Getting out there and looking for ideas

7-day-crash-course-231x300In this tough economy some small business owners have seen their turnovers collapse. Instead of giving up, they have gone out in search of new business ideas. Some have found new opportunities to revitalise their business lives.

Where do business ideas come from? They can be triggered by your personal circumstances. For example, you may have a problem and you find a solution for it. Ideas can also come from your experience with customers. They may be looking for a new way to solve a problem and their complaints spur your thinking. Others may try one of the many idea-generation tools and techniques that help find “white spots” of opportunity that may have been overlooked. Yet others go walkabout. They may visit local shopping centres, morning markets, or even travel to other towns and cities.

A father and daughter business partnership, for example, were running a business specialising in making corporate name badges and branded promotional products but because many of their customers businesses were badly affected by the downturn, their turnover had “literally collapse”. They were forced to downsize but this made the partners Don and Caroline Wallace realise that they needed to find another source of income.

Rather than sit around waiting for things to happen they travelled the country (Ireland) looking for their next big idea. They had almost given up hope but while they were in Belfast they came across a small alterations business called The Zip Yard in the Harland and Wolff shipyard area of the city.

The partners met with the owners of the shop who were keen to expand the business. The Wallaces set about building a franchise model for the alterations business and have already expanded to 25 stores in Ireland. More stores are planned.

The business has been developed from alterations to include other services such as restyling and remodelling, dry cleaning, bridal alterations, debbs addresses, zip replacements and repairing motor bike leathers. Women who have joined gyms or have taken part in weight-loss programs are good customers for having their clothes altered.

The opportunity seeker, the small business person with a strong desire or need to come up with something new can be rewarded by going out and looking for ideas. It requires a change in mindset. By actively seeking out ideas, you are more likely to find them.

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