Where Should You Actually Look For Business Ideas? : There Is An Idea For Everyone

There is an idea for everyone — even in your small business. You can discover yours!

Come with me…

The other day, a friend of mine approached me with a list of 100 different ideas.
He was planning to start his very first business.

I asked him where he got the list from. He told me, it was from
a popular website.
“So, which one are you going to pick out of the lot? I asked him.

He replied that he had been looking at ten…and he wasn’t sure
which one would fetch him a lot of money.
I told him that might not be the way to go.– that wasn’t a proper way
of picking a worthwhile business idea.

As you read this today many people are in search of unique ideas.
They are looking around for startup ideas that would survive into the future.
Possibly an idea that would make tons of money in a particular industry.

Yet it appears that despite the huge amount of information available,
even at our fingertips, many are confused the more, on what to look for.

But we must “own” our ideas we come up with.
That is, to come up with unique ideas to stand the test of time.

  • Therefore, my simple definition of an idea is:
    that “thing” or “activity” that is brought into existence but beneficial to Man.

You may add your own qualifying terms.
Be it; good or bad, expensive or cheap and so on.

That is fair enough.

(By the way; can we agree for simplicity sake, to use “Man” for human beings?
The women folk I ask for their understanding.)

Now let’s move on…

What I am going to show you, is how to discover your own unique ideas,
which the market would readily accept.

The Background

Human beings have needs and we are full of many aspirations.
This creates opportunities for those who can provide ideas —
or new technologies — to meet up with these expectations.

You will agree with me that we all struggle
with our internal feelings and external realities!

Our known five basic senses;
such as hearing, seeing, touching, tasting, and smelling must be served.

We also need to take care of our mind, spirit and body;
to give them all the optimum attention they deserve.

Each of these attributes has its own challenges.
And this is where business opportunities are abound–
as Man’s interest must be served by entrepreneurs and others.
This is the root of all our rat race!
And there is no exception.

“The Human Need” Grid Tool

I will explain with few examples of what each intersection contains.
You can also regard them as the A, B, C and D compartments.

A Bit of Caution

But before I go into the explanation of this tool,
you will need to consider a bit of caution.

  • You will be mindful that some ideas or opportunities
    might not be clearly demarcated.Some may cut across two intersections.
    However, that makes it interesting for you to create a really unique idea;
    to solve a cocktail of special “needs” and “wants”.
  • This tool is simple, powerful but neutral in its outcome of new ideas.
    Using it for the common good is my advice and desire.
  • Before you deploy a massive product launch;
    do basic tests of the idea you have arrived at.
  • You must sample real life feedback of your carefully defined market niche
    or prospective consumers.
    If they like the idea, then you can go all the way to launch your service or product.

Validation is very important.
Let your sample consumers tell you what they feel about the idea.
It is not really about you, after-all.

You will also need to develop a keen sense of observation, namely:

  • Your own needs and aspirations as a human being as well as other people.
  • The environment which will include nature, social and other events
    as being played out across our world.

These are the gold mines!
If you look well enough and slot them into the grid.
I will show you how.

 

The Essential Needs of Man

These are, namely:

Food,
shelter,
health,
psychological,
ideological,
spiritual,
transportation,
distribution of goods and services,
information,
clothing,
education,
sources of energy,
communication,
environmental challenges,
governance,
and more.

In the above highlighted general needs of our existence —
you will identify how you can use this tool to come up with new ideas.
And I will soon show you how, with some examples.

Every business in existence, is about serving the need of Mankind and the environment:

1) to remove pains and /or
2) to make things better.

And of course if you create acceptable ideas, in the eyes of your target consumers,
then you are expected to be rewarded.

The Environment

The environment — outside the physical body of Man —
is made up of the living and non-living.
Both seen and unseen.

It would also comprise diverse human experiences and events across the world.
Likewise, nature is made up of its own internal and external elements.
They come in various shades of features and characteristics.

Let me give you a quick illustration here;

if the earth tremors, a smart scientist is thinking of how to develop a profound tool.
A tool to minimize losses against the fallout of such a calamity.
Ideas are developed for such a tool against earthquakes and the aftermath.

For its own self-preservation humans make use of nature and the environment.

You will agree with me that the environment takes care of our needs.
And we must also have a balanced relationship
when we create new products and services.

Our smart startups should put all these into consideration.

 

Now let me explain how you can use this tool…

This tool rests on 4 realities which you may call assumptions.

Man has both

  1. internal and
  2. external needs.

Man would need them in

  1. tangible and
  2. intangible forms to satisfy those needs.

We experience all these in different combinations in our daily life.

  • I will now illustrate with a few examples for each compartment
    or intersection which will guide you on how to use the tool.
  • Some ideas may cut across more than one compartment.Disregard if I have more examples in one intersection than the other.
    You can draw up yours after this exercise.

Let us look at the following four scenarios…

Compartment: A

*Assuming if someone is sad or unhappy.
His spirit could be lifted up by a specific but physical gift — he loves —
from a concerned friend or loved one.
Gift sellers and producers make money.
That is an idea for a business.

*A hungry person needs a type of food.
Food supplier with that specification is in business.

*A need to acquire economic power; some skill-set is desired.
Books or physical tools would come to the rescue.
Producers in the applicable industries make money.

*For shy people, you need dark sunglasses from the Optical industry.

*A pacemaker for some heart patients.

*The air we breathe.
A containerized volume of air for divers made by the relevant industries.

*Crude stones as precious metals found inside and
outside mountains to satisfy our emotional cravings.
That throws up ideas to take care of these sectors — both ways.

*Internal parts of plants of animals are used for medicine and many more.
That will be an opportunity for drug makers and others.

*Need beautiful ambience for the soul?
Smart developers put up an ocean-view real estate.

* You can add yours…

Compartment: B

*Producers of light weight dental braces to straighten up the teeth;
to build ultimate self-confidence.

*Cotton and linen farmlands to supply the fabric industry.

*Crude oil inside the bowels of the earth supply us fuel and other materials.

*Crushed rocks made available for construction.

*Tool manufacturers make tools to crush these rocks.

*Real estate industry to provide housing for shelter.

*Manufacturer of cloths and wears to cover and protect the body.

*The energy from the sun converted into electricity.

* You can add yours…

Compartment: C

*In need of a relationship?
Then there is a matchmaking business that comes into reckoning.

*People going through emotional trouble need a drug, doctor or psychiatrist service.

*If someone is sad or unhappy, that person can be serenaded with a piece music of his liking.
The music artiste and record label make money.

*For shy people; they will need to see a psychologist or psychiatrist.

* You can add yours…

Compartment: D

*You don’t have the time to cut your lawn or wash your;
this is an opportunity to provide such services.

*To be assimilated into a society you might need to learn their language.
That is a job for language teachers.

* To generate electricity you dam cascading rivers using the embedded kinetic energy.

* You can add yours…

A Recap

Determine how all these elements and factors you have identified intertwine.
They will reveal possibilities when you slot them into an appropriate compartment.
Then you would have arrived at a feasible choice of an idea.

Using this deceptively simple,
“The Human Need Grid Tool” will throw up many possibilities
for your next innovative ideas.

You only need to pick a pencil and write down matching of needs and solutions.

This tool removes a lot confusion in coming up with a good idea.

And you can use it as I have successfully.

I look forward to hearing about your experience and comments.
What do you think?

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Advertising & Salesmanship: Losing the Business but Gaining the Customer

There are 3 practical tips you could take away: in advertising and the act of salesmanship.

The action points are revealed towards the end of this case study.

But before then, just follow me through this short encounter I had early this year, 2017…

There I was, engrossed at the task at hand. A phone call came in. This time; it was an unknown number.
For such calls, depending on my mood, I could choose to pick this strange number or not. I thought to myself.

As a small business owner, you would agree with me that we wished our limited time was not wasted on frivolities. With time that is how we get wired as entrepreneurs.

We like to optimize our resources. Yet, we don’t want to lose any business or opportunities. And these can come from anywhere and when we least expect. For a split of a second I contemplated, followed my hunch and I picked the call.

My voice grudgingly said, “Hello”.
The man at the other end – with such a respectable tone – asked after a product we advertised, about 4 years prior to this time.
So he reminded me. “I saw your advert online; and I need more details and that’s why I am calling…if you are still into it”.

This got me straightened up; now, with a clearer voice.

(As you read this; what would you expect I do at this time but to give the prospect more attention. I put aside the task at hand.)

He asked many questions to get full details. Suddenly the call came to an abrupt stop. As we say in my clime; his call credit must have been exhausted.

Now I was calculating if I should return the call. I was wondering if my investment in my personal time would be worthwhile. I was thought again of the cost of the phone call, if I had to return the call.
Yet, you need to sell. But was he going to be a buyer? I was not too sure.

So I gambled on my instincts again. I called him back. I eventually persuaded him we continue on his further inquiries on the WhatsApp platform. That would save me some cost even if he wasn’t going to place an immediate order.

The specific material we use for the product in question was different from what he wanted. He wanted a material that would last many years. I told him the type we had would not go beyond three to six months. These are items kids play with. He wanted to place an order!

I had to tell him the truth despite the desperation in his expectation. Every other component of the product he loved but for this different input. However I gave him a few suggestions where he could source for such a material outside the country.
At the end of that initial phase of his inquiry, he surprisingly volunteered by saying,” I like your honesty”.

Out of the blues he asked; if we offered a totally different service that he urgently needed. (I don’t know why he brought that up.)

But by share coincidence or by providence, this new request has presently become our major job.
I told him that was what I was working on for a client, when he called. And I highlighted how we could be of help.
Thereafter, he promised that he would engage in due course.
Our chat ended. That was a prospect from a least expected channel.

Practical Tips to Take Away

  1. Continuous advertising will ultimately be rewarding.
    Set aside an affordable amount out of your expenditures for advertising.
  2. Tell your customer the truth, always. (That is smart selling)
    Do not hesitate to tell your clients the truth even if your business can’t meet up
    with their specific requirement at a particular time. You can’t sell to everybody.
  3. Treat all prospective customers with respect.
    You never can tell of the positive outcome – at the present and in the future —
    if such an encounter makes them feel good.

Tell me your reactions below…

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Proactive Sales Strategy And The Consumer As A Co-Producer

Today, selling a product idea has become increasingly challenging.
There is a lot of information, targeted at consumers through many channels.

Across different industries, consumers feel businesses are offering the same thing – through different advertising twist.
Therefore, prospective and current consumers are eternally confused and circumspect.

Advertising messages are taken with a pinch of salt. It is akin to the same impression some discerning people have of politicians.

Yet consumers need services and products; to alleviate their pains or improve upon their prevailing experiences.

  • So how do businesses get the attention of their target consumers?
  • How can businesses meet up with the consumers’ expectations?
  • What could businesses do to earn trust by prospective consumers?

Within the crowd of other competitors, these and many other questions are asked by serious businesses as producers.

  • Consumers as co-producers could help in product formulation before the beginning of the sales process of a new product or service.The 9 Steps Before An Effective Selling

The aim is to have a sample of target consumers to test the product for their feedback and comments.

Some of these steps may not be applicable to some industries or some businesses. But a modified form of these steps would assure of certainty before a product is released.

Provision of an expendable budget

This is an amount of money that you would need for the field exercise.
The event could be offline or online. Or both.
You will determine the time frame and the number of events.
The budget will be expendable — as an affordable loss — should you decide to drop the product idea after this test.

The need for patience

Resist the natural urge to rush a product idea into the market place in expectation of making quick money.
But are you so sure about the product?

However, it is less risky to find out what your prospective consumers feel about your product idea, before the full launch.

The “tasting” exercise gives a clearer picture.
Only very few producers or businesses have made a success in blind prospecting.
Some people attribute a unique gift to Steve Jobs, as a good reader of anticipated needs of consumers. Maybe.

Use Different Meeting Points

Subject to your budget, you will decide on the meeting places where your sample prospects will interact with your product or service.
Don’t box yourself only into the traditional way of meeting your customers. In addition to this, get ideas from other industries for this interface.

The meeting point or interface could be a one-off event or a continuous one, within a determined space of time. Look at your budget.

These activities could be an offline or an online event. I will always advise a hybrid, where you do both. (Human beings are still physical in nature. Many salespeople are losing out by ignoring other opportunities waiting to be tapped offline – in the real physical world)

Training The Sales Team

You will design the parameters and the check list, to get the responses from the sample audience. Your designated members of the sales team would have been given detailed briefings.
They should understand the real meaning of what these prospects are communicating beyond what they voice out.
It is an exercise of more active listening, keen observation and understanding of the sample audience. Do not disregard a lone commentary.

If your team hears contrary views — different from your earlier assumed position — that should be noted as a big opportunity. Appropriate attention must be given to that during the feedback analysis.

Collating the results

Give the product out as free for testing or heavily discounted – possibly close to your cost of production at worst.

You can also use technology to mimic the features and get feedback on user experience. That ought to be cost effective.

After the completion of the field exercise, it is time to study all the findings.
Study the feedback and the findings to arrive at logical conclusions.

Adjustments will be made – no doubt. Your company’s assets and resources would influence your final decision on how to come up with a finalized product or not.

The counter-intuitive thinking

These figures and inferences from the field exercise might not be enough to make the final decision. Before you conclude on a particular course of action. Think again.

Is there anything amiss?

This is where past experience and power of intuition would be brought to play, despite the logical indices in front of you.

No one is ever sure if a product idea would succeed or not until it is finally sold in the market space and over time.

Some questions to be asked:

  • Should I deploy now…or wait or I shouldn’t at all?
  • What are the lost opportunities, if I don’t deploy?
  • What would the business lose, if I deploy?
  • What are the risk factors if the product would not do well or ultimately fail in the larger market?
  • What are the other influencing factors that are at play within the industry?
  • What are the influential issues within the organization and outside of it?

Your reservations and answers to any of these would guide the final decision you must still make.

Recognize other product opportunities

During the field exercise there is a likelihood you get an inkling for other complimentary products ideas.
You may want to take note of that and determine what you want to do about that piece of information. Don’t be surprised if there are more favorable comments for a different product from the one being tested

Time to sell
Now you have chosen to sell.
Launch the finished product and where practicable, give support to the customers who participated, to blow the trumpet about the product.
Guy Kawasaki calls himself and such people “product evangelists”. People trust in words of mouth by referral because it is built on trust.

But don’t rule out other selling and advertising channels.

Continuous appraisal of consumers

After releasing the product into the market, a system must be in place for periodical feedback.
It is extra work though, especially if the product is doing well. You don’t want to do it.
But never trust the continued loyalty of your consumers in the midst of other overwhelming choices.
This appraisal will reveal when their tastes would have changed.
Then you will have to go back to the first step; to initiate a new innovative product — with the consumers as co-producers.
Finally

Prior understanding of your sampled customers gives a clearer picture of your product formulation.
It gives your sales-force a better traction and confidence; to win customers’ trust because they understand your offering. And they need; it to pay for it.

Let me hear your comments below.

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Making a Million from a Simple Business Idea

Let me prick your mind about the popular thought about making money.
Thinking about making millions for your business or your “humble” self.
But you wouldn’t know how to go about it, to make that honest million ultimately?

Here is an obvious way to go about it. But it needs patience.

It is an open secret. The answer is simple.

  • Sell something that “millions” or many people would like to pay for.
  • Sell something that is a large number of people must repeatedly buy.
  • Sell something that is difficult to produce but needed by many people.

Keep your thought at bay, about going into exotic items that only the very few rich do buy.
There is nothing wrong in that but you will need a lot of resources to attend to the needs of the rich.
If you don’t have that now, look in the direction of the masses!

  • Then deal with the most difficult assignment which is, to leverage on a network.
    Create your own distribution network, to reach these millions of consumers over time.
  • Pick an idea that sells between a low and medium price tag.
    Coca-Cola, Pepsi and other beverages are low-price retailed products.
    But repeatable, quickly exhaustible and demanded in millions.
    Some of the reasons behind their perennial success.Yours doesn’t have to be like these big companies.Potential demand for yours could be in thousands.

    You must understand your costing and what your target consumers are willing to pay.

Your little profit margin – after deducting your expenditures – when multiplied in thousands could take you to a million in revenue.

To scale up the idea and repeat the process, you must put all the needed resources in place.
It takes time and patience but you will get there. I will have to repeat this.

  • Soar above your competition by adding something complimentary — in a combo — to your primary idea. They don’t have to be big.
    Beverage companies sponsor shows; you know. It is a game of numbers. Look out for other opportunities. They are out there.

Believe in Yourself

Mostly the impatience in people and their ego may not allow them to recognize simple ideas.
Most innocent ideas are like gold and the diamond in the rough. They don’t appear presentable or as polished at the beginning until you do something to them; to bring out the benefits.

While I took a break from completing this article, I just glimpsed through an article about a former banker in Nigeria now a caterer. He had to leave the banking job – a few years back — because his wife was working in the same place as well. That was the policy of the bank.

He decided to get himself entrenched in the catering business because of his love of cooking.

He said the wife was initially shy about him starting on a low key. That did not deter him.
Today the business is reportedly well established and doing well. He is happy with himself despite mistakes and challenges he faced at onset.

Finally

  • Find out time to think widely about the possibilities of serving humanity in exchange for monetary values.
  • Look for ideas that are quickly perishable or repeatable. That would be fantastic.

Examples…
What service or product people use every day or more than once in a year?
What product or service that gets exhausted immediately after single use or after a few times of usage?


I don’t want to give specific examples so that you can use your mind to come up with better ideas than what I could suggest.

Simply look around.

Look at yourself too.

Look at far flung places from you.

The millions are there waiting for you.

Create and conjure scenarios to test:

Simple ideas that reduce or eliminate problems.
Simple ideas that give a more pleasing experience.

Simple ideas that have a consumers in thousands or millions.

It takes time to build ideas that make millions. Patience will be your virtue.

With the right selling price and a well-defined product plus unique value – your business could report a six figure someday.

***Do let me know your reactions below…
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Where Great Business Ideas Come From?

We are told that ideas rule the world! This is very true.

Now; let me guide you on how to arrive at great ideas for your business.

By the way, in coming up with concrete ideas, many business owners seek such lists bandied around for their new venture.
Pardon me, for reasons I would give much later, I don’t have an idea to impose on you.

But there is a much wiser way to get:
An idea that you own.
An idea that you can tame.
An idea that will excite you and your consumers.

Before we proceed…Continue reading

Before You Rush To Start That Business Idea

Here are the basic steps to take, after choosing an idea you want to bring into the business space.

What are the big issues here?

  • At the end of the day, it is about values in the eyes of your prospective consumers.
  • It is also about profitability and survival of the business and acceptance by the place or location your business is situated.

You don’t select ideas for the sake of it. You might get your hands burnt.Continue reading

Understanding Innovation Management In Business

Before we delve into our topic, there is a need to make a quick clarification about how to define innovation.

There are three types of innovation in managing a business for success:

  1. Innovation is that creative input into your product that is welcomed by your targeted consumers.
  2. Innovation can be about making the internal workings of your business to be more efficient.
  3. Innovation can also be about how the business engages all external factors, to enable the business run smoothly.

Continue reading

14 Practical Ways To Beat Competition In Your Business

Competition in business can be managed from within and outside an enterprise.

To survive, you need to differentiate your product or service offering and also how this is delivered. Business is inclusive of exchange of functional values and emotional perception in the eyes of the consuming public.

Hearing about the word: Competition; could discourage some people from going into business.

Continue reading

CEO Alert: Make An Effective Business Decision For Any New Year

Get Rid Of Your Anxiety!

As a CEO or a Managing Director, when the (financial) year is coming to its very end you may start becoming restless and apprehensive. You want to make effective business decisions for the New Year. You are not alone.

This is irrespective of whether your organization has posted good financials in the outgoing year or not. The bulk stops at your table for the next cycle of things. You should desire a more successful outcome of the expectant year.

Keep Your Peace

I am going to take you through some simple ways to remove the cobweb of anxiety from your mind.Continue reading