With the easy access across distance and markets the Internet gives us, it’s easy to see how anyone can become a millionaire overnight, but it’s terribly frustrating when you can’t seem to find the next big idea that will rock the entire world, or at least, the entire country.
The good news, though, is that it does not take a PhD holder to hit the next big idea. Remember most of the world’s youngest millionaires are actually college drop-outs or did not do very well in school. Mark Zuckerberg, anyone?
This, of course, does not discredit the role of education in ideas building, but rather points to the fact that a creative mind is one who interprets ideas rather than soaks in ideas. In fact, let me let you in on a secret: the best and most profitable ideas are ones that disrupt markets and create entirely new markets out of existing ones.
So, without beating around the bush, here are five ways to help you disrupt markets and pinpoint the next big thing:
Secret No. 1: Observe Lifestyles
Fact: People will buy anything that will make their life easier, better, healthier or make them more beautiful, more socially accepted or more interesting.
What this means is that if you study the lifestyles of people, you will often find ideas to achieve any of the mentioned above.
I recently heard about a business by a Nigerian lady that illustrates this point. The business is about creating diet cakes and sugar crafts for people keen on watching their weight. At first I thought “how is this possible seeing that cakes and all are about high fat content?” Until I became intrigued listening to the owner at a recently concluded conference about how she studied the market and researched on the products until she found ingredients that could replace the offending high-fat ingredients, without compromising on the taste of her pastries!
Her products cater to a small segmented market, but it is obvious that they are many many people who would want to buy her products as they make people healthier.
Secret No. 2: Study Existing Processes
Think Internet banking. How has it made banking easier and less stressful for customers? Think online air ticket booking like Wakanow.com. Has it made travelling easier?
Many of us neglect what is right in front of us. Rather, we keep looking for grandiose ways of making money. How many times have we complained about a process or a task and actually studied that process to see if you can proffer a solution to reduce the processes and increase efficiency?
Simple processes like paying for your children school fees to more complex ones like studying the way departments in companies handle their day-to-day activities can be eye opening and suggest to you one or two ideas that may break bank.
Secret No. 3: Look out for Often Neglected Markets
Recently, I was discussing with a dear mentor and I pointed out that in Nigeria, the children are a very often neglected market. Even with the number of new programmes struggling for airtime on television stations, children still do not have quality local programmes to enjoy, which is a huge opportunity. Ooops! I just let out an idea.
Last week, I stumbled on a small business which offers mobile crèche services to events and parties. The founder discovered that many times, mothers make up a large population of events and may have no one to look after their children at home. The mobile crèche is of course the perfect solution as mothers can enjoy the event and still check on their children every few minutes.
There are many other often neglected markets that may seem small (such as old people, small businesses, etc), but if you consider playing in a field where you enjoy a position of dominance, think how much you can make!
Secret No. 4: Study the Smallest chores/Habits
This is one of my favourites. Ever heard of the bag holder? It is a very tiny metal handle which ladies can use to anchor their handbags to a chair or a table anywhere, anytime. This means that those lovely Louis Vuittons, etc never have to share floor space, and you know how ladies are particular about their handbags.
The bag holder is an incredible simple idea yet it is not one you would think of just like that except you pay attention to the tiniest habits and chores of our everyday lives.
Simple habits like forgetting your car keys in the morning, never waking up to your alarm and even doing your laundry can provide big million-dollar ideas.
So start looking.
Secret No. 5: Daydream, Get creative and Collaborate!
Finally, expand your lateral thinking. If you own a poultry that only sells birds and eggs, why not think of converting the use of your products and extending your supply chain? If you sell services, think of ways to convert a portion of your services to products. If you think it might be more work and you are not ready to manage the production just yet, think of COLLABORATION, the magic word of this decade.
I recently read an article online on a travel content creation blog. What this website does is to tell you extraordinary places around the world you can visit. At the end of each article, the website gives readers the opportunity to partake in deals from partner hotels, bed and breakfasts, restaurants and many other awesome resorts, and in exchange these places get exposure, more visits, more money while the website gets paid for advertising. Talk about profitable collaboration.
The long and short is that you can be doing more with what you have. Never be afraid of partnerships as businesses can often benefit from long-term or even short-term partnerships.
Photo Credit: thegrio.com
Ifesinachi is a writer and brand strategist. She blogs at www.meetifesinachi.com and can be reached at [email protected]