Our friends at SCORE recently did a blogpost of their Small Business Sucess Blog that we thought went right to the heart of many entrepreneurial dilemmas, when starting out: I don’t have an original business idea.
However, as SCORE pointed out, your business idea doesn’t have to be Facebook or Microsoft or Apple I Phone or Ipad…..it can be an existing business idea that you want to do better.
We’ve noticed over the years of small business consulting that many companies were started by employees of someone who just thought they could do what they do better, even if they’re in the same trade.
‘Better’ is often a vague notion: better service (define what that means), better products (let your customers define that: selection, quality, price?), better location (at least a different location).
If you’re doing the same thing you’ve been doing in a different location, make sure through market surveys that there are enough potential customers in a five mile radius to produce enough revenues to make a profit. It’s fine to open a high end restaurant, but don’t do it in a middle class area, because there won’t be enough customers to get you off the ground, until word of mouth about your fine food takes over and ensures you a steady stream of customers.
Google is a marvellous tool to find out how many other businesses are doing what you’re contemplating doing in your area.
In our affiliated company, The Marketing Doctor, we’ve probably done 75 market research studies over the years, and we’ve found two things: maybe you shouldn’t do your idea, or maybe there’s a tweak to the location or the rest of the product or service offerring that you can do to make your business distinct.
For example, we did some work for a new pool supply store. In Phoenix, what could be more generic? However, we found that the existing stores didn’t have much stock, and didn’t offer pool cleaning service, or if they did, it was pretty slipshod. So, we made these recommendations back to the owner, he did as we recommended, and he’s done well.
So, take our course A02 on validating your business idea (it’s the best $29 you’ll spend) and don’t worry if your idea is already being done. Just do it differently and better.