If you want to outlast your competitors, you must find a way to come up with big ideas that can outpace your competitors…
When I was first starting my online business, I had to come up with some big ideas out of thin air as well.
I learned a valuable lesson from Dan Kennedy—a secret he uses when coming up with his new products. He said that as a business owner, you can look around at what everyone else in your niche is doing and you can get good ideas. This works great for a while, but before you know it, everyone is copying each other right?
But then, just at the moment when the market is about to be saturated, suddenly someone comes along with a great idea from an industry completely outside of yours.
Here’s a great example…
The Invention of the “Drive-Thru”
When most people think of a Drive-Thru window, they probably instantly think of a fast-food chain like McDonald’s.
But the first business with a drive through option was not a restaurant at all—it was actually a bank. The City Center Bank in Syracuse, New York, opened a drive-through in 1928 for the convenience of its busy bank customers.
It wasn’t until 1948 that a restaurant used a Drive-Thru… The first In-N-Out Burger, with its intercom ordering system and lack of both inside seating and outside parking, was likely the first to offer the complete drive-thru.
Someone saw a bank with a drive-through and thought, “Can we apply this to restaurants?” And just like that, it sparked an entire revolution—a major innovation for the restaurant industry.
By the 1960’s, Jack-in-the-Box and Wendy’s had adopted Drive-Thru’s. And By the mid-1970’s, McDonald’s adopted the idea. By the 1980’s, almost every car on the road had more cup holders than seats.
All because of the invention of the Drive-thru.
You can do the same thing…
Just start by looking around at other businesses in different industries, and see what they’re doing to make their customer experience more convenient. This will give you some really good ideas about how you can apply them to you’re business as well.
How to create new big ideas for your business
When I get myself into that quiet place and start brainstorming new ideas I think…
What can I do to move this company forward?
What are those big shifts we can make right now, so one year from now, it’s going to be 50% the size it is today?
What new products, what new marketing campaigns can we create?
A big idea usually makes things easier for your customers—but more importantly, it solves a common problem—makes a process hassle free.
Sometimes your big innovations are also in response to what competition does. They do something and you have to be better than them, so you have to come out with the next best thing.
When you “borrow” someone else’s idea, it’s the same thing McDonald’s did when it copied In-N-Out Burger and set up a Drive-Thru.
You should try to do the same thing on a regular basis…
For at least 30 minutes a day (an hour is even better), you should turn off Wi-Fi, turn off your phone, and try to avoid all other distractions. You might even have to actually leave your office and go into a different environment.
It’s to be creative and brainstorm new ideas when there is so much busy work like responding to emails, answering messages on Skype, returning phone calls, etc. Office work has its own place of course, but it’s not high-level creative work—it’s the busy work. So I like to move myself out of that environment.
Sometimes I go to Starbucks, or maybe I’ll go for a walk in the park, and sometimes I even just go back to my apartment and work at my kitchen table. I come up with my best ideas when I’m alone with no distractions.
Another place where I get some of my very best ideas is on airplanes. Now that we’ve built my online business up to the point where we’re having special events around the world, I do a lot of airline travelling. If I’m taking a long flight it gives me time to think.
On the airplane, I don’t have Wi-Fi, so I have no distractions for all those hours, and I’m able to think up some really, really big ideas. I sit there and literally just type out my ideas.
I have this text edit file on my laptop, and I use it every time I start to brainstorm about new ideas. It’s like a notepad file I can pull up any time I think of something new.
There are many note-taking Apps for your phone or computer—one of the best is Evernote—which allows you to quickly and easily take notes about anything you’re thinking.
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