A surfer from the Eastern Cape took his son to the beach. While they were there, his son was stung by a bluebottle or Portuguese man o war. The surfer began investigating what could work to relieve his skin because vinegar certainly didn’t. He discovered that papaya or pawpaw has a substance that works to relieve bluebottle stings. He developed this idea and now has a product that relieves a range of stings. Continue reading “A new business idea needs this one quality to really succeed”
It’s amazing, isn’t it, how some people just manage to come up with new ideas, new concepts and new approaches despite the doom and gloom.
It’s people like this that motivate and inspire us to reach within ourselves and to tap into our imaginations to come up with new ideas ourselves.
It doesn’t mean that you have to necessarily come up with a new product or service but if you have an existing product or service, you may want to find new ways to sell it or find new markets. Continue reading “Staying positive in a down market”
A business magazine was extolling the virtues of strategic doodles, which is really defined as scribbling absentmindedly, saying that it has gained credibility so much so that one Internet giant has appointed a chief doodler and give staff time to doodle and generate ideas.
Apparently doodling can help because when you draw your thoughts it slows down your thinking, allowing new perspectives and time to “go deeper following a particular thought”. Strategic doodling in teams or with business partners and clients gives them a deeper level of “ownership and understanding”. Apparently the term used for doodling has gone so far as “strategic doodling”, “visual thinking” and “graphic facilitation”. Continue reading “Can you use strategic doodles for coming up with new business ideas?”
People want to start something of their own but soon they realise that they need a process to go about doing it. It’s just quite amazing how many people are using forums to find out what’s the best way of going about coming up with a new product idea. But get onto these forums and take a look. Often the best advice offered is to “use your brain”.
These days not everyone wants to go 9 to 5. Lifestyles have changed. Many people want to create work for themselves that fits around their lifestyle rather than the traditional approach of work dictating their lifestyle.
You see the consequences of people thrashing in the urban jungle: feeling tired, stressed out, irritable and frustrated, suffering insomnia, unhappy and even depressed. Medication, alcohol, hard partying and even psychotherapy doesn’t address the root cause. You need to have your values, personal vision and unique talents and skills working for you before you can hope to achieve “happiness”.
For those who have decided to do something for themselves, to start something from scratch and don’t know how to go about it, here are three methods you can use:
1 Get out there and take a look around. Go find an industry or market that you’d like to work in and look for opportunities. You might want to speak to people, visit specialised trade exhibitions or go online to initially get an idea of what’s out there. Your observations might lead you to a smart idea.
2 Find problems. Make it your mission to go out looking for, listening for other people’s problems. Things are changing all the time and new problems provide potential for new solutions. Many products and services out there were built for better times and now people want things that are less expensive, easier to use and faster. You could stumble on to an overlooked opportunity.
3 Use idea-generation tools. You need to know which tools works best for different applications. It’s no use using mind mapping to generate ideas when there are far easier and better tools such as Fusion Cards. New ideas come about by connecting or thinking to unrelated ideas to form a new idea. Let your mind’s, right-brain process, work for you to create new associations.
Whatever idea you come up with use this simple test to determine its value. Think about how you would sell your product or service to prospective customers. What benefit or advantage would you have over competitors. Draft a quick 30-second message for your product or service idea. If it excites you and others then you might want to move onto the next step – idea evaluation.
I met up with an entrepreneurial couple who had returned to the country from the UK and had decided to make energy bars to sell. They began making and packing their energy bars at home and then going around to shops and delicatessens to leave samples. Soon they were receiving calls from where they had left the sample energy bars with shop and deli owners placing orders. Sounds like a success story, doesn’t it? Continue reading “Are you paranoid about other small businesses copying your ideas and products?”
I’ve been trying to get back into running after a long absence. I had to drop out in the winter because of a calf injury I suffered one morning running below 0° with out doing warmup stretching exercises. The doctor said I could get back into running after three weeks but a friend in Cape Town who has gone into running in a big way said it would take 10 weeks. Guess who was right? The runner, the one who has knowledge of the road.
I practised walking for about two weeks before I took my first run. When I went out running the run seemed smooth flowing. But a few minutes after I got back I could feel the spot where the old injury was and my muscles were sore. The next day my muscles were so stiff that I took a break and went back the next day. Not everyone is interested in running, I realise, but it provides an excellent analogy for other areas in our lives such as our imagination, which is really the workshop of our minds in which all new ideas, concepts and solutions are fashioned. Continue reading “Firing up the workshop of your imagination”
Ideas flow naturally when you’re deeply interested in something. You stay informed and thoughts turn in your mind about possibilities. Your best ideas often come at times when you least expect them to: in your car singing a song, walking in nature, watching a movie, reading a book or magazine or just before you fall asleep or wake up in the morning.
But what should you do when you’re stuck for new business ideas? Do more research in your area of interest? Talk to others? Spend more time thinking and imagining possibilities?
Not all ideas are equal. You’ve come up with an idea that you think is brilliant. You may have several ideas bubbling in your head or staring at you in your notebook. You might have used idea-generation tools and solo brainstormed perhaps 100 ideas.
To make eventual money from your new business ideas for products and services you need to have some process to select the best ones and experiment with them. Continue reading “You’ve got ideas. What to do with them?”
Simon Berry came up with an idea to save millions of lives in rural areas in developing countries.
He found that the space between the bottles in the crates used to distribute Coca-Cola can be used to transport oral rehydration salts.
His invention is the ColaLife Aid Pod anti-diarrhoea kit.
It is a waterproof plastic wedge-shaped package for an anti-diarrhoea kit that rests on top and between bottles in Coca-Cola shipping crates.
The AidPod also helps protect people from reinfection. People fill the AidPod with water, add anti-bacteria powder and let the sun’s UV rays kill waterborne bacteria.
New ideas turn into products and services can help to save millions of lives. Continue reading “How do you come up with that winning idea in your business?”
Your sales are down for the month or quarter. In this economy they could be at the lowest levels you’ve experienced for years, as some small business owners have recently told me.
You need to make a plan to increase your sales but you may not know where to start. The quickest and easiest way to focus on your sales is to come up with a list of what you can do. Continue reading “10 sales tips your competitors wish you didn’t know”