Don't Be Afraid to Reinvent the Wheel
When you're first going to the drawing board and thinking of a new startup idea, or even coming up with a product pivot, it's really easy to get scared.
All it takes is a couple of searches online to probably hear of a new startup doing something similar; or a big corporation that wants to create a bigger, badder, and faster product or service than what you want to offer.
You're constantly going out and looking for ways to differentiate yourself from potential competitors. What I will say to you is simple: don't be scared to reinvent the wheel.
Our society is almost made to believe that everything is already set and there's no room for innovation. Well, without entrepreneurs coming up with new ideas, or bettering previous processes, the world would be just be stuck (and boring).
So remember, it's not who did it first, it's about who does it the best. And if you're fortunate to become an industry leader, you'll get to a point where you'll have to reinvent yourself so competitors don't catch up to you.
Here are three things to keep in mind.
1. Adopt a David vs. Goliath mindset
Take the leap! Sometimes, you just have to wing it and take a risk to see if your product is worthy in competing in the market. You'll never know unless you try.
It's very easy to lose focus when you feel you have odds stacked against you, and competition will ALWAYS be there, so might as well just do it.
Being in a startup environment (or releasing a new product) should always have you in a "David vs. Goliath" mindset. Your back will always be against the wall, it'll never be perfect, and please don't ever expect an overnight success story the day that you launch.It'll be a long dreadful process, and that's why it's important to have good leadership, a stellar team and good company core values.
If you need a starter kit for core values of a new company, it should goes as follow:
- Create a f*cking awesome team
- Create a great (useful) product
- Make your customers love you
- Be so awesome that you're competition respects you
If you complete those tasks and make them the mindset around your new idea, you're sure to succeed. Even if you fail a couple of times -- which I'll get into later.
Also, I threw the last point about competition respecting you in there because we've had competitors log on to our platform just to leave hate mail on our support e-mail and we've treated them so nice that they respected our maturity at the end of it. We've also had a couple of competitors e-mail us just to congratulate us on our success, or even just to use a blog/infographic that they loved from our page.
Remember, everyone's just trying to make an awesome product. So create that layer of respect between you and competitors, and make sure that they love you guys. Who knows, you might merge with them in the future! Never forget the Golden Rules of reciprocity or the Golden Rules of entrepreneurship.
2. Create a game-changing, disgustingly disruptive product
If you're going to re-do something, make sure you're going to make it the baddest (like good bad) thing that you can possible conceptualize.
When Elon Musk created the first Tesla, he didn't say, "Man, I'm going to build a better car, by doing the same thing that's been done before and touch it up a bit it." He literally created a new type of car from the ground up and create a disruptive product. Now all electric cars follow the Tesla format. To quote a smart creative:
The mark of greatness is when everything before you is obsolete, and everything after you bears your mark. -- Dave Chappelle
Perhaps the Tesla example might be too soon, as the company hasn't reached its peak (It will, though!). If you want another example of a disruptive product, look at your smart phone.Before the Iphone, we had flip phones that's most advanced feature was T9 text and snake (although I miss snake sometimes), there were a couple of "disruptors" -- Sidekicks, Razr's, BlackBerry, then Apple announced its and it changed the way communication devices were made for the next 7-plus years. As now nearly all cell phones are touch screen, have apps, and more power than a 1960s spaceship. And it also made Apple one of the most profitable companies, ever.
3. Learn from failure
I tried to save the best for last. When it comes to your company, protect it, it's your baby, it's a culmination of you and your team's ideas, hard work, and vision.You're going to fail over and over and over again, but always remember that your team's attitude will determine where you'll go.
If you research some of the world's biggest startups, you'll see that they had to go through plenty of pivots, before they finally got their product right.
Personally, my team and I have failed several times. We know what it's like be on the brink of calling it quits, but we just kept on persevering. And now, it's safe to say that we've disrupted the way employee surveys are done, now we just have to keep "reinventing our own wheel" and creating more cool stuff on top of it.
So if you're going to reinvent the wheel, be ready for a lot of naysayers and down times, but be sure to enjoy the wins, no matter how big or small it might be.Remember: Success is never a straight line, it's a horrible, mischievous, roller coaster that will test your patience, will, and even your mental well-being.
If you're going to create something that's similar to what's been done before, don't be scared to fail and look for other ways of doing it. Don't ever lose focus and just keep trying.
So fellow entrepreneurs, don't be scared to reinvent the wheel. You never know if your product can be the next big thing.
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