How Start-ups can overcome business competition

Be it any business domain or industry, competition is a given fact and is as inevitable as death and taxes for every individual.

Additionally, start-up entrepreneurs in diverse industry domains often face direct competition from a large multinational company with their global reach, resources, and high market share. When it comes to large investments and traditional marketing reach, most start-up companies are unable to match up to these multi-billion-dollar companies and end up on the losing side of the business most of the times.

An estimated 19% of start-up failures are primarily because of strong competition.

Despite the challenges, start-up entrepreneurs can adopt several innovative business strategies to get the better of their competition, including large business corporations.

Monitor constantly what the competitor is doing

Most successful business enterprises like to focus on their own product offerings and services and how they can deliver them effectively to their customer base. While this strategy is important, it is equally important to monitor what the competitors are doing, particularly on what product mix they are offering and the quality of customer experience for their services. Monitoring or keeping a tab on your competition does not mean blindly copying their product design or services but adapting their successful product strategy or innovation to work for the start-up business.

In the digital and online age, monitoring business competitors is comparatively easy as start-up entrepreneurs can get valuable information by visiting the competitor’s website and online social platforms. Young entrepreneurs can also develop their product and marketing strategies based on the successful and unsuccessful business moves made by their competitors.

Listen to what the customer is saying

As a start-up business, customer acquisition and retaining is the most important factor for business growth. Large corporations with a worldwide customer base are rarely concerned about what their customers want. This can be a major advantage for start-up businesses, who need to listen to what their customers want and deliver products and innovations that can fulfil their expectations. Develop a work environment in the start-up company that is very customer-centric and is completely focussed on their needs. Customer service must be the top business priority and can be delivered through digital platforms such as Twitter and other social media platforms.

Build a strong product or service offering

Did you know that 17% of the start-up business failure is because they failed to build a good product or service?

Building a good product or service is paramount to the growth or even survival of any business enterprise, including start-ups. Focus on the product (or service) strengths and what they can offer that your competitor cannot. If your product does not offer any business leverage as compared to your competitor’s product, it is best to go back to redesigning the product.

As Richard Branson, founder and CEO of Virgin Group mentions, “For me, building a business is all about creating something that’s going to make a real difference to other people’s lives.”

Keep track of the company’s financials

Business enterprises, including start-up companies, are eventually all about numbers including revenues, profits, costs of operations, sales figures, and market share. Product marketeers are often faced with numerous questions, including:

  • Do I know the cost benefit of capturing a higher market share?
  • Is my product pricing too high or too low?
  • What is the capital investment or financing required to achieve my company goals and targets?

Focus on achieving the right level of business profitability. While high product prices can reduce your competitive edge, low product prices can eat into your company’s profits, particularly if the production costs are high.

Utilize all available resources.

While large business enterprises have the best of professional resources, start-up companies can also utilize the best of production tools to cut down their costs and improve their productivity.

Some of the popular tools include the:

  • AdRoll advertising tool with cross-platform customer targeting and prospecting, all at a very affordable cost.
  • IBM Watson Analytics software tool that can provide valuable business insights through its Big data predictive analytics and data visualization features.
  • GetResponse email-based marketing tool that can help track and monitor the success of your business emails.

Focus on the sales and marketing

While effective sales and marketing is the lifeline of any company, inefficient marketing practices such as spending too much money, or a poorly-designed marketing campaign can tarnish the business potential and reputation of any business enterprise. Be prepared to toil the hard way by developing and sticking to the business strategies that can work for your product or business line.

While larger corporations can generate more market reach through their marketing and advertising initiatives, start-up business enterprises can look at innovative modes of digital and content marketing to create a successful online presence for their brands. Thanks to digital technologies, start-ups can adopt smart marketing and selling tactics and product branding to overcome their competition.

Build your business the start-up way

Young entrepreneurs must be determined to build their start-up company from the bottom and work their way up. This is true for every successful business enterprise including the likes of Facebook, Uber, Tesla, and Airbnb. Along with a good product niche and business strategy, do not hesitate to put in the required long days into business growth, which will lead to the overall success of the start-up and in overcoming the best of competitions.

As an entrepreneur, determine to succeed in your enterprise and do not feel dejected if prospective customers decline to meet you. In the face of any major business adversity, be prepared to pivot the business with a fresh mindset and enthusiasm, which is the bedrock of all start-up business enterprises.

These are just some of the successful business strategies that young entrepreneurs can adopt to make their start-up companies a raging success in the face of stiff competition from established corporations. Go, find your niche!.


Girish Bindal is the Head of Content at Makaan.com, Housing.com & PropTiger.com.

Author: Girish Bindal

Girish Bindal is the Head of Content at Housing.com, Makaan.com and PropTiger.com. He draws from more than a decade of cross-industry experience and has worked for brands in the Real Estate, Recruitment and Consulting domain. In his current capacity, Girish is known to gel the news, numbers and opinion to drive the content consumption. With an analyst’s approach and a sharp focus on numbers, Girish has been organically progressing the brand to build a growing base of audience.

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