A standing joke of an optimist is someone who believes that they won’t encounter a pothole on their way to work, will find their electricity on in the morning, running water from their taps, have mail delivered, experience a drop in energy prices and not get robbed at their home or their car hijacked and stolen.
Creative living requires responding to life’s challenges. Blackouts have provided opportunities. Last Christmas new types of gifts appeared in Father Christmas stockings such as battery-powered torches and lights, LED reading lamps and butane and propane gas cylinders for boiling hot water. Outdoor and camping stores have many blackout survival tools these days. Not to mention the investment in generators and renewables for residents and business.
Again there are rumblings at the postal services because of ability to pay staff. Last year we saw the breakdown of the postal services. Some people got angry about it, others protested because it threatened their business and livelihood and yet others cynically stated that they can do without postal services and the sooner people learn to find alternatives, the better.
It’s not so easy to overnight get rid of the postal services when you have 10,000 magazines to deliver to customers. Other physical delivery mechanisms are unfortunately still expensive. But we have seen a creative response by publishers, marketers and others who rely on the postal services.
Some magazine publishers delivered bulk copies to businesses, hotels and tourist spots while holding back on their postal deliveries until the postal services returned. Publishers have looked at alternative methods even though they may be more expensive than the traditional bulk mailing from the postal services.
It’s easy to say that publishers should just simply deliver electronic copies of the publications. Not everyone wants a digital copy of a magazine or book. As one bird life magazine publisher noted, people want to pick up a physical copy of the magazine and read it at their leisure anywhere in their house, even while doing important business in the bathroom. When I was editing a supermarket magazine many years ago, our research showed us that most independent supermarket owners would read the copies of our magazine on the toilet mainly because they did not have time while busily running their stores. Digital magazines have their place but they are not going to replace the paper version overnight.
One publisher vowed to never use the postal services ever again. This publisher was so let down that he came up with a new plan to deliver via POSTNET and have copies hand-delivered to street addresses. Sure, this costs more but ontime delivery is critical to his discerning readership.
Internationally, some business people have been experimenting with drop boxes for items such as books and videos. This involves placing a letter box in a convenient location in a city where people can order whatever they want online, obtain a password, go to the box location and collect the products they have bought. Already, this method of delivery is being tested by a large mass merchandiser store operation in South Africa where traders can order electronically and then conveniently collect their goods from a drop box situated at, for example, a petrol service station.
These creative responses to crisis and change, show what creativity lies within business people. But it goes much further. Many people have promising ideas that they wish to turn from mere concept or notion into a viable product or service. If you are one of these people, you may well want to get yourself a copy of “Breakthrough Ideas”. This book will help you generate and select as well as develop winning ideas that can be transformed into reality. Your best ideas, selected and tested for income potential, may help you start something from scratch that you can call your own.