Original ideas — do you think they have any legs?

 

We went by train to Port Elizabeth in April 2017. Almost all the railway stations were in the same condition as this one at Koppies. But where has the maintenance budget monies gone? New ideas are needed to encourage local and foreign tourism.

An Internet marketer was saying on his podcast that the original business ideas don’t work. A start-up just doesn’t have the deep pockets to advertise an original product or service. Far better, he said, is to copy something that is already working.

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Is it really as simple as this? Well, for one thing if you see what is already available on the market and is being advertised, there is a good chance that the product or service has found a target markets and is bringing in revenue for the start-up or small business. The veteran Internet marketer’s advice was to go for niche markets that are already proving themselves. The trick is to check out the product or service, find its holes, flaws and shortcomings and then to produce something better.

You only have to look around in any market niche to see how existing business ideas that are successful are being copied. But you can’t be reckless about copying. No one is going to come down on you like a ton of bricks if you come up with your own water bottle, for instance. So many water bottles are available on the market that it would be hardly likely for a competitor who already has one to challenge you legally. But if you copy a water bottle, for example, exactly like a competitor’s, don’t expect that it will go unchallenged.

But why copy someone else’s idea outright? It’s plain dumb. It’s not the exact replica of the product that you want but to come up with something that is better. An entrepreneur recently came up with a double-insulated, attractive looking water bottle in a mental container that has sold to date in the region of 4 million units at $25 to $45, depending on the bottle size. Now, there are many bottles that encourage reuse to help reduce the proliferation of plastic. Some water bottles are made from recyclable plastic or are made from regular plastic such as Tupperware but can be reused many times over. Glass bottles and metal bottles are also becoming more prevalent.

The opportunity for the entrepreneur is to come up with a water bottle in another material or to manufacture a water bottle that appeals to a specific niche segment. For example, the entrepreneurs who came up with the double-insulated water bottle that comes in attractive colours positioned her water bottles through smart design appealing to a premium sector of the outdoor water bottle market. In a highly competitive product or service area, you need to go for segmentation and positioning. If you can find an unserved or underserved or segment, you could potentially have a winner on your hands.

Knowing how to come up with a new product or service that is similar at different to what is already available on the market requires specialised knowledge. Before jumping into anything get hold of a copy of “Breakthrough Ideas: How to find new ideas for a tough economy”. Find out more on ideaaccelerator.co.za

It’s as close to real magic in developing a promising position in the market as you’ll ever find.

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