New Ideas in a Smaller World

Trying to think of a new business idea these days is difficult. We are so connected, so border-less and so informed – to the extent of information overload.

We can check in 30 seconds if someone else in the world has already implemented an idea. We can research competitors like never before, and across the whole globe.  It is a common joke amongst my friends that every good idea for an app has already been done.

The quest for a unique idea or implementation is harder than ever. The world is smaller, but competition is fierce.

Pre-Internet days, starting a business had to be much more local. I envisage new business founders researching their local area, perhaps city and if particularly ambitious, looking around the country before launching a business.

Local service based business offered some protection as they allow geographically targeting. But even in these industries, things are changing. I am pretty sure Noosa Accom never expected to be competing directly against home owners and potential clients. However with collaborative consumption and a global platform and facilitator in AirBnb there is suddenly a global giant in their midst.

When researching new ideas the level of information now is unprecedented, and in all honesty is a little off-putting.  It certainly makes you realise that your ideas, approach and thoughts are no where near as unique as you might have hoped! The amount of content online is overwhelming and it is difficult to ascertain where an individual or business could possibly stand out.

What is the right level of consideration to give to other players when determining your path forward? If someone else on the other side of the world offers a similar product, service or content to you, does that mean you should reconsider, differentiate or plough on? Are they simply a potential competitor or is it “copying”? On the other hand, I’ve heard of some awesome successes when companies reproduce a popular platform and customize it to a different market.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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