Should You Copy Success Stories?
There is no universal success strategy in business. Every company is different and each has a unique path to tread. This doesn’t mean, however, that there is no reason for an owner of a business to learn from the experience of others. A smart business strategy is half borrowed ideas and their thoughtful interpretation.
Drawing inspiration from others’ accomplishments might be a great starting point. After all, inventing a completely new design or project is most often a pipedream. Moreover, throughout human history, it’s been proven multiple times that the best inventions come as the result of creative rethinking of previously existing solutions. Thomas Edison’s gramophone and light bulb, Henry Ford’s automobile and assembly line, Bill Gates’ operating system, Steve Jobs’ smartphone – all stood on the shoulders of countless scientists and engineers and their prior work.
Properly scoop solutions from the pool of ideas
With that in mind, where is the borderline between developing existing solutions and downright stealing them? Well, it’s quite obvious. If you adjust an idea to fit into your business environment, you are legitimately developing it. If you are trying to apply the idea without your environment in mind, you have no actual understanding of why it was successful in the first place. In the latter case you’re not adding any value to the idea, basically pillaging it.
Let’s take Facebook to show what a creative interpretation of a strategy would look like. Facebook’s director of international growth, Meenal Balar, once shared that their main tasks towards reaching the global goal of increasing user acquisition were:
- Knowing their customer base
- Making their product easy to find and use
- Keep testing new ideas and learning the customers
- Focusing on customer retention
This is a template that would work great for any user-oriented company, thus most businesses can utilize it successfully as well. However, the devil is in the details, as always. For example, if you work in a well-developed industry with a lot of similar products, there is no point in trying to increase your customer coverage – it’s more or less static. Instead, you might want to target the part of your customer base that knows about you but doesn’t use your product, rather than the customers who have never heard of your product before (and who were the main priority of Balar’s team).
Or, let’s say you are selling high quality furniture. This is an example of an industry where most customers will only buy from you once. Either they’re happy with their new bed and will use it for years, or they are not happy with it and will not buy from you again. Thus, such a business does not depend on customer retention as much as Facebook does, and will rather focus on customer attraction.
New is an elaborate old
To sum up, most businesses that are trying to innovate for the sake of innovation fail. Whereas, businesses that take an old design and come up with an idea on how to improve it – succeed. If you’re having difficulties developing a strategy for your business, go read some success stories. Draw inspiration from them, think about how you can use their experience for your case. Then grab your Roadmap Planner and start treading a path to your personal success story!