How to Come Up with New Online Business Ideas

Large companies have people working full time to come up with new business ideas. Most of them have innovation departments who are working on new ideas or procedures they can use to generate new profits. Or they have the money to hire think tanks or have universities do research for them.

Most small companies don’t have the resources to do what it described above.

So, what tactics can a small online business use to come up with some new business ideas?

Here are some strategies that can be used by small online businesses to come up with some ideas, without wasting money:

1. Combination
Look for intersections between old or new ideas. Try to find where they can merge into an entirely new product. This tactic is used by many large companies.

An example: maybe you have some old articles lying around. Can’t you use them to make a new E-Book? Or some old source code combined with a new front end could be a new product.

2. Prototyping
Many of the large companies use this tactic. They come up with an idea and they make a prototype to see if it will work.

The same can be done by you, for instance: you have an idea for an online course. You want to use video for your course, but before you make the video you make some articles or free rapport about the same subject and test the response of the potential customers.

This way you don’t throw money away on producing a video that won’t sell.

3. Backwards thinking
Instead of implementing a new basic idea right away you use “backwards thinking” to come up with a way that is practical from a cost and technology perspective. This way you won’t waste money. (See also 2. Rapid prototyping can be used for this.)

4. Idea box
If you have employees then you can set money aside for an idea fund. For instance: if the employees think of a new way to make money online, a new product or a cost reduction idea, then they should write it down on a piece of paper and put it in a idea box. Once a month you collect all ideas and the potentially good idea are rewarded with x amount of money. This is a good way to motivate your employees to express good ideas. Try it! You’ll be amazed where they will come up with.

5. Percentage
Another way to motivate your employees to come up with new ideas that will make the business money is letting them spend time on a project of their own. Google uses this for instance. They let their employee’s work 20% of the time on their own projects. I know, I know, small companies can’t loose 20% of the time of every employee, but you can figure out an amount that will work with your business.

6. Think tank session
Hold a think tank session, with employees, friend, family or your spouse. (Or even with your children. Depends on type of business you’re in.) Hold such a session once a month or once every other month. Make sure that it is fun. For instance: light up a barbecue, get some drinks and snacks. You’ll be amazed where people can come up with! Give it a go!!

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