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8 Advantages Your Startup Has Over Bigger Competitors

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I am working on my third startup company eEscape Marketing Services. But after many years of operating small startups, I've learned a lot about creating business models that work and who might become a successful entrepreneur. It’s not about having access to capital or area of study. Rather, it’s about having the right skills, the right process and the right heart.

Below are eight advantages startup entrepreneurs have over larger, competitors that, when leveraged along with a true sense of urgency, can help you achieve explosive growth.

1. You're Closer to Your Customers

As a startup, you have the huge natural advantage of having more direct access to input from your customers and having the ability to implement changes based on that input much more quickly and efficiently. Here are a few ways you can make the most of closer proximity to your customers.
How to Fully Exploit this Advantage:
  • Expose all of your employees to your customers
  • Establish feedback system between sales and the rest of your teams
  • Study your customer service interactions
  • Monitor social interactions
  • Get on the phone with your customers (or better yet, meet them in person)
  • Mine your web analytics
  • Incorporate data gathering straight into your product
  • Make customer feedback and input highly visible across the organization

2. You Can Turn on a Dime

Typically, the larger an organization gets, the more dependent it becomes on established structures and processes. There’s more bureaucracy to deal with, lines of communication become less and less direct, and worst of all, there are more of the biggest productivity-killers of all — meetings. As a result, planning horizons tend to be in years rather than days, weeks, or months. By contrast, you can pivot and react to market opportunities in the time it takes them to organize a conference call.
How to Fully Exploit this Advantage:
  • Pick a product market that is rapidly evolving or has dynamic need in the market place
  • Pick a product market that has significant long-term innovation potential
  • Build your market before large companies know what hit them
  • Use new and innovative technologies and business model components
  • Rapidly evolve all aspects of your business
  • Make sure senior management is getting out in the field as much as possible
 

3. You Can Develop an Intense Focus on a Target Niche Market

Large companies have a difficult time with focus. They generally have to increase their scope to sustain their growth, developing products aimed at numerous customer segments using many distribution approaches. Even though they have more resources, they have to spread those resources across a variety of product markets. In contrast, you can devote everything you have to developing a laser focus on one very specific target segment. That gives you a powerful advantage. Not only can you develop a rich and in-depth understanding of your customers — their pain points, wants, needs, and buying processes. You can also get incredibly clear and concise with your messaging.
How to Fully Exploit this Advantage:
  • Go after a niche
  • Get everyone in the company focused on that niche
  • Reinforce that focus every chance you get from the top down
  • Keep your teams as small as possible
 

4. You Can Go After Smaller Opportunities

Large companies need to go after large market opportunities. They often can’t justify going after what they see as small markets. That leaves a significant number of opportunities slipping through the cracks that you can pounce on. The key for startup entrepreneurs is to identify and attack markets/demographics that may be small now, but are on an upward trajectory and have potential for growth.
How to Fully Exploit this Advantage:
  • Look for markets that are too small for large companies, or simply off their radar
  • Look for customer segments with special needs that aren’t being fully addressed by big companies
  • Pinpoint a small or latent market that other startups are only beginning to attack
 

5. You Can Innovate Much More Quickly & Effectively

In fact as a startup, the more innovative and disruptive you can make your business/solution, the harder it will be for bigger companies to copy, catch up, or compete with what you’re doing.
How to Fully Exploit this Advantage:
  • Be bold and take risks
  • Build technology that competitors would have difficulty building into their current platform
  • Execute an approach that would be very disruptive for a larger company to replicate
  • Empower individual teams and employees to test and adopt innovative approaches
 

6. You Can Run on Next to Zero Sales & Marketing Costs

One of the best ways you can battle your bigger competition is to make it your mission to operate as a high efficiency profit machine. The basic idea is to make everything you do — your product, pricing, customer service, etc. — so compelling that you can convert your target customers with little to no sales and marketing expense on your part. The trick isn't to cut out sales and marketing altogether, but to keep pushing for efficiency by keeping costs as low as possible relative to the gross profit generated.
How to Fully Exploit this Advantage:
  • Build social sharing features directly into your product
  • Make your sign up and purchase process simple
  • Constantly improve your product and incorporate customer feedback with rapid development cycles
  • Leverage free beta and trial versions of your product, then price it competitively
  • Keep sales and marketing expenses as low as possible.
 

7. The right skills.

Marketing innovation. It's important to understand people and their needs, build networks and relationships and create unique solutions to pitch effectively. Managing risk. One way to minimize risk is to bootstrap: Provide the resources for a startup with customer revenues. That the job of entrepreneurs is to find a business model that works before running out of money. Entrepreneurs keep going when others stop trying. They overcome obstacles. They build tribes. Having experienced the process, entrepreneurs quickly adapt and confidently try new things. And things don’t always go as planned.  Entrepreneurship is a discipline.  It’s a process that can be learned and applied.

8. The right heart.

Love of the game. It takes much trial and error to find a business model that works. If a business person doesn't love the process, he'll lose energy not only before running out of money but also before it's even the right time to make money. Commitment. So what determines if entrepreneurs keep going? It entails affection, passion and discipline. It requires both the heart and head. The entrepreneur should find ways to complement others' skills. Entrepreneurship is one of the ultimate team sports. Skills, process and heart can be learned. They also flow from some natural endowments.
If you are looking for a business consultant for your startup company email us directly shiri@eescapemarketing.com or call our office direct 916.572.8444 and request a FREE quote.

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