Monday, May 27, 2013

How is Your Startup Unique or Different?

In a competitive landscape, a key consideration is standing out from the crowd.

For startups, this is important because the barriers to entry are relatively low, while new or innovative ideas can quickly be replicated by agile rivals.

It means startups needs to discovery how they are unique and different to position the brand and carve out a competitive edge. If this can’t be achieved, the a startup can come across as just a me-too product.

Being unique or different, however, is not easy. There is so much competition that startups have to be creative, flexible and bold.

So how do startups discover what makes these different or unique?

It begins with looking into competitive landscape to explore how rivals are positioned. Who rises above the crowd, and how do they do it? What are the things that every rival claims – e.g user-friendly, intuitive, efficient. etc.?

To get a better grasp of where everyone sits, it might even help to create a graph that places companies in different buckets (e.g. free, freemium, premium, SMB, etc.)

By doing a competitive analysis, a startup can see the best opportunities to stake a claim on how it different or unique.

A good example of a startup that successfully managed to establish its uniqueness is 500px, which plays in the competitive photo-sharing market. So how does a startup find a place where it can be seen as different?

For 500px, the magic happened when it positioned itself as the place where photographers could display their most beautiful photographs. 500px is not a place to show good photographs, but only what you consider to be the best.

By positioning the brand in this way, 500px created a unique place for itself. In the process, it attracted well-known and high-quality photographers who liked the idea of having a place for their best shots. This, in turn, generated significant buzz, which attracted many more photographers who wanted to be part of the community.