Starting a Business: Should You Reinvent an Existing Industry?
By Peter Yang
Think, think, THIINNKKK!!! What’s a business idea no one has ever thought of that can make millions? New entrepreneurs often obsess over coming up with super original, game-changing ideas that will kick-start their businesses.
Though the Mark Zuckerbergs of the world are to be commended, starting a successful business doesn’t require you to come up with a brand-new idea that no one has ever explored before. Often times, it’s better to use your innovative side to tackle an existing industry. After all, newer doesn’t always mean better, and established industries like online blogging and web design have been around for years because they’ve been proven to work.
But with so many options to choose from, how do you know which industry to enter? Here’s how to know if an industry is just waiting to be taken over and dominated by you.
1. Competition within the industry looks beatable
Identify the leading companies within the industry you’re considering and try to find at least a few areas of weakness that you can see yourself beating them in. Many well-established companies in a given domain have been around for a long time, so perhaps, for example, their websites are out-of-date and visually unappealing. Or maybe their websites look fine, but they have spent very little effort on search engine optimization, so there’s a chance you can outrank them on Google.
If you thoroughly analyze the competition, you’ll be surprised to find that there are usually many areas that could use some improvement. As someone who’s gone through this process myself, I’ll bet that many businesses you evaluate won’t even have a professional sales video on their websites; other businesses may not utilize social media or fail to use persuasive copy in their advertising. Just finding a couple potential areas to improve on is a sign that the competition may not be as strong as it seems.
2. You’ve got connections
Just having a single connection can be enough reason to enter an industry. To give you a real-life example, a friend of mine back in college decided to enter the business of creating employee training videos. He got into this because he knew a high-level executive at a Fortune 500 company who was willing to be his first customer. By having that initial client, he was able to showcase his work to other potential customers and advance his business very quickly.
3. There’s an unoccupied niche within the industry
Many industries seem tougher to enter than they actually are because you’re looking at the industry in its entirety. Instead, break down the industry into smaller market segments and see if there are any customers who have not yet been catered to.
For instance, you might look at a service-based industry and find all the large companies competing against each other on price over quality. You could then enter this market as a high-end, premium service provider looking to satisfy customers who prioritize quality over pricing. Of course, there may be other firms you’d still have to compete with, but they will be much weaker and easier to beat.
4. You’re passionate about the work related to the industry
Even if you find an industry ripe with opportunities, you will need to put a lot of time and effort into growing your business. With that in mind, doing something that you’re passionate about will hopefully keep you motivated enough to go the full distance and succeed.