Is a Completely Original Idea Bad?

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I’m sorry to say that a truly original idea is very difficult to come by. The Good Book says that, “there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:19)”–yes, it’s important to cite your sources—and by and large, it’s fairly true.

But what if you had one? It does happen from time to time. The issue I’ve had with my few original thoughts is that I usually defeat them before I get motivated to try them. My logic is, “if it was a good idea, somebody would already be doing it. Nobody else is doing this, so there must be something that makes it impractical.” Sound familiar at all?

Well, I’m hoping to refute that, for my sake and yours. If nobody else is doing it then they most likely haven’t thought if it yet, or more hilariously, did, and had the same thought as above. But I also want to cover a couple of the things that you may not think about when you’re considering whether a product or a service is feasible.

Firstly, your product or service is only part of the equation. You can’t start a business installing mercury reflecting ponds anymore, but there is also marketing and distribution to worry about. Think about the issues you will have with transportation, which is often the limiting factor in selling anything. You could have a fruit that is, hands down, the most delicious thing in the world, but if it spoils 5 minutes after being picked, then it won’t do you any good. The same goes for services—you can’t work nationally or internationally as a plumber, and you can’t always make sales calls in person.

The other side of it is marketing. If you truly have an original idea then it is going to be a little difficult to convince people that what you’re selling is legitimate; unless it has it’s own appeal, but if that’s the case then you shouldn’t be worrying about this so much. The other side, is how similar is your idea to an existing product. Say you’re trying to sell a revolutionary new television remote—there are a lot of big name businesses that will either try to buy you out or, barring that, simply block your access to the market.

My advice then? If you have a truly original idea then start small. Get your patents and or trademarks to protect yourself from coattail riders and get to work. If you can get one person to pay for your product, then you can be reasonably assured that it has appeal and that you can market it to to a broader audience. You can worry about big industry players trying to block you when you’re successful. As long as you have the logistics figured out and have people that are ready to give you money, you are in the clear.

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