Your Startup Can Compete with Big Businesses–Here’s How

By Fernando Berrocal

In the early stages of a business, entrepreneurs analyze an industry’s key players to gain insight on how competitive a fledgling startup needs to be.  This can be a disappointing endeavor; major organizations in any given field are often well ahead of smaller, newer businesses.  Highly competitive groups tend to be well recognized, which attracts customers; they also draw in high quality employees.  

Business Competition

Major organizations undoubtedly have advantages over startups, spanning from assets at their disposal to years of brand recognition.  However, startups may stand a chance if they employ a competitive strategy against established businesses.  Entrepreneurs may be overlooking some of their own advantages–or, at the very least, opportunities to level the playing field.  In the following list, we’ll offer aspiring entrepreneurs some ideas for competing with big business.

Recognize that Flexibility is a Valuable Asset–and Even a Competitive Advantage:

The COVID-19 epidemic brought global attention to the issue of professional adaptability.  This is nothing new; most businesses are familiar with adaptation, such as working around unexpected market shifts that jeopardized their product or business model.  Being flexible entails more than just adding a new product to your portfolio of products. It necessitates regular attention to actual world events, a thorough analysis of the market, and - crucially - not becoming too comfortable at the top.

In some rare circumstances, a startup can start off with a competitive edge in the market. Established businesses with years in a given industry might become trapped in their ways, making change difficult (or even impossible) when the economy changes or customer preferences eventually shift. One great example is Blockbuster, which dominated the video rental market in the 1990s with thousands of rental stores around the globe.  It failed to see the threat posed by disruptive upstarts, such as Netflix, an innovative streaming platform with a huge amount of original series and movies.

Convert Consumers and Clients Become Ardent Supporters:

The world's most lucrative businesses have the most devoted clients and customers–regardless of location.  A popular example is Apple, well known for excelling in customer service and a “consumer first” mentality. "Customer Service shouldn’t just be a department." according to Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos. "It should be the entire company." To create so-called "customer loyalty", companies must demonstrate that they appreciate their client or consumer relationships as much as their revenue.

Intimated with Business Competition

Make a Name for Yourself as an Expert in your Profession

Positioning yourself as the go-to person in your field gives you an edge in the marketplace by putting you ahead of others in your area right away. One approach to achieve this is to write a book, in which case you will not only be an authority on your subject, but you will also have "written the book on it."  Media interviews and speaking engagements can also help you develop authority in your chosen field.

Generally as an entrepreneur, you should always employ great autonomy when decision-making.  Facts and evidence must support your conclusions, and asking for the insight of your staff is a good move, as well.  You should let employees know you are open to their ideas, but you also expect those ideas to be backed up by facts and statistics that illustrate how it will benefit the startup as a whole. This type of decision-making is the most effective approach for your business to eventually develop, prosper, and outperform the main competition.

Ready to bring your startup to the next level? Apply to MassLight’s next batch. MassLight supplies capital and a dedicated tech team. We take equity in return. Have questions? Refer to our FAQ page.

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