Why You Shouldn’t Worry About Competition

A.T. Gimbel shares 4 key reasons not to worry about competitors as an early stage startup.

A.T. Gimbel
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August 12, 2019

Focus on building a great business and controlling what you can control

I have spoken with several entrepreneurs recently who have each been worried about potential competitors. They say something like this: “Oh no, Competitor X could be trying to do something like us. What should I do?” In most cases, I worry very little about competition for an early stage startup. Here are a few reasons why.

Customer focus

When starting a company, you should be laser focused on solving a must-have/mission critical problem for your customers that makes them passionate supporters. Regardless of what your competitors are doing, if you are delighting customers and solving their problems in a truly differentiated way, you have the chance to build a great business. I would rather spend all my time and energy towards solving my customer problems than worrying about what a competitor may or may not be doing. Focus on the critical things that matter to your customers vs. the list of twenty other features a competitor is working on.

Market awareness

Most markets are not winner take all. That means there is room for several competitors, especially as you start to segment a market. Find a niche that you can uniquely solve and that may be overlooked by competitors. Furthermore, seeing competition can also be a good sign that others view the potential in the market/problem. This market awareness and conversation can be a plus in that it drives more buzz to your market (which makes your sales and hiring easier).

Size of competitor

Depending on which size of competitor you are worried about, there is often a lot of noise. Most startups fail and will be out of business soon. Many well funded startups are often so focused on growth that can lead to other execution challenges. Big corporate competitors cannot move quickly, which gives you an advantage to move fast and be nimble. In any scenario, play to your advantages. There will almost always be competitors in your space … and if not, they will soon be coming once they see your success!

Control what you can control

At the end of the day, there are plenty of great ideas out there, but very few companies that can execute well on those ideas. Worrying about competitors is spending time on things outside of your control. Instead, channel that focus to controlling what you can control (team, product, execution).

Now, this doesn’t mean don’t be aware of what competitors may doing so you know how to sell and position against them. But rather focus on building a great business, control what you can control, and find passionate customers.

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