How a startup should stand against a fierce competitor

30th Jan 2018
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A startup needs to be in a constant state of readiness. It needs to be a step ahead of its competitors and creating a space for itself, and its services.

The startup space, particularly in India has shown a radical increase and is bursting with new entrants every single day. One can pick up any industry segment or sub-segment and it has a variety of new-age startups, in different stages of growth.

What this translates into is the fact that there are so many players vying for the same things – the same set of talent, the same kind of funding, and possibly similar target clients and vendors as well.

In such a scenario, a startup needs to be in a constant state of readiness. It needs to be a step ahead of its competitors and creating a space for itself, and its services.

Remaining unique and the preferred partner of choice for the clients are big challenges in this kind of environment.

So, here are some things that a startup can do, to stand tall and strong, against its competitor.

  1. Remain strong in its vision– The vision is usually one of the big differentiators. It captures the essence of what the founders are trying to achieve from their startup. At times, many startups fall into the trap of imitation. They see that a certain kind of vision is succeeding for their competition and try to replicate it. What they fail to understand is that vision is always unique, irrespective of the fact that the industry might be the same. In the long run, the vision will define the culture and other crucial aspects for the startup.
  2.  Retain and celebrate the culture – Cultures are ingrained within organisations. They impact everything – from employees who get attracted to the startup’s brand to retention of talent. Ensure that the specific elements, which set your startup’s culture apart from your competitor, should be factored into all internal and external communication. Those elements should be showcased at various platforms so that they stand out.
  1. Be technology-savvy and digitally active – The digital media and technology are tools that all startups must use. However, some are able to harness the potential of these tools better than the others. Whether it comes to using technology for better internal processes or social media for better market reach, the startup can beat the competition if it is able to use these tools well. By building its virtual presence in a steady manner, it can make sure that has an edge over its competitor. It is also important to track the digital presence of the competitors to be abreast of how and what they are sharing.
  2. Innovating regularly – Have a structured innovation process in place. Innovating regularly and finding how to launch better products or variants are huge differentiators. Innovation involves brainstorming by a diverse set of minds. That is something that cannot be replicated by competition, as is, in its original form. So no matter how successful the startup becomes, regular innovation should be part of its process and practices.
  3. Do not get into price wars – You stand to lose always, if you get into price wars. Pricing strategies are linked to the viability of your organisation. Using price wars to overtake competition or succeed in the market is an extremely short-term approach and one that can be self-destructive.
  4. Make clients the brand ambassadors – When a startup has great clients who become the spokespeople and brand ambassadors, it is a significant competitive advantage in itself. Being able to build those relationships by investing in them is a great idea. They will be loyal to the startup and its services. That loyalty is one of the strengths that can help a startup face the fiercest of competitors. So focusing on understanding what clients want, how to ensure that their experience is memorable and then to sustain that relationship are some key pointers to remember.
  5. Never speak negatively – Irrespective of what competitors do, the startup must never speak negatively about them. It must maintain its own ethical standards and values. Such an approach ensures that there is a high degree of credibility associated with the startup.
  6. Keep your eye on the key metrics – As a startup there are key business metrics that have been established. Keeping an eye and constant tracking to be able to assess any deviation or drop, is what will help the startup stay afloat in a competitive market. Being aware of how the metrics are moving and what needs to be corrected is what will keep the startup’s performance high.

All the above aspects are drivers to ensure that irrespective of how competitive the market is; the start-up does not lose sight of its own goals and trajectory. Following them will help the startup to manage its own performance better.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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