Your Startup Idea Isn’t New And Your Audience Doesn’t Care

Your customers buy your interpretation, not your product

Sophia Sunwoo
Feb 3, 2020 · 3 min read
Mackenzie Freemire

Let’s be real here, what you’re selling can probably be found somewhere else.

A lot of entrepreneurs swear me to secrecy to not share their top-secret startup idea with anyone else — but what I don’t tell them is that I’ve actually heard their idea before because another entrepreneur is currently working on it.

First-to-market is complete baloney if it’s not aligned with great execution, and the numbers show that most startups don’t last long enough to make a mark even if they do carry this badge.

Someone else will always be selling a variation of your product or service. That’s a given.

Despite this, your customers actually don’t care that your product exists elsewhere because that’s not the reason why they buy from you.

Customers Buy Your Interpretation, Not Your Product

Customers buy from you because of the unique interpretation you bring to that product.

This is why there are rows of organic chocolate bars to choose from at the grocery store and why there are hundreds of takeout restaurants in your neighborhood that are still in business.

Different interpretations delight different folks.

The businesses that thrive are the ones that understand their lack of specialness in this big world and capitalize on the interpretation that they bring to the table.

They understand that their interpretation of fair trade, vegan, organic dark chocolate is going to appeal to their people.

They understand that their competitors can copy their products all they want, but that their customers buy from them because their YouTube channel has that hilarious host who somehow makes content about harvesting cocoa super entertaining.

Interpretation is the personality, style, perspective, and narrative that a brand brings to a product.

Ideas Are Easy To Steal, But A Brand Is Not

You are missing the point if you spend the majority of your time protecting your startup idea. Ideas are easy to steal, and the cat’s out of the bag as soon as you put your product on the market.

Ideas are easy to steal but a brand is not.

Why not focus your energy on the asset that can’t be stolen rather than the one that’s easy to copy?

The companies that go out of business because of copycats do so because they made their business dependant on the product and not their interpretation of the product.

They spent their time on the wrong form of intellectual property.

Go into your business with the mindset that your product can and may be copied, but that your brand will be hard to steal.

Have you seen a copycat try to steal a competitor’s brand or style before? It’s usually terrible, really cheesy, and you can tell that it’s a fake from a mile away.

It’s like buying a fake Chanel bag and noticing that the iconic double C’s are crooked and that the stitching doesn’t line up at the seams.

Steal the idea all you want, but style can’t be faked.

Do you have a healthy business or does it need a tune-up? Grab my free checklist to find out.

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