This is the 2nd post in the series “Snapshots of a Startup” where I’ll be sharing some personal experiences and lessons learned from the process of pursuing my 1st big venture.
Before we dove head over heels into our idea, my partners and I did quite a lot of research and due diligence on the niche/market/competition. But several months down the road, a couple of competing startups began to pop up in the space. To be honest, our first reactions were those of…discouragement, frustration and a little bit of worry.
It wasn’t really the fact that their “product” or “vision” was better but more so the point that they were already up and running while we had little more than a dream with some plans down on paper. Now they’re not doing the same thing that we’ve set out to do but they’re in the same ballpark to say the least…you know, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. In my mind it would bug me to think that while we were in the process of birthing our vision, the competition was already out there marketing it, forming partnerships for it, getting valuable user feedback on it and just flat out DOING IT! Argh!
But then someone wisely told us that ideas are seldom original, at least in their most generic form. And on top of that, it isn’t the early bird that always gets the worm. Sure…being the 1st to market has its advantages but that didn’t stop Google from taking on Yahoo in the field of search.
The mere fact that other people are working on a similiar idea only further validates the point that you’re on the right track. I would go as far to say that if there isn’t someone else or another company already working towards something similar or trying to solve the same dilemma then chances are you should reconsider just exactly what you’ve set out to do. A sort of “litmus test” per se.
As I’ve said before, ideas are worthless unless acted upon…but even once they have been acted upon…it’s innovation and, more importantly, the ability to EXECUTEon them that determines the winners from the losers. There’s dozens and dozens of new startups that pop up everyday and it’s been like that for decades (as will it continue to be over the next several decades) but only a few ever really make it. We’ve learned to look at the competition as a positive now because we can benefit greatly from both their successes and mistakes…we’re grateful for this new form of “hindsight.”
So next time your mind wants to get
discouraged, disheartened or disillusioned by a little competition…snatch that thought up by its very roots and channel it as motivation to get better, work harder and think smarter.
After all, someone is going to make it…might as well be you.
By Micah Davis