Why a Great Idea Will Never Make You Rich

Moving from thinking ideas to building a business

On December 31, 1879, Thomas Edison did his first public demonstration of the incandescent light bulb.

Today, novel (and bright) ideas are often represented by a light bulb. But the reality is that the light bulb wasn't Edison's idea. As Wikipedia explains, "Many earlier inventors had previously devised incandescent lamps, including Alessandro Volta's demonstration of a glowing wire in 1800 and inventions by Henry Woodward and Mathew Evans. Others who developed early and commercially impractical incandescent electric lamps included Humphry Davy, James Bowman Lindsay, Moses G. Farmer, William E. Sawyer, Joseph Swan and Heinrich Göbel."

Many of these early light bulbs weren't functional for commercial use. Edison's genius was to discover the commercial application of the light bulb for the masses-and to find a way to make the light bulb commercially viable. When he revealed his light bulb for the first time, he said, "We will make electricity so cheap that only rich will burn candles." That was his driving force, and the rest was history.

Do you need a light bulb idea?

Today, many want-to-be entrepreneurs fall into the trap of thinking they need a new or novel idea, something the market has never seen. This is false thinking that holds many people back.

Great ideas do not need to be new or unique. They just have to be better. Many of the most financially successful people are not necessarily people who have creative ideas. Many of them often just copy other people's ideas and turn the idea into millions or even billions of dollars.

Getting rich off others' ideas

For example, fashion designers watch young kids to see what new fashions they are wearing, and then they mass-produce those fashions.

Bill Gates did not invent the operating system that made him one of the richest men in the world. He simply bought the system from the computer programmers who did invent it and then licensed their product to IBM.

Amazon.com simply took Sam Walton's idea for Walmart and put it on the Internet. Jeff Bezos became rich much more quickly than Sam did.

In other words, who says you need to have creative ideas to be rich? Usually, only those who are still poor.

So, what is the secret then for these entrepreneurs who take others good ideas and make millions? What separates them from the people who had the good ideas in the first place? Simply put, they understood how business works.

Systems make you rich

As a young man, rich dad gave me insight into how to make any idea an asset by applying the right framework. That framework is what I call the B-I Triangle.

The B-I Triangle is a system and a model for building a successful business, and products or ideas are the smallest components of the triangle. When the components of the triangle are strong and working in harmony, nearly any idea or product can be successful.

So, if you want to be a successful entrepreneur and have been chasing down the fabled great idea, I encourage you to stop and instead start focusing on learning all you can about the components of the B-I Triangle. Then, you won't need your own light bulb, you'll just need to see the opportunities others' great ideas present.

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