Use What You Have

I think that it was Peter Drucker who said that 80% of your business is going to be exactly like other businesses. He admonishes business owners that we should focus only on 20% of our business that is different and offers value that someone else can’t. The rest of the business model should borrow and reuse what others have already done.

It is 20% of your business that is different from others that will give you the biggest impact. This twist on the Pareto principle reminds us that you don’t have to reinvent everything with your new business model. Uber didn’t introduce people to the need that they have to get around – they just found a way to make the problem less painful.

Airbnb isn’t the first company where you can rent a room while you are on vacation. 80% of what hotels and Airbnb do are the same thing. They both rent places to stay for travellers. But the 20% that is different makes the experience for the customers completely different.

Think about the way that your business or project is different from others. Work on the 20% that is different. For the 80% that overlaps with other companies, just copy them. Focus on the companies who do your 80% of common tasks well and duplicate what you can. Then innovate on the 20%, which is unique to yourself. Your 20% will be what makes your business special and unique.

Every aspect of your business model doesn’t have to be completely innovative and new. Copy what works and add your special sauce on top to make your business or project unique.