How to compete with giants

Running a startup without venture capital can be quite disheartening. I e.g. sometimes look at a competitors website, seeing their polished marketing material and great-looking UI and thinking "That's just incredible, how are they doing that?". Then I look them up on Crunchbase and see that they have 100 M$ in funding. So that's how they do it.

Comparing your own scrappy startup with that can have a devastating effect on motivation. I mean, how could I ever compete with a company that's hundreds of times larger and has orders of magnitude more revenue and funding? Then I realize that I've actually won some customers already and that our solution can actually compete with the big guys, e.g. on these points:

You have to remember that your customers don't care much if you're big or small*, as long as you can solve their problem(s). I've seen small, scrappy startups win bids against large multinational corporations, and I've seen simple, nimble tools being preferred over complex enterprise solutions. In the end, what matters most is delivering value, and if you can do that you can compete with other value providers, regardless if small or large. The magic of software is that it scales better than human effort, so your scrappy software can actually compete with much larger enterprise offerings, if you keep a few things in mind:

*as long as you can meet their requirements to do business with them.

published at: 2023-04-18