Do you find yourself in a situation where you are competing with an (often) well-established incumbent? One who typically has more resources, access to the market, and established market share?
For most of us, this is the reality of startup life. Rarely do we get to play on a green meadow, swim in a blue ocean, or get to leave our mark on a white space (pick your metaphor of choice here).
Much has been written about how to compete in such situations — the proverbial David vs Goliath. Many companies have successfully navigated these waters, many more have not made it. Here is a singular piece of advice which, I believe, will help you nearly every time:
Listen to your customer.
Listen in this context is “truly listen, understand, and act.”
It is staggering (and maddening) how many established companies have stopped truly listening to their customers. They might do “market research” but in the end the people who call the shots, have no idea what their customer wants, needs, and aspires to.
You, on the other hand, have the unique opportunity to sit down with the customer, talk to them, observe, and figure out the intricate interplay between who they are, what they desire, and how to get the job done for them.
It is, pretty much without fail, the most powerful thing you can do.