There are a million ways to keep your company alive, but there are billions of ways to kill it. One of them is narrowing your market to dominate just that tiny part of it and calling it a great success. Of course, it is a success, but you're limiting yourself to the atom-sized portion of that market.
We all want to be successful. Those of us who have businesses and companies hope for victory in our ventures. And why wouldn’t we? Try to imagine someone thinking, “I think I’ll invent a new product and hope that it fails miserably”. That just seems ridiculous. However, in our excitement and hard work, we tend to do certain things that amplify the reality of our success, thus causing it to fail.
For example, have you ever found yourself with something you think is a really good idea? Let’s say you want to make really neat buttons. Bear with me here; it’s just an example. There are already tons of button manufacturing companies out there. This is made clear to you, but you think, “Oh, but my buttons won’t be like any other buttons. I’m going to make odd coloured ones with cool designs that no one will be able to find anywhere else”. Ok, great, but consider this: is there someone that would even want to buy these slightly unusual buttons? Maybe the reason why no one sees fancy buttons everywhere is because not a lot of people are interested in them. You’re trying to do something that’s already been done a thousand times over, but you think it’ll be successful because you change one thing about the idea.
You have to avoid blinding yourself to the reality of competition. Small minor differences in your ideas won’t take you far enough to make your business as successful as it could be. Differences have to be large and attractive. You have to have leverage on your competition by having something new and exciting to offer. Keep your eyes open to the possibilities, but be objective about your own ideas, too.