Elbowing your way into a crowded market

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One of the most common questions I’m asked (apart from “Are you British? Because those hyphenated names are always British“) is “How can I compete in (insert your favorite market category)? There are so many competitors!”

(And no, I’m not British).

Well…almost all market categories are crowded. Trust me, this is a good thing. This means that there is business to be had. Yet it’s true that a crowded market means that you can’t simply waltz in with a half-finished job site and 12 job postings, and then expect to succeed. Ain’t gonna happen.

So what’s the answer? Analysis. Before you go into a market – or if you’ve found that your current market has grown rather, er, crowded – take a look at the competitive landscape. Who are the niche players? Who are the larger players that are dipping into this market and thus constitute a threat?

Create an apples-to-apples comparison grid, and put each competitor into the grid. What are their Alexa, Compete, and Quantcast rankings? Check. Do they have job alerts? Resumes? Videos? Podcasts? Check. How many real jobs are posted? Check? And so on.

When you’re done (and it will most likely take a decent amount of time), you should have a much clearer picture of your market. You’ll know which competitors are truly competitive – and which are poseurs. You’ll also have a list of items, advantages, and features that they have and you don’t. Think of this as your ‘to-do’ list for the future.

And if you’re already the one on top? Congratulations! Now you just have to stay on top!

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