When you’re building a startup in a category that already exists, it’s terrifying. Because you’re going into battle against a heavily armed, mad-as-hell giant in the form of whoever made that category their own before you.
It’s scary as all hell. Every single question in your company has to be framed in the context of your battle plan. Because every move is an offense or a defense, whether you like it or not, whether the Giant knows you exist or not.
Here’s what you need to answer:
- Every giant is vulnerable. Because a giant needs to have a giant audience and user base, they can’t provide niche features to niche users. That’s your starting point. What is that target for you?
- It doesn’t matter how much money they have. It only matters how you use your money. How are you going to use yours to maximize its impact without throwing it down the tube trying to compete with a giant who has 1,000,000 x your budget?
- You aren’t trying to eat their market, their lunch or their ass. You’re trying to carve out a space where you can operate. You’re building your base camp. So where are you going to put it?
- When you launch against a Giant, the most important question you need to be able to answer — and answer well — is this. Why should we use you instead of the giant we already trust? If you can’t answer that, you’re dead in the water and you probably shouldn’t have launched in the first place.
That’s the basic breakdown of it. If it looks intimidating, that’s because it is. A giant isn’t felled by a single rock from a slingshot, because this ain’t exactly David and Goliath — this is IBM and Microsoft, way back when Gates first started. That particular victory took years, guts, a healthy dose of spite and a lot of risk.
At Speedlancer, we’re charging into a freelance space full of giants. That’s a tough proposition. But we’re pretty conscious of what we’re doing. The first thing we did was sit down work through that list of questions. So we know where we’re going and what we’re doing and why people should be using us.
Giants aren’t invincible. But they’re also not easy to bring down.
If you go into battle against them, be prepared for a rough one. And if you win, celebrate all the harder. You’ll have earned it.
This piece originally appeared on Medium.
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