All the attention that generating new business ideas gets in the media and online gives the wrong impression. It’s hardly ever mentioned that original ideas often don’t pay. Why is this? It’s because new business ideas are expensive to develop, take long to implement are hard to markets and require starting a new business.
An entrepreneur who has started several businesses including a legal services firm, guided imagery business, online platforms and apps says sometimes the best ideas can be right in front of you.
This entrepreneur discovered that parents were taking their children to the shops and shopping centres but they had problems. The children could get lost, they were difficult to manage and they wanted their parents to buy them Lego. So the entrepreneur could see that there was a need for a service to look after the children while their parents were shopping. Continue reading “Look for the idea right in front of you”
The Sadler’s Wells dance group, which runs three theaters in central London, pursues its innovation in dance through a careful evaluation process.
It scouts for promising dancers, invites them to develop ideas for new productions. The dance company gives them studio space and a small budget to develop an innovative idea and test it.
The next stage: artists, producers and theatre managers evaluate the raw idea in the studio. If they believe it has strong potential, the company gives more money to develop it into a show and it premieres in their smallest theatre. Should the show become a box office success, the company puts it on in their main theatre. This dance company innovation pipeline for selecting new shows is exactly the same as for evaluating ideas for new products and services. Continue reading “How do you choose which ideas to ditch and which ones to develop?”
Asking what-if questions can help spark new ideas but you’ve got to ask the right ones. Right ones? Shouldn’t you let rip and come up with anything? Well, you might get ones like this:
What if you stand outside your house and look straight up for at least a year or so – would you appear on Google Earth?
What if you were a hotdog and you were starving, would you eat yourself?
Perhaps these what-ifs could get you thinking with a new perspective. But will they? No they won’t, I hear you say. You’re right. Why is that? Let’s see:
What-if questions help you see the ordinary in a new light, to gain new perspectives. The ideas that result from “what-if” questions are merely seeds that may spark explorations into areas that you have never thought of before. Asking “what-if” questions is unlikely to present you with a practical idea that you can implement right away.
You need to ask further questions that lead to new ideas. The initial “what-if” question is really only a springboard to get your imagination working.
Now, listen up. What comes next may surprise you:
A man ran a small service station and a restaurant outside of town on the main highway to Florida in the United States. He concocted a seasoning for fried chicken. He made a “nice living” until they changed the highway into the Interstate system and the new road bypassed his business. Colonel Harland Sanders was 66 years old, looked at his $105 Social Security cheque and decided what if he used the money to try franchise his chicken recipe. What if he were to take 5 cents from a chicken just as Mr Woolworth had built up his business with his five-and-10-cent stores?
From a simple idea – a what-if question – he launched an international fried chicken franchise that spread worldwide.
What “what-if” questions could you ask yourself?
Here are some that could get you started coming up with your own:
What if you could do something that would make your customers laugh so they feel happy buying from you?
What if you were a product, what product would you be and why?
What if you were a service, whose problems would you solve and how?
What if you were a search word on Google, what would you be?
What if your new product was a woman, what would she tell other women?
What if your competitor created your product, what would they do?
What if you could anticipate the needs of your customers before they even know it?
Try some what-if questions yourself. See how many you can come up with. It’s not as hard as you may think. Write down 20 of them and select your best three. Take these three and see how you can expand them.
For example, the first question may lead to: what if we make customers feel welcome when they make first contact with your business whether it’s off-line or on-line? What if we shipped their products so quickly to them that they felt thrilled by our service? What if we sent customers a thank you note telling them how delighted we are with their purchase and that if they have any questions or problems, they can contact us immediately? And when they do, what if we received their complaints with a smile?
To use what-if questions effectively, you need to be imaginative as possible but remember that they are merely a springboard to further questions that are relevant to your business. They can provide you with valuable insights into how you could launch new products and services and improve those that you already have.
Hooked yet on what-if questions?
Try out some of your own and see where your inspiration leads you.
What if you came up with a hot new business idea for a product or service?
Who can you trust when buying products or services online?
Sorry to sound cynical but there’s a reason:
As a buyer or consumer these days even off-line you have to be ultra careful. For example, take your credit card or ATM card. You have to watch out that no one sees your three-digit number at the back of your credit card or your pin code. In the wrong hands, you can lose a lot of money. So many people get caught. Continue reading “Four things you absolutely must know when buying online”