No Idea … No Problem!

One of the biggest reasons I hear for people not becoming an entrepreneur is that they simply don’t have an idea. Well, I am here to tell you that this is not a problem at all. In fact, this is probably a good thing. Here is why…

Firstly, if you have a totally new idea, then part of your challenge will be getting people to see why it is a good idea. This is a lot harder than you think and requires lots of time and money. In most cases, entrepreneurs don’t have spare money, let alone time. So why not just copy someone else? After all, did Richard Branson create aviation? Did Conrad Hilton create the concept of hotels?

When I created E-Tale, I took something that had been around for a while and approached it from a new angle and produced a better product. I provided a better service to the customers and made it easier for customers to join. This approach resonated with the wider market and ultimately lead us to become a market leader in our field within a pretty short period (around five years).

Here are a few ways you can take an existing idea and make it your own.

Apply a fresh business model
In recent years, we have even seen Microsoft promote new business models for things like Microsoft Office. What used to be a CD purchased from a local computer store, is now a subscription that will ensure you always have the latest version as well as some cloud storage for your precious documents.

So take a look at some of the market leaders in your chosen sector and see if you can change they way people buy (make it easier). Remember things that only ten years ago were complicated and require deep integration, could probably be made much more user-friendly and operated from the cloud.

Provide Better features:
‘The bigger the ship, the longer it takes to turn’. This is VERY true; you should burn this belief into the centre of your brain. There may be huge, well-funded companies leading your industry, but the chances are they are not able to act quickly to customer needs. This is for the simple reason that the bigger your product, the harder it is to add new features.

This presents an opportunity for you. By asking a few potential client ‘what they really want’ you will be able to make a new product that could actually outflank the big guys. Look at things like ‘Xero’ the online accountancy package! Do you think Sage were worried when they got started… probably not. But Xero now has over 100,000 paying customers, not a small chunk of change.

Create a Better Sales Model:
This is a simple one, but in the real word most companies are pretty bad at sales. So if you are good at sales, and you have an almost identical product to another company, you will win.

You may be competing with a company with a huge sales force, and that may seem scary. However, trust me that your lower cost model and highly focused small sales team can be just as scary to them. When we sold E-Tale we had two sales people, and I was one of them. However, we took on many contracts from much larger and well-funded businesses.

So if you don’t have an idea, just open your eyes and look around. A good place to start is the exhibitor list of the most recent conference in your chosen sector. Take a look at their websites, speak to prospects and find out what you can do to make the product even better.


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