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The BIG idea


This article was first published on the Online EU Training blog


Are you waiting for the BIG idea to start your own business? Don’t.


Successful businesses are not based on creating a brand new industry from scratch. What makes them stand out is having a simple, single idea that they execute with such perfection and quality, applying such operating procedures that had never existed before.


Think of FedEx, the parcel delivery service. Postal services had been around for a long time, so there was not much to innovate there. Yet FedEx realised there was a need for overnight shipping even to remote destinations: they created a system that enabled a simple, existing (!) industry to create a new service that had changed postal services forever.


Take McDonald’s: hamburgers had been made for decades, if not centuries before McDonald’s showed up in the fast food industry. Their innovation was not revolutionary either; a systematised, super-fast, standard quality delivery of hamburgers within one minute from ordering. BIG idea? Not so much. Revolutionary? Not so much. Successful? Absolutely.


MP3 music had been sold online for several years before Itunes appeared on the scene. They created a simple, intuitive interface, a smooth online payment method, a user-friendly device and started selling what so many others had been marketing already. Their outstanding success was not due to creating a new industry: they “simply” did something professionally that nobody could resist opting for.


Google may seem an exception to this rule. They are not: search engines and advertising had existed for years before Sergey and Larry showed up. They nevertheless created a system of highly relevant search results linked with contextual advertising…and changed the way the internet and the ad industry looks, forever.


The key to launching a successful business is finding an existing industry and innovating in the business model and execution, without inventing a whole new sector, product or service. That should be the consequence, not the point of departure.


So what are you waiting for?


Posted in E-business

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