You're thinking about starting a new business—and racking your brain for a novel idea. Wouldn't it be amazing if you came up with the next Google or iPhone? Not only would you revolutionize the world, but you'd also make a lot of money.
However, reinventing the wheel may not be the way to go. In fact, it could be a huge waste of time and energy, and you might not actually get a successful business out of it.
If you're debating whether you need an original business idea or you can start a type of business that already exists, here are some expert insights to help you make your decision.
Should You Come Up With a New Business Idea?
You could invent an amazing new product or service that would change people's lives for the better. But it could all go wrong because you have to remember one key factor: You have to educate the public.
According to John Frigo, owner of Best Price Nutrition, having an original business idea is both a gift and a curse.
"Originality is great for a whole host of reasons," Frigo says. "For example, there's less competition and it's easy to stand out. It can also make things more challenging. When your idea is very original, there's really no test market. Nobody has vetted the idea."
You'll have to educate the consumer yourself and, if you can't, then your business idea could fail. "When watching Shark Tank, many of the sharks are often turned off of ideas for this very reason," Frigo says. "They aren't looking to invest the time, energy, and funds into educating the public."
Kayla Bennet, content relationship manager at Packlane, urges entrepreneurs to keep in mind that they might have to be flexible anyway even if they use an existing idea.
"If something already works, there's no need to change it, but acknowledge that there are factors that will force you to reinvent the wheel," she says. "For example, the pandemic has forced many companies to adjust their business model, plans, and strategies. It's integral to adapt to the current situation to start off on the right track. This can mean modifying your goals and plans to work with changes in the industry."
Overall, it makes sense to go with the business idea you think will actually work, whether it's new or not.
"Aiming to develop something completely new can sometimes be a distraction when building a successful business," says Ren Wu, co-founder of Maniology. "You'll be stuck thinking of what no one has created, missing lucrative opportunities. What matters most is [that you find] new ways to differentiate yourself from potential competition."
How to Differentiate Your Business
Whatever business idea you plan to go with, make sure you stand out from the competition. Bennet says this could mean that you offer higher quality products, superior customer service, more affordable products, or a wider selection of products.
You could also have a unique value proposition, even if you're not coming up with a new product.
Dylan Gordon, founder of HustlerSource, says that, for example, a marketing agency may help CBD companies attract more customers in their community.
"You can differentiate yourself by helping CBD companies generate more leads for pet CBD, or even more specifically, CBD for dogs," he says. "There's a lot of different ways to stand out, but reinventing the wheel isn't a requirement."
Before you launch, make sure you thoroughly research the marketplace you're getting into, Wu says. You should look into the existing competition, your targeted customers, and potential financial growth.
"This will help you develop a concise business plan that sets your goals and establishes your focal point," he says.
Starting Your Business
When coming up with your idea—whether it's new or not—Gordon says to keep in mind that businesses that help people with their health, wealth, or relationships are always needed.
"These are three evergreen problems that will always be around, so it's best to help people with a specific issue in one of those niches," he says.
If you do your research and work hard, you could have a successful business, no matter what idea you go within the end.