The problem(s) you are trying to solve. At this stage it can be vague – it can be several problems and overlapping problems. Explore them all.
Who else is solving that problem and how?
One way to look at that is to explore the top 5 companies by market share in your vertical.
Another is to try to solve that problem as a normal user would; google it. All the options you see there are your competitors.
Gather the data in one place. List them out in a google sheet doc.
How are they performing, what is your secret sauce?
- SWOT :Understanding the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of our competitors
- Competitive Audit: Understand their positioning, their target audience, their differentiators, and prominent use cases. What are the overlaps to your idea? How are they solving the problem? How is it different from how you will solve it? What are they doing particularly well? What could they be doing better?
- Experience Audit: What are established conventions of how to do things? What are good practices? Things you think you can do better?