Stop Copying Everyone Else’s Business Model!

Posted by on Jan 06 2014

When I looked at my business transformations over the past five years, I quickly came to one daring insight: when I tried to copy other people’s business model, I got mediocre results. When I stepped outside of my own comfort zone (as well as what my industry says businesses “should” look like) and created my own business model, business soared!

Tom Volkar says, “Herd mentality works best for the lead bull. If you base your decisions on what others are doing then at best you’ll create a poor imitation of what has worked well for them.”

Transform Your Business by Zigging

You’ve got to be willing to zig when everyone else in your industry zags. What does this mean in practical terms?

  • If everyone in your industry sells their service by the hour, sell your service in a monthly package.
  • If everyone in your industry has a membership site, create a pay-per-use system instead.
  • If everyone in your industry has an email newsletter, offer a weekly audio postcard.
  • If everyone in your industry offers webinars, create live events instead.
  • If everyone in your industry sells to homeowners, sell to commercial building owners, apartment renters or vacation home owners.
  • If everyone in your industry competes on price, change your model to compete on quality or speed of service.

…and the list goes on and on! There are a million big Zigs and small Zigs you can do.

You cannot stand out from the crowd by following the crowd. W. Chan Kim writes in Blue Ocean Strategy, “Companies try to outperform their rivals to grab a greater share of the existing demand. As the market space gets crowded, prospects for profits and growth are reduced.”

So instead of trying to compete in a crowded marketplace, find an untapped marketplace by going after an entirely new set of customers or offering a unique blend of products and services that rise you head and shoulders above your competition.

Not Creative? Ha! Impossible!

Ah, but what if the reason you don’t Zig is because you can’t come up with creative ideas? Well, stop trying to do it on your own! Join a mastermind group, brainstorm with friends, hire a mentor. We are all creative beings, solving dozens of problems a day in creative ways.

If you need a kick-start to come up with creative Zigs, find others who will spark your ingenuity. Find a mastermind group or accountability partner that will help you brainstorm ideas.

Don’t Know How?

There’s nothing you can’t learn how to do.

If your excuse for not zigging is because you don’t know how to implement your creative idea, you’ll sabotage your success for sure. Find a book (like Blue Ocean Strategy or Positioning or Seizing The White Space), take a class, talk to colleagues, interview an expert, hire someone who knows how to do it — find a way to learn what you need to learn in order to implement your Zig Idea.

Whatever you do, set your own rules for the game. Don’t let others define what your business looks like.

Want to learn more about how to rethink and transform your business? Read my other blog posts on rethinking your business.


5 comments for now

5 Responses to “Stop Copying Everyone Else’s Business Model!”

  1. What a bold and incisive philosophy! Absolutely LOVE the way you tapped directly into the heart of the “problem” and offered amazing solutions. Thanks for challenging everyone to think totally outside the box.

    04 May 2011 at 7:58 am

  2. Definitely zig when others are zagging! There are so many companies out there now a days doing the same thing (especially in the virtual pbx industry), it’s hard to know which business is the best choice for you and your company. People will look at what makes you different, so make sure to differentiate yourself and not just follow the crowd! Great post Karyn, thanks!

    06 May 2011 at 10:18 am

  3. Karyn Greenstreet

    Glad you liked it, Allison. Keep zigging! 🙂

    06 May 2011 at 5:26 pm

  4. Karyn, This was something that I needed to hear.

    The beauty of doing things the way that we see them unfolding, is that we can stick to OUR plan and not just some “canned” or “this used to work 50 years ago” nonsense, that doesn’t align with what we desire to bring forth in the world.

    Thanks for bringing it up, and for taking this great idea forward into our heads, so we can move forward assured of our own authenticity.

    08 Jan 2014 at 8:13 am

  5. Karyn Greenstreet

    Hi, Rick,

    I think we can look at other people’s business models for inspiration, but to follow someone else’s model blindly (“because it worked for them”) defeats the whole point of business planning, strategic thinking, and creating a unique brand. And you’re right…what worked 50 years ago as a business model isn’t going to work today. In fact, if your business is over 5 years old, your OWN business model may not be working for you today unless you’ve tweaked it along the way.

    If we remain flexible and allow our businesses to “grow up” over time, our model will always be relevant.

    08 Jan 2014 at 8:40 am

Category: Business Strategy & Planning, Rethinking Your Business, Start and Run a Mastermind Group
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