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5 Reasons Not to Avoid Starting a Business That Already Exists

5 Reasons Not to Avoid Starting a Business That Already Exists
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For an entrepreneur, one of the scariest ideas can be launching a business in a niche or market that already has plenty of competition. Startup founders might ask themselves, “What’s the point in doing this? There are plenty of other businesses already doing what I’m thinking about doing.”

Even if there may be reasons to stay out of the business, there are also plenty of reasons to go ahead and dive into the business. Here are five excellent reasons you should not avoid starting a business that already exists.

1. There is always room for improvement

While the competition might be doing a lot of things right, you’re sure to find things that they’re doing wrong. You can capitalize on that knowledge and build a business that does it better. For example, OrthoticShop.com was launched even though other businesses like Zappos were already quite successful in the industry. The founders knew they could do it better, though, and the success greatly exceeded their expectations.

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Brian Crane, founder at CallerSmart, adds “nobody dreams up and launches a brand-new business in my opinion. Instead, new businesses are iterations of previous ideas, made better. When Google launched, it was designed to be a better search engine than Lycos, Yahoo, etc. When Facebook launched, it was designed to be a better social network than MySpace, Friendster, etc. Starting a new business based on improvements you’d like to see made to an existing business is only natural.”

2. The market already exists

Marcus Miller, the managing director of Bowler Hat and wArmour, says starting a business that already exists could be described as “the easier and more sensible option. An existing business has existing demand and a ready made audience. If you start something new, then you have to work double hard to educate people as to why your business exists and why they should do business with you.” Miller’s two successful businesses are proof positive of this, since the market for Web design and Internet marketing, as well as cybersecurity and maintenance, are already strong fields with plenty of demand.

Casey McCallister, Director of Marketing at SmartShoot, believes that competition is a good thing. “Companies need competition to be successful. It pushes them to make better and more functional products. Microsoft and Apple both push each other to be better. Canon and Nikon. Marriott and Hilton. Without competition, companies have little incentive to innovate,” says Casey.

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3. You can put a unique spin on the product

Every business is different, and you already know that you have to differentiate yourself from your competition. A good way to do this, as well as compete in an existing market, is to put your own unique spin on the idea. For example, DuckDuckGo is a search engine competing head-on with Google. Google has very little concern for your privacy, tracking almost every move you make on the Internet.

DuckDuckGo, on the other hand, does not track any personal information, and that key difference has driven the company’s growth over the past couple of years. While DuckDuckGo will likely never replace Google, the search engine has carved out its own small and very profitable niche doing something similar to what Google does, but with a unique twist.

4. Businesses must evolve or die

Culture is perpetually changing, and businesses must evolve to stay with the times. The business that stops serving the needs of its customers, or continues to operate in a way that is neglectful or dismissive of the customer’s dignity, cannot last.

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Hans Enriquez realized that, and the idea that businesses must evolve or die was the impetus behind him launching LazyDaze. Enriquez “knew that the typical ‘smoke shop concept’ would need a complete revamp from its dark and dingy storefront,” and knew that he could bring that value to the market.

Enriquez launched LazyDaze to be a smoke shop with the look of Urban Outfitters, the customer service of Nordstroms, and the convenience and high quality products of Macy’s. This evolution resulted in a counterculture business that is thriving and opening new franchises regularly.

5. The need is still outstripping the demand

One company (or even a dozen companies) can rarely fulfill the needs of the entire marketplace for a product. There is usually an opening to market your product to others who have not yet made the leap, or have purchased a product from a competitor and not been totally satisfied (see point #1 above).

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This gives you, the budding entrepreneur, the opportunity to fulfill the need for the product, and do so even better than anyone else has done before. Yellowball, a digital marketing firm, entered a market that was already quite saturated. However, by ensuring they delivered the results their clients needed better than their competition, Yellowball was able to thrive even as a latecomer to the party.

Conclusion

There you go, five strong reasons why you should go ahead and open your business even if there is already competition in the marketplace. The free market economy is beginning to boom once again, and there is always room for new players.

If you play your cards right, your unique spin on an idea or improvement on an existing product could result in the next iPod or iPhone.

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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Steve Young

Entrepreneur and founder of AppMasters.co

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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