I coach Business StartUps all over the world on how to take their Business Dream into a profitable company; their DreamUp into a viable Business StartUp.
We work through dozens, make that hundreds of business building techniques.
What is interesting about many Business StartUps is that they often believe they have a “great new idea”
I usually find this a bit scary; for them! A brand new idea may not actually the best thing and especially not for Business StartUps
The one thing that I emphasise with everyone I work with is: Steal Shamelessly or to put it in more conventional terms “Copy the Best”
Find who else in the world is successfully doing what you want to do and Copy Them!!
When I say to people “Steal Shamelessly” they think I’ve gone mad!!
Years ago I was very fortunate to be train with some of the early TQM Total Quality Management people at Motorola. I was working in a manufacturing company and we were looking for ways to improve our processes, not just in manufacturing, we were looking for ways to improve processes across the company.
The TQM training, which we call BIQ Building In Quality because we were mostly a building products company, included all kinds of flow charts and process mapping AND included going out and looking at who else did what we did. Not exactly what we did rather what other business was involved in following similar steps. Search for these companies and “Steal Shamelessly”
What this meant was: look at what they do, examine how they do what they do and then take that information and modify and implement into our business. It seemed so very simple. And it exactly what we did.
So now I say to the people I work with “this might sound like it is the exact opposite of what strategic business wisdom would teach…. You don’t need to come up with new and disruptive”
Many people think they need to come up with some thing that is completely different or will disrupt some aspect of their industry. The truth is that very few of the “disrupters” are actually successful and those who do “make it” have taken many years, multiple iterations and pivots and a ton of tenacity.
Seriously, while many StartUps aspire to be the next Atlassian, trust me in my years in business I have seen that copying successful companies produces significantly better business results than trying to be and do some thing completely original.
Bringing a completely new idea or product to market takes a level of skill, experience and resources that most people just, quite frankly, don’t have. And even businesses that try to bring new concepts to market have many barriers to entry; consumers are skeptical of new and different, costs can be prohibitive while waiting for scale, existing customers like the current version, the new product doesn’t solve any particular problem etc
Truth is that tried, tested and proven concepts and practices are a much safer choice. So what does a potential Business StartUp do? Here’s what I work through with my clients, in a few simple steps:
- Take your DreamUp idea, your idea for a business for yourself, and work out what business sector you are in.
- Identify the other businesses in that sector.
- Take a look at the other successful businesses in your sector and look at them very carefully.
- What are they doing that makes them successful?
- Copy those things that make them successful
Key areas to look at:
The Product offered: what exact products do they offer? What size? What features? What quality? Do they package or bundle their offering with other products or services?
The Price: the really successful businesses have found the price point that works for them for their customers; what can you learn from that?
Their Promotions: how do they let people know about their business? what works for the successful businesses? For example when Zoom Zoom Zoom entered major expansion phase they did not spend one single cent on external advertising or marketing; every $ was spent on rewarding existing customers and their customer base grew exponentially – worked for them.
Place: and there may well be different businesses experiencing different levels of success based on where they are located; on-line vs bricks and mortar business. For example think about Shoes of Prey, they started as an on-line business and now have opened actual shoe stores so that people can touch and feel the shoes they are buying.
Process: this is one of the areas that really sets successful businesses apart from the others (and one of my personal favourites); being able to repeatedly and consistently deliver the same quality and standard of service or product to every customer. In really simple terms How easy is it to do business with the company and do you get what you pay for? Interestingly, successful companies are actually quite obvious when it comes to their processes.
People: when you look at truly successful companies, what sort of people are involved? Where do those people come from? And why do they stay?
Whether you are thinking about opening a coffee shop/ café or a yoga studio each of these aspects will have an impact.
Take a look at the other cafes or yoga studios across each of these 6 aspects of business. What are they doing that makes them successful? And copy that!
I’m certainly not suggesting taking the exact wording and colour schemes and website and uniforms and signage and logo …. That would be stealing and would probably result in all sorts of legal issues.
What I am suggesting is look at what’s working in the successful businesses.
For example, where I live there is a new café opening almost every month. They all sell coffee; it’s coffee. Coffee and water and milk. Some of the cafes have queues out the door and others have 2 people sitting at a table …… and one of those people is the owner’s mother!
Look at successful businesses and identify what makes them successful and then work out how to do similar things in your business. You will do things your way, with your style, your own wording. The idea is to take the best of everyone out there and make it yours and your business offering.
Some of the best companies in the world copy, borrow, emulate, imitate the leaders in their field. Think about cars, fashion, food. When Toyota brought out the first Hybrid car the others rushed to copy, Tesla has created the electric car and again the others are rushing to copy. Why? Because they can see it is successful and want to be part of that success.
So, my challenge to you if you are in the DreamUp phase of your Business StartUp journey is to be clear about what your business idea is and go out and identify the leaders in that field or industry. Watch them and learn from them.
There has never been a better time to be in business and many companies and businesses are enormously successful. We can all learn from them.
Do you have a Dream to start your own business?
This year I am conducting a series of workshops in Sydney “From DreamUp to StartUp; Creating your Business StartUp Blueprint” If you would like to join us please click here for more information.
I’m Ingrid Thompson and thank you for reading this post.
My guess is that you are here because you are curious about what it might be like to start a business?
Perhaps you’ve been wondering if you have what it takes? If your idea will work or even how much it actually costs to build a successful business?
I’ve written a book that can answer pretty much all your questions “So You Want to Start a Business” and you can download the first 20 pages at www.thestartupsteps.com
15 years of experience working with start up businesses are condensed into this book.
It’s your step by step guide to launch your business smarter and faster and I’m so excited to be sharing it with you and can’t wait to hear about your progress.
Are you ready to grab your excerpt? Click here www.thestartupsteps.com