Why It’s Ok to Be Unoriginal When Coming Up with Business Ideas
Coming up with unique and never-before-heard ideas is more difficult than one would think. In the modern era of the global village, almost every idea that you can think of, will have been tried before by others. Unique, exciting and fresh business ideas are extremely rare. However, this should not stop you from starting your own business.
Oftentimes when discussing business with friends and colleagues, people keep on coming back to the same excuse, “I don’t have the perfect idea for a business.” People tend to wait for the right idea to pop-up into their heads, and then dedicate themselves towards the perfect execution of the idea.
What Are the Different Types of Ideation?
However, the process of ideation and formulating business ideas can be optimized, structured and made more efficient by realizing the different levels of ideation for the business. We have categorized them into four equally interesting, and information levels. Let’s break them down;
- Level 0 : Pure Replication
- Level 1 : Geographical Replication
- Level 2 : Industry Replication
- Level 3 : Original Conception
The higher the level, the more complex it is to have a developable idea and to find companies reflecting the level.
Level 0 : Pure Replication
You are taking your casual walk down the road when you see a beautiful bakery with delicious sweets displayed in its crystal-clear windows. You automatically feel the desire to walk inside the shop and taste the bliss. Now, if you open up your own bakery shop within the vicinity or nearby, and you also sell baked blessings and bakery products, this process of ideation will be referred to as pure replication.
Level 1 : Geographical Replication
In this idea replication process, different organizations replicate similar services in different regions of the world. Geographical replication proves to be quite useful as the market demand is already out, and you will only be fulfilling the demands by offering services in new regions. Let’s take a look at Uber and Careem to better understand this.
Careem is a transportation network company based in Dubai, with operations in over 100 cities in 14 countries in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia. On the other hand, Uber is also a similar network offering transportation hailing services along with food and package deliveries, bus services, scheduled rides and credit transfers.
Careem followed Uber and launched their services in geographical locations where Uber was still aiming to launch. This gave Careem an edge. Instead of trying to compete with Careem, Uber has recently acquired Careem and intends to expand into Careem’s geographical locations. The mere acquisition of Careem indicates that Uber acknowledge the organization as it geographical replication.
Level 2 : Industry Replication
Business ideas can also be replicated in the form of Industry replication. You take the concept from one industry and apply it to another industry or group of people facing the similar situation.
The perfect example would be of Amazon and Upwork. Jeff Bezos created the giant online shopping store Amazon with an intention to sell physical goods. The creators of Upwork took the concept and applied it to services as they created an online freelancing market.
Instead of selling physical goods and products, people offer their time, services and skill. Upwork is a major example of companies which did not follow the predominant practices. Upwork, formerly Elance & oDesk, is a global freelancing platform where businesses and particulars can connect with independent professionals and collaborate remotely. On this platform, you can easily find designers, developers, digital marketer, etc. and exchange, collaborate and pay them through the secured platform.
An interesting point to notice here is that since the inception of Upwork, the process of idea replication was also applied to Upwork. Fiverr, another freelancing company, started offering freelancing services in areas where Upwork was still to launch. This geographical replication has now turned Fiverr into a well-established and a powerful online freelancing platform.
Level 3 : Original Conception
This is the most complex form of business ideas formulation, but it has the biggest impact and it rewards the most. Level 3, Original Conception, is a completely original concept never-seen-before, and that has the potential to disrupt the way people live and companies work.
You could think of the transistors, internet, cars, etc. These are some of the biggest examples of original concepts. In the digital world, Amazon, Twitter and Hotmail are the perfect examples of revolutionary, ground breaking and original ideas that changed the way this world lived.
These business ideas impact our society the most, but they also have to go uphill against the resistance. Coming up with unique ideas guarantee minimal competition, but the biggest barrier of such ideas is the people. The market of the people might not need your big idea. The society is often rational to changes. People dislike the concept of having to change their behavior, habits and daily routines.
As the saying goes, “Everyone wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.” People can be adaptive to the new ideas and changes, but it takes time, consistency and regular battle against the resistance. You will have to determine the gaps in the market. You will have to jot down the needs, demands and wants of the market and come up with an idea that can efficiently and perfectly fill out those missing gaps.
Original conception is all about targeting the raw areas of the market and offering what the audience needs, but doesn’t have access to.
Ideation in A Nutshell
People who say that they do not possess the perfect idea for a business are often thinking about a level 3 business idea. If you observe successful establishments, you will realize that big names, such as Facebook, Google and Yahoo are not original ideas. The creators merely replicated the existing ideas into perfectly executed business strategies.
The main reason lies in the complexity of moving the mindset and changing the behavior of customers. The inventor of the car did not become a multi-billionaire, because they had to wrestle against people fearing the concept of the cars.
On the other hand, Henri Ford made a fortune as he industrialized a concept that was already widely accepted by people. Idea replication can prove fruitful if executed with finesse and after carefully catering to the missing gaps in the previous tries.