Not all of your ideas will let you follow the “blue ocean” strategy. Sometimes, you’ll have to go for a saturated market because that is the audience that will appreciate your offering the most. It’s a scary thought for many resource-strapped entrepreneurs, but risk is your constant companion in entrepreneurship. Don’t give up on that heavily contested audience. Instead, approach it differently.
1. Open a Franchise
An established and saturated market often has its own practices, its own culture and universe. The competition isn’t the only thing that will keep you from penetrating it. You may not understand its societal structures as much as you think, which can ruin what otherwise would have been a successful venture.
Instead of diving in head first, you can purchase a franchise, something that isn’t in your industry. Running that business can help you intimately understand how that market functions and how you should approach it with your own business. If it’s successful, it can also feed your startup much-needed resources.
2. Find and Recruit Experts and Authorities
You can only call a product “amazing” so often before the audience starts to figuratively cover their ears. While traditional advertising remains an important part of any marketing campaign, it must be coupled with something else.
For many businesses, that’s the support of industry experts and authorities. People tend to trust other people more than an ad. Look for people who trust your brand and your product, and recruit them to your cause. Don’t pay for their good opinion; look for people who will like your product, send them a sample, and share what they have to say.
Don’t get any authority, however. Look for people with large networks. The support of an expert will mean little to your company if people don’t know their name.
3. Figure Out How to Track Market-Related Trends
No entrepreneur will make it in today’s highly competitive world without having their fingers on the pulse of their market. Trends can develop overnight, and they can evaporate just as quickly. This is something you must accept. You cannot ignore trends; you must respect and know of them, or risk dooming your startup.
How you track trends will vary from market to market; what you do with the information is far more important. Use it to constantly develop and update your offerings to stay relevant. There’s a reason Apple keeps churning out new models, and it is to stay relevant. Customers won’t hesitate to jump ship the moment you stop catering to their needs.
4. Offer Something Better
If brute force isn’t working, you’re not using enough. There are times when entrepreneurs should follow that saying. The best way to break into a saturated market is to have something better than the competition, something compelling enough to get people to go through the effort and risk of trying out something new.
Whatever problem your product is trying to solve, a solution exists. You must therefore offer a better solution instead of just an answer. Compare your product to what the competition has, and see where you beat them. If you don’t beat them at anything, study the competition and find out where you can innovate. No product is perfect, so don’t fret if you don’t find their weakness immediately.
5. Create and Dominate a Niche
Even if an entrepreneur is facing a saturated market, there’s still a point of least resistance. Competing with everyone will only lead to ruin, so instead of doing that, create and dominate your niche. Focus on offering a specific solution to a specific audience. Think about what your product does best and who will be most interested it; that’s you’re niche. It increases the odds of success by minimizing the amount of competition you face at any given time.
Entrepreneurs must get used to the idea of unfavorable situations, because that’s the name of the game. Entrepreneurship isn’t for the faint-hearted. If you face a saturated market, but that’s where your product will perform best, dig in your heels and approach the problem intelligently. With luck and hard work, you may breach it in time.