In my last blog post, How Do You React to Competition, I discussed the advantages of having competitors. My thesis was that it’s not bad to have competitors; rather it is how you react to your competition that defines you. Decrying the fact that you have rivals taking a chunk of your business won’t do you any good; rather, initiating a proper response, highlighting your value proposition, focusing on customer feedback – these are what matters. In the end, exceptional execution is what wins the day!
Let me expound further on why competition is good for your business.
As entrepreneurs, we are always on the lookout for new ideas, new products. Once we’ve drummed up something new, we do further research, wanting to know whether our brainchild has been done before. If we find out that it has been done before, not just by one but by many others, albeit in different ways, do we let that stop us from pursuing the thought further? Not necessarily. Maybe our product is better and offers our target market some, or even just a few, advantages over our competitors. Just because someone else has done it before, and there are competing products already out on the market, doesn’t mean that we should stop pursuing it altogether. Yahoo, Excite, Lycos and Alta Vista all launched before Google, but who ended up being synonymous with search? Only Yahoo remains standing of the four aforementioned competitors to Google, in fact. Who knows, maybe we’ll end up as the next Google, if we pursue that bright spark of an idea we have in our minds.
“Almost every good idea has already been built. Sometimes new ideas are just ahead of their time. There were probably 50 companies that tried to do viral video sharing before YouTube…Other times existing companies simply didn’t execute well. Google and Facebook launched long after their competitors, but executed incredibly well and focused on the right things.”
In Competitive Threats, Chris Marks writes that “competitive threats can serve as both great motivation and great distraction.” He then gives us the following gem of an advice: “…be aware of your competition, and (to) know what they are doing. With that being said, the primary drivers of strategy must be product, customer and market.”
Marks writes on: “A start-up company…is often much better off operating in stealth mode. After all, the opportunity usually exists because some larger company has experienced success and, as a result, stopped innovating. Therefore, why not fly under the radar as long as possible? Why wake the sleeping giant? Compete on your own terms, when you are ready for the fight.”
And finally, he says: “At the end of the day, the company that executes the best usually wins.”
Follow this piece of advice from entrepreneur David Cancel who, in True Startup Competition, says: “I believe a startup only has one real competitor, indifference. People not caring enough about your product is your true competition, not some other startup.”
So, don’t get disheartened by your so-called competitors. Believe in your product, and execute well – that is all that matters!