In a previous post, we talked about the importance of diversifying your business and the benefits that it can have toward your success. This time, we’ll talk more about developing an initial idea for a business.

You’ve probably heard it said before, that they key to a successful business is usually in the form of one of two ideas. The first is for your business to do something that other businesses are already doing but doing it in a different or better way. The second is for your business to do something completely different, something new, that nobody else is really doing (or perhaps just nobody in that particular area).

When you are doing something that others are already doing, in order to succeed, you probably need some kind of differentiator to make your business stand out. Maybe you will provide better customer service, maybe your business has greater expertise in the area than competitors, or maybe you are just in a more convenient location than the rest. There are benefits to this approach though too. By doing something others are doing, you know that there are customers out there, you know that it is possible to succeed. Basically, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

If you are doing something different, that nobody else is doing, it can be even riskier endeavor. Sometimes there’s a reason that nobody else has done it. Perhaps others have tried and failed, maybe there are legal or regulatory challenges in the way, or it could just be a concept that won’t generate enough customers to survive. However, by doing something new, it may be easier to attract customers, since you don’t have any direct competitors (for now—remember if your business is successful, it is only a matter of time before others try to jump in and compete).

Either route toward success will be challenging, but can be very rewarding.

It can seem hard to come up with that great business idea, something that nobody else is doing, or coming up with that critical differentiator to make your business do what others do, so much better than the competition. Sometimes you may be able to find a way to get some of the benefits of both approaches.

For example, you may consider combining two things that people already do and like to form a sort-of new, hybrid business. This can go hand in hand with that idea of diversifying your business that we have discussed before. With this approach, you can attract traditional customers of either business, as well as bring in new customers as a result of this new business concept. You also aren’t tasked with coming up with a completely new idea or way of necessarily being better than all the competition of the individual businesses. This could help you capture some of the benefits of either approach to coming up with a good business idea.

The current age of technology and rapid changes taking place in the economy are opening up all kinds of opportunities that would not have existed or been considered 5 or even 10 years ago. People seem to be more willing to try new things now than ever before, so this can open up the door for small businesses and entrepreneurs to find new and creative ways to bring new value or consolidate the value provided by other businesses in a new and exciting way. Another aspect of this is that this fast-paced change can also make it even more difficult to predict how successful a business will be. Moreover, this could make it nearly impossible to project the successfulness of a business over the long-term.

With whatever idea you come up with or consider, you should be sure to speak with experienced professionals and advisers before getting started. This way you can be more aware of the potential risks and know what challenges you will face with starting a business.

If you’re thinking about making that leap to start your own business, do not hesitate to reach out for legal help and guidance from the Law Office of E.C. Lewis, PC, home of your Denver Business Attorney, Elizabeth Lewis, at 720-258-6647 or email her at