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To succeed, just copy and improve

“Leave behind the notion of the big idea and just do what most successful entrepreneurs do: copy and improve. Imitate first, and then devote yourself to constant incremental improvement.”

This is one of several great quotes and ideas from ’21 essential lessons for growing your business’ by investor and former Channel 4 chairman Luke Johnson.

I rarely watch Dragon’s Den (or any of the ritual humiliation programmes on TV) because it perpetuates the myth that great businesses come out of unique, innovative ideas. None of the really successful clients I have worked with over the years have built the business on anything particularly original; they just do everything consistently well: good customer service, good money and people management, good marketing.

Other quotes of Luke’s that I like (but which I don’t necessarily agree with completely) are:

  • “Football clubs are essentially charities run for the financial benefit of staff, as are most investment banks.”
  • “The life of a self-made man is not always pleasant. Driving hard bargains, dealing with litigation, juggling creditors, making staff redundant, fighting for customers – these are all part of the craft of running your own show. Managing a business can have a brutalising influence on your character.”
  • “Achievement changes people. Once someone attains status and wealth, their attitude towards sharing the spoils and the glory alters. It slowly dawns on them that actually all the clever moves and breakthroughs were their idea and, in fact, they are the only one who really does any work.”

Here is the full list:

Please tell me which is your favourite, and why.

2 Responses to “To succeed, just copy and improve”

  1. Andrew Scott says:

    I love the third quote I have worked for a few bosses in the past who think exactly like that!

  2. Steve Mills says:

    Another great blog Andrew and so so true…


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