Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Don't Reinvent the Wheel

Stanford Professor Yossi Feinberg has identified five common traps that trip up entrepreneurs.  There's one trap that I think applies to any business, startup or large corporation.  Here's Feinberg describing this particular trap:

Don’t try and reinvent the wheel if you don’t need to.

The Internet has democratized access to all kinds of information, and if a successful process or structure exists for a non-core element of your business, use it.  This can be anything from administrative office functions to technical elements on the periphery of your central business proposition. If an effective solution exists, then the chances are it will not add value to your business to develop it from scratch.

Far too many companies fall into the "not invented here" trap.  They build out their own systems and processes when an "off-the-shelf" alternative already exists.  They fail to learn from what others have already succeeded or failed at doing.  They conclude that their business is unique, and that outside solutions simply don't apply.   Of course, you can't just copy others.  You have to adapt what they have done to fit your business.  However, simply starting from scratch and not leveraging what others have done is a big mistake.  

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