Dealing with competition

Interesting read, especially the first point about competition. It’s easy when you are going solo to feel overwhelmed by having a few competitors in the same space. This gives some good perspective

“You think staying relevant in your industry is tough? Consider the perfume business. Veronique Gabai-Pinsky, the global brand president of Estee Lauder Company, laid out what her company is up against every year. It can take 7,000 fresh flower pedals to make a single vial of perfume and there’s no telling if a scent will take off, being that smell is a subjective sense. And the industry is packed with cutthroat competition: just last year, 1,100 new perfume companies launched around the world–that’s more than three new companies hatching a day.”

I have many dozens of competitors in hair salon scheduling, perhaps hundreds. Fortunately none of them seem particularly good at building software or marketing it, so I don’t find their presence very intimidating. All I have to do is not be terrible at everything. (I’m still working on that.)

I think anytime you have a market that’s sufficiently “uncool” and not-obvious, like hair salon software, the competition will be pretty weak. Like I’m pretty sure Andy Brice’s table planning competitors aren’t very formidable, precisely because table planning is (no offense, of course) not very sexy and not very obvious a business choice.

Unsexy SaaS is cool :slight_smile:
I was reading just today this article on the subject: In Praise of Unsexy Businesses

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That was true a few years ago. I now have a funded direct competitor with 30 staff. Doesn’t seem to be having much effect on my sales though. If they flame out, I’ll be ready to pick up their customers. ;0)

I agree though ‘uncool’ software often does better than ‘cool’ software. Give me revenue and happy customers over impressing people on Hacker News any day!

+1’s on Hacker News is what it’s all about!!!


What is the current exchange rate of HN +1s to Dollars? ;0)


@fredguth That kind of reminders me of PG’s Schlep Blindness essay. Unsexy business ideas are both a) non-obvious because even having the idea at all often requires domain knowledge that only people who work in that industry would usually have (table planning is I think a good example) and b) non-obvious because naturally none of the big famous startups like Facebook, Instagram, Spotify, etc. are niche B2B products.

The good thing about this fact is that there’s just that much less competition in niche unsexy B2B products.

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This quote is gold:

“If you are surrounded by uncertainty, there is only one thing you can and must be sure of–that’s who you are and what truly matters to you and what you stand for,” she says. “This is your guide through the change.”