Too many would-be entrepreneurs get caught up in the idea that you need an original concept to create your own business. Nothing could be further from the truth. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to start a business. You can improve on an existing wheel to make it better than any of the other options out there. And it might be easier than you think.
Here are some key questions to ask when looking at improving an existing idea.
Ask: What If I Did The Opposite?
In 1977, George Atkinson created the first video rental system inside his store in Los Angeles. From that moment on, consumers were trained to go to a store to rent a movie to take home, view it and then return it to the store. Twenty years later in 1997, a then unknown company called Netflix decided to take the existing video rental model and do the opposite.
Their key question was “What if we delivered entertainment directly to the consumer, instead of making the consumer come to us?” This one small change to an existing industry has revolutionized how consumers access DVDs and video the world over. Rather than waiting in line at a video store, your movie was delivered directly to your mailbox. Instead of having to drive that same movie back to return it, you could simply drop it in your mailbox.
These days, you no longer have to leave your home to see a movie. They’re delivered directly to your TV.
Originally downplayed by giants such as Blockbuster Video, Netflix took a gamble and is now the large provider of online video streaming in the world. As for Blockbuster, they refused to evolve to serve the demands of their customers. They ceased operations in January of 2014. (Well, actually, there’s still one left.)
Ask: How Can I Make Something More Convenient?
Dinner preparation is often a struggle for busy families. Finding a recipe, shopping for ingredients and then preparing a home-cooked meal every evening is overwhelming.