Joshua Conran is the Managing Partner at Deksia.View all articles written by this author
Innovation isn’t always about reinventing the wheel.
While new apps and gadgets seem to get all the hype, the best business ideas are often just a fresh take on an existing business model. With a strong brand image and a convenient service, businesses can find success even in a crowded marketplace.
In this article, Joshua discusses why the best business ideas are often the simple ones, and provides examples of game-changing ideas that entrepreneurs can learn from when contemplating their next steps.
Great business ideas are popping up everywhere these days, and innovation is the name of the game. My colleague Jon Tota and I talked recently about some businesses we both admire, but they probably aren’t the ones you’d expect.
These aren’t sleek new apps, the latest social platforms or amazing software products. These standout ideas are just fresh takes on existing business models, but they illustrate important lessons any entrepreneur can learn from.
When the two founders of the popular podcast Invisible Office Hours wanted to fund their second season, they had to get creative. So they packaged existing content with discounted service offerings from partners into the Bundle of Awesomeness. To create a sense of urgency, they used a purchase order to determine the price of the bundle. The first buyer got the package for just $1, with the pricing increasing $1 for each buyer. They sold the bundle 233 times in the first 48 hours, and ended up raising an unbelievable $26,680. Invisible Office Hours didn’t have to offer a game-changing product or service; the founders made money just by trying an innovative pricing structure.
As concerns about the potential loss of cognitive abilities increase for baby boomers, more and more companies are developing cognitive training software and “train your brain” games. Escape Chambers offers a non-digital alternative to brain games: rooms filled with puzzles, riddles, and clues designed to challenge participants in a fun, community-based experience. Its success shows that people are eager to get out from behind their screens and test their mental limits.
Seattle master barber Twain Taylor decided to take his show on the road last year–literally. He created the LuxuryMobileBarbershop to serve clients at their homes out of a shiny Mercedes. Taylor’s business appeals to working men who don’t have the time or desire to visit a salon, and his flexibility in accepting same-day appointments means he can respond quickly to sudden impulses or desperate situations.
A few months ago, 16 design brands pulled together to offer the Pay It Forward Bundle–an incredible package of top-shelf design assets and services worth $4,500. Users could pay any amount they chose, and all proceeds went to support Watsi, a global funding platform for healthcare. Users purchased more than 18,000 bundles and donated more than $145,000 for patients in need.
While it’s not a new company, Graze‘s customizable snack boxes have been sparking conversation around our office lately. It’s fun to watch my co-workers trade snacks like grade school kids, and it’s not just us. The company experienced huge growth last year, adding more than 200,000 subscribers.
While disruptive tech companies garner a lot of media attention, there’s a lot you can learn from these standouts:
• Don’t worry about reinventing the wheel. These companies aren’t industry disruptors, but they’ve thrived by putting a new spin on an existing business model.
• Make it easy for consumers. These businesses all provide amazing value by making their services super easy to use. Customers need to know you value their time as much as they do.
• Create a strong brand image. You don’t have to spend a ton of money on branding, but some intelligent marketing can go a long way toward getting your idea off the ground.
• Tell a story. Consumers want to be a part of something fun, interesting, or meaningful that they can share with their friends, so create a memorable story to help them spread your message.
If these companies have one thing to teach entrepreneurs, it’s that you don’t have to build a game-changing product or service to succeed. You just need a model that’s fun and easy for customers and a clear brand story they can tell their friends. In business, it’s often the simplest ideas that make the biggest waves.