Your business doesn't need to be unique - just the best
One of the things I see time and time again in both our Bootcamps and advanced courses is budding businesspeople desperately clinging to the desire to launch a ‘unique’ business – something that no one has ever done before.
And my reaction to these ideas is almost always the same – why would you want to be the first person to road test a business idea? Why would you want to be the one who has to iron out all of the glitches, test and measure relentlessly to find out what works and make all of the mistakes firsthand?
Why take on all of the risk of testing out a new idea when you don’t have to?
Here’s the thing: of all the most successful businesses in existence today, virtually none of them were based on a unique idea – in almost every instance they were modelled on a business that already existed, that had already experienced and overcome the teething problems that plague new ideas.
Let me say that again – of the most successful people in business today, almost none of them felt the need to reinvent the wheel to create their success.
There’s no need to be unique – just the best
Some of the most successful businesses in the last century didn’t spring from a unique idea – so there’s no reason why yours needs to either! Think about it – Richard Branson wasn’t the first person to sell music, he wasn’t the first person to launch and airline, and he wasn’t the first person to go into the mobile phone business, or white-label financial services. But he did do it better than everyone else. And Google wasn’t the first search engine, Apple wasn’t the first computer, and Facebook wasn’t the first social networking site either – they all took an existing idea, built on it, improved it and became the best in the industry. And there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t do exactly the same thing.
Get into modelling
Despite what we’re told in school, copying isn’t always bad! In fact, when it comes to business, modeling success is one of the fastest ways to become successful, and it’s a technique that’s been used by the best of the best for years – when Oprah wanted to know how to be the best TV host, she modelled the most successful one she could find: Barbara Walters. When Warren Buffett wanted to become a successful investor, he modelled the most successful investor in the world at that time: Benjamin Graham. And when Sam Walton wanted to build the greatest chain of department stores in the US, he literally crossed the country to find the best stores, analyse what they were doing and work out how to improve on it and implement it in his Walmart stores.
Execute your idea brilliantly
The key to success is to execute your idea brilliantly and over-deliver on your product or service. History is full of success stories build around ‘ordinary’ ideas that were executed extraordinarily – where the value offering was so impressive that people couldn’t not buy into it. In the words of Michael Dell: “The most important thing is to add value to our customers. The second most important is to be profitable. If we don’t do the first one well, the second one won’t happen”. Was Dell the first computer company in the market? No. Was it the best? Not necessarily. Did either of these things stop Michael Dell from creating a company with a net worth of over $US20 billion before the age of 40. Nope. Because he understood how to give his customers more value than they were paying for his product – so people didn’t think twice about buying it.
If I had to rank the keys to business success in order of importance, giving your customers more value than your product costs in order to make buying it a ‘no brainer’ would have to top the list every day of the week.
When it comes to creating a successful business, unique execution on an existing idea is a far safer bet than trying to execute a unique idea – especially when you’re first starting out. If you’re still looking for a business idea, or you’re yet to implement the idea you have - take a tip from the best of the best and use their experience to create your success.
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Wilson Luna is a business and finance expert, four-time best-selling author and founder of three multimillion-dollar businesses. He has spent the last decade providing advice to some of the top businesspeople in the Asia-Pac region, including 13 CEOs of ASX200 companies.
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