The next billion business ideas

business-startup-ideasEvery day we meet so many people ready to startup. So many ventures coming up, they try to fill gaps and make a revenue models out of it. At times it seems that we are almost out of ideas. As if whatever can be produced has been produced and whatever you can think of, there is already a business which works on a similar idea. Are we out of ideas for our startups? Ideas to improve our current Businesses? Really?

How will this post deliver a billion startup ideas in mere 1000 words? Don’t worry I won’t even attempt to do that. What I intend to do is to highlight how you can unleash new business ideas for your next startup or your existing business just by changing the way you search for Business ideas. And believe me it would be fun doing that.

The trick

The trick is simple. Stand upside down (It’s called Shirshasan in yoga). Let the whole understanding of what the world is and how businesses work go off your mind and think as wild as you can. It would be out of these simple, stupid and illogical thoughts that your next logical startups will pop-out. Weird? Let me explain further.

There was a time when we read books, treasured them. Had a huge collection of our classics. We still do. But the number has reduced and I believe it will soon die. Why is there a change? The answer – Internet. We can get all the news, information and knowledge just about anything we want. Why read books? OK I don’t intend to start an argument out here that books are useless; but rather ask you how many classics have you read in last 1 year. New Business models are coming up every day. Freemium content and free blogs are replacing the good old books. Somewhere some business is getting killed

We had audio cassettes and now we have the iPod. We had alarm clocks and now we have the Mobile phone. Do you still have an alarm clock? Many businesses that were fantasies once are real revenue generating machines today. Would anyone believe you 50 years back that 100 kgs of cassettes will come down to 100 grams of mp3 players? Strange?

crowdsourceAnother model. We poached teams, groomed them, retained them and paid hefty checks. Now we outsource. Rather crowd source. These models came into existence because somewhere someone thought really weird. To ask the masses to do it in the best way and do it cheap. Weird enough so that others don’t copy the idea. Weird enough that makes passion turns into a sensible business idea.

Now let’s get down to business!

I will highlight you some business ideas that you never thought that can happen. Why not start a company that will provide free faxes for startup, or free telephony, free connectivity. These seem stupid but take SabseBolo.com a startup by Sabeer Bhatia which provides free conference calling services to groups. Whats the catch? Before every calls the callers listen to a 5-25 second advertisement. Now why not implement this to Faxes. You mail me your content and I fax it free for you. Just add a few ads in the footer. You have a service, I have the revenues.

These ideas might seem stupid but the potential is huge. A TV ad where the maximum marketing revenue goes just doesn’t pull attention. A call or a fax discussed above guarantees that your message is delivered.

Another example that I can pull off is one that is in financial services. A company called Distribution 2.0 intends to sell insurance  the way mobile refill vouchers are sold in small retail stores. Buy a refill voucher of Rs 100 (approx 2 $) and you get an accident insurance of Rs 50,000. (Approx $ 1000) Will this work? Well when giant corporations started selling shampoos in sachets it was a killer idea why not insurance?

So how different can you think. Which indispensable service can you provide Free? What can you sell in sachets? What can you venture in where the least can be put to get the max out of it?

There was a time when software was free (not referring to open source software). It was free because people thought that without software how will the buyer use the hardware that I sell? We would have to bundle software? And just making software who the heck will I sell it to without hardware? Some one thought weird – that software should be costlier and today companies like Microsoft has pumped more  billionaires than we can imagine. Do you know a hardware company this Rich? I guess

To Summarize business idea generation

billion-dollar-ideasI have ignited good weird thoughts. The idea I repeat is simple. Think as much weird ideas as you can. Do not attempt to think about its feasibility / viability. List the weirdest ones that you will love to see in the real world. Jot them down on a piece of paper. And now think “How will I make them possible?” Work out a way because that’s where your success is.

Hope you will land up to the next billion ideas or the next one billion dollar idea for your start up or your existing business. And in case if you find this challenging feel free to ping me, we will play this weird game together and it would be fun because I can think really weird

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