Ice Cream ConeYour business idea is brilliant. Nobody else is doing it. You’ve got no competition. It’s sure to be a gold mine, right?

Maybe.

One mistake many new businesses make is thinking that just because nobody else is doing exactly what they’re doing, their business is a sure thing.

The smart thing to do is ask yourself,  “why isn’t anyone else doing it?” It’s possible that nobody’s selling cod-liver frozen yogurt in your area because there’s simply no market for it. Ask around, talk to people, do your market research. If you determine that you’ve got customers out there, you’re in good shape.

But that still doesn’t mean there’s no competition.

There may not be another cod-liver frozen yogurt shop within 500 miles. But maybe an online distributor sells cod-liver oil to do-it-yourselfers who make their own fro-yo at home. Or maybe your potential customers are eating frozen salmon pops right now.

Don’t think of competition as only other businesses who do exactly what you do. Think about what currently exists on the market that your product would displace. When Henry Ford started successfully mass producing automobiles in the U.S., he didn’t have other auto makers to compete with. His competition was horse-and-buggy makers, bicycles, and railroads.

Sometimes you have to think outside of the box when planning your business. Chances are, if you’ve got a product or service that appears to have no competition, you’ve already got a talent for thinking differently. Be sure to put that talent to use.

photo by flickr user TheCulinaryGeek

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