What’s truly original these days? That’s really the central question asked by a listener in today’s episode. I break down the distinction between “borrowing”, “stealing” and “improving” when it comes to developing your own business idea. It’s important to understand these concepts so you can protect yourself from undue hardships in the future.
Nothing is truly “original”
Basically, very few ideas in business – heck, in the world – are truly original. Everything out there is inspired by something else that came before it. Our job as entrepreneurs isn’t to invent the wheel, but rather to find a way to either improve it – or, simply, find another way to use the wheel that no one else has ever thought of!
Having said that, the lines between “inspired by” and “stolen” can be very blurry. If someone comes to you with an idea for a new business and they’ve fleshed out a lot of specifics, then you turn around and start startlingly similar business? That’s probably not illegal (unless you signed an non-compete agreement), but it’s really sketchy.
If someone comes to you with an idea and you recognize how that idea might apply in an entirely different context, then the area is definitely more gray. Your expertise and passion for your industry is something that this other person couldn’t possibly match. That energy for your business is what will set you apart – nobody else on this planet can possibly steal YOU! So, there’s no reason to blatantly steal someone else’s idea in the first place.
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