When we think of a successful brand, company or organization, we can all agree the ones deemed successful are those that have done something new, exciting or revolutionary. They are the businesses that stand out from the rest. But with new and on-trend products or services created in seconds, this is not a simple task. In fact, it might be one of the most difficult goals to achieve when it comes to any business. With so many competitors arising, navigating a crowded space as an entrepreneur or within your given industry is daunting.
When entering a market already flooded with “the competition,” you should adapt your mindset and approach in order to come out on top. Take it from me: I started and ran a company in the sleep products space—arguably one of the most impacted consumer markets. Reverie and OSO differentiates itself by tapping into consumer interests beyond just the product.
The key is to look beyond the sale and focus on what you can do to be better, different and ahead of the game.
1. Find a blue ocean.
An industry feels crowded when everyone is doing the same thing. Don’t focus on stealing share from other players in the crowded space. Look for “blue ocean” opportunities—those that have not been explored to their full potential. For most, that means driving innovation in a product category to make them appealing to end consumers in a fresh light.
2. Be bold.
As Mark Twain said, “Go out on a limb. That is where the fruit is.” If you want to stand out from your peers, you must not be afraid to speak up and go against the status quo. From research and development to sales and marketing to customer service, take bold steps to build your reputation. This includes hiring talented people with no specific experience, showcasing your brand as something more than a product lineup, and cultivating a team of experts and supporters instead of sales people to represent the brand.
3. Answer the underlying question.
Crowded markets are often a result of businesses more or less doing the exact same thing as the next company. Ask yourself, What is it that the consumer really needs that isn’t already available? Whether it’s an innovative technology, revolutionary design, providing several different product options or taking on a creative campaign, providing your consumer with something new will draw their interest and keep them yearning for more.
4. Become the expert.
What makes a brand great is its ability to translate one SKU or service into a complete lifestyle approach. Create a business that is full-circle so your target audience is reliant on more aspects of the brand. For example, tap into certified experts in your space and create a blog that allows your audience to receive insight on a particular lifestyle. Or add to your existing line with extensions that further commemorate your leadership in a given space—be it accessories, exclusive services, quality programs, etc.
5. Look to other successful industries for inspiration.
In a crowded industry, playing the “me too” game eventually leads to a downward spiral of price competition. What will keep you one step ahead of your peers is to find inspiration from leaders in other industries. This doesn’t mean taking their idea and running with it. Take innovation cues from other industries or best business practices that lend a hand to that specific company’s success, and shape them into what works for your company. A broad set of resources helps keep a fresh perspective.
In business you will be faced with a new set of challenges every day. In order to keep your eye on the prize, you must be creative and think outside the box. Only those companies that innovate first or cultivate that fresh new take will be the ones to successfully navigate a crowded market.
Don’t play “follow the leader.” Be the leader. Make your audience believe there is no reason to look at the competition. That’s your ticket to success.