As soon as a startup pops up on the block, five more versions show up soon enough, taking slices of the market share, and if you did not anticipate competition from the beginning it can be pretty difficult to correct your strategy in light of the new boys in town.
I have spent a lot of my time in recent years interviewing startup founders — both remarkably successful, somewhat successful and failed ones — and they each had similar reactions to competition. As it turns out, no matter how well they planned for the event of competition rising, startup founders actually — believe it or not — pray that the competition doesn’t come.
That is wishful thinking of course; if your business model is a solid one and you show even the slightest hint of success, other people will storm the scene and try to weigh in with second mover advantage.
A study of over 2 million businesses in the UK shows something interesting: businesses that faced tough competition early on in life have a higher survival rate.