How to Win in a Crowded Space by DigitalOcean

by / ⠀Startup Advice / August 8, 2012

A crowded space is no longer an excuse for a startup to fail. If you are in a crowded space, you know that your product is in demand. People want what you are selling, and they understand what it is that you do. The key to business success isn’t discovering an empty field, but understanding your audience better than your competition and finding a niche within a large market. Even without inventing a radical new product, a startup with a sharper vision can often excel and succeed.

Here are the four areas which your startup can win in a crowded space. We know this because this is what’s driving DigitalOcean to succeed in the crowded cloud hosting market.

Find Your Customer’s Pain Points

To break into a crowded space, you need to understand the audience and figure out what keeps them up at night. Find out what exactly makes customers miserable and what features are consistently praised and being requested. Build an awesome product or service around your customers needs and pain points. The more information you gather about the issues customers are facing, the more you can see how your company can fill in the gaps that aren’t being addressed. If the smaller customers or clients are being ignored, then build a product or service that solves their problems and answers a need and forget about filling the needs of enterprise businesses. Even if a field seems dominated by a few large players, finding a unique angle for your company can help create a fledgling customer base to build off of.

Leverage Your Flexibility

As a startup, you have the luxury of being flexible and agile. Unlike big companies that have layers upon layers of managers slowing down the decision process, a startup can pivot at will. This translates into a HUGE advantage: fast feature rollouts and a lot of agility in the company’s products. A startup can keep up with the newest technology much better than an established behemoth, and in a crowded space, this will help your startup react to the needs of underserved customers quickly. That matters.

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Build Love Through Incredible Customer Service

After you have put so much work into developing a great product or service, there will be times when the customers may reach out to you for help or clarification. Seize each of these moments as an opportunity. Exceptional customer service leads to great word of mouth sales for your startup. Making customers happy always goes a long way. And because the audience in a crowded space has a wide selection of companies to choose from, customer service that consistently goes above and beyond can provide the boost a startup needs to get ahead and gain traction.

Grow a Community

Before Apple was worth more than the GDP of Poland, it was a company with an unashamedly cult customer base. A competitor might be able to replicate the features of your product or service, but they’ll have a much harder time copying the love within a community. Connect to your audience and get them talking to each other with forums to share tips, pics, and ideas, etc. Let them make friends, or enemies, on your site.  If you can make your page sticky, you’re in a strong place to unroll any new features. Additionally, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of who your customers are, and what it is they want. By knowing what your customers are interested in, you’ll be able to write helpful content that will help educate them. This will also drive new business to your site organically through search results. By really listening, responding, and building on the community of people interested in that market, a startup can leverage a community to their advantage and ultimately win out.

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Presenting a product or service in a crowded space may pose a greater challenge to entrepreneurs than offering the same thing in a vacuum, but that is not a reason to avoid taking the task head on. Since the popularity of similar products demonstrates the demand, a budding startup can get ahead by targeting the right crowd.

This article was brought to you by DigitalOcean 

DigitalOcean, part of the TechStars Boulder 2012 Summer Program, is a simple cloud hosting provider built for developers that offers virtual private servers starting at only $5 per month. DigitalOcean provides developers with an intuitive user interface to control all of their virtual servers. Create, resize, rebuild and snapshot with single clicks. Free unlimited bandwidth is included. Launch a virtual server in 55 seconds. 

About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.


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