You Don't Need a Million Dollar Idea to Start a Business

September 20, 2011

If you haven't had that moment where a million-dollar idea comes to you like a flash of lightning, don’t worry, most startups are born out of an existing product or service, not a brand new idea.

In a recent survey, we discovered that 77% of new startups were based on fine-tuned an existing idea. None of them, however, were doing the same things as others but for cheaper. Nearly half of those surveyed said they were offering either a better product or quality of service than their existing competitors, while a further 22% said they set themselves apart from the crowd by spending more time meeting their clients.

Many new entrepreneurs struggle with the nagging thought: What if my idea isn't any good? Our research should offer them some reassurance to move forward. Only 22% of people surveyed believed they had a “million-dollar idea” before they started their new business. However, 66% of startup owners attribute the success of their business to a brilliant or million-dollar idea.

It may not seem like it at the time, but million-dollar ideas come in all sorts of packages. Merely improving on an existing idea could prove to be just the thing to launch you into success.

The Hiscox research demonstrates that more people are taking control of their own destinies, either out of necessity or because they had a desire to do so. Over a quarter said their main motivation for starting a business was to be their own boss, while a further 20% said they simply wanted to follow their dream. Our poll suggests that it’s not always about having the most original idea but about having better products and, crucially, being the best in class. It's what will help set you apart from competitors.

This is a fact that Hiscox takes to heart. It can be daunting to step out on your own for the first time. But through courage and a little enthusiasm, you will see your efforts pay off.

Careful planning is necessary too, and that extends to the risks your new business faces. As your venture grows, it’s important to protect it with the right small business liability insurance, including professional liability insurance, errors and omissions insurance, general liability insurance, or business owner insurance, depending on the unique characteristics of your business. It's the only way to protect you, your business, and your ideas.