How to Have Creative Business Ideas
By Steve Gillman
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
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
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?