The startup landscape is a crowded place. A very crowded place.
In fact, according to some sources, there are 100 million businesses launched annually. This equates to 11,000 per hour or roughly three every second!
With this level of competition, it can seem next to impossible for new tech startups to compete, much less to thrive with any semblance of sustainability.
But does this mean you should just scrap your idea and raise a white flag?
I've learned a lot while launching my startups. Here are some ideas on ways that you can differentiate yourself from the masses and give your startup the greatest chance of success.
Know Where You Fit in the Industry
It may sound cliche, but getting ahead is largely contingent upon knowing your core value and sticking to your principles.
It's important that you know what your strengths are and capitalize on them.
Even if you're a "one trick pony" with a singular talent, that's not necessarily a bad thing.
As long as you can do one specific thing better than anyone else, you definitely stand a chance of succeeding.
Create a New Niche
Let's be honest. You're probably not going to reinvent the wheel with your software, app, etc.
You're also probably fighting for scraps in a hyper-saturated market where everyone's trying to make more noise than the next guy.
Rather than trying to be the next Salesforce or HubSpot and being squashed like a bug, why not focus on a narrow segment of the population and carve out a narrow niche?
It's tough to create a product that's radically different from competitors. I learned this the hard way. But what you can do is create new niche within your market.
This is a realistic way to stack the deck in your favor and rise above the noise.
Create a More User-Friendly Product
In today's increasingly complex world, consumers value simplicity more than ever before. Consequently, users want a product that's intuitive and doesn't require a massive learning curve to figure out.
Why do you think Apple has been so successful?
Their minimalistic, clean product designs combined with uber-simplistic features has no doubt contributed to their success and longevity.
I've long understood the value of user-friendliness. That's why I've always worked to make my products easier to use than my competitors.
I would suggest taking the same approach when addressing form and functionality.
Out-Market the Competition
One of the reasons why so many tech startups fail isn't because they have a poor product. It's because of an inferior marketing campaign and a lack of understanding of how to reach a certain demographic.
The truth is that there are countless products that are no more innovative than the next one, but they sell because of smart, cost-effective marketing.
Whether it's outranking competitors through a sleek SEO campaign, killing it on social media or leveraging industry influencers to gain mass exposure, the possibilities are endless.
By utilizing growth hacking techniques, you can get the exposure you need for your startup and minimize any growing pains.
Be Cooler Than the Rest of the Pack
Even if your product isn't inherently better or more revolutionary than the others in your industry, you can usually gain momentum by simply being cooler than everyone else.
Although cool is obviously a subjective term, you know when you see it.
Just think about Apple's super sleek and stylish imagery, TOMs one-for-one campaign, where they give away a pair of shoes to someone in need for every pair purchased, or Dollar Shave Club's hilarious and off-kilter promotions.
There's an underlying thread with all of these marketing campaigns. They've all got the cool factor.
When you're able to tap into your own personal swagger and emphasize what makes your startup unique, there's no reason you can't outshine the competition.
Offer a More Affordable Product
If all else fails, you can always lower your price point and increase your market share this way.
While you obviously don't want to kill your profit margins, offering a great product for less is almost guaranteed to get you noticed and be a catalyst for sales growth.
Although it may seem like a tall order to compete in such a crowded market, doing so is by no means impossible.
It just requires an understanding of how to chart the waters and building leverage for your tech startup. With the right approach, there's no reason you can't claim your piece of the pie and thrive.
Are there any specific techniques you've found useful for attracting attention?