Is it wrong to steal ideas?

How do you feel about that?

The thing is, when you look at the business of selling and letting property, there’s not so much difference in what people do or how they operate. And even between the extremes of niche and corporate estate agent (or niche and corporate property developer) the procedure is ultimately the same, with a few quirks on the niche side, and a few forms on the corporate one. Otherwise, most regular punters would find it hard to discern enormous differences between their business models.

This can, of course, be a good thing. When the first estate agent launched their website, the entire industry eventually followed suit. When a few started offering accompanied viewings as standard, the competition reacted by doing the same (some estate agents, although most certainly not all, have expanded on this by actually knowing something about the property they are showing). When floorplans were included as a ground-breaking service by a few enterprising firms, it wasn’t long before many others followed. So it’s very much a business of copying others, or being inspired by them, or whatever you’d like to call it.

Personally I see nothing wrong in looking at what the competition is doing and then either matching it, or taking inspiration and trumping it. Not every single thing you do can be a reinvention of the wheel, and nor does it have to be. Writers are encouraged to better their craft by reading more authors and more often. This gives us access to a wider vocabulary, different word usage, imaginative phraseology and even creative punctuation. We read who we feel will inspire us and take it from there.

So if you’re stuck, for instance, in coming up with an idea for a blog, or a flyer, or even a property description, take a look at what your peers are doing and look for inspiration in their work. Can you match it, refine it, or better it? Does it provide a Eureka! moment where you were previously blocked? Is your lightbulb well and truly aglow?

There is much other inspiration all around us. TV advertising, billboards, magazines, the Internet. All contain many different types of marketing to many different types of people. Most ideas are not original; they are mainly inspired by someone else or something other than the creator.

So don’t be shy, and don’t be ashamed. Steal an idea, and make it your own.