The underrated ‘me-too-strategy’

Haz lo mismo, pero un poco diferente.

Published in El Pais, March 13, 2018

There is business strategy that is called me too. What is basically means is that you check the market what works well and do more or less the same thing. You copy a product, marketing concept. It is even possible that you open a similar store in the same area.

Some people say that the ‘me too’ people are non-creative, just want to make quick money in something that works, and it is not fair towards the one that came up with the idea. Well, my opinion is that some competition cannot harm and that not everybody is creative but can still create a good business in other ways.

When you say hamburger, you say Burger King, McDonalds and millions of other places where you can buy something similar. Is anybody complaining that they stole the idea? I doubt it. Were the Germans who invented it calling it after Hamburg the mayor city in Germany? Or was a Danish cook, Louis Lassen? We will probably never know. But one thing is for sure, if nobody would have copied this great idea, where would we go for a quick bite?

Android hitchhiked and copied the success of the iPhone. For sure there were and are the necessary lawsuits going on between Apple and Google, but Android did manage to differentiate itself. And the real winner is eventually the consumer who is not bonded to buy only expensive iPhones; thus, does not need to be submitted to some kind of monopoly.

When starting a business and you do not have the creative brain, do not make it hard on yourself. Pick something that works fine in the market and do the same. Maybe your strengths are not in the product or store design but more on the side of efficient production, HR or something else that justifies throwing yourself into a shark tank and compete! The creative new products will differentiate later in their life cycle.

I often have students asking me what a great business for Bolivia would be. My answer all these years remains the same. “Do the thing what you are best at, even if someone else is already doing it. Just do it a bit better. For example, just offer a better service”. I hope one of my master students starts a bank where I do not need to wait.

About Arnold Hagens 257 Articles
Arnold Hagens is Economist with strong interest in technology, health and coaching

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