Here’s a question I got yesterday in e-mail:

I’m 25. I have a good degree, I did OK with my own online business, and then I did really well in a dealership, brick and mortar, selling major brands. But I want to go back and start my own thing again, only slightly different than where I’ve been working. Is this entrepreneurial? Is it worth opening “another” dealership only because you believe you are better at marketing and offering SLIGHTLY different product delivery? Should new ventures be saved for only the unique and revolutionary?

imageI love this question, because I get it so often, and it’s based on one of the biggest misunderstandings there is in small business. You don’t have to be first to be a success. You don’t have to be unique. You don’t have to be revolutionary.

What you do have to do, however, is give people value. Give them a reason to buy from you instead of from somebody else. You have to show up, open the doors, answer the phone calls, solve the problems and do whatever marketing you need so that people know it. How’s that for unique and revolutionary?

Think about this one: How many graphic artists are there? Or restaurants, shoe stores, bookstores, doctors, lawyers, butchers, bakers and so on. And yet people still keep starting new ones, and succeeding. People keep changing from old ones to new ones.

(Image: Kelly Talele/istockphoto)

Tim BerryTim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.