Don’t worry about the competition

Startups usually die from suicide not homicide

Sam Altman / Paul Graham (Y-Combinator)

It’s natural in business to fret about what your competitors are doing. The startup landscape is cut-throat and new platforms appear all the time that threaten to overthrow the incumbents. It’s understandable that you’d be concerned about what’s round the corner and what your rival has planned next.

But you shouldn’t spend time worrying about them; concern yourself mostly with your own company or you risk failure.

Keep one eye open

Being aware of the competition is important, sure; you can’t take your eye off the ball. Watching what they’re doing is something you do have to do but focusing too much on this will mean that you’re being too outward-facing and internal problems will get missed.

Ultimately, competition is healthy. Always have one eye on what your rivals are doing, this is sensible, but don’t blindly react to what they’re doing or worry that their next move could completely take you out.

Internal focus

Concentrate on your plan, your users and your team. By building the best possible product and business you can you’ll be far more likely to last the distance. A strong team pushing a well-managed and well-delivered product is a recipe for success. If your product or offering is good enough then what competitors do becomes less relevant.

Giving too much thought to the competition and copying their every move will either give you a second rate product or may just mean you’re replicating other people’s mistakes.

Do your own thing. Build a great team who understand what you’re trying to do and serve the needs of the people who buy your product. That’s the route to success.