually interesting.
– Make sure it’s easy for site visitors to contact you or buy your product.

Drive Traffic to Your Website
While entire books have been written on this topic, the key ways to drive traffic to your website are as follows:

– Pay Google, Bing, Yahoo, or other search engines to send you traffic (such as through the Google Adwords program).
– Build a great site with lots of high-quality, original content that is search engine optimized.
– Have a smart social media plan to drive traffic from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other free social media sites.
– Get links to your site from high-quality sites.

Branding your business

Come Up With a Great Name for Your Business
Selecting the right name for your startup can have a significant impact on your business success. The wrong name could result in insurmountable legal and business hurdles. Some basic tips on how to name your startup include:

– Avoid hard-to-spell names.
– Don’t pick a name that could be limiting as your business grows.
– Conduct a thorough Internet search on a proposed name.
– Get a “.com” domain name (as opposed to “.net” or another variant).
– Conduct a thorough trademark search.
– Come up with five names you like and test market the name with prospective employees, partners, investors, and potential customers.

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