Add More Value to Win Over Incumbents

I spent today working on a project on my to-do list. I’ve got most of it figured out, but I noticed that one thing is holding me up. The companies I’ve historically used are charging rates that are within the range I’m comfortable paying, but the value of the services they offer has diminished. Translation . . . the cost far exceeds the value, so I haven’t pulled the trigger.

The companies I looked at are likely pricing based on market conditions, which makes sense given the mature state of their companies. But their services haven’t evolved as consumer tastes have changed. Their services don’t measure up anymore. I think these incumbents are unwittingly giving upstart competitors an opportunity to steal their loyal customers. When value exceeds cost, the purchase decision is easier. When cost exceeds value, the result is hesitation—hesitation that can cause a customer to look at others and even give them a try if they like the value-vs.-cost alignment. If the upstart does a good job, they’ve likely stolen a customer from the incumbent.

I decided to keep looking. I found a start-up that offers services more aligned with my expectations at a price similar to that of incumbents. I’m excited to give them a shot and hope they deliver. If they do, I’ll continue using them.

If you’re a start-up going against incumbents, you don’t have to compete by being cheaper. Consider finding areas where they haven’t kept up with customer expectations and then doing a better job in those areas. If you can offer more value than incumbents, you’ll increase your chances of their customers giving you a shot.