Are You Improving and Disrupting, or Are You Just a Copycat?

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Oroiginal or copy

I get it – coming up with a great new idea for an affiliate site or a blog is hard. Business ideas are like melodies – they’ve all been done before in some shape or form.

That’s why, if we look closely at products and services we love, we find that they are a lot like other products and services we knew before… the ones we love are just better or different. That’s because the entrepreneurs behind them saw an opportunity to disrupt or improve upon an existing idea.

Disruption

Disruption is a popular term in the tech and entrepreneurial world. It is basically the process of taking a concept, turning it on it’s head and building from a whole new perspective.

Amazon is a great example of disruption. Shopping for products is not a new concept at all. Shopping on Amazon is a lot like going to a giant mall… but without the drive, the parking, the crowds, the fact that I can never find the right size or color and all the time it takes to walk from store to store to find what I’m looking for.

The iPod is another prime example. Apple took something we love – music – and removed all of the pain points of storing and finding songs and taking them with us wherever we go.

Improvement

Sometimes, just improving an existing concept is a huge new business idea. Sliced bread, color televisions, portable computers… they are all “better mousetraps”.

When It’s Just Copycatting

Even if you can’t come up with an idea that hasn’t been done before, you can approach it from a different angle or you can figure out how to do it better. Several of the most popular, successful brands today came from disruption and improvement. Knowing this is true, I’m completely blown away when I hear affiliates and entrepreneurs say that they are going to build a site or a business “just like so-and-so”.

We talk to at least one person each week who says something like, “I want to build a site just like insert-well-known-retail-coupon-site-here. I am having a designer build my site to look just like theirs – now I just need coupons. Does your feed have all of the same coupons they have on their site?”

Ugh.

Copycatting Guarantees Failure

So, there’s a site out there that millions of people have heard of, thousands have used and at least hundreds are loyal to. And, you’re going to come out with the exact same thing? Well, except, of course, for the millions that have not heard of your site, the thousands that have not used it and the zero loyal fans you have.

You see where this is going… why would somebody choose your site over the one you’ve copied? They won’t. You may fool a few people for a while, but most will spot your copy and you’ll have a hard time building the level of loyalty you need to sustain your business.

Still think you can do it? Then I sure hope you know a good lawyer. If your copycat attempt gains any type of critical mass, you can be sure you’ll be looking at a lawsuit from the business you copied.

Get Original

Why invest your time and money into something that’s guaranteed to fail? Take a look at that business you want to copy and figure out how you can make something better through disruption or improvement.

What are they missing? What could they be doing better? How could they deliver information, build loyalty or reach a target market in a way that nobody else doing yet?

Answer those questions and do that. Build your business and your brand.

Remember, the business you want to copy was once a small idea that someone took the time to build. That is the only way to build a successful business – one that someone else may want to copy some day 😉.