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Am I failing already? Competitors executing damn well

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Fid

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TLDR; I found out a competitor business is executing (almost) exactly my idea and doing it... damn well! I am at learning & prototyping phase, lightyears behind them. Does that mean I'm failing already by being too late and continuing to execute should be considered unreasonable?


To begin with, I'm not afraid of competition itself whatsoever. In fact, the bad quality of competitors' services was my opportunity in the first place.
A few words about my idea maybe: here in Poland renting a flat is very popular while finding a flat to rent is a struggle. You have to use one of the big advert sites with tons of adverts, often outdated, often repeated, often spammy, mostly with low level of readability. Hours of frustration, anxiety, impatiance every day.
So I thought of a new approach to the problem. A site/app that would be dedicated to renting flats, tidy, easy to use, always up to date. With features that me and other users (both tenants and landlords) were missing for quite a while. I started a ton of learning on web-dev, marketing, user & web design, etc. and was planning to finally deploy a minimum-value-product around March.

Then I learned about this competing start-up, which is doing exactly what I was about to do. For like 2 years now. Long story short, they've developed an AI facebook bot that does the seeking for you. You just have a short conversation in chat, answer several questions and "let me get back to you when I find something" - you get flat suggestions tailored to your needs. Easy, efficient, quick and fancy to use. No more forms to fill, no more hours spent on filtering out the spam. What is more, most of the features I was planning to implement - they do have as well. And they carry it out almost perfectly. Their service is up and running, they have quite an impressive customer base, their website is well designed, everything is working as it is supposed to.

It felt like a sudden punch into my face. All my strength and motivation have just swayed (but not fell over yet). As I said, I was not afraid of the competition itself, their poor efficiency was my opportunity, my strong value skew was my ace up my sleeve. Now it turned out my value skew is in someone else's hands, I'm left with nothing unique. Launching my product would look like an attempt to copy them, not creating something better.

Does that mean that any further effort put in my product would be unreasonable? I'm not asking the 'should I abandon the ship' question. Rather than that, I would like to ask: how do you know you should back off because your competitors are too good? Or is that the right reason to back off in the first place?

Regards
Fid
 
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LeoistheSun

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TLDR; I found out a competitor business is executing (almost) exactly my idea and doing it... damn well! I am at learning & prototyping phase, lightyears behind them. Does that mean I'm failing already by being too late and continuing to execute should be considered unreasonable?


To begin with, I'm not afraid of competition itself whatsoever. In fact, the bad quality of competitors' services was my opportunity in the first place.
A few words about my idea maybe: here in Poland renting a flat is very popular while finding a flat to rent is a struggle. You have to use one of the big advert sites with tons of adverts, often outdated, often repeated, often spammy, mostly with low level of readability. Hours of frustration, anxiety, impatiance every day.
So I thought of a new approach to the problem. A site/app that would be dedicated to renting flats, tidy, easy to use, always up to date. With features that me and other users (both tenants and landlords) were missing for quite a while. I started a ton of learning on web-dev, marketing, user & web design, etc. and was planning to finally deploy a minimum-value-product around March.

Then I learned about this competing start-up, which is doing exactly what I was about to do. For like 2 years now. Long story short, they've developed an AI facebook bot that does the seeking for you. You just have a short conversation in chat, answer several questions and "let me get back to you when I find something" - you get flat suggestions tailored to your needs. Easy, efficient, quick and fancy to use. No more forms to fill, no more hours spent on filtering out the spam. What is more, most of the features I was planning to implement - they do have as well. And they carry it out almost perfectly. Their service is up and running, they have quite an impressive customer base, their website is well designed, everything is working as it is supposed to.

It felt like a sudden punch into my face. All my strength and motivation have just swayed (but not fell over yet). As I said, I was not afraid of the competition itself, their poor efficiency was my opportunity, my strong value skew was my ace up my sleeve. Now it turned out my value skew is in someone else's hands, I'm left with nothing unique. Launching my product would look like an attempt to copy them, not creating something better.

Does that mean that any further effort put in my product would be unreasonable? I'm not asking the 'should I abandon the ship' question. Rather than that, I would like to ask: how do you know you should back off because your competitors are too good? Or is that the right reason to back off in the first place?

Regards
Fid
Unless you can figure out a way to differentiate yourself in some way I would not continue. Otherwise you're selling the same thing and yes you would be competing with them at a disadvantage.

And just to be clear it wasn't your idea if they executed first.

Why don't you buy their product and talk to their customers and see where you can improve upon it. Different languages etc.
 

Jane S.

New Contributor
Dec 25, 2016
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TLDR; I found out a competitor business is executing (almost) exactly my idea and doing it... damn well! I am at learning & prototyping phase, lightyears behind them. Does that mean I'm failing already by being too late and continuing to execute should be considered unreasonable?


To begin with, I'm not afraid of competition itself whatsoever. In fact, the bad quality of competitors' services was my opportunity in the first place.
A few words about my idea maybe: here in Poland renting a flat is very popular while finding a flat to rent is a struggle. You have to use one of the big advert sites with tons of adverts, often outdated, often repeated, often spammy, mostly with low level of readability. Hours of frustration, anxiety, impatiance every day.
So I thought of a new approach to the problem. A site/app that would be dedicated to renting flats, tidy, easy to use, always up to date. With features that me and other users (both tenants and landlords) were missing for quite a while. I started a ton of learning on web-dev, marketing, user & web design, etc. and was planning to finally deploy a minimum-value-product around March.

Then I learned about this competing start-up, which is doing exactly what I was about to do. For like 2 years now. Long story short, they've developed an AI facebook bot that does the seeking for you. You just have a short conversation in chat, answer several questions and "let me get back to you when I find something" - you get flat suggestions tailored to your needs. Easy, efficient, quick and fancy to use. No more forms to fill, no more hours spent on filtering out the spam. What is more, most of the features I was planning to implement - they do have as well. And they carry it out almost perfectly. Their service is up and running, they have quite an impressive customer base, their website is well designed, everything is working as it is supposed to.

It felt like a sudden punch into my face. All my strength and motivation have just swayed (but not fell over yet). As I said, I was not afraid of the competition itself, their poor efficiency was my opportunity, my strong value skew was my ace up my sleeve. Now it turned out my value skew is in someone else's hands, I'm left with nothing unique. Launching my product would look like an attempt to copy them, not creating something better.

Does that mean that any further effort put in my product would be unreasonable? I'm not asking the 'should I abandon the ship' question. Rather than that, I would like to ask: how do you know you should back off because your competitors are too good? Or is that the right reason to back off in the first place?

Regards
Fid

You can try making the service free to see if that helps
 

jpanarra

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If you're making adjustments to your competitors, You're losing the race.

Now you cant turn a blind eye to your competitors, 10% of your adjustments should be based on them. However 90% should be all on you and your product. If you shift to their game and try to make adjustments by their movements and products.. people will feel like you're a copy cat.

Keep doing what you're doing and move forward, you might have some things right that you don't realize yet because you aren't 100% in the game yet.

Keep in mind competition is good, now you got an enemy to beat... let that feed your fire not deflate it.
 

Real Deal Denver

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Keep in mind competition is good, now you got an enemy to beat... let that feed your fire not deflate it.

Without Goliath, David would have just been a sheep herder that faded into history.

Use your competition as a springboard to success. It is SO much easier to succeed when you have something for your customers to compare you to. Be grateful you have competition that does that for you. Also - they have established that there is a market. Outperform them. I have never seen a product or service that couldn't be improved on. Or underperform them - what??? - yes, apps, for example, are small pieces of software that do something very small - but they do it very well. Maybe I don't want the full blown software package - which is true a lot of the time! Or combine your product with another function. It would be nice for my Uber ride app to also have a restaurant recommendation app as a side kick - and then why not a reservation app to go with it? Three products in one! Think what your customers want!

Look at how big McDonalds is. Then look at the unbelievable amount of competition that they have. They may, like McDonalds, be the biggest. If they are, then what are your options?

You don't realize it, but the battle is almost won for you already. You have identified a need, and a way to solve it, and a good product that you can work from to differentiate yourself already exists!
 

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