As a founder, how do you guard yourself from being discouraged by hearing about or seeing the success of competitors who have had years of a head start on you?

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JASON LEMKIN

Well, you can’t. 🙂

It’s in most of our human natures to just obsess about competition.

But a few things to bear in mind:

  • First-to-market does not mean The Winner. Salesforce, Workday, Box, Appdynamics, Coupa. Not first to market. Sometimes, first to a segment of the market. But not first to market.
  • Use it to focus and rally the troops. If you really can do better than the competition, then use their wins to challenge yourself to do even better.
  • Define yourself as #1 in a segment of the market. Your competitor may be #1 overall, but where do you have a differentiated advantage? Lean in here a lot. Salesforce is #1 in “CRM”. But there are many CRMs doing $20m+ ARR, and several doing $100m+.
  • Challenge yourself to react — but not overreact. Often, press releases are borderline vaporware. Customer “wins” and logos are often just small groups at big companies. New features often aren’t that great when they launch. Be paranoid. But don’t overreact.
  • Double down on your existing customers. Go talk to them, even more. Listen. Make sure they are happy and renew. Make sure they are so happy they will recommend you to a friend. Get your NPS above 50. If your NPS and CSAT are super high, they can’t steal your customers. And your customers will beget you more customers.

And don’t let them see you sweat.

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Published on May 5, 2017
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