May 14, 2019

A wild competitor appeared... Noooo!

Shaun Saker @Shaunsaker

So someone has recently launched a product in direct competition to mine and I'm about 50 % through development . Should I continue or bail? The space is still very niche but I can't help but be a bit concerned... Any advice if I do decide to continue?

  1. 12

    There's nothing wrong with a little competition. As a matter of fact, competition can be a good thing. It can help to validate your market. If there is a competitor in your niche/market who is bringing in revenue, then that likely means there is a need for whatever service is being provided.

    Also, there can be several (even large) players in a single market or niche. Think about:

    • Trello vs Asana vs Airtable
    • Hubspot vs ZohoCRM vs Pipedrive
    • Slack vs Discord

    etc etc.

    What matters is, can you solve a pain that actual people out there are facing, and ideally, will pay for? Do you know who your target audience is? Where they hang out? Do you know how to reach them?

    If you can provide solutions for paying customers, then you have yourself a business. Don't worry too much about what your competitors are doing.

    1. 4

      Ricky is right. I fully agree, and I'll also add that I would worry about competitors only if I heard from users that they considered both options and chose your competitor. This is the moment to take notice, find out why, and take action. Otherwise, don't worry about competition too much.

    2. 1

      Ricky is spot on....it validates your idea. Keep pushing forward and let this be a motivator for you to get your v1 out there.

    3. 1

      Thanks Rick! That makes total sense. I appreciate your feedback.

      1. 1

        No problem!

  2. 3

    I'm a bit more aggressive in this kind of situations. I would continue to build my product, having a competitor is market validation (as everyone here already stated) so you need to be crazy to bail for this reason.

    But, at the same time, I would keep an eye on how things are going for it and try to find a weakness, what are its users complaining about the most. At the launch, double down with a solution for that. It could be the rocket fuel every business is looking for in the beginning, but for most of us, it's just guessing.

  3. 3

    Think on yourself before development. What you had. Nothing. What you will have of you don't fight ? Nothing.

    Go and try it !!

  4. 3

    How many people know about you? How many know about your competitor?

    If someone else thought there was enough of an opportunity it validates a bit your idea.

    Friendster came first. Facebook came second. Most markets support tons of entrants.

    Just ship your idea faster.

  5. 3

    This is obviously a validation of your product. when I think about a product I firstly think do I have a strong marketing plan to get traction for this product. Then only I search for competitors if there is none this is obviously a risky project. In my opinion if you are strong in marketing just don't worry about competitors because everyone has a chunk of the market.

    But consider market size in this situation. It should not be too small.

    1. 1

      Thanks Evan, valid points.

  6. 2

    If you are feel puzzled for such small things, you should change your path. It is nothing to be concerned of. Keep moving.

  7. 2

    Competitors can always appear. If you had launched first and then the competitor, would you just stop? I don't think you would, so don't stop now! The competitor launching before you makes no difference.

    1. 2

      Definitely not, thanks Felix!

  8. 2

    Good! They will validate the idea for you while you can learn from their mistakes and copy some of their good stuff.

    1. 1

      Haha that sounds like the correct approach, thanks!

  9. 1

    Man, I use to struggle with this! I would freak every-time a competitor launched only to realize it was a good thing for our business.

    Wrote a blog post about this a while back that you might like: "How Indie Entrepreneurs Can Compete With Well-Funded Startups".

    https://theindiestartup.blog/how-indie-entrepreneurs-can-compete-with-well-funded-startups/

    1. 1

      Thanks Baird! That's an inspiring article, nice one. Feeling optimistic about finding my niche and improving on my product market fit.

      1. 1

        Thanks. Appreciate it!

        I think the best advantage of competition is it forces you differentiate, which further strengthens your product market fit. Keep at it!

  10. 1

    This confirms there is a market for your product, which is great news.

    I recently had an almost... 'heated discussion' about this with my fiancé would you believe. We were talking about Survais and was looking through some of the sites people have tried it on from the logs. When we went onto one particular site, they had a competitors solution on there (obviously they were trying out a few different ones).

    God, the competitors solution looked really nice... I must say, I was immediately very disheartened. My SO said you should investigate your competitors more, but I felt this is not the way to go about it. Some parts of our offerings were very similar, and others weren't.

    I feel as though if I investigate competitors too much, my vision will become clouded and, my thoughts become biased. I don't really care what competitors are doing at the end of the day. I feel as though I start destroying my creative thinking, if I pigeonhole myself into thinking 'they do this, why don't we have that', etc.

    Knowing there are competitors is actually good, but focusing on what they do is not (at least for me).

    1. 2

      I feel you Shane. As soon as I started analysing their product I could feel my original ideas shifting toward theirs. I definitely see the value on focusing on what they don't do, or don't do well, but it's probably equally as important to keep your original idea as unique as possible.

  11. 1

    You have already made the decisions , you are just here to understand them.
    The Oracle

    Just because they have a product..doesn't mean they know what they are doing .

    1 ) competitive intelligence- Find out everything about this competitor..Founder CEO/CFO/CIO ..social media channels.. . press releases..scour the net.
    review their product page..sales language , product description , CTA's etc

    1. Your product strategy
      You must look for weakness in your competitors product , what did they NOT think of ?
      Application programming interfaces (APIs) can give your business capabilities that your
      competitors don't have . ( research programmableweb.com )

      https://www.dropbox.com/developers-v1/core

      https://developers.facebook.com/docs/marketing-apis

      https://www.zillow.com/howto/api/APIOverview.htm

    Give users something different to organize their business information
    http://hijiangtao.github.io/ss-vis-component/

    and their social media too
    

    https://codepen.io/jlalovi/pen/bIyAr

    https://codepen.io/juanv911/pen/gbgjLe

    Remember video is important to demonstrate your product
    https://threejs.org/examples/#css3d_youtube

    And even the news can be presented in a way your users never knew possible.
    http://news-explorer.mybluemix.net/?query=Artificial intelligence&type=concept

    Finally..coordinate your world wide attack
    https://github.com/mrcrilly/PlacesToPostYourStartup

    1. 1

      Thanks Supervillain, these are some great ideas. That last link is gold!

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