Your business has to be something innovative! That’s what a lot of entrepreneurs dream of coming up with, but why?
- Innovative is risky
- Groundbreaking is unknown territory
- Product uniqueness is a long shot
- Avant-garde is precarious, at best
Why take the “road less traveled” when you’re struggling to start (or grow) a small business? Bringing something ground breaking to market means you have to educate people about what it is, what it will do for them, and why they need it. You literally have to create the market yourself. That is very expensive!
Aren’t you trying to pull this off with not much more than a shoestring budget? Why risk it all? Or do you have some angel investor waiting to plunk down a nice sum while you figure out how to make it work, build demand, put it on the market, and finally sell it.
Forget that, at least for now. You can do that when you’re wealthy enough to be that much of a risk-taker. Let’s be smarter than that.
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but do you know what it really is? It’s smart!
Facebook wasn’t the first online social community.
Google wasn’t the first search engine.
And there are people already doing what you are doing or what you want to do. Go check them out. Find the best of the best and model your business after it. Then take it a step farther. Make it better.
That’s starting a small business the smart way!
Research the strengths and weaknesses of like-businesses. Learn from them and compile a more complete profile for your business. Become their customer!
Research the market.
- What are customers saying?
- What’s their reputation like?
- Who has a strong brand that warrants fans and advocates?
- Who are their most outspoken and satisfied customers? (Those are the people you want to court!)
Get to know your potential customers on a very real level. What turns them on? What makes them buy? Why are they loyal?
How can you be better at all the positive things you learned?
If your competitors have vendors, talk to them! Find out more from the supplier side. Attend trade shows, conventions, associations and other places in service to your industry.
Build your business based on what you learn. Out maneuver your would-be competitor’s right out of the gate.
Spend your “innovation” time on marketing. That’s where it will make the most difference and in a very positive way.