Sometimes it’s a good idea to make do with what you have

Philadelphia, like most East Coast cities, has many compact homes located near factories. Known as a rowhome, trinity, brownstone, etc., these were built in the late 19th and early 20th century and are compact (no more than 1000 square feet) two or three-story homes. They were built for the immigrant worker and his family because they were cheap to own or rent and they were close to the factories.

Of course, things change and properties that once were the homes of those factory workers, are now part of “up and coming” neighborhoods.  Many people who moved into these homes in the early 2000s and were okay with the limited space, now have families and need more space.  Yet, they are settled where they are and don’t want to move. So, instead of buying a new home, many are choosing to add an addition to the top.

What does this have to do with business?  These homeowners didn’t get something new, they worked with what they had and made it fit their needs. As a business owner, you don’t always have to get something new to make your business better. Sometimes all you have to do is make adjustments. Other times just sticking with what works may be the best strategy.

For example, much has been written about first mover advantage. Yet, it isn’t always the advantage it is made out to be. Many times, the company that made the new product goes out of business or is acquired by another company. Case in point, the social networking site MySpace.  In the early 2000s, it was the place on the Internet for teens to Fortune 500 companies to be. Then came other social networking sites such as, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat.  They looked at MySpace and either tweaked certain features or just focused on one feature. MySpace is now a music app that is owned by Time, Inc.

Another example involves an entrepreneur who decided to take an old idea, namely museum tours, and jazz things up. Nick Gray, is creator of Museum Hack, a company that leads museum tours in New York, Washington, DC, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Gray got his start as a guide who, in addition to being extremely knowledgeable in art, knew many little known facts about different works of art, such as how much they cost, whether they had been stolen and other interesting tidbits.  A blogger wrote about Gray’s tours and the next day he had over a thousand emails from folks who wanted to take one of his tours.

Of course, museum tours already existed, but Gray decided to tweak things so that the tours he offered weren’t just someone with an art history degree pointing to famous works of art and reciting facts that mueseum visitors could easily search or read on the art labels.  You can do the same for your business.  Drastic changes take a lot of time and money, just like moving to a new home. Sometimes all you need to do is just tweak what you already have – perhaps update your services, offer a new service, refresh your marketing and branding, etc. and perhaps you can be happy and successful right where you are.