Stop Copying Everyone Else’s Business Model!

By , Small Business Coach & Self-Employment Expert

Solo-E Certified Solo Entrepreneur Expert

Karyn Greenstreet - Small Business Coach & Self-Employment Expert

When I looked at my business transformations over the past five years, I quickly came to one daring insight: when I tried to copy other people’s business model, I got mediocre results. When I stepped outside of my own comfort zone (as well as what my industry says businesses “should” look like) and created my own business model, business soared!

Tom Volkar says, “Herd mentality works best for the lead bull. If you base your decisions on what others are doing then at best you’ll create a poor imitation of what has worked well for them.”

Transform Your Business by Zigging

You’ve got to be willing to zig when everyone else in your industry zags. What does this mean in practical terms?

  • If everyone in your industry sells their service by the hour, sell your service in a monthly package.
  • If everyone in your industry has a membership site, create a pay-per-use system instead.
  • If everyone in your industry has an email newsletter, offer a weekly audio postcard.
  • If everyone in your industry offers webinars, create live events instead.
  • If everyone in your industry sells to homeowners, sell to commercial building owners, apartment renters or vacation home owners.

…and the list goes on and on! There are a million big Zigs and small Zigs you can do.

You cannot stand out from the crowd by following the crowd. W. Chan Kim writes in Blue Ocean Strategy, “Companies try to outperform their rivals to grab a greater share of the existing demand. As the market space gets crowded, prospects for profits and growth are reduced.”

So instead of trying to compete in a crowded marketplace, find an untapped marketplace by going after an entirely new set of customers or offering a unique blend of products and services that rise you head and shoulders above your competition.

Not Creative? Ha! Impossible!

Ah, but what if the reason you don’t Zig is because you can’t come up with creative ideas? Well, stop trying to do it on your own! Join a mastermind group, brainstorm with friends, hire a mentor. We are all creative beings, solving dozens of problems a day in creative ways.

If you need a kick-start to come up with creative Zigs, find others who will spark your ingenuity. (Hint, hint: Come to the Compass Workshop in November, where you’ll be surrounded by biz owners who are creatively reinventing their business, too. Talk about a Brainstorming Bonanza!)

Don’t Know How?

There’s nothing you can’t learn how to do.

If your excuse for not zigging is because you don’t know how to implement your creative idea, you’ll sabotage your success for sure. Find a book, take a class, talk to colleagues, interview an expert, hire someone who knows how to do it – find a way to learn what you need to learn in order to implement your Zig Idea.

Whatever you do, set your own rules for the game. Don’t let others define what your business looks like.

Karyn Greenstreet is a Self Employment expert and small business coach. She shares tips, techniques and strategies with self-employed people to boost clarity and focus, create sustainable motivation, and increase sales and profits.

© Copyright 2010 Karyn Greenstreet
3 comments on “Stop Copying Everyone Else’s Business Model!
  1. CathyP says:

    So true Karyn – gotta differentiate to get ahead!
    But there’s another dynamic to copying someone else’s model and it often comes over as kinda phoney – I see it all the time with internet business in particular. Sure you can make some money but can you sustain it?

  2. Karyn Greenstreet says:

    So true, Cathy. We copy someone else’s business model because we’re told it works. But it works for *them* — there’s no guarantee it will work for us or that it will mirror our values and our goals.

    There are so many business model and marketing models IDEAS to choose from, but you’ve got to mix and match them to fit YOU.

    Even better, generate NEW ideas, ones that have never existed in the world before. In this way, we can stand out from the herd. It doesn’t have to be a game-changing idea like when Apple brought out the iPod plus iTunes. Even small ideas, knit together by intelligence, courage and a desire to serve your customers, can make all the difference in the world.


  3. Bonnie says:

    It is so true! People want to base their plan on something they ‘know’ will work but markets become overwhelmed and so used to the same sales pitch that it no longer is interesting.
    While I think as a ‘newbie’ as a start up I was grateful to have other models look at to start with, I am also happy to have had a group of people who were very supportive of my own ideas because it can really be scary to do something no one else is really doing. That is why your point about being part of a mastermind group is so vital!
    Keep well,

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