All too often, the word “competition” is perceived as having a stigma attached to it. It is seen as a rivalry, something to contend with, to defeat in a neck-and-neck race of becoming number one within an industry where everybody’s trying to do the same thing. But there is another lesser known definition to ‘competition’. It also means ‘to interact’. Competition is also an “interaction between organisms, populations, or species, in which birth, growth and death depend on gaining a share of a limited environmental resource.”
This goes right to the very core of what it means to do business: to create and nurture relationships that benefit different groups or interests. Even though the dominating narrative in the world of business is “survival of the fittest”, business is first and foremost an ecosystem. Much like how the Earth is made up of land, water and sky; the world of business is made up of different industries that all interact and co-exist within this environment, to sell and exchange goods.
Aside from figuring out strategies on how best to win the race, it is also important to ask the somewhat existential question of why businesses need competition in the first place. It kind’ve sounds like we’re soul-searching and maybe we are. After all, the very foundation of every business is its ‘why’, right? Why should a business exist in an ecosystem where there are so many others like it? It is by answering this question that we are able to effectively develop ways on how best to gain a competitive advantage in a multi-industry landscape.
Competition Determines Your Direction
It is a common misconception that ideas are going to lead to breakthroughs. But saying that is like saying that a single seed is going to grow a forest. And sometimes, great ideas aren’t enough. If they were, we would have a straight path to success, economies would prosper, every startup would be thriving, and we all would live happily ever after.
We all know that’s not true. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to success. We know there are no shortcuts to places worth going. The truth is that seeds need water, sun, and time to become trees. The truth is that an idea will never grow until you look to your surroundings, figure out whether the environment is appropriate for it to thrive, and then put in the work.
Look around you. As the seed of your business’s life cycle, an idea is the start, not the means to an end. When you decide to plant the seed, you are committing to the many responsibilities that come with nurturing it. You have to assess whether the idea is viable enough and if there is room in the market for your idea to prosper.
Business Questions To Consider
Essentially, you want to look at the following criteria:
- Demand – Is there an appetite for what you have to offer?
- Target Market – Who (individuals or entities) would be interested in your offering?
- Market Size- Of these individuals or entities (customers or businesses), how many would be interested in your product?
- Reach – How will your business reach your target market?
- Market Saturation – How many similar options are already available?
- Pricing – How much are people paying for these options?
The answers to questions are the crux that determine how you will proceed. Observe the patterns and trends of your competition’s behavior. Look at what they are not doing. Which markets they are targeting? How the market is responding to their product? Is the product working? If it is, why so? If not, why not?
From there, you can start fleshing out the idea and figure out how it can be made more viable. This also comes with gathering the advice and opinions from as many sources as possible. These sources are the beginning of your network of connections.
It is in studying the marketplace and having the patience to evaluate the essential variables, if not all of them, that gives you a comprehensive understanding of why it is behaving the way it is and what is causing the trends. All of this research is critical not just because you need to launch with the intention of hitting your target market, but also because these are the questions you will keep asking as your business expands.
If You Don’t Fit Inside The Box, Make A New One
In the process of doing your research, there’s a possibility that you could see that it is filled with ideas that are similar to yours. It might very well be the case that someone has beaten you to it.
The oversaturation within the market only means that you need to take a different direction. There are many uncharted territories in the industry. This is not at all to encourage startups to be reckless about the decision-making and the risk-taking. In fact, it should be the complete opposite. The fear that lies in making the choice to take the road less traveled can be offset by timing and calculating these risks to T. When done well, it can be effective. Taking risks just for the sake of taking risks are could lead to dire consequences.
But without risk, there can be innovation. It is by taking leaps and ensuring that all factors have been thoroughly considered and calculated that you are able to determine whether it is the best decision moving forward. Calculated risks are always worth taking because you have all the backing of your research that will give you the confidence and assurance that there is a market for your product and that based on this information, the market will respond to your product favorably.
And despite all this, even if, for some reason you do not succeed, you would have still learned something about your competition. You would have still become better than if you hadn’t tried in the first place. You take a new direction, take another turn, re-evaluate your options and start again.
Tools That Help You Make An Impact
As the world’s first networking platform for businesses, SeeBiz enables you to stay on top of your network activity. Remember those connections you made at the start? When you invite them onto the platform, you stay in the loop whenever they make any updates. And as you start gaining traction and finding your competitors, through the SeeBiz newsfeed, you acquire valuable industry trends and insights, as well as market analytics.
SeeBiz has streamlined the process of being kept updated by giving you a space to branch out and interact with other businesses, so that even at the start of your business’s life cycle, you are already saving overhead costs. At SeeBiz, we want to help you achieve your goals, and we are here to grow with you.