5 Tips to Survive Entering a Saturated Market
So you’ve decided to start a business. You’re passionate about blah, you’re good at blah, and you really feel like blah is meant for you. So you start planning, getting all the branding organised, developing your blah, and then you start doing some research. But as soon as you start researching, you realise there are a helluva lot of other businesses doing blah too! Oh crap! The more you research the more blah businesses you find. Now you’re seeing blah businesses EVERYWHERE, and wondering WHAT THE HELL you were thinking trying to enter into such a saturated market.
Whether your blah is a clothing line for kids, a range of aromatherpy candles, graphic design or business coaching, there is almost always going to be other businesses out there doing the same thing. If you’re a real pioneer you may just find a market that hasn’t been found yet, and if that’s you, good on you! But be prepared for years of hard, HARD work to break the ground. So the good news for those entering an existing market is the ground has already been broken. The market is already there waiting, and it is possible to carve out your own little niche within a market, to make sure you’re unique style or voice stands out.
Don’t be discouraged if you start noticing more and more businesses doing what you are doing. Our brain is wired in a way that we will always notice things we have a reason to notice. So prior to starting your candle business, a candle business on the other side of the country would have been of little interest to you, but now you have a reason to notice. This part of our brain is called the Reticular Activating System (R.A.S.), and it serves a few purposes, including to help us have awareness for things that are important. The R.A.S. is what helps you notice when someone calls your name, or makes you aware of imonent danger, but it also helps you find that silver pen in a drawer of pens, or pick out a friend in a crowd.
So when you’ve just entered a new industry this part of your brain will draw your attention to every other similar business. It’s not that everyone started a candle business at the EXACT same time as you, it’s that your brain is looking for these business now when it wasn’t before.
So if you’ve just starting, or are looking at starting a business in a market that you feel is becoming oversaturated then these tips might just help you beat down your discouragement and make it work.
Firstly, stay positive! You’re little R.A.S. can be trained, and if you’re not a naturally ‘positive’ person, you’re R.A.S. may already be looking for excuses to quit, reasons to complain, and the negative in all situations. Just like your R.A.S. helps you spot a friend in a crowded room, it can also help you spot circumstances, or feelings, and bring them into focus. If your R.A.S. has been trained to look for the negative, that’s what it will find. In staying positive, and training your R.A.S. to look for the good, you will find opportunities you otherwise might have missed. Training your R.A.S. isn’t hard, it just requires you become more conscious of your internal monologue. When a negative thought pops into your head, don’t dwell, spin it on it’s head and find the positive. Find the opportunity. Example. Negative thought: “I’ve put all this effort into getting my business ready for launch, and now I’m going to have to pull the pin because there are just too many other’s already doing it!” Spin it on it’s head: “A saturated market means there’s already a demand, if I can find my only little niche, I can make this work!” Which brings me to my next point.
Saturation equals demand
A saturated market means there is already a demand for what you’re doing. There wouldn’t be so many businesses doing it if it wasn’t viable, right? So don’t let the other businesses doing the same thing be a discouragement, be encouraged and even excited that the market is open to receiving what you’re offering.
Carve out your niche
A niche is a specialised market within a market, it’s what makes you different. It could simply be the different style of what you offer, it could be the message behind your business, it could be as simple as your location, it can be anything that sets you apart and draws in a specific group of customers. Look at what others are doing, and work out what you can do differently. Using the candle business example again. Perhaps a line of candles that smells like different foods, or you could supply a solar powered light to a family in rural poverty for every candle sold or it’s simply the funky packaging that draws your audience in.
A value add is anytime the customer gets more than what they bargained for, and can even occur prior to conversion. So even potential customers can receive something for free that sets you apart from other businesses and makes that potential customer look to you when they’re ready to buy. Supplied solar powered lights to families in rural villages in Papua New Guinea for example, the customer may not be getting a tangible thing, but they get to feel good about buying from you in a way they wouldn’t have buying from someone else. Adding value is a great way to set yourself apart from other businesses and reach more customers, but it’s also great for customer retention. If the customer feels looked after, they’re more likely to come back.
When you see other businesses with more Facebook likes, more followers on Instagram, with celebrity customers, numerous stockists and so on, it can be hard not to compare your business to theirs, and feel discouraged. But here’s a little tip, not just for business, but for life: On social media all is not as it seems. Huge social media following, celebrity clientele and countless stockists does NOT equal a profitable business.The other thing with comparison is it is totally distracting. If you’re off chasing what SHE has, you will miss what’s next for you. That’s bad! Don’t do that! Chase you’re dreams, and don’t allow yourself to get sidetracked by others.
Be encouraged. A saturated market is by no means a business killer, and if you play your cards right, it can even be a bonus!