5 Ways To Transform Ordinary Business Ideas

December 2, 2009

You don’t have to be a great inventor, or a technology pro to turn ordinary business ideas into something innovative and outstanding.

If you’re tired of waiting for that flash of inspiration that never comes – try using these seven twists to come up with innovative and competitive business ideas of your own.


Transform Dull Business Ideas With Fun Injecting a bit of fun into your business can make the workplace better for your staff, so they perform better. It also attracts customers who are drawn to your fun and friendly image. And the idea can be applied to any type of business.

An organisation which cleans up leaks and spillages doesn’t sound exciting. But New Pig Corporation injected fun into their business by giving away pig t-shirts, snouts and ears. They also invented cartoon characters including Squeal Armstrong – First Pig on The Moon and an Elvis Pig.


Bring The Business To Your Customer:

With advancing technology, people can do so much without even leaving their homes. Look for ideas to transform an ordinary business, so you can bring the business to your customers and make it easier for them to buy from you.

For example, visiting a bricks and mortar store to rent and return DVD’s is so yesterday and too much of a hassle for most customers. So operations like www.lovefilm.com make it easier for them by mailing the rentals free of charge and enabling to order films on line.

And if you drink bottled water, you’ll know that the quantity you purchase is often limited to the amount you can carry. Many companies now offer bottle delivery services to their customer. If you plan to sell a bulky or heavy product, you could cut costs and make more sales by offering it exclusively through home delivery.


Take The Outdoors In:

Some businesses are reliant on the weather. It could be a good idea to adapt one of these types of business and make outdoor products useable indoors.

Companies like DeLongi and Breville have done this with barbeque grills. Barbeques are seasonal, making sales slow in the winter. So they now offer indoor barbeque grills and some businesses have begun selling barbeque food packages in the winter, so you can bring the party indoors.


Take The Indoors Out:

Once the summer arrives, many people want to spend as much time as possible outdoors, to take advantage of the sunshine. Can you adapt products or services which are traditionally used indoors, for outdoor use?

Many companies offer products and services to enable you to bring your kitchen outdoors for the summer.


Improve Average Business Ideas With Technology:

You could start a fairly ordinary business, in a competitive market and use technology to give you the edge. Technology could help you save time, cut costs and enable you to offer a better service.

QB House, based in Japan, transformed the ordinary barber shop by automating everything. The customer buys a token from a machine and a light system tells them how long they will have to wait. All the barber needs to do is cut hair. (Operations Management, Slack et al. 2007)

Anyone can come up with outstanding business ideas using the five twists mentioned. Just keep your eyes peeled for ordinary businesses that could be improved.

Related Reading On This Site


Is Your Business Unique?

12 Business & Life Lessons From 2008
Don’t Draw Your Ideas From The Big Melting Pot Of Confusion
Why Some Of The Best Business Ideas Suck

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Comments

17 Responses to “5 Ways To Transform Ordinary Business Ideas”

  1. Davina on December 2nd, 2009 4:57 am

    This post of is so timely Cath! I need YOU to write my next promotional piece. I’ve been struggling with it all week. Have a great idea and it just so happens to be about FUN… a new way to approach one of my businesses. It’s driving me crazy trying to express the message. One of those cases where finding the “right” words is a challenge.

    I love the New Pig Corporation idea you’ve shared — brilliant! Innovative, and unique; an attention grabber… and fun.

    Davina’s last blog post..Where Did that Crummy Paddle Go?

  2. Hilary on December 2nd, 2009 8:17 am

    Hi Cath .. great ideas .. it is thinking out of the box – but just being creative and thinking beyond our normal apparent limits.

    We are so ingrained in our thinking from our school days, uni days, and our job experiences, or even the ability to start a business with a brick and mortar store – we can definitely do more now with the net.

    Local advertising, specific advertising, visiting local groups to help your business .. even out of the box in that thinking ..

    The Pig Corpn .. is a great idea .. thanks Cath –
    enjoy the coming week and I hope no more weather hassles for you up there ..
    Hilary Melton-Butcher
    Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

  3. Barbara Swafford on December 2nd, 2009 9:11 am

    Hi Catherine,

    The ideas you listed remind me of a business that was recently started in our town. This business has set up home delivery for food from 27 different restaurants in town. You call them, say where you ordered the food from and they go pick it up and deliver it to your door (for a fee, of course).

    Oddly enough, I wouldn’t even know about them but they have this annoying ad with singing that’s terribly off key. And even though it’s annoying, I’m always aware it’s their ad and even find myself singing along. (But haven’t used them yet).

    Barbara Swafford’s last blog post..Save Time – Copy & Paste A Post

  4. Brad Shorr on December 2nd, 2009 3:00 pm

    Cath, Great post. I LOVE New Pig. They are a very successful company, partly because they’ve made the dullest product line in the world interesting.

    Brad Shorr’s last blog post..Marketing and Really Good Jerky

  5. Brad Shorr on December 2nd, 2009 3:02 pm

    PS – Another one along the lines of New Pig – Big Ass Fans. Check it out. :)

    Brad Shorr’s last blog post..Marketing and Really Good Jerky

  6. Brad Shorr on December 2nd, 2009 3:08 pm

    PPS – Just checked out the fans site – lo and behold they’ve de-humorized it. Interesting.

    Brad Shorr’s last blog post..Marketing and Really Good Jerky

  7. Dot on December 2nd, 2009 4:16 pm

    Good ideas! There is a fish business in Seattle that is always pointed to regarding fun. They toss the giant fish to each other along with a lot of humor, and the customers love it. This also reminds me of my friend Gregory, who advertised his business as a Realtor with emphasis on technology. He found that most Realtors weren’t up to date on technology, so he offered texting and other uses of technology, and made quite a bundle before the real estate market in the US crashed.

  8. Akemi - Yes to Me on December 2nd, 2009 6:20 pm

    The juicy part about business like home delivery (water or movie DVD or whatever) is it creates stable continuous revenue for the business. Once you are signed up for Netflix, you wouldn’t go to Blockbuster, and you are set to the mentality that you need to watch certain number of movies to make use of your membership. And the business can charge the membership fee whether you actually watch the movie or not.

    Akemi – Yes to Me’s last blog post..Setting Up Online Store With No Previous Experience: Steve Of MyWifeQuitHerJob

  9. J.D. Meier on December 2nd, 2009 6:54 pm

    I like the idea of taking the indoors out. I really like to play outside :)

    J.D. Meier’s last blog post..How To Think Like Bill Gates

  10. vered | blogger for hire on December 2nd, 2009 7:07 pm

    I often think about Twitter as a lame business that is so much fun, people love it.

    vered | blogger for hire’s last blog post..Former Miss Argentina Dies After Cosmetic Surgery

  11. Jannie Funster on December 3rd, 2009 12:51 am

    You really are smart, you know that? Of course you do — well, if you don’t, you should. I love how you’re always coming up with new interesting original stuff, told with the Cath kick-ass flair, of course.

    I’ve seen those outdoors kitchens, would love to have the bucks for a set-up like that.

    My husband relates to customers so much because he is a naturally fun guy. He’s always razzing and joking.

    Vered, as usual brings up an interesting point too about Twitter.

    Jannie Funster’s last blog post..Getting To Know Him… Getting To Know All About A Wonderful Blogger.

  12. cathlawson on December 3rd, 2009 6:59 pm

    LOL Davina – I’d be happy to give you some input but you’re a great writer. Sometimes it’s hard to choose the right words when you’re writing about your own business – it’s too easy to want to be modest.

    I’ll shoot you an email. Just give me until after midnight Friday because I have an assignment to hand in and I haven’t even started it, so looks like I’ll be working through tonight. This is the only break I’ve taken from studying today – I’m so behind.

    Thanks Hilary – but there is no damn box: What’s This Stupid Box In Your Head

    I know what you mean though. Some of the things we are taught, seem to prevent us from learning what we need to know. Like you, I think the net is so useful in that respect. It makes it easier to learn much more and opens up far more possibilities.

    Hi Brad – that is strange. I wonder why they’ve dehumourised it? I know they did get some complaints about the Elvis pig but surely that wouldn’t make them scrap the whole thing. Maybe it is a ploy so fans will campaign to bring back the pigs?

    Will definitely be checking out Big Ass Fans.

    Hi Dot – That is interesting that Gregory was able to cash in on his use of technology. I guess it gave him a competitive edge over his competitors.

    I will be checking out that Seattle fish company.

    Hi Akemi – That is so true. I am behind with my film watching right now but Lovefilm still get my cash whether I exchange my DVD’s or not. And I guess they would have to do something really bad for lots of people to cancel all at once.

    Hi J.D – Loving the outdoors should help you to come up with some great ideas. BTW I loved your article on getting inside the mind of Bill Gates today: Getting Inside The Mind Of Bill Gates

    Hi Vered – I agree. I think it has become more fun as people have learned to use it though – initially it was mind numbing. But who would have guessed that something so simple would have got so popular.

    LOL Jannie – thanks. I’m bad at lots of things too though. You can play an instrument and sing at the same time. To me that is amazing. Just playing an instrument is hard enough – doing both things at once takes a special kind of talent.

  13. cathlawson on December 4th, 2009 4:55 pm

    Hi Barbara – Sorry I missed you out – I was thinking about you when I was telling Hilary about the box and it confused me.

    I love the restaurant delivery idea. It’s easy to persuade restaurants to promote your business for you, because your doing them a favour too.

    Something like that would also be fairly easy to run online. I guess the possibilities are endless. You could have menus online and allow customers to submit reviews. You could take payment online – so delivery people didn’ t have to handle cash.

    You could even arrange some kind of discount system with the restaurants, if customers were willing to pay a certain amount upfront or even monthly. Or individual restaurants could offer different deals at slow times of the week.

    LOL – I’m so hungry – it’s easy to dream of these possibilities. And nobody delivers to my little village. When I move – I’m making sure there’s a Japanese restaurant nearby – our nearest is over 50 miles away.

  14. Arafat Hossain Piyada on December 4th, 2009 5:05 pm

    That’s those point I always tell my neighbor small business man but he yet not trying to realize it. Hope he soon.

    Arafat Hossain Piyada’s last blog post..Get free song or music video, app, TV episode or film from iTunes in this Christmas

  15. Rita on December 6th, 2009 3:21 am

    Cath,
    What a phenomenal list of ideas. I have started 2 companies in the past year and have already incorporated many of your ideas in order to ensure the success of them (which are doing well, if I do say so myself). Now you have provided some excellent information that I will attempt to bring to bare to ensure continued – and growing success.
    Thanks, Cath. You never cease to amaze!

    Rita’s last blog post..Turtling

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