Embrace Your Competition
It may seem counter-intuitive, but competition is a good thing. While entrepreneurs often think their offering should be so unique that no rivals can possibly exist, a lack of competition can actually signal a lack of interest in a niche that's too specialized, or too poorly understood by consumers, to be viable. Robust competition signals you have found a market worth serving.
Given that healthy competition is an asset, you should leverage it to the hilt. Knowing and understanding your competition helps you zero in on what differentiates your company from the rest, and how your company can fend off future challenges. A deep dive into your competition can help you:
Identify and communicate your unique competitive advantage.
Knowing what your competition offers, how they distribute their goods or package their services, who their core audience is, and how they market what they sell is invaluable as you craft your own product or service priorities. Competitive data also enables you to size your potential audience appropriately and make apt choices when it comes to sales and marketing strategies.
Knowing competitors' strengths and how they have set consumer expectations helps you formulate what offerings are must-haves just to gain a foothold in the marketplace. But most importantly, through others' weaknesses or gaps, you hone in on the niche you intend to fill. Identifying your unique competitive advantage is essential; the differentiators you possess will form the core of your messaging strategy – helping your company stand out from the pack from the get-go.
VOSS Differentiates in a Crowded Space
Water makes up 70 percent of the planet, and ways to brand it for bottled consumption have long occupied a large share of grocery store shelves. From distilled tap water in plastic bottles to higher-end carbonated imports like Perrier and Evian, the market is crowded and mature. But the makers of VOSS water spotted an opportunity for an ultra-premium brand and set about filling that niche with a product in a sleek glass container that was initially sold only in top-tier restaurants and resorts in Europe. The brand took off, expanded its product line, and inked contracts with major high-end grocery chains to stake its claim in the wider marketplace.
This is part of a series of posts that provide entrepreneurs with real world lessons learned to help them be more effective at running and growing their businesses.