Post by Andy Lester
If you genuinely set out to solve an issue, why not stand alongside, rather than against the competition.
The competitive mindset within the start-up world is sometimes not too helpful. The majority of new start-ups are purpose-driven brands who are admirably looking to make the world a better place. If your aim is to help the environment, then surely it's a good thing if another company is helping towards that goal. It's easy to become more worried about your own survival than the problem you set out to solve. The issue with this is that your brand becomes less genuine and investors and customers/staff will see right through it.
As a brand, it's important to remember why you started out, and stay true to the cause. That's not all, there are also real benefits to having healthy competition within your area of trade. Here are a few to get you started.
More competition = More demand
The Bermondsey beer mile is a classic example of how more competition doesn't mean a smaller piece of the pie for each business, it actually means the pie gets bigger. It would be pretty hard to create the demand for a beer mile with just one brewer or a vegan movement with just one snack. Not only do other players in your sector provide proof that there is a demand for your product, they can also grow that demand.
Your competitor can guide you to your USP
Looking at where your competition sits within the minds of the consumer will help you to see opportunities within that market. If there is already an oversaturated area of hipster-focussed brands within your category, maybe you should change your offering to aim towards a different audience? Let go of the urge to be cool, start being useful.
Collaboration opens new doors
Collaboration with other small businesses in a similar space provides many opportunities. Rather than going solo, explore how you could work together to create more demand. Delivery boxes of various health-based snacks during lockdown was a great example of this. In the words of the late Christopher Wallace describing the struggle in the hip-hop scene: "If one of us makes it, we all make it".