How To Have New Business Ideas

2009/03/08 at 11:06 am (Article)

There are many brainstorming routines and other techniques for creating new business ideas. You’ll find just one of them here, but it’s a good one.

New Business Ideas By Turning Things Upside Down
This is a technique for generating truly creative new ideas. It’s based on the way your mind tries to make sense of whatever you put in front of it. What you will put in front of it is ideas and approaches that have been turned on their head.

For example, if you have a bookstore, you can start by making a list of how things are currently done. Add to that any assumptions and any plans you may have considered. Write all of this down, and then look at each item, to create an opposite or upside down idea. Play with that for a couple minutes to see what ideas it suggests.

On your list you might have the fact that “people come to the store to buy books.” You formulate an opposite idea, like “the books come to the customers,” and play with it. Selling online and mailing books is done already by large vendors, and may or may not work with a local bookstore.

But then it occurs to you that local delivery might be as cheap as a dollar per book if you had enough sales each week and ran a delivery route three times weekly. Customers could get the books even faster than they would from the usual online sellers, and can return them locally if necessary, without the need to repackage them. Not an entirely new business idea, but a possibly workable innovation.

Other items that might be on your list: “We can buy comfortable chairs and lamps so customers can relax,” “People buy books to read,” “We sell books,” and so on. It may seem silly to write down some of these self-evident facts, and some of the opposite ideas they suggest will seem even sillier. But it’s a powerful way to get out of the box with you thinking and start generating new business ideas.

“Buy chairs and lamps,” becomes “Sell chairs and lamps.” Silly? Not necessarily. You might generate a decent extra income selling things readers would like. “We sell books,” becomes “We buy books,” which suggests several possibilities as I write this.

Buying used books, but paying only with credit could keep customers coming back and supply a secondary used book store. Not a new idea, but it may be new to your business. Or how about offering to display any self-publisher’s books on consignment. No investment except space, and these writers will be sending family and friends to your store to buy their books.

Turn “People buy books to read” on its head and you get the seemingly crazy, “People read books to buy.” Where could you go with that? As mentioned, our minds try to make sense of things no matter how illogical they seem at first. My mind quickly invented a book that was interesting enough for a reader to read, but also promoted a dozen other books carried by the store. It could be sold cheap or given as a prize.

People read and then buy something more. “Read to buy,” may not be so crazy after all. Why not try turning things upside down for new business ideas?

By Steve Gillman,

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