Every company has competition. If you don’t think you have competition you’re wrong. It’s out there. And more is on its way.
There are pros and cons to keeping an eye on your competition, but obsessing over them is a mistake.
Still, when you’re working on a stealth startup, moving at a 100 miles a minute to get to market, and you think you’ve got a killer idea worth millions, you can’t help but feel stunned when you discover new competition.
It’s the “holy crap” reaction.
The “holy crap” reaction goes something like this:
- Someone tells you about a new company “in your space”, or you discover them on your own.
- You take a cursory look.
- You’re stunned by the slickness and “Web 2.0” style of their website.
- You read their tagline and a bit of their messaging on the home page. It sounds a lot like what you’ve been talking about.
- You quickly glance at their feature set or demo, but by this time you’re too panicked to really look. You see a couple keywords and feature items that look similar to what you’re planning and you scream…
Holy Crap! They’re doing exactly what we’re doing!
Often, you’ll scream this out loud to your co-founders sitting nearby, and they’ll go through the motions, and get to the same conclusion. Hopefully no one jumps out any windows, or breaks into heaving sobs.
Ultimately, every company has competition, remember?
After fully engaging in the “holy crap” reaction for a few minutes, it’s time to calm down and investigate things a bit further. Most likely, you’ll draw these conclusions:
- They’re not doing exactly what we’re doing.
- They’re not that far ahead.
In order to truly get past the “holy crap” reaction to competition you need to have an ultra-clear understanding of your company’s purpose and value proposition.
It’s not about the competition. It’s all about you. When you look at competition and panic, restore your faith through your own company’s strengths; not the competitions’ weaknesses and differences. Without a clear purpose, value proposition and plan of attack for getting things done, you’ll get so rattled by the competition that you’ll stumble and possibly fail.