10 ways for Australian start-ups to compete with industry giants

David hook Gioliath

Establishing a start-up business can be both an exciting and terrifying experience.

For others, the journey has been rewarding on many levels. Beginning with little more than a clever idea, they grow into powerhouse enterprises that build wealth and provide value to the wider community.

Often, a start-up will be faced with competing against large, established players. In these cases, the challenge will be to find ways to do things differently and in a manner that differentiates the new business from its older rivals.

There are 10 steps a start-up should take to give it the best possible chance of success in a fiercely competitive marketplace.

  1. Have a clear vision and be able to communicate it: It’s one thing to have a great idea, but it’s quite another to be able to clearly explain it to other people. Spend time at the outset to create a compelling pitch that contains strong market insights and shows how what you are offering will change the market.
  2. Know your competitive edge: Successfully competing against industry giants will require taking a different approach to solving a challenge. Be clear on exactly what your competitive advantage will be and how this will allow your firm to succeed in the long term.
  3. Think in terms of acts: A start-up will experience a number of different periods of growth over the years. Breaking business plans into acts will allow different resources to be allocated at different times, different customer acquisition strategies to be adopted, and different investment needs met.
  4. Build a team: Having a team of people in place who share the vision for the new business is critical. Work to ensure they are as passionate about growth and success as you are and really want to come on the journey. They need to feel fully invested in the business’s long-term success.
  5. Make mistakes early: Businesses are never established and grown without some mistakes being made. Be prepared for problems and work to resolve them as quickly as possible, and don’t let them become a reason not to succeed.
  6. Seek out pay-as-you-go technology options: It’s unlikely that a start-up business will have sufficient capital to purchase all the IT resources it will require from the outset. Consider making use of the wide range of pay-as-you-go options that are available for everything from data storage and management to CRM and office productivity suites.
  7. Fly under the radar: It can be tempting to rush to the media to publicise a new business, however a better strategy is stay quiet until things are established. That way, there will be something concrete to show rather than just an idea.
  8. Become a thought leader: While talking about your business will be important, it can also be valuable to offer comment and insights into wider market trends. Positioning yourself as a thought leader will improve your credibility and could lead to additional growth opportunities.
  9. Establish your own unique culture: Successful businesses each have their own culture. Work from the outset to establish what your culture will be and ensure this is clearly communicated to new staff members as they come on board.
  10. Like your solution but worship the problem: Start-up founders are passionate about what they are bringing to market, but it’s important to maintain focus on the customer. Being customer-centric will ensure that the solution you are developing meets a real-world demand and will be sustainable in the longer term.

By taking these steps, a start-up will have a much greater chance of success. In a highly competitive business world, the steps will assist a new firm to become established, grow, and evolve into a vital part of the Australian business landscape.