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What to do when you find out your idea is taken

Discussion in 'General Entrepreneur Discussion' started by ovoxomo, Jan 20, 2017.

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  1. ovoxomo
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    ovoxomo New Contributor

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    So I've been brainstorming what I believed was a really great idea, and something that currently did not exist. However, as I'm sure many of you have experienced, I found out today that there is already a company based around the idea I had and it functions very similarly to what I had imagined.

    This was really disheartening because I really had faith in this idea and was getting ready to start bringing it to life.

    However, I am wondering whether I should still go ahead with it, but in a different way. My idea is not exactly the same and I think I can spot the weaknesses in this product and make one better.

    I often hear advice about creating a business that improves upon an existing idea, and I think that may be an option here.

    Does anyone have any experience of thoughts on this? I know I haven't really given much away in terms of the actual product (think B2B web service, low-cost, helps to sell consumer goods on certain platforms) but any advice would be welcome.

    Thanks!
     
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  2. Waspy
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    Waspy Float like a butterfly Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Google - Not the first, did it better
    Starbucks - Not the first, did it better
    Ford - Not the first, did it better
    Apple - Not the first, did it better
    Facebook - Not the first, did it better
    Tesla - Not the first, doing it better
    Amazon - Not the first, did it better
     
  3. G-Man
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    G-Man Legendary Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Pretty sure Howard Schultz literally invented the coffee bean.

    @ovoxomo - @Waspy is right, the examples are literally endless. Henry Ford didn't invent cars. Andrew Carnegie didn't invent steel. Zuckerberg didn't invent stalking exes. They just found a way to do it better :clench:
     
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  4. applesack
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    applesack Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    It does depend on the idea and the size of the market, but my greatest success to date was this: I took a dozen well engineered health products from companies that would allow me to rebrand. Then I sold them better. That was it. They were already selling fine on their own, but were cool letting me rebrand the exact product. That was it... I made a lot of money doing this.
     
  5. Scot
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    Scot Ductus Exemplo Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    I just burst out laughing in a waiting room. Thanks for publicly embarrassing me haha

    @ovoxomo youve read the book right? This is definitely addressed there. MJ wasn't the first to build a directory for Limos.

    Here's why having competitors is better.

    First, you know there's already an established market. What do you think is easier, inventing a new widget that is so new that you have to convince each and every customer why they need this widget, OR inventing a better widget that you can sell based on its improvements to an existing customer base?

    With a competitor you already solved your first problem, market viability.

    Second, you have a better idea of how to build your company. Look at their company, their ratings and reviews, their products. What are they doing right? What are they doing wrong? What could they do better?

    Roll all of this into your your new business idea.


    To win in business, you don't have to be the first. You have to be the best.
     
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  6. ZF Lee
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    ZF Lee Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Reminds me of the book Zero to One by Peter Thiel. According to Thiel, most of these giants not only executed better but also 'pretended' to be new and the 'greenhorn of the bunch'. He advocates monopoly rather than competition by basically turning old services into something new and effective....not just copying the best like we used to do in school :)

    Of course the service can't be so new and futuristic...just plug in on existing customers.

    @ovoxomo, remember AirBnb? They got their first traction of customers by poaching Craigslist. Craigslist was (and still is!) a messy sprawling website that didn't look like a proper e-commerce site. The guys literally put links on the room-for-hire section and brought in customers who didn't like Craigslist designs. Eventually Craigslist shut the attempt down, but it was all over for them....

    I'm not going to try this....but as you can see, AirBnb found willing buyers that way. Business needs buyers.
    Zero to One is a very good read on strengthening the Commandment of Entry.
     
  7. Andy Black
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    Andy Black Any colour, as long as it's red. Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    I'm probably better at AdWords than you. You can still sell AdWords to clients I have no hope of selling to.

    I bet your uncle the businessman would go with you over me. He knows, likes, and trusts you... and doesn't know me from Adam. I also don't have a notion who he is to even target him.



    You don't have to do it better.

    You just have to do it.



    What would happen if you stopped worrying about your idea and the competition, and decided to go help the people with the problem you think you can solve?

    What would happen if you put your idea on the back burner and literally tried to help/entertain them?

    Staying in the echo chamber of your own head isn't going to make anything happen, except give you time to think yourself *out* of taking action.

    ("Brainstorming" isn't taking action btw. The market isn't going to pay us for brainstorming.)

    Engage your target market and you'll make much better progress.

    I bet your "idea" will be long forgotten as you find out what they really need, and are prepared to pay for.
     
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  8. Jonathan Polley
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    Jonathan Polley Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    I have the "joy" of going up a competitor who is world renowned, (and plenty of people on this forum swoon about what they do too) they provide the same service as I will, for free, mine won' t be free!

    Does this worry me? No, not at all. Because if I can get 0.0001% (I could probably have a few more zeroes in there too) of the market I would have more money than I would know what to do with.

    But more importantly it doesn't worry me, because despite my company being just me and my wife. Where as they get money from Bill Gates. I know my product is better on many many levels. And despite offering the same broad product I have aimed mine at a specific niche within that audience and I meet their needs far better than the world famous competitor.

    Plus, having such a famous competitor gives me a nice area to target with advertising.
     
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  9. wade1mil
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    wade1mil Platinum Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Compete or GTFO
     
  10. SquatchMan
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    SquatchMan Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    I just read Ca$hvertising. Here's some motivational copy I wrote. This is fun. Hope you find some value in this.

    ----------------

    All The Good Business Ideas Are Already Taken


    You read all the books. You found a way to add value. You finally found a unique billion dollar business idea. You do some research and you find the WORST possible news.

    Another company has 'your' idea.

    Guess you should just give up now and go back to your 45k/year cubicle job. Get in at 9, get off at 5, work M-F, and party on Friday and Saturday.

    Someone stole your idea. You can't possibly compete with them. Just give up now without trying. Every successful business owner started with a unique idea.

    Wrong. Wrong.

    WRONG.


    YOU start the business. YOU execute better. YOU put the competitors out of business.

    No 9-5.

    No cubicle.

    No boss.

    Best of all...

    You get that Lamborghini you always wanted.

    JUST START IT
     
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  11. SquatchMan
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    SquatchMan Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    This is probably the most common question people ask and my advice doesn't change.

    Do it anyway and execute better. There really isn't any need to over analyze this.
     
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  12. grindmode
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    grindmode Bronze Contributor Speedway Pass

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    I have been spinning my wheels for years looking for a stone that has been untouched or "the perfect niche"... Always mentally becoming discouraged because I found someone selling the same thing or similar.

    Then it all the sudden "clicked" from something I read on here a few days ago. Someone said or said something very similar to this:

    "Bread and butter have been staples in our diet's for well over a century... Yet there are companies that have been/will be created doing just that making bread and butter which will make them millions!".

    EVERYTHING is being sold or something like your product unless you are the INVENTOR. Figure out a way to sell your "bread and butter" that is:

    1. Cheaper than current competition.
    2. A better quality than the current competition.
    3. Do both 1 and 2.
     
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  13. Limitless4Life
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    Limitless4Life Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    Execution > Ideas
     
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  14. Arrived2015
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    Arrived2015 New Contributor

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    In addition to what the other forum members have said here, imagine a world with plain old, plain old cheese sandwiches because someone thought "nah! I wont try out putting tuna or chicken etc etc instead of cheese BECAUSE no one will buy" Can you really see yourself in a shop at lunch time with no choice of what sandwich to eat because there's no alternative available?

    In fact, do you drink tea?
    Do you stick to one flavour/type?

    A coffee person?
    Do you stick to one flavour/type?

    Do you eat chocolate?
    Do you stick to one choice/type?

    See where I'm going with the examples and questions ? You've got your idea - run with it and see where it goes.
     
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  15. MJ DeMarco
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    MJ DeMarco Raving Lunatic Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Admin Post
    Featured!
     
  16. million$$$smile
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    million$$$smile Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Ugh, are you asking can you build another mousetrap?

    Are there any more mice to catch?

    You got the answer...
     
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  17. The-J
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    The-J Legendary Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Find out who their customers are and sell to them
     
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  18. ArtRyumin
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    Hey mate, i feel your dishearness pains. I've been R&D an idea for over a year without starting anything or validating ( i was obsessed on the idea and couldn't believe i haven't heard of it, not through research but just haven't heard of it) Anyway already feeling like i've changed the lives of millions and made millions in the process i continues with my research and development of the concept, functionality, designs etc only to discover a celebrity has released an app that's hinting on some of my features for this niche and i was a bit disheartned but nether the less at the same time this game me a boost knowing someone is thinking along the same lines but has missed it!

    Then i started going into overdrive to get this out there and published and started learning about patents. Here's a link to the patent topic if anyone is interested David game me some really useful info here: What stage to patent and seek lawyers
    Researched the other guys and they don't seem to have a patent then i started researching to see if anyone at all has a patent on this functionality/concept and it was taking me so far away from actually just getting my own idea out there and i started to compare other products and realised was getting further away from my idea and quite diluted with all the research.

    I came to a conclusion that my idea is still validated, still has a huge market and only i can create the features and functions that i was able to peice together, even if someones hinted on them this only should serve as motivate that someone is getting closer but i must be the first, and even if i'm not the first i know how to beat them (ego talking)

    Get a MVP out there before throwing in the towel and as many others already mentioned a lot of the successful businesses out there weren't the first.[/QUOTE]
     
  19. jasoncuellar123
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    jasoncuellar123 Money Never Sleeps Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    That is literally the best, and only summary of Zero to One I've ever read.
     
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    Roli Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Excellent news!

    Somebody is out there testing the market for you; are they doing good business? Is there a need for this thing? Can you improve on their model?

    If the answer is yes to those three questions; then why oh why would you feel disheartened.

    As another company who wasn't first said; just before they took down the market leader;

    Just do it.
     
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  21. B. Cole
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    B. Cole Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER

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    "Zuckerberg didn't invent stalking exes. They just found a way to do it better :clench:"

    Never really thought of Facebook that way :rofl:
     
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    Fortune5ive Contributor

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    All outliers. That can be misleading.
     
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  23. wade1mil
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    wade1mil Platinum Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    They're outliers because they became the best in the world at what they do, but what about these smaller examples off the top of my head.

    LeadPages/ClickFunnels
    Dropbox/Google Drive
    Zapier/IFTTT
    Gleam/Rafflecopter
    Petco/Pestmart
    Pebble/Fitbit

    I think it's less about doing "it" better, and more about doing "something that people need" better.
     
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  24. Fortune5ive
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    Fortune5ive Contributor

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    It's mostly about timing. The market often dictates the need. Often times...the market isn't ready. Sometimes we really have to give luck more credit over talent. Or at a minimum, acknowledge both as business partners.
     
  25. Destined
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    Destined Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    I agree on better quality/value....delivering better value/services is the way to go. If this is not happening, then your sales will halt and eventually stop.

    I don't agree at all at being cheaper than your competition, just to enter the market and compete. You can even price your product/service much higher and still make more money/sales than the competition. It's all about how you position, your business/product and what type of quality it delivers....
     
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