The pros & cons of being a Pioneer vs. Me-too startup!

With our PM’s call to #MakeInIndia & StartupIndia, a huge arena of opportunity has opened up for all of us. It also gives us a great and convenient platform to explore our passion as well as use the talent to venture into the field we always wanted. However, the process and efforts involved in introducing a completely new service / product in the market and creating a new option to the already existing service is totally different. Both of the types have their own advantages & disadvantages.

Yes, the risk is involved in both the sides; however, the nature of risks is very different in these cases. While it may seem an exciting idea to have your own startup, the challenges involved in it should not be overlooked. Here as some of the points which differentiate between a startup that is launching a me-too vs. a completely new product.

Understanding the market

A me-too product already knows their market because of their already established competitors. It’s easy for them to know the consumer behaviour and their needs. It is not the case with a completely new product. They need to gauge who’s their target customers and plan the strategy accordingly.

Creating the need

When someone introduces a me-too product, they know the customer needs and likewise, the customers are aware of the product category because of the previous use. However, when you have to create a completely new product you need to create a need. People don’t even know what they want and you have to make them feel that it’s indeed an important product / service that they are being offered. Creating the need is thus, a very important step.

Designing the product

This involves A LOT of research, brainstorming, and efforts. While the me-too products just have to offer a better product with a few-add-ons, a new product has to study the users, UI, the visual aspect, the product features, compatibility with the devices (if it’s a digital product) and most importantly, the ease of use.

Also, the product needs to be constantly updated based on the customer feedback. Me-too products, on the other hand, already know what the users want so they can launch a new product incorporating all the changes. Nonetheless, it’s a continuous development process which needs to be maintained by both – new as well as me-too products.

Creating infrastructure

Everyone who has worked for a startup will know how hard it is to manage everything –  right from the basic infrastructure, legal proceedings, technical assistance, place, capital, and a lot of other logistics need to be taken into the consideration. It is also a case for me-too products, but they know their necessities because of the already existing service / product.

Educating the users

A lot of energy is needed in educating the users, making them realise how the product / service will solve a problem or make their life simpler. Me too start-ups do not have to worry about it because customers already know how things work & they just have to get used to the new interface, whereas in a completely new product, customers need to learn from the scratch.

Employee training

Just the way customers need to be educated about the service / product, employees too have to undergo a thorough training regarding company guidelines, rules, ethics, practices, customer service, and much more . It is very important for the employees to be very clear about the organisation and its mission.

Creating awareness through marketing & advertising

It is yet another toughest part that needs dedicated attention while launching a new start-up. It is tough because the marketing and advertising also involves a huge amount of customer education which is not required in me-too products/ services. They only have to inform people about the distinguishing features compared to the already established product. In order to be well received by the customer, new companies have to bear the burden of humongous  marketing & advertising expenses unlike me too products.

This is just an overview but there are a lot of other factors that come into play when differentiating between the two sides. Aforementioned are some points that you should take into consideration whether you are a new player in the market or launching a me-too product.

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