It has never been easier to start a business. There are two main reasons for this. Firstly, the internet has made doing all of the paperwork to formally register your company, partnership, or other structure with your government a doddle.
In fact, some nations are even competing with each other to support entrepreneurs, such as Estonia and Azerbaijan, who both have e-residency programs to allow people from other countries set up businesses from afar and manage them remotely.
Secondly, technology and globalization have made it possible to trade with people all over the world without a huge pool of capital and massive amounts of infrastructure. Services like Alibaba have simplified the process of sourcing products from a manufacturer, while ecommerce platforms like Etsy can help you to reach millions of customers from all over the world.
These sites are great at helping you get your venture off the ground. Moreover, in some parts of the world, it’s so easy that you can have a business up and running in less than an hour.
But while it’s great for you, it’s also great for the thousands of other entrepreneurs that have a similar idea to you. Because the barriers to entry for most industries have been completely steamrollered, you’re likely to find yourself swimming in a much more packed pool of rivals.
As an entrepreneur, you need to find a way to stand out in this crowded space. If you’re unsure of how you can do that, here are some of the most common choices.
Do Something New
There are always opportunities to be innovative. It might be your product that’s different, or you might simply find a new way to get it to your customers.
An example of the former is the Megaways slot. These stand out from the thousands of other video slot games available to online casino players by offering hundreds of thousands of paylines, as opposed to the handful available in competitor titles. Today, these Megaways games are available in just about every imaginable genre, attracting players with almost any taste.
Ecommerce is an example of offering new ways to deliver the same products to customers. While many companies offer next-day shipping, the British retailer Argos has been offering same-day delivery to cater to customers that need an item immediately and can’t wait even 24 hours.
The world is waking up to the need to be more sustainable and consumers are looking to spend their money in ways that reduce their impact on the climate. If you can find novel ways to be friendlier to the planet while still meeting the needs of your customers, you’re likely to become more appealing.
The British workwear company A.M. Custom Clothing has done this by positioning itself as a producer of sustainable printed and embroidered clothing by stocking items that are certified as organic and Fairtrade. As the market demand for such eco-friendly products has expanded, it’s been in a prime position to build a market share.
Tesla has also taken this approach, developing products that reduce the carbon emissions of transport and housing through its cars and Powerwall lines. As an early mover in this space, the American company has built a reputation as a leader in EVs, even as traditional car companies have begun to create similar products.
Price is one of the easiest ways to start competing with your rivals, but it may not always be the wisest choice. Since it’s also easy for others to cut their prices, you’re going to soon find yourself back where you started – charging the same as the other businesses in your market. Except, this time, your margins have been squeezed and you will need to sell more products to make the same amount of profit.
The best time to cut your prices is when you have lower costs thanks to efficiencies in your production processes, fewer overheads, or you have higher volumes that give you economies of scale. In such a scenario, your competitors can’t afford to match or undercut you, giving you a sustainable competitive advantage.
Amazon is a great example of this. It’s able to offer lower prices to its customers because its scale allows it to make wafer-thin margins while generating billions in profits.