Note: This is a guest post by Payman Taei, the founder of Visme.
According to one recent study, almost 543,000 new businesses spring to life each month, every month. If you're an entrepreneur that is looking to dip your toe in the proverbial waters of running a business, this is absolutely a good thing - it means that your dream is possible. It means that you can take that great idea you had and turn it into a meaningful reality. People are doing it all day, every day, in nearly every industry that you can think of.
Yet at the same time, there's also a darker reality at play - it means that almost more than ever before, new competitors are entering into already crowded industries with an alarming regularity. Yes, you can know the joy that comes with running your own business. But you're going to have to fight tooth and nail to make that happen.
There's a reason why only about two-thirds of businesses survive long enough to celebrate their second anniversary - ultimately, simply having a great idea isn't enough. If you really want to succeed as a startup and as an entrepreneur in general, you need to do anything and everything you can to separate yourself from the competition almost immediately.
This is challenging, sure - but one thing that it is NOT is impossible. Doing so simply requires you to keep a few key things in mind.
Find Your Niche and Corner It
Take Visme, for example, which I founded. We founded this business with a simple goal: we wanted to make content creation, something that typically required an almost intense amount of graphics design experience, as easy as possible for our users.
But simply "making it easy to create a brochure or a flyer or a presentation" wasn't enough to get the job done - after all, there are already a lot of companies operating in these spaces.
So to truly separate ourselves from the competition and make us as unique as possible, we set out to help users tackle ALL types of visual content. Not just presentations and Infographics and graphs and reports, but ALL of these things at the exact same time.
More than that, we wanted to extend into areas that a lot of competitors (noticeably) weren't touching. This is perhaps most clearly evidenced by the fact that Visme also lets you create printables.
So at that point, we decided that to be truly unique and to stand out as much as possible, we needed to be something of a "one stop shop" not just for digital content or marketing, but for ALL types of visual content.
It was a massive undertaking, yes - but in this particular case, the reward was more than worth the risk.
Another great example of this idea in action takes the form of Uscreen. Video subscription services are a dime a dozen, especially these days. It seems like every time you turn around there's a new competitor entering this space - making it a challenge to attract attention for newcomers to say the least.
But what really makes Uscreen unique - and what allowed it to quickly become the number one video on demand platform on the market - is the innovative approach it took to what "video on demand" even means in the first place.
If you had to pinpoint the one specific thing that makes Uscreen unique, it would be the almost unprecedented level of customization that it brings to the table. All you need to get started with Uscreen is a video - any video - and a goal. Uscreen lets you upload ANYTHING - from video to audio to PDFs to text and more in minutes.
Users can choose from a wide range of different themes depending on their needs and everything is controlled through one intuitive panel.
But what really allows Uscreen to stand out in a crowd is what happens after that video has been uploaded. See, Uscreen doesn't just make the process of creating a video business as easy as possible for everyone - it makes the process of running one straightforward, too.
Everything - from email to design to marketing, sales and analytics - is all control through the same CMS panel. Users are free to create promotions, subscriptions and take any effort they need to fully optimize their sales funnel to grow their business in their way, any way, no exceptions.
Let Your Market Be Your Guide
If there was a single running theme throughout all of these examples, it would be this: yes, you became an entrepreneur because you had a specific type of challenge you wanted to meet or goal you wanted to accomplish. You had an idea for an incredible product or service, you saw your shot and you took it.
But the same is true for a lot of other people, too - almost more than you can count.
The best way - perhaps the only way - to truly separate yourself from the pack as a startup is to allow your market to tell you what type of business you should be running. You've identified the need that they have that only you can fill. Now, it's up to you to let them tell you exactly how they'd like you to fill it.
If we hadn't listened to our audience when launching Visme, we might not have realized how important it was for us to become the "one size fits all" solution for visual content that we are today. Uscreen might be just another in a long line of video on demand platforms, all of which are virtually indistinguishable from the next.
You have a great idea for a business, yes. Nobody is arguing with that and nobody can take it away from you. But it's up to you to acknowledge that what you really have is just a kernel - it's a foundation for something that should become much bigger and more important than you even realized.
Your audience has very, very strong ideas and opinions about what shape that idea should take when you bring it into reality. It's up to you to listen to them.
About the Author:
Payman Taei is the founder of Visme, an easy-to-use online tool to create engaging presentations, infographics, and other forms of visual content. He is also the founder of HindSite Interactive, an award-winning Maryland digital agency specializing in website design, user experience and web app development.