Wednesday, February 28, 2018

#2 Find the competition and see if you can compete

Your next step is to outline who is also trying to solve this problem. Every product or service has competition. Folks can spend their money and time elsewhere.

OK. So you are convinced that no one is specifically trying to solve this problem that only you have identified. That's pretty convenient and unlikely. And it won't last for long. So find someone who does something similar and assume they will migrate what they are doing to address the problem. Deluding yourself is not a way to build a viable company.

Remember, every company is competing with a broad way to spend money and time. Think television and movies. People can choose to spend their time and energy and money on watching television or going to a movie rather than addressing your problem with your solution. Find the closest potential competitor. As an example, airlines compete with cars for short 1 hour flights. Autonomous cars could potentially provide a "moving hotel" that would compete with airlines for 2 hours long flights. There is always a competitor.

Write them all down and identify why they aren't the perfect solution to the problem and why they can't easily become the perfect solution.

In all likelihood, they are the perfect solution or they can easily become one. It's annoying but almost always true. Stop now. You are wasting your time. Go back to the first step and identify a different problem or provide more detail.

Inertia will hurt you in your desire to start a company. Over time you will spend more and more time convincing yourself that you can "beat" this competition. You're great and wonderful and insightful, right? Yeah, and they have customers, are motivated, and are already succeeding. Be honest, if you were them would you be afraid of you and your novel company?

Or ask yourself, would they buy me out to get rid of me as a competitor? If the answer is yes, you are on the right track.

I repeat, if a competitor can already solve your problem or easily adapt what they are doing to solve your problem then stop now and stop wasting your time. Find a different problem to solve.

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