Entrepreneurs always want to be first to market.  There’s a sense of security about being first and not having any competitors to worry about.  New founders brag about the lack of competition to potential investors, and try to demonstrate that they will dominate the market by virtue of being first.  Unfortunately, the idea that you gain an advantage by being first in a market is wildly misleading.  The companies that eventually dominate new industries are almost never first movers, they’re the fast followers.  Think, for a moment, of as many fortune 500 companies as you can.  How many of them were veritable pioneers of the industry and how many were fast followers?  Google, Microsoft, Apple, GM, eBay, and Wal-Mart—all fast followers.  The companies you name will undoubtedly follow the same pattern.  Fast followers are companies that are not the first to market but close on the heels of the first movers.  They look at what previous entrants have done and learn from their mistakes.  So don’t worry if you are not first to market.  Use your delay as an advantage to learn everything you can about the competitors, and then out-execute them.

Matt Sand

Author Matt Sand

Passionate about making a difference through innovation and entrepreneurship.

More posts by Matt Sand