Here’s a jolly, tongue-in-cheek piece about the current caterpillar wars between two of our leading supermarkets. However, a serious message lies beneath this tale: it’s critical to ensure your business idea can stand alone if you want to launch a successful start-up.

There are several elements that come into play here (and, of course, there’s no harm in going head-to-head with a competitor if you have a clear differentiator):

  1. You need to be able to prove that your idea can stand on its own two (or more, where Colin is concerned) feet. Obviously not all ideas are completely unique but you need to demonstrate clear differentiators between your idea and anything very similar to ensure you’re not accused of copying;
  2. Uniqueness is important if you want your business to be able to sustain itself long-term. Having a genuinely different product or service will ensure customer loyalty and this will give rise to referrals. It’s a cutthroat world out there and simply being cheaper than your competitors may not be enough to create a robust business in its own right (this is also critical if you want investment for your business);
  3. Always carry out market research. There aren’t many entrepreneurs who can boast of launching a first idea to the market successfully. For many, the initial seed of an idea will evolve countless times before it is finally sent to market. Talking to others will also help you to understand any confusion with other products and clarify your messaging and market position.