352: Don’t try to reinvent the wheel with entrepreneurship

I was invited to judge an entrepreneurial pitch competition at the University of Georgia here in Athens recently, which was a fun experience where we ultimately got to award five thousand dollars to the winning business, but it had me thinking nonstop about the new idea phenomenon. New entrepreneurs are constantly trying to be too different, too outlandish, and trying to revolutionize something. Sure you can hit it big with this, raise venture capital, and become really wealthy doing it, but it’s expensive, the odds of success are low, and it’s really risky.

The wealthiest people I know don’t try to reinvent the wheel, they carve out their piece of the pie by doing things just a bit better in a proven environment. I have a friend who runs a staffing agency specializing in connecting college students with companies that need part-time workers, and he’s complicating things by trying to develop software to add to the service, but he already has his edge by providing higher quality employees than the other companies in town. Instead of complicating his business, he should focus on leveraging his competitive edge to carve out his piece of the pie.

Revolutionary ideas need a lot of skill, a lot of money, and a lot of luck to succeed. The rewards are high, but we already see a lot of bad businesses making really good money. Some of them suck at sales, some suck at recruiting, marketing, or SEO. Maybe they run their businesses like it’s the 1980’s. Yet they still make really good money! Try to do a couple of things better than them; be better at marketing, provide better service, or be better at SEO. Instead of trying to be the Uber of lawn care, just provide the best customer experience of any lawn care company in town.

This doesn’t mean you won’t innovate or make changes long-term, you’ll be amazed at how different your business will be after running it for five years. Get the core money-making service up and running right now and you can innovate and change over time. Look at the list of businesses I love where competition is weak, the market is growing, and you can start your business without a lot of money, risk, or experience.

There are a lot of bad businesses out there right now making good money. So don’t stress yourself by reinventing the wheel, instead, listen to this episode to get ideas to start your business!

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About Me

I started the Sweaty Startup in December of 2018 because I believe the Shark Tank and Tech Crunch culture is ruining the real spirit of low-risk entrepreneurship.