Throughout business history, we have seen plenty of companies copying successful business models to their own country. Why do some succeed, and some don’t?
Even Harvard Business Review touts that when you can’t innovate, you should copy. However, copying business models is not that simple. Copying wholesale almost guarantees a failure, especially if you are up against an established seller. Ultimately, the bigger businesses will simply gain more market share and render you obsolete, or even buy your business out and making it an unsustainable source of income for yourself.
1. Market your Unique Selling Point (USP) differently
Let’s talk about GroupOn. It is effectively a lead generation business. Same as Yellow Pages (classified advertising) or Google AdWords. Why didn’t they do the same thing? Because GroupOn marketed and integrated into the existing system (Google) differently. Instead of marketing to businesses and making them pay upfront without knowing how much leads will be generated (i.e. how many consumers will click on the ad), GroupOn markets to consumers and allows them to pay for only the specific service/product that they are willing to pay for, at a very steep discount.
2. Define your Pivoting Points
As with my previous posts, I constantly talk about taxi hailing. Companies like Didi, Grab or Bolt have evidently copied Uber’s taxi model. But, it is not sustainable and is expected to continue making losses. However, we have seen Didi and Grab becoming unicorns (fastest growing startups, valued at billions). What’s the difference? They diversified. For example, Grab is diversifying into GrabFinancials (banking), GrabDelivery (logistics), GrabFood (payment) and more.
So, if you’re copying another business model, copy smart!
– Is there an idea you like from another country, and want to implement in your country? What is it?
– Assuming this main idea does not work out, what is your pivoting point? How did you position yourself in the market? How can you expand forward?