All startups face competition, but not all startup founders want to admit it.
I’m not 100% sure why but lots of startup founders have a “funny” point of view when it comes to competition. They don’t believe it exists anywhere near to the extent that it actually does.
I have been starting businesses for over a decade now and work with other Entrepreneurs and Founders on a weekly basis and I still don’t get how some Founder can be so blind to what competition really is.
Everyone Has Competition
Let’s take Uber as a classic example. If I asked a person on the street who the competition is they may point to Lyft in the US, Olla in India and Cabs/Taxis.
But competition goes much deeper than that.
Uber is not a “car sharing company” or an “on-demand driver” they are simply a service that gets you from “Point A” to “Point B”.
Therefore competition for Uber is everything from you driving to work, catching a bus, a train or a ferry. And that’s not to forget about the options you have to ride a bike, catch a lift with a friend or even work from home so you don’t need to travel at all.
Companies like Uber have become successful though because they have made it more efficient and cheaper to get you from Point A to Point B.
Google is another great example. Essentially Google provides access to information. There is plenty of competition for that. Reading a book, going to the library, talking with experts, making phone calls, listening to the radio or watching TV are all different ways of getting information to you. They are just not the most efficient method.
What this concept highlights to me is that every company in every industry has competition. But this shouldn’t scare you as a startup founder. The quicker you acknowledge this fact the better. What it should force you to do is look at how you can become the Uber or the Google of your space.
How can you make your product or service that much cheaper, better or more effective than whatever else is on the market. If you solve that underlying problem better than anyone else then you can become dominant in your industry.
This is a topic I have been reflecting on a lot lately at Task Pigeon. When I ask myself what is the underlying issue I am trying to solve, its simple. People create tasks and to-do lists because they have things that need to be done.
The problem I need to solve is therefore not how to create the best task management application on the market. It is how can I help individuals, teams and companies complete their tasks/goals quicker, cheaper and more effective that the competition. If I solve the underlying issue then there is an increased chance of building a defensible moat around Task Pigeon.
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Also published on Medium.