How much to care about competition

Introduction

You’ve selling your product in an exciting and growing space, but you’re not going to be the only one who has identified the opportunity. How much should you worry about what others are doing, and how can you stay ahead? In this post, I will

Photo by Matt Lee on Unsplash

1/ Why competition is important

It’s natural to feel worried when you see a competitor succeeding. However,
“iron sharpens iron”. It is uncomfortable, but competition is good for several reasons:

  • Competition helps your customers become more familiar with the products, which drives better conversations on ROI and value.
  • Competition helps you stay sharp. Your competitors help you reflect if you’re missing out on trends, product features, and what customers might not be telling you (or if you’re failing to listen).

2/ How much should you care about the competition?

The short answer is “not too much.” It’s important to keep an eye on the competition, but not to be obsessed to the point that you lose sight of your own product strategy. If you find yourself getting nervous about competitors consistently, it might be a sign that you’re veering into the worrying “too much” bucket.

3/ How to research your competition

Here are four tips for researching your competition. All four tips are about listening more than talking. It’s about listening to hear about the competition, but more importantly listening to customer feedback.

  • Listen to your sales and customer support team. They’re getting daily feedback with your customers and are a goldmine of insights. Understand from sales why they’re winning and losing deals. Understand from customer support why customers are threatening to churn or are churning.
  • Read feedback forums. What are people saying about the competition? Are they happy with the products? Are there any features that people often ask to be changed or improved?
  • Interview experts in the field (perhaps every ~6–12 months as you review your roadmap). What do they think of the competition? Personally, I love the Tegus platform for these interviews — it’s more affordable than other players, and provides a broad range of insights.

Conclusion

You’re not in competition with every business out there — you’re in competition with the businesses selling a similar product or service to your target market. It’s important to do your research and understand who your true competitors are and your differentiation.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Celine Wee

Musings are my own: a collection of learnings from Payments, Go To Market, Web3, Biz Ops across Stripe, Coinbase, Twitter.