|Why ‘Me-Too’ Models Are Not Bad ?|
|Written by Mridula Velagapudi|
|Monday, 25 April 2011 00:00|
Venturing with a startup and succeeding in mature market is not easy for sure. You have numerous competitions. All the competitors have firm foothold on the market share and it is very difficult to nudge them to make way for your startup. It may sound completely doomed an idea, when someone says that he/she has a business model for a startup which will be nothing but a ‘Me-too’ model. Many of the investors are also found shying away from ventures which are based on ‘Me-too’ models.
But this isn’t the case always. Not all segments or all aspects of businesses are addressed similarly. Some aspects may have been addressed very poorly whereas some may have been addressed excellently. When you are trying to resolve those aspects which are addressed poorly, then you have a value proposition to offer.
Google is the most relevant example to quote here. Search engines were not new to the market when Google forayed into the search engine market. But what Google did was to give the best search experience to its users. It completely focused on search whereas other players like Yahoo! did not.
Another example is Facebook. Facebook was not the first one to start a friends’ social network. MySpace and Friendster were already in the market. But Facebook excelled in execution and offered better user experience. Friendster apparently took very long to load profile pages – an important problem which had to be addressed for a social networking concept. MySpace and Facebook fixed it. They executed better.
Yet another good ‘Me-too’ example will be that of Groupon. Again, groupon was not the first player in the deal/group discount model. But they timed it correctly. By the time they came into market with group buying discounts, the market had matured to the social networking. Social networking phenomenon has been a big contributor to Groupon’s success.
A ‘Me-too’ model can be good too if you meet either all or one of the following critical factors:
1. If you can execute better. If you observe lacunae in the core of a business, then try and launch after fixing the fundamental issues.
2. If you can figure out lower cost of operation than other players [the competitors]. Your sustainability will be better.
3. If you can provide the best user experience and focus on it as the core business before diversifying.
4. If you can launch at the right [better] time