A student who spent a year in China studying the impact of farming on culture has come up with a simple and inexpensive way to create an indoor air filter.
Thomas Talhelm put together a filter, a fan and a Velcro strap to hold them together, reports Bloomberg’s Business week, to form a DIY air filter. All these components can be bought for less than $35 on China’s leading e-commerce site.
Smart Air Filters set up a store on their e-commerce site. Orders poured in and they have shipped about 4,500 filters. Other entrepreneurs in China are climbing in as the demand is high for affordable air filters in China.
For entrepreneurs and start-ups looking for new business ideas it’s not always the most expensive or complex ideas that can be winners. Simple technology and affordability can set up an attractive value proposition for potential customers. Diamonds can be found in the most mundane of places.
The other lesson that the story shows is that problems and challenges can present opportunities for entrepreneurs. Thomas had first-hand experience of the heavy pollution in China where you can “smell and taste the foul air” whether on the street or inside, according to BusinessWeek.
With the level of dangerous pollutants so high in the air, anything that can reduce harm to people and help to make their lives more healthy will most likely find a hungry market.
Part of the success of the DIY air filters is combining objects – a simple but highly effective creativity technique. In this instance it was Fan + Filter + Velcro that led to the simple innovation. Another example: a vacuum cleaner concept + pool led to the many suction pool cleaners – just one of many examples.
If you wish to come up with something new of your own, it may pay to keep your eyes and ears open.
Common, everyday “problems” can be the best source of ideas for new products and services.
You may be lucky and come up with something that has a big and wide enough demand that can get you started in business sooner than you you could have hoped for in your wildest dreams.