How much is a new business idea worth to you?

Ideas are the Basis of Progress. Every Improve...

Ideas are the Basis of Progress. Every Improvement in This World was the Result of Someone’s Idea – NARA – 534220 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A civil engineer came back home after his contract ran out in Papua New Guinea. Because jobs are hard to find in his home country he sat around sending out more than 300 CVs, started running out of his savings, eventually had no money to make cellphone calls and by the hair on his chinny chin chin after one year secured a job in Saudi Arabia. This is the prison that the person with no new ideas experiences. All he or she can sell is skills and time.

A young woman landed up in Worcester, Western Cape, fell in love with the place and wanted to stay but there were no jobs. She wracked her brains, desperate to find some idea to make an income so that she could live in the town. Even though Worcester sauce is made by the giant food manufacturing companies right there in Worcester, she came up with an idea for her own special Worcester sauce, developed her product and it took off. Continue reading

Does walking spark new ideas for you?

IMG_1434.JPG.storyboardOn Sunday late afternoon I took a walk along the Braamfontein Spruit watching the baby ducks that had grown up during the summer months. I went up to the bird lookout at Delta Park which overlooks a field of bulrushes where small finches were eating the seeds in the setting sun.

During this walk an idea that I hadn’t thought of for a while slipped into my mind. I tossed it about and came up with a potential market for the product, a name for varieties of the product, how to package it and what I would have to do to test market it. By the time I’d finished my walk I had a reasonably developed idea, much more feasible than when I had first thought about it. Continue reading

How often do you as a small business owner get out to see what is going on in the market?

IMG_0284I mentioned to a small business owner the other day that a similar business to his had started down the road. He told me that he spent so much time in his business that he didn’t even know about it. Perhaps when he gets a chance to take off an hour or so he may go down the road to look at the business and see what his competitor he is doing.

How often do you get out of your start-up or small business to go look what’s happening in the market? Do you have the time? Is it worth your while? Continue reading

Which is your path to new business ideas?

(Copyright © 2014 by Chesney Bradshaw, all rights reserved)

(Copyright © 2014 by Chesney Bradshaw, all rights reserved)

Every creativity guru out there has a different process or description for generating and developing new ideas. But which ones of them work? Do you have to play on all sorts of levels of creativity to come up with a viable business idea?

The latest process I saw was one that breaks down creativity into five levels:

– idea preparation
– idea generation
– idea development
– idea enhancement
– idea activation

If any of this makes you want to fall asleep, I don’t blame you. I am extremely wary of these so-called success systems that claim to be helpful but are not nearly as new as they make out to be or are just simply unclear and filled with impressive abstract terms. Continue reading

Can you really learn how to come up with new business ideas in seven days?

Copyright © 2014 by Chesney Bradshaw, all rights reserved

Copyright © 2014 by Chesney Bradshaw, all rights reserved

You see it all the time. The guru experts who come up with programs that can, for example, build self-confidence in seven days guaranteed. What do you make of this? How is it possible to develop self-confidence in only seven days?

Yes, perhaps a program like this can show you how to become more self confident. Maybe it takes just seven days to inform you how to do it but to go from low self-esteem and a shaky self-confidence to high levels of self-esteem and self-confidence in just seven days is a claim that is hard to believe. Continue reading

Where do good ideas come from?

John Ward's House

John Ward’s House (Photo credit: Lawrence Whittemore)

If you think you’ll get your best ideas from standing in the shower think again. You might be lucky to receive a sudden flash of inspiration in the shower but most of these ideas are unlikely to be strong enough to launch a viable business.

The reason is simply that such “pure thought” will probably not be bounded in the reality of the marketplace. Sure, if you suddenly combined two concepts or objects that you had found in the marketplace, then your idea may hold promise. There are always exceptions to any general rule. Continue reading

How do you find an idea for a business?

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(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The other day I came across some business advice from a an enterprise organisation for a city that encourages new business start-ups. But the problem with this guide was that it assumed that you had already come up with the right business idea. There was no advice or tools on how to come up with or identify a right business.

Coming up with the right business idea proceeds a business plan. How can you start a business plan if you don’t have a business idea for a product or service that you’ve tested by doing basic market research or at least validating your idea in the marketplace? I found it a bit strange that the business adviser suggested that you should survey customers either through interviews or questionnaires (mail or email) before you’ve even had a chance to develop your business idea into a prototype or test service. The advice given was that you should start your market research by interviewing about 100 people if it’s a consumer business such as a restaurant or hairdressing salon but if it was a business product such as building materials you should talk to at least 20 builders. Continue reading

One secret to how innovators come up with brilliant ideas

Sound Ideas

Sound Ideas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A study of innovators – people who come up with brilliant, game-changing ideas – found that the skills of associating, questioning, observing, experimenting and discovering makes the difference. Although it’s implied in questioning and perhaps observing, I would add listening as a key skill.

Innovators put together ideas and information in unique combinations. They connect or link information and observation in new ways.

They act differently which means that they observe actively, make contact with people they wouldn’t normally talk to and improve their questioning skills. Continue reading

Breakthrough ideas don’t happen overnight (how long do you have to wait?)

teaching material developed by maria montessori

teaching material developed by maria montessori (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I ordered a shipment of products. The delivery time was two weeks. When the products arrived in the country the courier company called about two days later and told me they would deliver in three days time. My products didn’t arrive on the third day. After kicking up a fuss, my products arrived late on the fourth day.

This local courier company that claims they are so fast with their deliveries added almost an extra week to the delivery time. They are the weakest link in an otherwise professional shipment chain that delivers on the promised delivery dates. Continue reading

How many of your ideas do you follow through with detailed action plans?

Fish & Chips shot at Palm Resorts, Karachi.

Fish & Chips shot at Palm Resorts, Karachi. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Someone I know came up with an idea for a new business selling fish and chips and other seafoods done in the traditional seafarers’ way. The idea for this restaurant excited the individual and he spoke a lot about it to family and friends. But this gourmet seafood takeaway still waits to be born.

Do you get a high when you come up with new business ideas? It’s almost as if the excitement of the idea feels like you’ve actually accomplished it already. It’s like the high you get from a top motivational speaker, pumping you up with inspiration till it’s pouring out your ears. But a day later you’ve forgotten it all and put nothing into practice. A new business idea for products and services is often a picture of the end result. But an idea doesn’t come with a plan for its implementation. Continue reading