A recent story in The Daily Muse on how entrepreneurs must learn to deal with the competition to be successful was both entertaining and enlightening. By employing a strategy that includes sizing up the competition and positioning your company against theirs – it forces you to really ensure that you’re unique, fresh and dedicated enough in the marketplace to be the choice for your target customer and finish ahead of the competition.
At the same time, there are myths that many first time entrepreneurs fall prey to believing, as noted in the article. Many of author’s examples are very real world. So often times aspiring entrepreneurs (and existing businesses) rule out a new idea when they see someone else has done it. Perhaps the better view is that an existing idea validates a market, particularly if customers are currently opening their wallets for said product. This competitor/product can be used as one of the stakes in the ground to survey the opportunity and triangulate in on a better approach to the market’s needs.
Additionally if you choose to pursue this market idea then remember the key to competitive positioning is not to beat your competition into submission, but simply to beat their strategy. They’ve chosen market segments to serve, and a way to serve them that matches their strengths.
Don’t go head to head with this but find the ways that this strategy leaves segments of the market underserved. If they compete on features you might compete on price. If they compete on price you might win customers by emphasizing your customer service. In fact the concept of beating a competitor’s strategy is millenniums old and derives from military strategy and the best generals have always understood this maxim.
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