“Not Reinventing the Wheel — Just Making It Better As Gift Companies and Vendors Work Together To Create a Powerful Industry in a Changing World” has been the motto of Gift Retailers Network since it was created several years ago as a free benefit for our Gift Basket Directory website.
A lot of thought was given to the choice of these words for our motto. We realized that even though new niche markets, new design ideas, and even new ways of marketing are constantly evolving, a successful business is built on a foundation of business concepts that go back many, many years. The business that starts out, thinking they are different or better or newer than their existing competition or those that went before them, has a lot to learn.
A successful business is created from a background of research and knowledge learned from others. When I first started my local gift basket business 17 years ago, information was hard to come by. There was one industry publication and one convention tradeshow. There was only one wholesale distributor in my state. The internet was a relatively new thing for business marketing. We used it mostly for communicating with other gift basket companies across the country through bulletin boards at AOL and Prodigy. It would be several years before having a website was the “in” thing to do.
But those of us, who were in the industry at that time, learned from others what worked and what didn’t. Even more important, however, is what we learned about BASIC BUSINESS PRACTICES from other sources not related at all to our industry.
Of course, there are always those who just jump into the water with no research, no experience, and no possibility of succeeding. I’ve seen this recently as I’ve worked as a Small Business Counsellor for my County Business Empowerment Program. The series of classes and workships leads to a finale of having a working feasibility plan for a new or existing business and it’s part of my job to critique these plans.
It always amazes me when a company, that has a good possibility for suceeding ,fails to do the research needed to create that success. They write the plan “on the fly” using personal opinions and ideas gleaned from sources without credibility instead of the research that is so essential to really understanding how to operate a business, in general, and their own niche market specifically.
So, when creating a new business or making plans to grow an existing one, remember that the research has most likely already been done for you. The plans have been laid by others. A strong foundation using these resources, instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, can make it so much easier for you. Even though you may think you know everything there is to know about starting and growing a business or about your niche, you’re arrogant to think that there isn’t more to learn.
Harry S. Truman said it all when he said: “The only things worth learning are the things you learn after you know it all.”