Starting your own small business can be scary, especially those times when you wonder how you will be able to compete with those incumbent businesses that seem so far ahead of you.
But, don't despair, you have a few unfair advantages that they will never have. Here are a few:
Passion. By definition, big companies lose most of their passion in their bureaucracy. Big company employees are less incentivized to stay that extra hour.
Intellect. You have been thinking about this idea and this product for a long time. You have explored every angle and used your network to validate certain truths. You are smarter than you think.
Experience. I love entrepreneurs that forge their idea from their own professional experiences. You lived on that front line. You have a considerable understanding of the customer that no one else can bring.
Willingness to Listen. The world is littered with startup founders who can pitch and pitch and pitch. But you can listen better than them and with that skill, you will uncover insights that others can't hear.
Curiosity. One of my favorite words and an even better trait is your innate curiosity about company building or customer development, or product development or financing, or . . . You get the picture. Curiosity is the launch point for great things.
Community. Great entrepreneurs use their community to create something bigger than themselves. There is power in many.
Realistic Goals. I push hard for 3-month goals; any longer and you risk building out a team that puts the cart before the horse. Set realistic goals for you and your team and the next thing you know, it's 2 years later and you have out-executed your peers.
1st Mover. See something no one else sees? Is your product or service so unique that replication would be futile? Get out fast and show the world what you got.
Flexibility. There is a fine line between focused and stubborn. At TSF we use the term malleability. Flexible is in the same family. A mix of personality traits that enables you to balance focus and new data is an advantage.
Exclusive Partnerships. Whether these are manufacturing partnerships or distribution partnerships, exclusive deals can create a great barrier to entry against your competitors.
Trade Secrets/Patents. I am not a fan of patents in software but anything that you can touch could/should be considered. The little brother (you know the one that is talented just younger) is the Trade Secret and that in many ways is even more powerful than the patent. What is a trade secret? Think Coca Cola recipe.
Networks. Your ability to get advice, help, funding, and hiring from a well established network is one of the least expensive but more powerful weapons you own.
Speed. Speed to anything is an unfair advantage and when you can sell , make or distribute your product faster than others you compete like no other.
Location. Where you operate many times provides advantages that others cannot replicate. This can play out in lower costs thus longer runway.
These are but a few of the unfair advantages your new business can compete with. I am not advocating trying to do all of them but pick or find a few and double-down on those and you will find yourself in a strong competitive position.