The conundrum of every entrepreneur: Facing New Competitors

I’ve been an entrepreneur for more than 18 years and during this time I’ve had the opportunity to speak with many young entrepreneurs as well as established businessman. Many years ago I came to the conclusion that most entrepreneurs are afraid of competition. This fear usually begins when we are creating the business idea, as we want to keep it a top secret, because someone out there can steal it. This first fear can become a reality, however I believe that most people won’t steal the idea. Furthermore, today I believe the benefits of sharing our business idea heavily outweigh the fear of our idea being stole.

Most entrepreneurs believe they have such a beautiful and unique idea that everyone will try to steal it. Plus, and this is the most important aspect, is that they hope competition will never arrive. My experience tells me that competition will eventually arrive and that usually, this will benefit our venture, instead of hurting it.

If you are planning a new venture project of have an entrepreneurship up and running, competition will be a reality at some point. The only case where you can be save from competition is when you have a government permit that provides you some type of monopoly. If you have a new product or service that is introduced into the market, trust me, at some point someone will see that and try to copy your success. Most entrepreneurs believe that having a head start and enough time as the only solution is the only way to be successful in the market. This can be true, but I’ve seen this as a negative aspect.

Currently I’m a consultant in Internet Strategies and I work mainly in my home country, Colombia. This business idea was created over 5 years ago and currently there isn’t a pure “competition” I can mention. You might believe that this situation is great, as we have some type of monopoly, however it’s the opposite. To start, we’ve had to make a huge effort for people to know us and understand the type of service we develop, as this topic is widely unknown in Colombia. This hasn’t been easy and many times we haven’t seen results in the short-run. Another problem, is that big companies and government agencies that understand our services, usually require several companies to propose the service, so they can choose the best one. In this case, most of the time we’re the only company able to make a proposal, or we’re compared to companies that offer different services and values.

A good competitor that works under the same conditions, including costs, taxes and laws, as well as having ethics, can be great for business. It’s usually easier to grow the market when there are several players in the market. The client is the first one to benefit from this situation, as he will have different options to choose from. And if our businesses are smart, we have to take advantage of this situation.

I want to invite all entrepreneurs to see competition as something normal and even as something positive. It’s quite difficult to create a product that is 100% original and new, so almost from the get-go we’ll have some type of indirect competition. Competition will help us to grow and mature our market and that is why I always welcome new players into the market.

Image taken from Flickr.com

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