Lately, we have noticed that multiple competitors have started copying whatever we do at appointmed. In the beginning, it was just a social media post here, an eerily familiar article on their blog there, or the oddly similar feature in their products.
It slowly got to a point where it began to be noticeable, though. Not only by our team but also by (potential) customers. Questions about our association with those companies came up, and to be honest, this is a pretty weird conversation to have — good luck explaining that “who did what first” situation to someone who is already stressed about making a huge commitment to one single product to manage their healthcare business.
I'm not saying other fantastic products do not inspire us – they certainly do! Still, it's essential to understand why those companies do things the way they do and not just blindly copy their work. You have to give it a personal touch that aligns with your company and the values you stand for.
In our case, however, it’s not like they are “inspired” and take their spin on things - again, that would be totally fine. More often than not, it’s almost a carbon copy of one of our ideas. So I started thinking about how we should react to this situation as a company.
At first, it bothered us quite a bit as we invest a tremendous amount of time coming up with new ideas and workflows for our customers. But what I came to realize – and here comes the essence of this Slow & Steady issue: It absolutely doesn‘t matter. Not a single bit.
Many founders treat running a business like a zero-sum game and are ready to go to war with everyone around them. In some cases, that might even be true and the necessary way to go. Venture capitalists certainly will tell you “crushing” your competition is the only way to ”win“.
If you think about it, though, you are not participating in the Hunger Games. You are running a small, bootstrapped, SaaS business – definitely not a zero-sum game, and I believe there’s enough opportunity to go around for multiple players to succeed in their own way without bad blood between them.
Personally, all I care about is creating a great product, working on exciting problems with amazing people, and finding happy customers who are willing to pay for the services we offer so we can run a profitable business for as long as possible.
It doesn't matter if you're number one, two, or fifth in your specific niche, as long as the market is large enough to provide a comfortable income for you and your team.
So whenever I see yet another feature, social media post, or article that was “inspired” by what we did, I try my best to ignore it and move on with whatever I was just working on. In the end, running a calm company, without too much drama or pressure, is one of my main goals with appointmed.
Plus: If they are so busy watching your moves, they are most likely taking away focus from their own business, which might not be the best idea in the first place. 🤷♂️