“There are no new ideas.” – Mark Twain
How’s that for a morale booster for starting a business?
While it might not be accurate 100% of the time…there is a lot of truth there. But do you need a new idea?
Look at mousetraps. There are 3 shelves of them at my local hardware store. But they all boil down to either capturing them or snapping them over the head! Yet there are many makes and models to choose from.
I Googled “plumbers in Columbus Indiana” and got 172,000 results. Columbus does not even have nearly that many people…let alone plumbers.
I read where there are up to 1,000,000 books published in the US alone. And of course there are the ones from previous years still on the market!
So how can you build a better mousetrap and stand out from the crowd?
1. Do you have a passion that is showing through your offering? Can customers readily see it? If you state that 5% of your profits go to XYZ Charity, is that passion? Or is giving one pair of shoes to someone that may not have any shoes, for every pair sold, true passion? (TOMS Shoes, 10mil given away to date.)
2. What added value can you give to an existing market? Every business is different and there could be a million ways to add value to your company. But try this…have everyone that interacts with a customer (on any level) fully understand the goals and direction of your company. Get them on board with the “added value” fabric of doing business with you. Everyone is a salesperson…even though they don’t all fill out purchase orders.
3. Can you give greater detail to a niche by diving deeper into specific areas of that niche? Are your competitors only giving customers a 30,000 foot view with their solution? You can provide a deeper dive into specific customer pains by offering a highly detailed answer to their problem.
4. Can you repackage the information customers most want in a different/better/ quicker/more usable manner? Do you know how many eBooks are written? Authors consolidate blog posts together in a usable way so readers do not have to wade thru tons of posts to find the information they want. This approach removes the “pain” of searching and adds the convenience of putting it all together. It saves time.
5. How can you treat customers in ways your competition fails to do? I recently joined Thrive 15. They sent me this video when I joined, mailed me a t-shirt and a human actually called me to just say thanks. I was blown away. Treat your customers with unexpected WOW factors.
6. Be human. Customers realize when you are being honest and authentic. When Domino’s Pizza went through their “our pizza isn’t as good as it should be” campaign, customers felt noticed and valued. Profits rose.
7. How can you literally stand out? The company Men in Kilts is a commercial window washing company and their t-shirts say “no peeking”. I’m guessing that if you ever saw them, you’d remember them!
You might not be able to implement all of these at one time. Start with the biggest pain points a customer might be experiencing. Determine how you can relieve that pain, completely or in unexpected ways. Or determine the biggest gain they get from using your product or service and find ways to maximize that gain like no one else.
Bottom Line: You don’t have to have a new idea to start a business. But you will need a unique approach to stand out from the crowd.