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Founders think about competitors differently than sales.

Founders of amazing SaaS businesses and other software businesses often think about competition in a very different way from your traditional sales and marketing team. For founders (and strategic leadership and product manager…etc.), competition is a source of crucial information for business strategy. Here are some important ways to think about your competition.

1. Competition is a source of validation.

When you look at your competition, you can see the health and needs of your market very clearly. If you are in a space that no one else is in, then you are either: not looking for them, or there may be no opportunity.

alex-iskold

Alex Iskold, Cofounder of 2048 Ventures

“Understanding the competition is critical, because the opportunity may actually not exist…No matter how you look at it, saying you have no competitors is not a good thing.”

2. Competitors show you how to succeed.

Competitors will show you where there is a demand, and also go beyond that. They can also explain what you need to do to succeed. What you need to have and what you need to spend your time on is building a better product that offsets those competitive advantages that your Rivals have against you. 

apoorva

Apoorva Mehta, Founder Instacart

“Competition has shown us there’s a demand for our services… Competition combined with having a better product means we’re going to succeed.”

“The sooner you’re honest and get to the point where you’re outlining your competitor’s advantages, the sooner you can return to what you need to do, tactically, to offset those advantages.”

cody

Cody Musser, President at Jakt

3. Thinking that you have no competitors is silly.

Saying that you do not have competitors is silly. There is always competition, but it may be beyond how you think of competition. When Ford began, the competition was horse and buggies, not Chrysler or other automakers. When QuickTax started, the competition was manual filing. Where are your customers getting the answer and solutions from today? There is always an answer.

“If we had a dollar for every time we’ve asked a Founder ‘Who are your competitors?’ and heard the response ‘We’re the only ones doing this,’ we could stock our beverage fridge for a year.”

startups

The Startups.com Team

Be passionate about your competitors, and here at Rival we can help with the tracking and the analysis to get these solid insights. Give us a shout!

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