Aaron Marshall is CEO & Co-Founder of Keyrenter Property Management, the nation’s leading property management and real estate franchise.
When starting a business, one of the biggest pressures we put on ourselves is to have this outstanding, never-before-seen concept or idea. Yet every professional businessman or woman will point to a certain person or company and cite them as influences on their own careers and aspirations. Every day, leaders and entrepreneurs gain momentum and perspective from examples other leaders set. So, why not create a business based on a model you already admire? That’s where the concept of “rip off and duplicate” comes in.
The rip-off-and-duplicate technique is a bigger component to franchising than you may think. People often feel that having an original idea of their own makes it the best idea automatically. Well, that just isn’t true. If an idea exists that you feel you could make better than the best, why not do it? When someone uses the R&D technique, they are creating a new business of their own while working off of positive practices from another. By taking this route not only do you implement what has already been proven to work, but you get to add on original and key components of your own, which is why this makes your business different from others before it. You’re taking a tried-and-true business model that has proven popular and building it to be better, but also to be yours.
I was able to take aspects, processes and key concepts of real estate businesses I admired, learning from the strengths and weaknesses of others, and implement these factors into a business of my own. I was able to learn from someone else’s mistakes, which gave me further room to grow during the early days of my company.
If you’re considering the rip-off-and-duplicate technique for a new business, here are three things to consider.
1. You’re copying a business model, not the business itself.
Your idea or passion may have already found its way into the industry. That’s not a bad thing. It’s OK to have the same idea as others, but make sure yours is standing out among the rest for a reason. What are the key components of your industry, and how can your business capitalize on them more than competitors? You want your business to be the diamond in the rough. The faults you’ve seen from other franchises in your industry can help you build on the strengths of your own. Make sure to create a business model that is based on how you want your company to function and who you want to be a part of it.
2. Imitate, but also improve.
Your business has the opportunity to have all its kinks sorted out before it even opens. Why? Because you take what worked for another and don’t have to touch what didn’t. Expanding on good ideas that have real results will only help you generate new concepts and systems to add onto an already great track record for your business.
When gauging how you would run a business of your own, you turn to other companies in the same industry space as it, taking notes and reviewing the ways in which this business was able to achieve what you hope to one day have under your belt. You have an upper-hand advantage to making sure you see flaws that they weren’t able to and prepare your own business to face them without having to be hurt by them.
3. Don’t forget your own assets and skills.
I was able to take aspects, processes and key concepts of real estate businesses I admired and had studied and put them into a business of my own. You don’t lose any of your originality if the original idea is still being tinkered with. As Keyrenter Property Management started to grow, I made sure to stay focused on why I had poured my heart into this business in the first place. The most original thing about the business is the family of hardworking franchisees that make it up, the way we interact with our clients and our constant determination to better our brand. Make sure you stick to your own core values, both as a person and as a business.
The R&D method provides the instant and valuable lessons of others, as well as your own. Be ready to imitate, navigate and innovate.