In my experience working with and talking to others about entrepreneurship, there can be a flawed perception of what being an entrepreneur means.
Many people believe an entrepreneur is an individual who suddenly has a brilliant new idea. While that can be true, this is more accurately the definition of an inventor.
The most successful entrepreneurs are those who re-imagine something that already exists.
No need to re-invent the wheel when you can invent a better, easier way to use the wheel. This approach reduces your time to market and improves your overall likelihood for success.
Here are three examples of entrepreneurs updating something old.
Making networking work.
Attending a networking event is awkward. It is difficult to find the person you want to meet and you get caught in conversations about topics you don’t understand or care about. The creators of Thoddy have a brilliant way to fix this common networking problem.
Adekunle Ayodele and Abasiodu Ikono developed Thoddy to link attendees with the same objectives and purpose, alleviating the imprecision of meeting and connecting with new people at an event or venue. The app connects you to like-minded individuals by allowing you to select a “thought” and matching you to others at the event with similar interest. For example, you might select the thought “Interested in talking about fundraising.” Thoddy then connects you to others at the event interested in the same conversation.
Streamlining the act of giving.
I remember going door-to-door as a kid asking my neighbors to support my latest school fundraiser and finally begging my parents to take it to work and plead with their co-workers to support it too.
Gary Liu, the creator of Giv360, developed a platform that eliminates door-to-door sales and simplifies donations by tapping into existing purchase behaviors. Simply by registering your debit or credit card and shopping or dining at participating merchants, 5 percent of what you spend goes to a school or nonprofit organization of your choice. Merchants receive the benefit of additional advertising exposure through their partnership with schools and nonprofits and regular Giv360 communications.
Improving the classified ad.
Moonlighting–holding a second or third job–isn’t a new concept, but connecting individuals who provide services with those who need them has seen dramatic changes. Classifieds have gone the way of the dinosaur and Craigslist can be creepy. Jeff Tennery, the CEO and creator of Moonlighting, has developed a way to approach the person-to-person economy differently.
Moonlighting is a modern version of the classifieds. It creates both buyer and seller markets. Sellers can list their products or services and buyers can reply with an offer to purchase. The app also supports the reverse–a request for a service can be made, such as lawn care or pet-sitting, and individuals can offer to fulfill the request. Moonlighting creates a safe and secure social platform that brings people together in support of the mobile-first sharing economy. The Moonlighting app makes payment a nonissue and re-energizes a dated way of doing things.
Tennery’s bet on improving this model has drawn significant interest. McClatchy Company, a news and information leader, announced that it is making a strategic and financial investment in this new sharing economy company. Together, Moonlighting and McClatchy are introducing the employment platform to readers and subscribers in all 28 of the news leader’s major markets across the nation.
You can see none of these creators invented a new concept, but rather modernized, up-dated, and transformed existing concepts to better suit today’s way of doing things.