Your Startup vs Competition

So you've done a competitive analysis and found your competitors.

The good news, thriving competitors means there is indeed a market for your product! Congrats on having a startup idea with proven Product Market Fit! 🥳

The bad news, your competitors are already in the market, they have a head start on you. 😱

This can be dismaying, but there is more good news:

  1. You discovered this now and not later
  2. It's now up to YOU how to proceed and how to compete

Two Questions

There are two questions you now need to answer:

  1. WHO is your market going to be best-in-market for? (please don't say everybody)
  2. WHAT will make your product best-in-market for that audience? Another way to think of it, what would make a product best for this audience, that might not matter (or even make it worse) for a difference audience?

Axis of Competition

Here are some different approaches you could take. Which one makes the most sense for you, your product, and your market: that's up to you. You got this.

  • Different Aesthetics

    • Be the option for artist. Be the option for engineers. For indiehackers. For Pilates Coaches.
  • Price Points

    • Offer the same product for cheaper (here there be dragons!)
    • Be the VIP version of your competitor. Be the economic version.
    • Offer a BETTER product at the same price, or at a better price-value-ratio
  • Compete on UX. Be the easiest for your customers to onboard.

  • Focus on one Killer Feature
  • Be a more complete solution to the problem customers are trying to solve.
  • Address Unmet Customer Needs
  • Be the EASY option. Make it easiest / fastest for your customers to onboard and get done what they need.
  • Be the POWER user option. Your users know what they're doing and have complete control.

Other Approaches

  • Be more agile

    • Be able to address your customers needs even if it doesn't fit the current shape of your product offering
    • Be the first to apply and integrate new technologies (the internet, AI, whatever comes next)
    • Be the first in a new market, or to use new sales channels and social media
  • Have better values.

    • What causes do your users care about? What causes do YOU care about? How can your product be a knwon brand in that space?
  • More personalized Customer Experience

  • Everyone loves an underdog, embrace it!

Work in Progress

This post is VERY much a work in progress. If you have other approaches you think can help other indie founders deal with competitors, let me know!

If you're still befuddled and want to talk about what are the best options for YOUR startup, please reach out on Twitter

Further Reading