In a highly competitive field, should we continue with our startup or call it quits?

We are an on-demand (Uber of X) startup service. We have about 10-12 competitors in our space. We are two co-founders that are new to the startup world/entrepreneurship with limited resources. We are at the idea stage with a bit of a social media following.


The answer comes down to:

1) Is your idea good enough: What you can offer that your competitors can't?

2) Is your team good enough: Does your team have the ability and drive to pull off the idea?

The answers to those questions are impossible to even start to assess with the information provided. If you'd like to discuss it in further detail, feel free to send me a Dropbox link with some more background information (competitors, description of your idea, links to media, etc.) and I'll take a look at it before a call.

Answered 7 years ago

The info you gave isn't really enough to say whether you will be successful or not. It does sound like you may not be up for the challenge given how far you view your competitors are ahead of you, so that might be your gut feeling saying you don't want to continue.

If you think you can build a better product than what's out there then definitely continue!

Answered 7 years ago

I would differentiate directly with your only 10 competitors. Try to create momentum and spreading the voice. At the end of the day are the connection that matters and how you penetrate faster your target market/industry. If you completely lose the passion about your idea and you don't feel any shared dream of your vision that you want to be part of then leave. But don't multitask businesses, just focus and give you deadlines. Just text me if you need more

Answered 7 years ago

Execution is more important than idea.

Get busy on execution. Do that better than your competition and you'll eclipse them.

How you perform your service, coupled with the effectiveness of your marketing, will be the biggest success factors for you.

Answered 7 years ago

Question 1: What do your users need from you, and how do you respond to those needs in a way that differentiates you from your competitors?

Question 2: What are the points of friction in your users' lives, and how do you soften those points of friction better than your competitors do? For example, Uber saw that having cash on hand, paying tips, and getting overcharged were some of their users' points of friction.

Question 3: How will you grow your existing online community and convert your followers into active users and promoters of your brand?

If you can't easily answer these questions, I'd say it's time to step back and reevaluate. Give me a call if you want to talk this through.

Answered 7 years ago

It's not "are you and your product good enough"... It's all about differentiation. Is your offering different enough in the eyes of the customer to gain a foothold in the market? I say "offering" rather than "product" because you need to think broadly about it.

Ask yourself, what is Uber? What is the "product"? Is it getting a ride, or is it the UI on the phone (and the integration of maps and crowd-sourcing) for getting a ride? The answer is ALL OF THE ABOVE.

There were several competitors to Uber but they were the only one to consider their offering/product so broadly.

So, if I were you, I'd be out talking to as many people as I could to find out what you could offer that was truly different that would make people come to you versus the competitors.

Doing things differently is the key to business.

Answered 7 years ago

Do not underestimate the power of limited resources. Constraints drive creativity! There's a difference between 10-12 competitors in a mature space with little room for market growth and 10-12 competitors in an emerging space that is posed to grow 100X over the next years. The beauty of building towards an exit is that in both scenarios above your competitors could potentially be your acquirers. Do you have a proper exit strategy? Remember, an exit strategy is the greatest value driver for a startup, a strategic exit is the greatest value creator for entrepreneurs. Happy to take you call and help you with your exit strategy.

Answered 7 years ago

Too often, I’ve found that entrepreneurs push blindly ahead with an idea without stepping back at moments to assess where they’re at and, perhaps more importantly, where the market’s at. You are proceeding differently – well done.

That said, as you and your partner contemplate your company’s future, revisit the core reasons behind your decision to start up. Why did you think your idea would succeed? What market gap did you believe you could fill? How were you going to positively impact an industry or community? Does that purpose still fuel your passion and drive? Do you have the fortitude to sell that vision to investors, customers and other stakeholders?

If you’re still on track there, consider the marketplace. How has it changed since you first joined forces? How well are these competitors positioned? Is there still room to flourish?

Then, delve into the differentiation question that many here have mentioned.

Good luck and let me know if you need more assistance.

Answered 7 years ago

You didn't mention WHY your project is different from / better than the 10-12 competitors ... or WHY the world needs yet another startup offering a somewhat redundant service.

If your idea really is pretty much like other projects – projects that have a significant head start on yours – then maybe you could compete if you were unusually experienced or well funded. However, by your own admission, you're not.

Plus, you're obviously facing a crisis of confidence. Without knowing anything about your project, the mere fact that you've got cold feet is a very strong indicator that you ought NOT to pursue this idea any longer.

Quit! That's my recommendation. You and your co-founder can take a break and brainstorm some new project – something the world doesn't have already, something where you don't have 10-12 established competitors with more experience and funds than you have, something where you feel sure you can achieve something.

Don't waste your time and energy reinventing the wheel or chasing runners in a race who started before you and who might be intrinsically much faster. Search out some idea that's unique, necessary, right for your talents, and makes you shout "Eureka!"

Answered 7 years ago

Continue, do not quit. Missouri and federal antitrust laws protect competition. Antitrust laws are “pro-competition,” intended to ensure that businesses can compete in an open marketplace where they can try to provide goods and services of higher quality at lower prices.
The antitrust laws seek to ensure that industry is competitive, with several manufacturers or distributors of products and services all striving to attract customers. If a business does not face competition, it has little incentive to lower its prices or improve its products. If there is only one seller in the market, it may charge higher prices without fearing a loss of sales to a competitor.
Thus, the goal of antitrust laws is to protect consumers' purchasing power and save jobs and businesses, all at the same time. Due to our national and often global economy, competitors from another state, region or country will eventually pierce the market and take business away from the local seller, who has become inefficient and weak due to lack of competition. That may ultimately cause the local business to fail and result in a loss of local jobs.
The things that stop competitors from entering an industry are the things that let the established businesses keep their piece of the pie. Some new businesses face the problem of convincing customers that it is worth the cost of moving away from their current provider. You would think if you have a great product that is of benefit to consumers, that you could just get the materials and start mass-producing it, right? Sometimes it is not so simple. When these channels are either exclusive or expensive, it can greatly impede newcomers to a certain industry. This is one of many barriers for those who would enter the auto industry, which is why there are so few new competitors.
Besides if you do have any questions give me a call:

Answered 3 years ago

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