So you are working on your startup for the last 6 months and suddenly you notice that your compeition has announced a massive round of funding (from a top notch VC firm)!
Cuts like a Knife? Feels like a punch in your face? butterflies in your stomach?
One of the questions that I often face from entrepreneurs is the worry over competition. Especially when the competition is extremely gung-ho on Facebook/Twitter and is boasting of big deals and customer wins.
There is a certain sense of fear and restlessness about the competition and while it’s a valid fear (to a certain extent), it doesn’t really help the entrepreneur.
The only way to deal with competition is to ignore them (especially their claims). The more you think about them (and their claims), the more you are buying yourself into their BS.
In fact, unless you interfere, your competition will put themselves out of the business in the next 5 years [read : Startups: Let’s Rewrite Your Business Plan!].
Your sturggle is to live beyond their lifespan!
Lessons from Road Traffic
If you look at startups as a vehicle mazing through the difficult path (sometimes creating the path) which is already cluttered (with very little petrol stations/a.ka. as funds), imagine yourself being obsessed with the vehicle that’s in front of you (i.e. the competition).
The race begins and after a while you lose the sense of where you are going! You are (probably) winning the race, but actually your eyes aren’t on the road, but on the vehicle(s) you are chasing! What you are doing is simple – you are defining yourself by what your competition is doing.
Ride your own journey. Create blinds against your competition – they really don’t matter that much.
Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself.
Note: I am not saying that competition does not matter at all. It’s just that they don’t matter so much. Competition helps create industries and brings much more maturity among players, but focusing on competition’s activity doesn’t really help.
“Even in the face of massive competition, don’t think about the competition. Literally don’t think about them. Every time you’re in a meeting and you’re tempted to talk about a competitor, replace that thought with one about user feedback or surveys. Just think about the customer.”
Mike McCue [Flipboard Founder]
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