I think one of the biggest challenges I have ever faced was learning about my competitors. I remember the moment I felt vulnerable and scared that all the work and money I put into my business was going down the drain.
I remember researching about the website and then stopping because I was afraid of what else I might find. “If I don’t acknowledge it, it doesn’t exist!” I tried to convince myself. Suffice it to say, the next couple of days were an emotional roller coaster for me. However, it was one of the best things that ever happened to me.
For the most part, things were going pretty well with Bitooey — an audio-based social network. Bitooey originally launched in July of 2010 under the name Hollur. Under the name Hollur it reached out to people in 96 countries, which just stunned me. I had a person from Germany asking me about a phone app, was interacting with people in South America about the Chilean miners; I was able to talk to a guy in Poland and had back-and-forth replies with a gentleman from Great Britain. It was the most amazing experience. However, being stunned, amazed, and everything in between was part of the problem. It made me complacent. If you mix complacency with my nature of being low key and laid-back you have the perfect formula for a gut-buster moment. Competition really lit the fire under me to get things moving.
It also changed my thought process. Finding out about my competition made me take a couple of steps back and rethink everything I had been working on. It made me focus more on what worked for Bitooey and what did not, same for the competition. It made me retrace all the steps starting back at the beginning. With some helpful guidance and great advice from friends (thank you Janet, Al, and Ty), I was able to reexamine what the real value and strength of Bitooey was. I always thought Bitooey’s strength was its approach to social networking. The fact is, social networking was the result of its real, core value being based more as a social communications tool. Suddenly, I had a new perspective, a flooding of ideas, and a whole new approach.
Competition is good. While you might hate hearing that when you are actually building your own business, I know I did, it is the best thing that can happen. A lot of entrepreneurs have their reasons for wanting to build their own business. Maybe it is the challenge or they want something new everyday. Whatever the reason is, it is truly hard to tap into your maximum potential without some form of competition pushing you to that next level.