How to enter a niche and win over established competitors?

Say you’re entering a niche that has an established competitor with a 2-year head start.

On one hand, I’m glad to see competition as it validates the niche. On the other, it’s daunting going against a product that already has success within the space.

The most obvious factors would be price, better service, or a slightly different angle.

Leave your thoughts and any case studies/real world examples in the comments!

  1. 3

    Better service isn't easily proven and your competitor may be killing it with service, price forces a race to the bottom where everyone loses, so that leaves "slightly different angle". Take "slightly different" and make it "clearly different" and then you will have something. What you want though is for your "clearly different" to be closer to the market's sweet spot than the other guy. I would talk to the market about the problem you are solving and see if you can take a completely original spin on a solution. Even getting feedback about what the other product doesn't do well might not help because they likely know it and have it in their roadmap. Build a better mousetrap and price it at the same or slightly more than what the other guy charges. Same price or slightly more + CLEARLY BETTER = winner. It also instantly makes your competitors look like the one with the inferior product who has decided to offer it for less to make up for the lack of value.

    1. 1

      Great insight. I was thinking that competing on price was fine in this specific case since I'd have much lower overhead (just myself) compared to the competitor (team of 6-ish).

      However, I like the mental aspect of "build something different" rather than "make it cheaper". Continuing to dig into the clearly different angles!

  2. 1

    See their Trustpilot reviews to see what features are missing. What needs to be improved.

  3. 1

    So the problem is that the competitor is usually much further away as opposed to you starting a new thing so it will be hard to compete on:

    • Features, better service.

    What makes a difference is that perhaps they are underserving a specific niche. Perhaps a niche inside of a niche?

    Unless their tools is a completely neglected legacy I would agree with an opinion of take slightly different and create clearly different whilst keeping in mind all unsatisfied comments from the community.

  4. 1

    Don't. Your goal is not to "win over established competitors." It's to take a slice of the pie. And a big enough slice to make it worth your while. You can focus on winning after you've already developed a product that competes well enough to be profitable.

    1. 2

      True, even getting a hundred users per month at their price point would be profitable for a solo operation.

  5. 1

    I believe it comes down to marketing and how you position your service/brand in said market. You could offer the same product or service but it really comes down to how your audience preceives it.
    For example there's thousands of fast food joints but only a hand full stand out

    1. 2

      Interesting. And there's still money to be made by being #2. E.g. Mc Donalds vs. Burger King.

  6. 1

    Marketing Warefare is a classic for potential strategies here.

    Basically you have to deliver something your competitor isn't doing but your users will want. That could be features, service level, price, or something else of value. The best place to start is finding where your potential users "hang out", and see what they don't like about the competing product(s). If you can, talk to them!

    1. 1

      Thanks for the book recommendation! I'll take a look.

  7. 1

    The cryptocurrency market is a classic example for a startup with an ideas guy) Few believed this in the beginning. But those who were able to use this idea show high development. A practical example is a crypto casino - https://trustdice.win/ I always pay attention to this project when it is necessary to show convenience, customer engagement and the relevance of an idea. If we talk about a new project of a gambling type, then you need to think for a long time to find a feature specifically for your site. Or have a large advertising budget to promote.

Trending on Indie Hackers
I watch how IH is turning into a marketing sink, and I feel sad :( 41 comments Bootstrapped my productivity app to 700 paying customers! AMA. 26 comments Bootstrapped my SaaS to $20,000 MRR. AMA! 22 comments How we got our SEO clicks from 1 to 1200 a day 14 comments How to guarantee user privacy? 1 comment How to bootstrapp a printing and reporting solution to $1M ARR 1 comment