Thought that opener might get your attention. What I’m suggesting is that not all business ideas need to be brand spanking new. Clearly innovation and cutting-edge products are a cornerstone of entrepreneurship and growth at every level of society. We need to continually foster new ideas, but I’m also trying to de-emphasize their importance in connection with starting your business. If you have an idea that you want to turn into a business opportunity, I don’t think that you necessarily have to have a new or cutting-edge product or service to launch—just make sure that it’s something you’re passionate about.
When starting a business, we all hear about having a unique selling proposition—our own special ingredient that no one else (and certainly not your competition) offers. We’re wowed with tales of successful entrepreneurs who turned a dime into a billion dollars with an idea we never would have come up with (think Facebook or eBay). To succeed as an entrepreneur, you may believe that you need to develop a product or idea the world has never seen and that will change lives. Well, think again. While it’s one facet of entrepreneurship, it isn’t the only way to succeed. When it comes to starting a business, I think some of the best ideas are those that already exist. The difference in any successful business, whether it’s based on a new or existing idea, is execution. I had breakfast with a friend and mentor whose company operates several of New York’s perennial fine-dining favorites, so I take her opinion seriously. She said that sometimes new ideas are harder to execute. They require a lot more energy. What’s great about an existing product or service is how well you deliver. I couldn’t agree more. If you want to start a business that already exists, you need to focus on delivering the best-in-class product or service. It’s the customer experience that’s going to keep them coming back.
Say, for example, that you want to open a wine bar (one that you might even consider franchising down the road). There are dozens in the city but none in your neighborhood, so do you need to reinvent the concept to open the establishment? Not necessarily—if you stay focused on offering a quality product and service. You can become unique over time and develop your own “special sauce,” so to speak. So if you have an idea that isn’t novel or wildly innovative, don’t be discouraged about starting a business. Just think about how well you can execute it!