What is your strength and what is your competitors weakness?
When creating a product or even a company you are rarely the first to do something similar. One of the hardest things to do is to take a position where you can succeed, in an often huge field of competitors.
“Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.”From Sun Tzus Art of War
One way of doing this is thinking hard about what your largest competitors have as a weakness and also what you might have as a strength and trying to leverage that difference.
Small vs Huge
One strength/weakness position that is almost always true when starting out is that you are small and can change and adapt fast without any or much legacy. Your competitors are usually big and stuck in their ways of doing things. Especially if they are very successful they won’t change easily as that might mean lower revenue short term.
You can use this to your advantage by doing things differently and also by quickly adapting to new customer behaviors.
Sometimes a business model that has worked well in the past is ripe to challenge. If your huge competitors earn money by selling the product you might rent the product out to consumers instead. Creating a different relation to the customer.
Or if your competitor charges based on seats for a B2B product maybe you should charge based on usage. Earning less on each customer but have a more fair model.
Physical vs Online
If your competitors have physical locations that could be seen as a strength but you can turn it into a weakness. If they have 5 000 stores globally and you have non but a much better online store that is available in every country your reach might actually be better.
Thinking in opposites
In short, try to think about what your competitors do and what kind of systems and structures they have in place and play with the idea of doing the opposite and doing that well. A lot of times it sounds crazy but it might just work.
- Only physical stores – Only online
- Free delivery – Paid delivery
- For everyone – Invite only
- Open ecosystem – Closed ecosystem
- Made by experts – Made by you
- Always available – Limited availability
- Unlimited storage – Limited storage
- Infinite choice – We choose for you
- Easy to use – Really difficult to use
- Pretty – Ugly
- Futuristic design – Retro design
- High tech – Low tech
And it’s not just the opposite you should think of but what it means if you do just that. What is the consequences and can they give you an advantage.
What other opposites can you think of?