Table of Contents
“It’s already been done” #
The words I always see on Reddit and Indie Hackers where a lot of aspiring entrepreneurs and side project bros gather, especially when somebody shared a business idea.
Pretty sure they really want you to have the next big idea, or be the early market entrant. The new Uber, the new Netflix, that new market disruptor that will make empires of the old fall. The new business that will change the lives of the people in a way that is… revolutionary.
Meanwhile, businesses will be approached by an agency owner who just finished a thousand-dollar SMMA course. That agency owner who is fuelled by generic, white-labelled pitch decks, contracts, and sales ‘scripts’ provided by that course; that had also been finished by thousands.
It has literally, already been done for them. But… so what?
“At least be different” #
Of all the same business models and same ideas we’re being exposed to lately, this is a valid statement. The key is to not just copy what’s already been done but innovate to improve upon the idea.
“If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” The famous quote from Henry Ford. This quote is often used to illustrate the importance of listening to your customers, but it also has a deeper meaning.
It suggests that sometimes customers don’t know what they want until you show them, like the iPhone. Hence why a lot of aspiring entrepreneurs are aiming for something untapped.
The lesson from Ford is to not just take the words of the customers at face value. Rather, listen to the deeper context. He saw that they wanted a more efficient way to get around, and gave it to them.
The invention of the car may be revolutionary and indeed necessary in the progress of humanity, but the idea of transporting people in carriages is not new.
Fun fact: Herny Ford was not the first to manufacture a car. He was majorly credited not with the actual invention of the car but with introducing the moving assembly line. It lowered the cost of a finished product in the market. It changed how we manufacture cars and how cars became available to the masses.
But it didn’t stop others from mass manufacturing their own brands of cars with their own assembly line.
It also didn’t stop Facebook from improving on earlier social networks like MySpace and Friendster. Their innovation was not the original social media concept but the execution.
Great ideas need not be wholly unprecedented. Progress often stems from enhancing the familiar.
Differentiation Outplays Being First-to-Market #
The “it has already been done” comments under IH and Reddit threads are common because a lot of the people in these communities are constantly exposed to these ideas. But it is not a reason to give up.
Let’s go back to the SMMA bros. Even though it bothers me a lot as a marketing nerd that they just put their Fiverr-made logos onto provided pitch decks and they just market themselves as marketers after taking one course. But, so what? My thoughts do not matter, really.
Even though they sell the same repackaged idea from their course creator, the idea may be new to the ones that matter, the target audience. The battle is on how their customers perceive them. You know, the ones who will buy the service.
Overtime, these SMMA bros will feel the necessity to differentiate, and improve on the generic templates that were given to them. If marketing is really their passion rather than earning quick bucks, the passion will take over.
So build on that idea that you are really passionate about. And be prepared in battling for customers against businesses with the same idea.
Be different to the ones that matter. Establish differentiation, have a brand strategy.