Original business ideas are overrated

- April 23, 2014 5 MIN READ

I constantly meet people who have had the same idea for an original business in their head for years and are yet to even begin making it a reality. More often than not, these people will tell me that I am smart enough to come up with a great product and I shouldn’t be in a “me too” business like an Online Marketing Agency.

But the truth is, 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.

It’s Not About What You Do

My first girlfriend always used to say, “It’s not what you said, it’s how you said it.” Well, in business I believe that it’s not about what you do, it’s about how you do it and how you sell it.

Richard Branson was not the first person to start an airline and Colonel Sanders was not the first guy to sell fried chicken. However, Richard Branson (Virgin Group) was the first man to start an airline which focused on making each element of the flight experience as amazing as possible, centring on customers’ delight.

Along those same lines, Old Colonel Sanders just happened to be the first guy who had the vision and drive to take a roadside fried chicken restaurant and turn it into a billion dollar fried chicken empire, and one of the most recognisable brands in the world.

Doing well in business comes down to a few things, all of which are far more simple than the “wantrepreneurs” would have you believe and none of which involve being original. Here they are:

  • Work more hours than your competitors
  • Be obsessed with customer service
  • Live on the edge of your comfort zone
  • Treat your people right

Work More Hours Than Your Competitors

Running a business from your laptop while sitting under a palm tree on a tropical beach sounds great. It’s just too bad that great companies are not built like that.

When it comes to dominating a market, we should all take the advice of Will Smith who once stated the following in an interview: “I’ve never really viewed myself as particularly talented. I’ve viewed myself as slightly above average in talent. And where I excel is ridiculous, sickening work ethic. You know, while the other guy’s sleeping? I’m working. While the other guy’s eatin’? I’m working. While the other guy’s making love, I mean, I’m making love, too. But I’m working really hard at it.”

Wantrepreneurs spend their time dreaming about their amazing idea as they sleep and sit thinking about it as they eat. They don’t spend their time working on their dreams and manifesting their thoughts into reality. Sure some people with original ideas are making it happen, but even more “me too” type of business founders are getting up at 5:30 most mornings and working through to at least 9:30 in the evening. I know because I am one of those “me too” business founders.

Be Obsessed With Customer Service

A common maxim exists in the customer service world regarding the way in which we view customers.: “the customer is always right”. Ultimately, good service may involve satisfying your customers and clients, but this does not mean kowtowing to their whims or granting their ideas unopposed.

You, the expert in your field, must offer knowledge and advice the customer couldn’t get on their own. You present them with new, innovative ideas they’d never considered. This is what amounts to incredible customer service: going above and beyond to create something for a customer, to serve their needs before they are even aware the needs exist.

The very best entrepreneurs do this and essentially combine the client’s original ideas with fantastic additions or sensational changes that really work. This takes a great devotion to the client and a commitment to get things right.

I’d like to think I know a good deal about online marketing success, and I share that knowledge and insight with each and every client, adapting it uniquely to help, in turn, their business succeed as well.

Live on the Edge of Your Comfort Zone

I absolutely believe that if something scares you, that’s the right path to take. Some of the wantrepreneur types might say that working for a “me too” business makes the opposite statement. I wholly disagree.

Living on the edge of your comfort zone doesn’t mean that you must have a brand new idea or product to find success. It doesn’t mean you should take foolish risks, following opportunities with no real promise. Rather, it means seeking a brazen way of doing things. Being bold doesn’t necessarily mean setting out on an untrodden trail altogether, but it may mean taking to that trail with a new approach. For Webics, we are always extremely open to new ideas and working with different kinds of businesses.

Living on the edge of your comfort zone boils down to not being afraid to fail. If you have solid business models in place, an excellent team, and a crazy strong work ethic, the risks you take will usually pay off. If not, you’ve got those attributes to fall back on as you still aim for success.

But when your business is succeeding, you can’t afford to get too comfortable. As opposed to the typical “9 to 5-ers,” I feel a sense of urgency to never stop working. I don’t rest on my laurels, so even when things are going great, I’m still working hard to keep propelling forward.

Treat Your People Right

Speaking of having an excellent team, I have a wonderful group of people that I work with at Webics, whose talent and dedication is admirable. I believe a major part of business success is not only having the right set of skilled individuals, but you also want to work with colleagues who share your vision and possess similar values and work ethic.

Above all this, if you’re in charge of a company or business, you have to treat your people right. So many bosses fail to appreciate the incredible group of people which support them and their business. Or if they do appreciate it, they often lack the ability to recognise and encourage those employees.

I am an absolute believer in giving your employees and colleagues their due praise, encouraging them to succeed both personally and professionally, and making sure they know they are a valuable and indispensable part of the team.

The people you work with and who work for you will produce better quality work and hold their work in greater esteem when they are treated with respect and appreciation. Happier people create an all around better place to be – a nicer work environment and a stronger business reputation.

It’s About Heart

Really, what it all boils down to is that it’s not about talent or ideas, it’s about heart. You will get out of something what you put into it, I believe, and to succeed in a tough place like the business world, that may require your blood, sweat, and tears. Desire is the key to success, and applying yourself daily and nightly to achieving your goals.

When I left school, I knew that the things I wanted weren’t typical and would never come easy. Not content with mediocre, mid-level success, I have always challenged and pushed myself to my limits, and will continue to do so far into the future.

No matter what those wantrepreneurs want you to think, you don’t need a wild new idea to succeed in business, you just need to have a real heart for it, and let nothing stand in your way.