How do you know if your startup idea already exists?
How do you know if your startup idea already exists? And does that matter, because what if you can do it bigger and better? Thanks in advance for your input!
Whitney -- it's actually good if someone else is working in the same space. It means you've identified a problem that needs a solution. "Bigger" and "better" aren't necessarily what it takes to succeed. Sometimes, smaller --- more focused on a particular niche -- can be a way to stand out. And what's "better"? Know who your audience is, and do the best you can for them. Of course, it's important to know what others are doing -- keep abreast of news in your sector. But, if you think you've got something of value, go for it!
It is always best to assume that it does. I've heard too many angels break out laughing when they hear the typical "no one is doing what we're doing." They take that as naïve and respond that "then you haven't done a proper job on your market analysis."
It's a big world out there and there are very few original and distinct ideas. Find out who is doing what your doing and determine how you're going to differentiate yourself or what niche you want to serve.
For a small operator it's often better to be #2 than #1. Let the big well-capitalized disruptor bull a way through the underbrush. See how they do, make improvements, and follow in their pathway.
It is often said that the best entrepreneurial strategy is to go all out in a new technology market and establish an unassailable monopoly position. This may be true for a few very well-funded start ups, but if you don't have $100 mil in venture capital, this is not your path.
Even major industry dominating disruptors like Facebook and Apple were not the first in their industries. Apple makes a conscious choice to let many others go first, then come out with something better that sets the standard for all who come after.
On the other hand, don't sit around agonizing about it. You have a window of opportunity, and you'd better get through it before it slams shut.
Hi Whitney ~
With the Internet, it's a lot easier to answer this Q than it would have been a few decades ago! You can do a search on all relevant terms for your business idea and see what you uncover; you can even type various URLs directly into a search engine to see if there is a business by that name. [As an aside, if you have a business name idea, it's a good idea to register the domain ASAP. I've been surprised by how many unusual name combinations are taken ~ even with made-up words!]
If you have a local business in mind — e.g., a storefront-type company that requires a physical location — you can also check to see what businesses in this field have registered for business licenses in your area.
To address your larger question: you seem to be answering it yourself :-) Like snowflakes and people, no two businesses are exactly the same. If you have a grand idea and know you can do it bigger and better than what already exists, take that moxie and go for it!
All the very best,
If you can't find any traces in the normal "internet" places, you might try going "local" via college "incubators" etc. and see if there's action in your area of interest.
In any case, if you can't create a specific "patent" advantage, the best you will ever do is get to market faster and create some specific differentiation.
If the idea exists, then how can you make it better? Sometimes it's about learning from someone else's mistakes. It might make your route to success quicker
Lots of good advise below, but I would add one further thought: Many of the people whom we were taught at school who discovered or invented things were often not in fact the first person to do so. Scientific progress often meant that inventions were made by a number of people around the same time. It was the people who also had the best business or marketing models who made the history books.
You can search the internet with a number of variations of your idea. If it is a consumer product you can go shopping at the retailers who would be your target customers.
No having a "better mousetrap" is not a bad thing as long as you really have one. This actually makes potential acceptance easier. Good luck.
The simple way to find out if others have implimented your idea is to google it. If you can find exact or variations of what your start up is about, study them and learn from them. If you can't find anything, it doesn't mean they are not out there. It could mean they have not started marketing it yet.
There's an old saying that goes, "a mediocre product or service with a great sales and marketing strategy is better than a great product or service with a mediocre sales and marketing strategy. The question is not whether or not there are others who have come before you. The question is, what will you bring to the party that is unique, different and is the solution for someone's problem. Sometimes, having one or two businesses pave the way is not a bad thing. The collective marketing and exposure will help everyone be more visible to the intended customer.
There is no better way to test your idea than to seek funding. Get up the courage to tell many people to back it with money. If it sounds familiar they will definitely cue you in that it's not a unique business, you've planned. Go into the sharpest of places if you have to. The best way to know you're on the right track is that you really believe in your idea and the best way to know you really believe in it is to put yourself up all the time!
It matters because you need to know what your potential competition does. Apart from anything else, you might then avoid their mistakes and spot what you can do better. If you can identify their customers, you might consider researching them to see what they like about the offer from your competitor and how you might improve it.
You don't need to be first in the market to be successful - Apple and Samsung weren't the first to market with mobile phones...
Well Whitney sometimes you won't know for sure, but if you feel strongly about you idea pursue it to the best of your ability. Like you said what if you do succeed in making is bigger and better. Life is full of challenges and obstacles and you are the only one that can decide on your future. Hope this help please feel free to contact me for more information or a broader discussion.
The key answer is research.
Research your target audience, do interviews or surveys (or even field observation if that makes sense).
Always research everything you do not know 110%.
IF you can do it better (bigger is absolutely not always better and thinking so can and often will lead to failure) it does not matter to much if the idea already exists.
Seems like it's safe to assume every startup idea already exists. Always assume that there are people at least thinking about the idea. The hard part is to execute against the idea.
I hear most people try to figure out how their offering will be different by providing more value to customers (compared to potential competitors).
More value could be "better", "faster", "lower price"...expressed by your customers (not by entrepreneurs / marketeers building the product / service).
Once you have a fairly good concept for how you'll be different, it's down to the execution part. This is where most people seem to give up on their ideas (too hard / too costly / someone will copy me / it will take too long / I don't think anyone will buy / too dangerous to give up my job...).
I'm guessing if you take 100 people with great ideas, only one person will continue to the execution part. The good thing is that your competition will mostly eliminate themselves.
Another hard thing to work past is that your idea might not be that great as a scalable business. If you can sell one product, will it be possible to fairly easily sell 100 or even 1,000? Prepare to be able to make changes down the road if you plan to become truly scalable.
As an employee, we can expect having 9 successes and 1 challenge at any given time. When executing against your idea and becoming an entrepreneur, expect to see 9 challenges and 1 success at any time. Your strong vision and resilience will come in handy.
Ability to execution and resilience seem to be more important than our original ideas!
Here are my 2 cents. Unless you're working on something thats cutting edge it's highly unlikely that your idea doesn't already exist, or that someone hasn't already tried it. If you can't find someone in the market with your idea it's usually for a good reason. A few reasons would be:
1. It's too expensive (first in market face this hurdle)
2. It's not new, it (your idea) has failed already in the market
3. Good ideas don't validate a business
You should do some research and subscribe to newsletters from Angel List, Techcrunch, Startup Weekend, and Product Hunt. These will introduce you to the startup network and you'll learn a lot.
In my experience, there is always something out there that models the idea you may have. Even though this may be true for you, it is very important that you take time to learn about the various aspects or components to your idea so that you can identify how your concept can become unique. Lastly, it may serve you well to have some kind of involvement with the business or person that you share similar ideas with to observe how they are developing their concept and learn the pros and cons of it as well. For more information, please feel free to contact me to further discuss.
Take a look at the information held on patented matters by the Intellectual Property Office.
If the start up idea is already exist then it would be easy to go ahead with then it will be easy to follow up on things that needs attention. Once there is a start up you could make it better even if it is bigger and better.
Google a wide combination of associated words. Log on to TechCrunch which has a very large list of startups. And read the advice of the others below.