Somehow I have difficulty in answering when people ask me the question about how to get business ideas because they are so much in abundance. In fact I get emails and text messages of people asking which business idea do I find viable and I find it hard suggesting because we are all different – in strength, skills and potentials. I however usually encourage people to observe and document their thoughts, which usually results in the business ideas they eventually pursue. While most people have business ideas, the challenge I see however is the patience and passion to follow through to the profitable conclusions. Most others spend a long time sitting on their ideas waiting to execute on a big scale, a moment which almost always never comes. A lot more people are busy complaining about people who stole their ideas and they eventually abandon it going to look for others. A larger percentage are on a mission – looking for the next shiny object, the next thing people are saying is making money, the next idea, the next buzz, they however never settle for any.
In the city of ideas, Execution is king
However the world belongs to smart executors. In the city of ideas, execution is king. Even when you have a simple idea like selling food, execution will make you stand out. Ideas are a dime and a dozen. Many people have ideas, for instance, of writing a book, but only few will pick up a pen or their laptops and write; few will write consistently; only fewer out of those few will have the guts to publish. Many ideas die in the waste bin of the mind; many more in the webs of self-criticism, only a few express those ideas.
Now, that is the difference. An expression is a verb, a doing word, not a noun. It is the concretisation of an idea. It is not enough to think; until you start doing and expressing it. There is no perfect time to begin to implement those ideas than now. In the business of entrepreneurship; you may need to fire first, aim later.
Lessons from Monster-in-Law
If you watched the 2005 Monster-in-Law movie, there is a portion of the movie you didn’t watch. Sheri Gilbert had sued Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda claiming she could predict every move in the Mother-In-Law movie because there was a striking familiarity between the mother-in-law and the script she had developed about her mother-in-law problems. Don’t ask how come she could tell only after she watched the movie? How many other women watched it and remembered their own mother-in-law troubles?
This matter left the film industry and became a subject of litigation between the lawyers of both parties in court; and the verdict? After a gruelling legal battle, the judge blamed Sheri Gilbert for wasting everyone’s time over a meritless lawsuit. She was ordered to pick up the bill of the defendants’ lawyers which amounted to 4,000 billable hours – a whopping $894,983! This judgement was not only sound but it sent three messages: Firstly, you cannot claim to own ideas. Secondly, only those who can execute or give expression to ideas will win and finally copyrighting only protects the expression of ideas and not the idea itself – there’s a difference.
Where can you then find viable business ideas?
Business ideas exist because there will always be challenges. People will always have unmet needs. Yes! It is amazing the amount of business ideas you can generate when you sit and listen to people who love to nag. Sometimes, business ideas come because these existing needs are not well met. It is not only unmet needs but also needs that are not being met satisfactorily. A business opportunity could also arise if there is a way to meet the needs of the market in a faster or cheaper way.
What are people complaining about in your area of competence?
For selling two million copies of an empty book, Cindy Cashman certainly knew how to make cash; her surname has cash in it! She self-published a book under the pseudonym, Dr. Alan Francis titled Everything Men Know about Women and every page of the 128-page book contained only six words – “this book was left intentionally blank!”. With the book’s success, I can only imagine the number of ladies who feel like sending this to their dumb ex after a break up (*wink*). What problem did Cashman solve you may ask? You may have to ask the over two million people who bought her book. Let’s know if their insatiable desire to decipher women was met, if it will ever be met, and how many more copies of Cashman’s book they may need to get to meet it.
If there is a field, industry or a problem where you feel the palpable need for improvement and you can find a way to satisfy the need in a more profitable way; some people have sold empty books to solve a problem. If you have something of value to offer, a window of opportunity may be staring at you.
So what problem do you have? What problem can you solve? What business can you start today without breaking your bank account?