How Can Entrepreneurs Handle Competition

Dismissing competition can be a serious error

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By Sanchita Dash

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A lot of times when someone gets an idea, they believe it's a groundbreaking one. But then comes, market research. As they start researching more and more about their idea, they realize that their idea exists already in another form, and like this starts the competition.

For any entrepreneur, dismissing competition can be a serious error. Founders need to analyze the market they are in and accordingly devise strategies.

Entrepreneur India spoke to start-up founders and experts about how can one handle competition to survive longer in the industry.

Focus On Your Product

In order to make a difference in the market, one needs to constantly evolve their product. Kalyan Karteek S, Founder, Click&pay, believes that in order to stand out in the market, one needs to focus on specific things that their company provides and others don't. "For example, diversify your product line according to the current needs of the customers," he said.

If we truly want to combat competition, we need to build a reputation of excellence in one specific niche, believes Karteek. He said that entrepreneurs need to focus on meeting a specific customer need (or small set of needs) to the very best of their ability and do it better than their competitors.

Learn From Competition

"Handling competition is easy when we review our competition regularly and face the challenge as a learning experience. You might discover untapped strengths that you never imagined and it encourages creativity and innovation.

Rohit Saboo, President and CEO, NBC Bearings, believes that competition is there in the every market, but the same only helps a company grow. "We had competition from across the world, but still we are the largest exporter of the bearings from the country. Because of the competition, we keep on our toes. There is always a healthy challenge that is put by the competitors on which we respond or vice versa. I don't think there is any product which will not face competition in the market," he said.

Don't Obsess Over Competition

While it's important to keep an eye on the competition, founders shouldn't spend too much time on them. Shivam Ahuja, founder, Delhi Angels, believes entrepreneurs shouldn't obsess over competitors.

Ahuja said that competition is inevitable. "People aren't always smart. They'll try to compete with you anyways, even if that's a bad idea. So you have to strategize about how to deal with the forces of competition, both internally within the company and externally," he said.

Devise Marketing Strategies

To fight competition, start-ups should come up with clever and efficient marketing strategies which keeps their customers interested in their product.

However, Ahuja has a word of caution. He urges entrepreneurs to avoid spending tons of money on advertisements to fight off competition in initial days. It's important to keep your customers with you and thus, Ahuja asks entrepreneurs to focus on early adopters, the first 100 sales and delight them with your products. "Keep an eye on the return on investment from different marketing strategies. As Kunal Shah said, don't just add more features or USP in your product but add unique brag proposition," said Ahuja.

Sanchita Dash

Entrepreneur Staff

Former Senior Correspondent, Entrepreneur India

In the business of news for 5 years now. Making my way across India thanks to my career. A media graduate from Symbiosis, Pune, I have earlier worked with Deccan Chronicle (South India's leading English daily), T-Hub (India's largest incubator) and Anthill Ventures (a speed-scaling platform). 

Stories, movies and PJs are my thing. 

If you hear 'The Office' opening score randomly, don't worry it's just my phone ringing. 

 

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