College Startup:

Let’s pretend that you started the new and exciting business of making scarves for people’s pets. Eventually, your neighbor decides to do that for himself. And so does your (former) best friend. Suddenly, the neighborhood pets are dizzy from the choices.

Your business idea will get stolen. It can be re-hashed and repackaged and there will be no credit to you. You may never find the culprit who did the filching, either.

If you are selling scarves, your first point of departure is unique marketing ideas.

Develop a niche market. Your competition may be catering to all kinds of pet owners, but you may want to build your scarf market on what customers really needs. You never know, there might actually be a bigger need for owl scarves than anything else.

Improve on that website you’re putting up. Do you blog about your latest scarves and how well they fit your cat? Do you have pictures? Find ways to keep people on your site longer, such as a “Prettiest Pet” contest.

Do business with a business near you. Tie up with the local pet store and give them a commission from the sales. On your site, you can advertise their store. They can do the same for you when a customer walks into their doors looking for a new owl scarf.

Never least, learn from the entire experience. Record all your ideas, both the good and bad ones. Sometimes, bad ideas can lead up to good ones when concocted a different way, just like a magic brew.

Photo by mompes.

Originally posted by Rich Whittle on July 9, 2008 in Ideas.

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