Yes, I firmly believe there are still many opportunities to make millions selling “picks and shovels” in whatever gold rush is happening today. Here are some ways to find your idea.
- Improving an existing product or service is the surest and quickest way to success. Brand-new products or services are usually very risky.
- Don’t look for get rich quick schemes. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Look at the long-term perspective.
- Decide to be excellent at whatever you do. This provides more leverage than any other factor.
- Go to trade shows. If you’re looking for an idea, just start looking at what is being done in that area.
- Check products being sold in foreign countries. Even in our global economy, it’s estimated that 80 percent of products are never sold outside the country where they’re produced. Years ago a gentleman saw a wheelbarrow advertised in a magazine. It was fiberglass and plastic, superior to what was then available in the United States. He asked to be the U.S. distributor. He took one sample wheelbarrow to a home and garden show and received over fifty thousand orders. He did not invent it, did not patent it, he simply asked to be a distributor for an existing product. With only a $5 profit margin, that’s $250,000 profit!
- Pay attention to passing fads and trendy ideas. People have made fortunes with the Pet Rock, hula hoop, politically related T-shirts and bumper stickers, sports theme items, and other fads that present a short window of opportunity.
- As you travel, look, listen, and learn. Orange Julius started on the West Coast. The guy who recognized this creamy orange drink as a growing phenomenon brought it back to the Midwest and made millions.
- Make sure you find something you believe in, something you would buy yourself and use yourself, and would sell to your best friend.
- Share your ideas. Don’t be secretive. Get input from everyone you know. Ideas are a dime a dozen. But the person who puts a plan of action together is the only one who will benefit.
- Eighty-five percent of what you need to know about running a successful business you can learn from running a successful mail-order or eBay business. You can experiment with nearly all the necessary components of a traditional business and adjust your work model as you learn.
The inventors of Doggles-sunglasses designed especially for dogs-say they came up with their business brain wave after noticing their dog was squinting in the sunlight. Ken and Roni di Lullo of Midnight Creations tried their own glasses on their dog’s face . . . but nothing stayed on or worked well. After experimenting with sports goggles, the innovative husband and wife team developed a special pair to fit their dog perfectly. Other dog owners approached the couple when they were out walking, and a business was born. After a CNN story featured Doggles, sales quadrupled overnight, and these days the di Lullos have a $1 million business.
This is the normal process of innovation. A real person recognizes a real need and provides a solution. The most successful ideas often involve not a complicated invention process but just a simple modification of an existing product.
Examples from No More Mondays