“Failed plans should not be interpreted as a failed vision. Visions don’t change, they are only refined. Plans rarely stay the same and are scrapped or adjusted as needed. Be stubborn about the vision, but flexible with your plan.” ~ John C Maxwell
We’ve all heard the phrase competition is all fun and games until someone gets hurt. Now think about competition in businesses and startups—hmm touchy subject. Why? Because when a business falls out of a competition, more than feelings are at stake.
In the Inc. article, How to Write a Great Business Plan: Competitive Analysis, the author addresses how to craft the perfect business plan while analyzing your competition.
First, I want to discuss a couple of things he said about profiling current competitors.
What are their strengths and weaknesses? What things do they excel at and what things could use a little work? This is one of the most important things to analyze. I say this because, if you do the research and figure out a competitors strengths and weaknesses right off the bat, then you have the ability to be innovative with your company and try something that they do not have.
What are their basic objectives? Who are their consumers? What is their company’s purpose? Are they in good standing with their clients? These questions are all great to research and good for getting to know your competition better. It is important to remember that the competitive analysis portion of your business plan is to help you get a better understanding of who you are running against.
Next, let’s discuss what the author has to say about identifying potential competitors.
It can be tough to predict when and where new competitors may pop up. Ah, scary but true. Especially with many companies being primarily online nowadays, it can be extremely hard to find these kinds of competitors.
What will you do if new competitors enter the marketplace? Do not freak out! A new competitor does not necessarily mean that your business is going to tank. Honestly, a new competitor might not be a bad thing at all, especially if you are already gaining success. A little competition might help your business overcome obstacles that you could not solve in the past.
At the end of the article, the author says one thing that really stuck out to me. It was along the lines of do not oversell yourself. Of course, we all want to look like we are the best at what we do, but the truth is we are going to have weaknesses and that is okay. Showing investors that you understand your company’s strengths and weaknesses in comparison to your competition, is essential to your business plan.
Sometimes our plans do not work out the way we expect them to, but that does not mean that we should give up.
On the NPR podcast “How I Built This, Guy Raz, interviewed Whitney Wolfe about her experience co-founding Tinder and then starting Bumble. The entrepreneur talked about overcoming hate from accumulated followers and randos on social networking sites and the media after leaving Tinder. After dealing with endless bullying first hand, Wolfe told herself that she would never get involved with a dating app again. However, what she eventually came to realize was that “You can’t kill ambition. You can kill confidence, but you can’t kill drive.”
I believe that this is the mentality every entrepreneur should have right from the get-go. People are mean and at times ruthless, but that does not mean you should give up. Know who you are, know your objectives, and do not let people get into your head.
Whitney Wolfe is known today as the founder and CEO of Bumble, America’s fastest-growing dating app company, and she got there by not giving in to all of the negative things people had to say about her.