Does Your Startup Idea Need To Be Unique?

Does Your Startup Idea Need To Be Unique?

Have you ever had an idea and then said, “Oh, someone else is already doing that”??

Have you been trying to find a BRAND NEW idea to start a company???

Here’s the dirty secret:

In big markets, there will (almost always) be multiple (billion dollar) winners.

and also…

Competition isn’t scary. It validates the market and demand.

Does this mean that you should create an online bookstore today? Nah, Amazon probably has that covered.

But if you love the carbon tracking or solar space, don’t be scared off by other companies who have gotten funding or have an early product!

Don’t I Need To Create The Category?

  • Yes, there are first-mover advantages. You’re the thought leader. You can capture a large market share if you do it right.
  • Being “first” is also expensive. You can spend tons on educating or creating the market, fighting policy battles, and product development since you’re starting from scratch.
  • As a “fast-follow” or a “different-angle-within-a-hot-market,” you can skip some of the expensive learnings and nail execution.
  • Thousands of large, successful companies have been built and only 3 of them are from Steve Jobs and Elon Musk 😂 You don’t have to be a once-in-a-life-time super genius to build something great.

How Does Competition Help Me?

  • Your competition’s marketing efforts raise awareness for your industry.
  • You can learn from their marketing, product, and pricing iterations.
  • Companies start adding budget line items for solutions like yours.

What To Focus On

  • Big Markets
  • What will be a trillion dollar market in 3-5 years?
  • What problems do these consumers or businesses have?
  • Execution
  • Not all companies in big markets make it. The idea is only the beginning.
  • Be the best at solving your customers’ problems.
  • Have an amazing culture for your team and customers.
  • Differentiation
  • What can you be the best at within your space?
  • Can you serve a certain business size, industry, or problem better than anyone?


Not convinced? These are “mature” markets now that had many players early on. The companies listed are doing $100M+ revenue per year or (much, much) more.  

  • Rideshare: Lyft, Uber
  • Marketing Automation: Pardot, Marketo, Eloqua, Hubspot
  • Sales Engagement: Salesloft, Outreach
  • Email Marketing: Mailchimp, Exact Target, Constant Contact

Does Everyone Agree?

Want to hear a slightly different take from a super smart, successful founder?

Check out Dave Payne’s post on What’s Your Earned Secret? and some of Neighborhood Studio’s industry deep dives.


tl;dr - Does your startup idea need to be wildly unique? NO!

Find a big market. Solve customer problems. Take over the world! 🚀🦄