Get All Access for $5/mo

4 Tips for Successfully Breaking Into a Saturated Industry You don't have to revolutionize the world to revolutionize an industry.

By Peter Daisyme

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Digital Vision | Getty Images

When you take the first steps toward starting a business, it's easy to get discouraged. Every market already has major players making tons of money. Unicorns like Uber can make their own markets, sure, but not every company gets to revolutionize the world. Fortunately, you don't have to revolutionize the world to revolutionize an industry, and you might have a better opportunity than you think.

Take the smartphone industry, for example. Apple and Samsung dominate markets, and Huawei owns the third-largest chunk. Other popular vendors, like LG, take their own cuts. You might think the market has no room for new players, but don't forget that consumers are always looking for something better. Stephen Dalby, CEO of Gabb, couldn't find a kid-friendly smartphone, so he built his own. Now, Gabb is rapidly growing in a smartphone market most would have called saturated to extinction.

Never assume the presence of established players means the market has no room for new entrants. If you can do something better than anyone else and the market has demand for your product, you can gain the momentum you need to get your company off the ground. Here's how you can gear up to take on a saturated market.

Related: How to Make Your Product Truly Irresistible to Buyers

1. Go after an underserved group

No matter how many players are in the industry, some people probably feel ignored. Just as Dalby built a phone for concerned parents and UNTUCKit created shirts for men who wanted a better casual option, pursue a group with a need unmet by current options. With the right niche, you can infiltrate a major market before the big players even know you've arrived.

Many entrepreneurs start companies to solve their own problems, but if you don't personally experience the issue you want to solve, talk to people who do. Interview prospective customers to find out what their preferred solutions lack. The more reliable data you gather, the more targeted your solution will be.

2. Tell an incredible story

Consumers have tons of choices when it comes to price and quality. In a saturated market, you probably won't create a new price point or top-of-the-line product that no one else has tried before. Price and quality are important, but in today's age of overwhelming options, you need a great story to get people interested in your company.

Warby Parker, for instance, took on a monopoly in the glasses world and won because it told a story so many others had experienced for themselves. Glasses were too expensive, as everyone with eyewear knew. Warby Parker found common ground with its audience over a shared experience, then built a brand that turned glasses into affordable fashion.

3. Do one thing exceptionally well

Big companies can afford to do lots of things well. Saturated markets have plenty of big players, which means lots of companies compete with one another on multiple battlegrounds at once. Startups can't compete with that kind of capital, but as invaders in crowded markets, they don't need to. Do one thing better than anyone else and build a brand around that strength, then build outward after you establish a loyal audience.

The restaurant industry sees thousands of entrants rise and fall every year. Raising Cane's debuted in 1996, serving nothing but chicken tenders and a few sides. Founder Todd Graves had his share of trouble trying to secure funding, but eventually, he saved up enough to get started. By doing one thing well — and committing to that one thing with the tagline, "One Love" — Raising Cane's became a rising powerhouse in a fast-food scene that never lacked for unhealthy competition.

4. Leverage existing audiences and brands

The most crowded markets seem intimidating because they're full of competitors. That may be true, but they're also full of something else: customers. Big markets always have big audiences. Leverage someone else's audience to get more attention for yours, and suddenly, you become a legitimate brand in the marketplace.

Gary Vaynerchuk calls the practice of leveraging someone else's brand "equity arbitrage." Collaborate with existing players in the industry that complement your strengths to get your name out there. Engage with the followers of related brands on social media, and don't feel limited by your industry as you do so. If you start a finance company with an environmental mission, you could find tons of customers by engaging with followers of companies outside your industry that share the same mission, like REI and Patagonia.

Related: 7 Ways to Leverage Existing Customers for More Sales

Never let the size of an industry or the notoriety of its biggest players stop you from building your dream business. A good idea and a tenacious founding team can succeed, no matter where they find their footing. The next time you look at a crowded market, don't look up at the established brands and feel overwhelmed. Look at the ground level, where the customers are, and get to work.

Peter Daisyme

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Co-founder of Hostt

Peter Daisyme is the co-founder of Hostt, specializing in helping businesses host their website for free for life. Previously, he was co-founder of Pixloo, a company that helped people sell their homes online, which was acquired in 2012.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick


How to Close the Trust Gap Between You and Your Team — 5 Strategies for Leaders

Trust is tanking in your workplace. Here's how to fix it and become the boss your team needs to succeed.

Health & Wellness

Get a Year of Unlimited Yoga Class Downloads for Only $23 Through June 17

Regular exercise has been proven to increase energy and focus, both of which are valuable to entrepreneurs and well-known benefits of yoga.

Growing a Business

He Immigrated to the U.S. and Got a Job at McDonald's — Then His Aversion to Being 'Too Comfortable' Led to a Fast-Growing Company That's Hard to Miss

Voyo Popovic launched his moving and storage company in 2018 — and he's been innovating in the industry ever since.

Business News

'Passing By Wide Margins': Elon Musk Celebrates His 'Guaranteed Win' of the Highest Pay Package in U.S. Corporate History

Musk's Tesla pay package is almost 140 times higher than the annual pay of other high-performing CEOs.

Starting a Business

I Left the Corporate World to Start a Chicken Coop Business — Here Are 3 Valuable Lessons I Learned Along the Way

Board meetings were traded for barnyards as a thriving new venture hatched.

Business Culture

Why Remote Work Policies Are Good For the Environment

Remote work policies are crucial for ESG guidelines. Embracing remote work can positively impact your business and employees.