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Episode 34 – Why You Don’t Need An Original Business Idea To Start A Successful Business

Most people believe you have to have a unique, completely original business idea to have a chance at success in business. But in the real world most successful businesses are far from unique, or even original. What they’ve actually done is taken a proven idea and given it a different twist.

So let’s look at this.

Where does the idea that we have to be original come from and why is it not true?

Why we think we need an original business idea

So why do we think this?

Mainly it’s the media. What’s the media’s job? To create interesting stories that people want to read so they can get advertising revenue
usually, or in certain scenarios, their aim is to inform the public about newsworthy events.

Is the fact that another new coach started a successful business newsworthy?

What about a graphic designer or website developer who hit multiple six figures or a mum who was excited to make her own job and work from home?

These aren’t newsworthy and it’s unlikely these stories will be run unless it’s in a very small outlet.

But someone inventing five-toed running shoes, or a complete disruption of an industry like how Uber disrupted the taxi industry?

Now that is worth running for them because it’s interesting and newsworthy, it should get attention.

Stories like these are exciting, sexy and newsworthy. Which is why we find ourselves reading them.

While these wonderfully creative business ideas are amazing, it fuels the perception that you need to think of something completely new and original to have a successful business.

We sit around wondering when our ‘bottle opener iPhone case/new Facebook’ idea will hit us and then it will all take off and it’ll be our big shot at success.

On top of that, it connects the success with the business idea.

It makes us think that businesses are all about the idea when actually they aren’t.

It makes us think that most successful businesses are always doing something different. When the truth is most of them aren’t.

You don’t need a unique business idea to build and grow a successful business.

In fact, the opposite is true.

The truth is most successful businesses are just normal businesses

Some of the greatest entrepreneurs in the world have made their money by working hard to take their piece of an existing pie rather than baking a brand new one.

Think of all the places you spend money as you go about your day.

In his book, How To Make Millions with your Ideas, Dan S. Kennedy lists “ordinary” businesses as the number one way to make money in business.

If you do have a crazy wonderful idea then that is exciting.

But remember doing anything completely new does come with more risk.

If no one has ever made what you want to make, or done what you want to do before – how do you know people are actually willing to pay for it?

Until you test it you don’t.

This is not to be underestimated. The big exciting ideas actually come with much more risk. Then on top on that:

  • The more complicated the riskier it is.
  • The more people involved the riskier it is.
  • And the more other people’s money is involved the more you buy yourself a job complete with a new boss (or bosses) to answer to.

The answer? Keep it simple.

You have the best chance of success if you use a tried and tested business model

By taking a tried and tested business model you already have a stamp of approval.

You know that people pay money for this thing.

This makes going into business so much more accessible.

Knowing that people have paid for a similar product or service before is extremely reassuring.

It means if your offering is right, there is every chance people will buy from you too.


That’s not to say you should do things exactly the same as the competition

The way to make a tried and tested business model successful is to find a way to do it better than the competition.

Or do it do with your own unique style.

When I am working with clients, and you can see more about that process here, we make sure to use a proven business idea and to create messaging that brings across the individuals unique experience or approach so that they are the right choice for their people.

Don’t be afraid of competition.

Competition is proof that the business model works.

We often buy from several businesses in the same market

Do you only buy clothes from one shop or store?

Books from one author?

Online programs from one person?

Thought not.

Generally speaking, we do buy from several businesses operating in the same market.

So, don’t let the concept of needing a totally unique idea get in your way of your potential business success.

Think about where your skills lie, what you enjoy and how this can be packaged into something marketable.

You don’t need a never-been-done-before idea to escape the rat race and do your own thing.

You need something you are good at, preferably something you love and a group of people who are willing and able to pay for it. (More on that in The Business Idea Starter Kit)

Business Idea Starter Kit