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How to Have Creative Business Ideas


Do you know how to have ideas for a business? Most people just wait around for something to come to mind. That can work, but it's a very limited approach. There are many good techniques for generating new ideas, whether those are ideas for new products or services, ways to save money, innovations within a business, or any other useful concepts.

Let's look at one simple technique for generating new business ideas. It is to take existing ones and apply them in new situations. Do this systematically and you can have dozens of great ideas by the end of this evening.

For example, maybe you have seen those pneumatic tubes at the drive-through windows of banks. These allow several customers to be waited on at the same time, since the cars can be spread out side-by-side instead of in a single-file line. What are some other applications?

A fast food delivery system for drive through service comes to mind. Now, if you are doing this during a brainstorming session, you might want to just jot the idea down, along with any related notes or thoughts that come to mind, and then leave it for later exploration. Producing many ideas and then looking at them more closely is a proven way to find some good ones.

But to return to our idea, lets look at how it might work. Instead of the tubes it would have to be a conveyor system that held orders level. This is necessary for the sake of drinks especially. The customers send their money in through the conveyor system, and get the food back the same way. You would have four or five lanes for customers--just like banks do.

What are the advantages of this setup? One slow person could no longer hold up the whole line at the drive-through, because there are several lines. You could wait on four customers at once!

Currently there are some drive-through restaurants that have two or more lanes for ordering, but these usually converge into one lane for picking up the order. Then there are those restaurants that have a lane down each side of the building. That can work, but if you have indoor seating you force all inside customers to cross drive-through traffic lanes. We resolve this problem with the multiple lanes on one side of the building.

You get the basic idea. Now, to return to the basic technique for generating new business ideas, here are two questions to get you thinking:

1. What ideas can you see around you, and how might you apply them in a new context?

2. What skills or knowledge do you have, and how can they be used in new contexts?

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