What is the secret to success? Businesswoman Ivanka Trump says it’s about knowing how to delegate; singer Bonnie Raitt, says it’s about pacing yourself, and Richard Wiseman, psych professor at the University of Hertfordshire, says it’s about faking it ‘til you make it.
But one particularly valuable success secret was shared by Peter Thiel, when he asked: "What are you doing that nobody else is doing?"
The Uniqueness of a Great Idea
Thiel, a billionaire entrepreneur and venture capitalist, makes a good point by suggesting that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to success – one person’s strategy is not necessarily right for another. The only common denominator of successful businesses is that they offer something different; they solve a problem that no one else is solving.
But that’s often easier said than done…
Developing your Distinct Idea
People come up with ideas all the time. But how do you find one that’s never been done before? Follow these three steps to come up with your great idea:
Look at What’s Bugging You
David Cohen, Founder and CEO of TechStars, reckons that distinct ideas solve problems. And the solutions to problems usually come to you when you’re working on other stuff. Keep a look-out for the gaps you come across in your daily life.
Think Big: Build a Monopoly
Peter Thiel suggests that there are only two kinds of businesses in this world: “Businesses in crazy competition and businesses that are one of a kind and are monopolies.” For success, Thiel recommends aiming for a monopoly by setting yourself apart from competitors.
Similarly, Kevin Colleran, a venture partner at General Catalyst Partners, says the secret to success is about going big or going home – especially if it’s so big it seems crazy. He further suggests taking on an idea that makes the world a better place and learning how to ‘pivot’ your business idea if it ends up going in a different direction.
And Here’s What Not to Do
Guy Kawasaki, former Chief Evangelist of Apple, makes an equally valuable point about what not to do if you’re looking for a successful idea. And that is “reading a market forecast from a big-name consulting firm and deciding to create a product to serve that need.”
A brilliant idea isn’t likely to be spelled out for you. Or at least, that isn’t how companies like Facebook and Google started. You need to break the mold; do something new. Go forth and solve a problem that nobody even knows needs fixing yet.