In today’s business landscape, the success of a startup in the face of monumental competition from all sides either confirms well execution of a unique business idea or excellent planning and implementation of smart marketing strategies. What if all these elements combined together, weighed in and worked out perfectly – a recipe for sure success, isn’t it? Well, such an approach is indeed putting the best foot forward, but it is always not easier said than done, especially when a startup has to compete with the industry giants.
The multi-billion dollar companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook, Snapchat, Udacity, etc. were once startups themselves, but are market leaders currently. A recent study suggests that nine out of ten companies fail. So, understandably, these successful companies and many others had plucked the gaps, converted challenges into opportunities and shown extreme passion and commitment.
If you have just launched your startup or are planning to launch one, you have to expect the unexpected at anytime. Competition, for one, is inevitable and you have to swim with the big sharks, albeit in a different manner. Being an entrepreneur, you cannot afford to ignore anything.
So, the key question is: How are you going to give the big businesses in your industry a tough time?
The following important tips will help you compete with big companies:
- Differentiate your product or service
Product differentiating is very crucial to start with. There is no need to compete front and center, just focus on an area you do the best and deliver comprehensively. In this regard, you have to develop a strategy and positioning, which will help you differentiate your product or service so that you can offer something interesting.
As a matter of fact, startups have a unique opportunity to do things that no one else has done before – moving fast, changing processes, breaking norms, and disrupting without fear. Moreover, it would be in your favor to be a company that does one thing exceptionally well rather than incorporating multiple divisions like large organizations.
- Make quick decisions and act fast
Speed is very important for startups. You can’t afford to procrastinate, else no matter how well funded you are, your money will eventually run out. You need to quickly act on the decisions you make in order to execute your plans efficiently.
Big companies usually take time to act since there is a top to bottom hierarchical structure through which ideas trickle down to get implemented. So they can afford to make slow decisions. Startups, on the other hand, have no time for this – just put your plan into action the moment you come up with one.
Startups, in true sense, are all about trying, failing, and trying again. Many people have a notion that startups’ journey is from launch to success or there is no journey at all. However, this is not quite true. Apple Computers was on the verge of going bankrupt and losing everything it had earned till that time. But it was the perseverance and relentless implementation of new ideas by Steve Jobs that Apple Inc. arose like a phoenix.
- Use necessary tools and apps at your disposal
In today’s scenario, certain tools and apps have proven to be indispensable for startups. You can also use sophisticated tools that are powered by intelligent algorithms. Since being an entrepreneur, you are supposedly running on lean budget and a small team, so relying on software and applications will help you ease your burden and steer your business towards the right direction. Following is a list of some useful tools and apps:
- Cyfe: It is an all-in-one dashboard app that helps in monitoring social media, marketing, sales, analytics, support, infrastructure and much more. It is a cloud-based service that pulls and analyzes your data scattered across various online services like Google Analytics and Salesforce.
- Buffer: Buffer is a social media management tool that manages your social media strategy by allowing you to schedule, publish, and analyze posting activity across various social networks.
- Google Analytics: Google Analytics is one of the most popular free marketing tools for startups that provide wealth of information consumer behavior. Its overwhelming cloud infrastructure allows you to penetrate very large data sets rather quickly.
- LinkTexting: It is an important software program that allows users to text a link to themselves in order to download an app right in their smartphones. Since most of the traffic comes through smartphones; this tool will also help you get more users.
- Reach out to clients and customers
Reaching out to customers and clients is essential for startups today. For that, you need to make smart use of social media and content marketing, which will put you in front of huge number of customers, with relatively little monetary investment.
There are many prominent social media platforms that offer you the opportunity to reach wider audience. For example, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube can be extremely helpful in terms of enhancing your chances of succeeding. Participating in trade and consumer fairs can help you become more visible.
If you have started an e-commerce business, for instance, you need to have an engaging and user-friendly website to begin with. You have to create better user experience, great design and easy navigation so that more and more visitors will come to your site.
- Leverage their marketing mechanics to your advantage
You have to be smart in this grand game of survival. Big companies have probably spent a considerable time in creating their marketing machine by using media channels, PR, newspapers, magazines, or website to popularize their concepts. It’s time to use this path set by big brands to your advantage. Contact all those who had wrote about them as your competitors have already elicited the professionals who had helped them in the past. A good example of this is to get help from influencers in order to further grow your business.
Apart from that, big brands must have reviewed their products/services on various review sites; it’s your turn to get to them and explain why you are different. You can also leverage their reputation by using Adwords to advertise on the keyword of their name.
- Raise more capital and resources
Money is the lifeblood for any business and you can’t simply compete with bigger brands if you fail to raise more capital and resources. Even if you have potential to make it large, you still need to quickly scale up your operations with additional funding so that you can stay afloat.
There are many ways to do that, for example, seeking help from venture funds or angel investors and cutting them a slack in your company might help you in this regard.
Another way to raise capital is crowdfunding in which you have to mention your business goals and plans for making a profit. So, the idea is anyone can contribute money toward helping a business that they really believe in.
- Choose a dedicated team
Good team plays a crucial role in the journey of any startup, for a successful business is characterized by a dedicated and versatile team. The success of a new venture invariably depends upon the ability of the founder to attract a great team.
Being an entrepreneur, you sure have a well defined vision and goal, but it is your team that executes your best laid plans and determines their fate. The knowledge, skills, competence, and attitude of your employees make a big difference in terms of achieving milestones.
Moreover, a versatile team is able to multitask, wear multiple hats as situation demands. It should also know how to recover from blows.
You have ideas, plans and resources! Yet you have to devise strategies and beat the challenges to surge ahead in this mad race of entrepreneurship. The above mentioned tips will surely help you tread on a right path.
However, the success of your startups doesn’t actually depend upon beating your bigger competitors per se; rather, it’s all about carving a niche for yourself and building a strong audience base.
The truth is there is no need to be intimidated if you are confident that your idea is unique and can stand on its own. There are many examples in the past when the world witnessed innovation taking over the popular culture.