In the entrepreneurial world, it seems that many people focus their time and resources on trying to develop a brand new idea — something that completely disrupts the marketplace, something that nobody else has ever thought of before.
While these ideas can lead to some incredible results, there’s no denying that they also involve a lot of money — and a lot of risk. What if there isn’t a market for this revolutionary idea? What if you don’t have the capital to get off the launchpad?
The good news is that you don’t need to try to completely reinvent things. Quite the opposite, in fact — a surprising number of companies have found that the best way to achieve market success is to piggyback on a successful business idea.
Here are two key examples of how you can piggyback successful business ideas to build your own booming brand.
Similar idea, new look
One of the best ways to piggyback on successful business ideas is to take something that has worked for another industry and apply it to your own niche. Take Fender.Cars, for example, which took the principles of online dating and Tinder and applied it to car shopping.
On the surface level, you might not think that car shopping and online dating have much in common. However, Adam Sharp, the founder of Fender.Cars, recognized that many of the principles involved were similar. Car buyers are looking for accurate, condense information to help them decide if a car might be a good fit. They want to see photos so they can get an idea of what the car looks like.
Does any of this sound like dating?
Tinder and other dating apps make it easy to connect and make a decision — just swipe left or right! But as Sharp noted, getting information about vehicles wasn’t nearly so simple. Car buyers often had to fill out complex forms or navigate confusing sites to get basic facts. Recognizing the ease with which Tinder allowed individuals to make dating decisions, Sharp applied the same principles to create a similar app for car browsing.
Users were already familiar with the “swipe right” style and the quick display of relevant information, and as a result, the app took off quickly. By taking the basic principles behind Tinder and other online dating tools, Sharp was able to create a successful app for his own niche.
Another common method of piggybacking on others’ business ideas is to find ways to add value to a pre-existing service. In fact, many industry disruptors actually depend on derivative, piggybacking companies to make their own service run more smoothly.
A great example of this are the piggybacking businesses that popped up as a result of Airbnb’s success. The sharing economy model helped revolutionize the hotel industry, but it also generated its fair share of challenges.
One of the top challenges that came from Airbnb’s rise was a need for property management services — companies that could streamline the many ins and outs of managing a rental property (such as booking, price setting, and guest communications). As a result, startups such as Guesty and Pillow sprang into place to offer these very services.
By helping ease some of the challenges created by disruptive business ideas, piggybacking startups are often able to become major players in a new field. Best of all, the successful businesses that inspired these derivative companies tend to welcome their presence — adding value to a partner service ultimately increases profitability for everyone involved.
It’s also worth noting that most of the successful piggybacking companies don’t hinge their success or failure on the lasting of a single disruptive brand. For example, Guesty integrates with HomeAway, VRBO, and other apps in addition to Airbnb. This ensures that you don’t run the risk of creating something completely dependent on another platform, which could cause serious problems in the long run.
So what’s your big idea?
As these examples illustrate, you don’t need to have a completely earth-shattering idea to launch your own booming business. The reality is that successful businesses and disruptive startups have already done much of the work for you in finding the ideas that truly work.
By offering your own twist on a successful business model or creating a supplemental service that adds value to a disruptive industry, you’ll be able to position yourself for lasting market success.
This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author's own and not necessarily shared by TNW.