When it comes to starting a new business, you can’t overlook the competition. You have to know who you’re competing against, and how you’re going to beat them in at least one segment of the market. A common mistake is to underestimate the competition, particularly when it comes to new markets and innovative products. Naïve is the entrepreneur who denies having any competition. Whether direct competitors or indirect substitutes, you always have competition. And every competitor has features and offerings that appeal to different customer segments in different ways. The easiest way to visualize all this information is with a competitive matrix that captures the companies/products along one axis and the features/benefits along the other. In the boxes of the table you use check or ‘X’ marks to denote that a competitor has a feature or not. If you want to add more detail you can also write text in the box. The point of the matrix is to quickly summarize who you’re competing against and what features or benefits they offer. A matrix will help you highlight how your product is different and why it matters to the customer.