Being first is not always best

I’m getting a little bit sick (and when I say a little bit, I really mean a whole lotta sick) of hearing about people’s brilliant and innovative business ideas.  Not only do business ideas have little value, but guess what folks?  Being the first to do something in a market sucks.  And you know why?  Because you have to educate consumers and that is expensive.

Let’s face it, a lot of consumers aren’t the sharpest crayons in the box.  Educating them about a new product or service takes, effort, time and a boatload of cash.  In fact, sometimes the better strategy is to be a second or third mover in a space- let someone else spend the Benjamins to educate the public. Then, you can figure out how to do it smarter, faster or better.

Take Google for example.  Search engines have been around for 15+ years, if you can believe it.  Names like Open Text, Magellan, Infoseek and Snap came about before Google and are all now dead.  There are a whole host of others that “re-invented themselves” that trail Google by light-years.  Google capitalized on the fact that these first-movers educated the market.  They took note of what these companies were doing well, what they weren’t doing well and then created a superior offering.  And that’s why Google dominates web search, even though they didn’t create the idea of search or were anywhere near the first to market.

So, don’t worry so much about having a unique business idea- spend your brainpower on finding a unique (or at least better) way to execute the business.