Sometimes you just get stuck for ideas. Your mind is a blank. It makes it even harder to come up with the goods if your present or future business rests on your ideas. A little help and inspiration for a new article, a new product, or a completely new business wouldn’t go amiss in these circumstances.
The purpose of the ideas in this series of articles is to get your brain thinking. The ideas may seem a bit crazy and unrealistic – almost too simple. But…. the intention is for these ideas to act as a trigger, making you say something like: “That idea’s ridiculous, but if I change it around a bit I could…” So, use one or more of these ideas as your starting point and brainstorm your way to a new opportunity.
1. Begin an enterprise which deals in new and old American and British comics. This business might: 1) sell comics by post from a catalogue; 2) operate a comics of the month club for specialised collectors; and 3) run a comics stall at fairs and antique markets.
2. Write to overseas publishers of English language newsletters and offer to act as the distributor for their newsletter in this country. In your letter to the publishers outline the benefits they will gain if they let you distribute their newsletter.
3. Start a service which cleans wire baskets and supermarket trolleys. Wire baskets and trolleys often spend most of the day on a dusty floor or outside in a street open to the elements. This combined with the net-like quality of the wire encourage the accumulation of dust and germs.
4. Use wooden jigsaw pieces to make earrings and necklaces. Add a hand painted design to the side of the jigsaw not covered by a part of the picture. Call your goods jigsaw puzzle jewellery. Sell this jewellery from a stall at fairs or get it stocked at trendy shops.
5. Take metal rods and tubes of different diameters and cut into slices. Arrange the slices to make pictures and patterns. Mount these pictures and sell as craft work. Or produce kits for making pictures with slices of rods and tubes. Use mail order to sell these kits to craft workers.
6. Earn an income from writing articles or books about starting a business and making money. Sell the manuscripts to publishers of business opportunity books, newsletters, magazines and newspapers. For a start, the publisher of this book will welcome any manuscripts.
7. Set up a business which produces a quality audio cassette library of nursery rhymes. Alternatively, produce a series of cassettes which feature X-rated versions of nursery rhymes. Sell these cassettes by either getting them stocked at book shops, or starting a monthly club.
8. Compile and publish a monthly bulletin which informs subscribers of poetry competitions they are eligible to enter at home and abroad. Target your campaign at practising poets for recruiting subscribers to this bulletin.
9. Bring out a series of plans for woodworkers, soft toy makers, leather workers and other craft workers. Either sell printed copies of these plans at wholesale prices, or sell the reproduction rights. So now any craft worker or hobbyist can start a mail order business selling plans.
10. Publish a ‘Which?’-type of newsletter about newsletters. As the number of newsletters and subscribers is ever increasing, there is a gap in the market for a newsletter which comments on and judges the value of other newsletters.
11. Begin an enterprise which makes model paper products for dolls and dolls’ houses. The model products might include: newspapers, money, stationery, serviettes, paper hats, Christmas cards, etc. Sell these products by mail order to doll makers and collectors.
12. Write a non-fiction book which may, for example, be about a hobby. Pay a book printer to produce copies of the book. Sell these books to the people who would be interested in the contents. You might, for example, place ads in hobby magazines.
13. Give personal tuition in your own home on how to write good English. Advertise your teaching service by placing cards in the windows of local newsagents. In your advertising, point out the advantages of taking your course, such as getting a better job and helping children with homework.
14. Start a singles contact magazine or newsletter. Each issue might include both small ads from people looking for partners and editorial to interest single people. Use press and magazine advertising to build up a list of subscribers.
15. Set up a holiday companion introduction service. Your service matches and introduces single people who do not have anyone to go on holiday with. Place classified ads in numerous publications to attract clients. Or produce a publication which lists people looking for holiday companions.
16. Write and publish a newsletter for those who want to start a successful business. The newsletter might, for example, discuss effective ways of: selling, managing, generating ideas, locating suppliers and finding customers. Use your local library service to research these topics.
17. Begin a craft enterprise which turns out wire craft ornaments. These ornaments are free-standing, 3-D objects which consist entirely of wire: the wire makes the outlines. These ornaments might look like aeroplanes, helicopters, men, animals, boats, bicycles or people’s first names.
18. Start a mail order business which promotes the craft of making ornaments and models from shaping wire. Design and make up a complete introductory kit for beginners. Include this kit in your catalogue as well as tools, design ideas and raw materials for wire craft workers.
19. Make football rosettes and get them stocked at newsagents and sports shops. Each rosette might be placed in a cellophane packet or polythene bag.
20. Produce a series of storytelling videos. An actor or actress reads classic novels directly to the camera. Hire out these videos by post. For example, a person might borrow videos of an actor reading ‘War and Peace’, ‘Wuthering Heights’ or ‘Treasure Island’.
21. Start a venture which organises river or coastal boat trips for: business parties, wedding receptions, anniversaries, birthday parties, etc. Your service does things like: organises transport to the boat; books the caterer; hires entertainers and waiting staff, etc.
22. If you can play a musical instrument, earn money from providing background music at: restaurants, pubs, wine bars, tea rooms, hotel breakfasts, amusement arcades or ice skating rinks. Also play during the intervals at theatres or cinemas.
23. Sell copies of theatrical plays by post. Put together a wide range of new and second hand publications and produce a catalogue. Advertise your catalogue in both the theatre press and theatre programmes.
24. Buy and sell second hand compact discs. Buy collections of discs by post and use local ads to find sellers in your area. The discs you acquire can be sold: by post, from market stall, or get them stocked at local shops.
25. Have a stall which sells fashionable clothes. Your staff might be a full time business working at street markets, or it might be a part time venture which appears at craft and antique fairs.
26. Set up a sheet music of the month club. Each month send club members a selection of sheets of the latest popular songs. Club members will include: musicians who play at clubs and pubs, record companies and keen amateur musicians.
27. Sell by mail order Beatles or Elvis memorabilia. Conduct your own research to discover what memorabilia you can produce yourself For example, reprint photographs and duplicate press cuttings. Also buy goods from collectors and trade sources at home and abroad.
28. Put together a mail order catalogue of children’s educational audio cassettes. The cassettes might cover subjects such as spelling, reading, rules of English, grammar, geography, history, etc. Produce some of the cassettes yourself and buy others from cassette publishers.
29. Do your own research to discover the secrets of conjuring. Write a manuscript about your findings and publish it yourself. The novel and sensational nature of this book means you can sell it from ads in magazines and newspapers.
30. Write and record personalised songs. Produce songs for all occasions such as engagements, weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, new births, homecomings and congratulations. Use classified ads in the personal columns to attract orders.