When we launched Storage Squad, our student storage business, it wasn’t a brand-new idea. In fact, there were dozens of other companies that did the same thing. Rather than introducing something completely revolutionary to the market, we were able to study and learn from these other companies, taking note of what they did well and what they did poorly. This is a brilliant approach to launching a sweaty startup because you can become the best business in town by picking out the few key strengths of each of your competitors.
The great thing about competition is that you can study and learn from these companies, and then build your business around your learnings. At Storage Squad, we looked at the best practices of our biggest competitors and build a frankenbusiness based on their approach. We innovated a bit, streamlining operations through software, but other than that nothing was new.
From day 1 at Storage Squad we studied other companies, scoured their websites, called them pretending to be potential customers, and even followed their trucks to see how they serviced customers. This all gave us a huge advantage, and we were able to find out what we liked about every business model. Everything from route optimization to taking pictures of invoices instead of writing them on the spot became available because of this research. As a business owner, you need to study the way local companies operate, and from there you can pick and choose what you want to take from your competitors.
You don’t need to be the best, you don’t need to be different, and you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. I hate when entrepreneurs try to differentiate themselves with some sexy new idea instead of simplifying and going with a proven approach. Do the common things uncommonly well, and you’ll be able to carve out your chunk of the pie. Answer the phone, operate well, be efficient, and go execute in a thriving market right in your town.
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