Why competition is good!

A key part of your product/market fit process is finding competition and understanding how you compare, what makes you different and how you can be better.

When I work with start-up’s I regularly come across product founders who say things like "This product is so unique that we don't have any competition". This is a BIG MISTAKE for a number of reasons.

1) Find competition and differentiate - You may have a product significantly different to anything else available in the market but you still grab the nearest competitor product and differentiate on some value point (e.g., cost, efficiency, compliance). Remember when the typewriter was invented it's biggest competitor was the pen and paper.

2) Ready made market - Aligning yourself to competitors allows you to test out your product market fit in their market and in time you can target these customer groups as well. Why build a new playground when there's a ready made playground for your product to play.

3) Conform to the "buying" process - Like it or not, most prospective customers put products/services into a silo when it comes to how they buy so if there is a "bucket" your product fits in then be focused on getting into it, confirming to the buying process and differentiating on value. Remember, if buyers don't know where to put you then this can lead to confusion, too many buyers in the same company being involved and this usually leads to longer leads times OR no decision being made.

Ironically, finding competition fast and differentiating will speedup the process of product market fit and validation.