3 Clever Startups Who Did Things 10 Times Better In Spite Of Intense Competition (And What You Can Learn From Them)

Something that sounds odd doesn't mean it's not true.
Did you know that people who see your Facebook posts but don't ever click 'like' or 'share' are more likely to buy from you? Odd but true.
Did you know that longer copy converts better than shorter copy on a sales page when your business isn't well known? Odd but true.
And did you know that when you have lots of competition, winning business can actually be easier for you, not harder? Again, odd but true.

And it's this last point that I want to delve into today.
I want to talk to you today about 3 businesses who embraced a highly competitive market place and did things 10 times better (and didn't get daunted),
And hopefully, you can learn sometime in the process.

So, why can intense competition be a good thing to take on?
Firstly, you get lots of access to see what marketing your competitors are doing, so you can work out how to do it better than them.
Secondly, it helps you see what products or services they are producing, so you know how to make them better.

In other words: look at what exists already and make it better.
In fact, make it 10 times better.
Ok, I don't mean precisely 10 times. That would be very tricky to try and measure.

What I mean is that you can produce something that's vastly better than what’s on offer from the competition right now.
Take something that a competitor is doing well, dissect its weaknesses (and its strengths), then produce something much, much better. 
And if you think of doing something ten times better then that will push you to do something much better, not just a little bit better.

Take Casper Mattresses for example.
As a business, they have rocketed in size since launching in 2014.  
What’s made Casper successful is that they looked at their competition and made something significantly better. 10 times better, I'd say.
They decided to cut out the middleman (the retailer in this case) and deliver mattresses straight to peoples' homes – and collect them if they’re not happy with them. 

Casper isn't the only brand to do this, of course.
Take Brewdog, the now famous Scottish beer brand who began as a startup and grew quickly.
Owners James Watt and Martin Dickie from Fraserburgh (near Aberdeen) got fed up with the average beer that was being sold to beer drinkers – beer that tasted bland and looked dull.
At that time, UK beer needed a kick up the rear-end. 

Brewdog’s idea was to create a craft beer that had real taste and was a rebel against the norm of bland, mass-produced beer. 
Yes, their beer was extremely tasty, but it was their clever marketing that turned them into a roaring success.

Positioning themselves as a ‘punk’ beer, they created 'the world’s smallest protest'.
Yes, they got a real-life dwarf to dress in a punk outfit and stand outside Parliament holding a placard that read 'Size Matters'.
In this protest, Brewdog were calling for the more sophisticated 2/3 pint to be introduced and for the ditching of the standard ‘down-in-one’, bland, mass-market British pint.
This stunt created much free publicity and showed how a tasty craft beer like Brewdog’s would be ideal for a 2/3 pint. 

Brewdog can count itself as the originator of the now-huge craft beer movement in the UK.
Despite a lot of competitors imitating them, Brewdog’s punk attitude and its product has given them a leading place in the market that is hard to copy well.

What I like about the 10 times better approach is that you don’t have to spend time inventing something revolutionary.
Sit down in a cafe with a cuppa, open your laptop and visit all your competitors’ websites.
Then look at what they aren't doing too well, make a note of all their flaws and work out how you'll take advantage of these gaps.

Then it’s time to get your brain wheel spinning about what you can do that’s at least 10 times better.

Remember: where there is competition, there is a market (not lack of opportunity).
If there’s a market, it means there are customers out there who are willing to pay right now for a product or service, which means you don’t have to try and reinvent the wheel.
Instead, take that market of customers that's there already and make your product much better than the competition.

Let's look at our third example: Mous.
Mous, the brand who make unbreakable, attractive iPhone cases, took on the established market of iPhone cases.
Mous noticed that iPhones had a reputation for breaking easily, even when within an iPhone case.

So, Mous decided to make significantly better iPhone cases than the competition, i.e. ones that give a superior level of protection for your iPhone, as well as looking good.
Their tagline is 'People-Inspired Phone Protection'.
Their video (link below) shows their story about how phone cases weren’t protective enough, nor pretty, and how they spent ages testing their new protective cases out on iPhones (in fun and inventive ways) until they got one that was vastly better than the competition. One that delivered the result they wanted for customers, i.e. protecting iPhones while still looking good. 

Watch the Mous video here about how their product works; it’s nothing if entertaining.

Some of us don’t want to reinvent the wheel or spend much time making one that’s hugely better, however. 
Some of us are okay with making something just a little better, say 10%-20% better.
And that's quite okay to earn good money that way.

How do you do that?
Well, more on that next week ;)

Toodle pip,

Simon | The Chief Brain

PS. What's up at Brain Wheel HQ?

1. x2 Free Marketing Workshops For Businesses Like Yours.

We are holding a live event in Tunbridge Wells (Thur 14th March, 6.30pm). If you'd like to attend, email simon@thebrainwheel.com and I'll add your name to the list.

2. New Product: The Brainy Lounge. 
Launching at the end of February, The Brainy Lounge is a supportive Small Business Community (with no greasy sales pitches).
For just £15 a month, you'll get access to oodles of useful, thoughtful marketing advice. Want to find out more? Email me at simon@thebrainwheel.com.

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