Entrepreneurs often think that being first to market is a big advantage as they will corner the market. The fact is that being first to market is a big disadvantage. Being first to market means that you will have a huge learning curve and waste a lot of time in learning what works and what doesn’t. Your competitors in the mean time can save a lot of time and money learning from your mistakes.
Most of the great products you use today were not the first to market. The iPod, iPhone, Google, Microsoft’s Operating system or Sony PlayStation came after other people had innovated in some way. These companies just did it better.
The fact is that almost any idea you have is being done in some shape or form. Do not get disheartened as you can make your product or idea better than what is out there – and even if you are not better than you can pick a niche that the competitor is not targeting (a different geography, market segment etc..) or you might just build a better brand or have better marketing than the competitor.
Even if you think you are first to market do as much research as you can to find companies that have developed a similar product or similar business model. Why learn from your own mistakes when you can learn from others.