It seems to me that everyone, all over the world, is sitting around trying to think of the Next Great Business Idea. The reason, of course, is that every week we read about another young geek who has made an internet fortune, and frankly, it's getting very annoying.
If you're looking to make billions, then you'd better keep thinking - and think hard, because you have a lot of competition. Apple Inc., for example spent 3.4 billion dollars a year on research and development in 2012 - and it was at the bottom of the list of the major tech companies. Microsoft spent nearly 10 billion. How much are you spending to help you think out of the box - three bucks for a bottle of Heineken?
There is good news, however, if you only want to make millions instead of billions, or lower your expectations even further by shooting for a few hundred thousand dollars, instead. The good news is that you don't have to think of the Next Great Business Idea in order to make a small fortune. You can do reasonably well with The Next Good Business Idea. You might even fare best by improving or enhancing an Old Good Business Idea. Or how about simply Borrowing a Good Business Idea from somewhere or someone else? That may be the surest ticket to success of all.
The Executive Office Center at Fresh Meadows is an example of a Borrowed Good Business Idea. Some people in Queens think we invented the concept of virtual office services, but, sadly, we did not. In fact, you can find virtual office centers in cities all over the world. There are dozens of such business centers in neighboring Manhattan, and several on Long Island, as well. However, in 2010, when the Executive Office Center opened its doors, there was not one such facility in Queens - a borough of some two and half million people. (As of this writing, I don't see one in the Bronx or in Staten Island, either - so someone really ought to jump in there.)
Mr. Reza Satchu is one of North America's most successful serial entrepreneurs, having founded a string of multi-million dollar companies. As his experience shows, finding that next big idea is simply about looking at things you experience every day from a customer's perspective, and thinking about how you can improve that experience.
In an interview last year with the Toronto Globe and Mail, he said, "Most people think to be be an entrepreneur, you have to be walking down the street and a bolt of lightning hits you and you get inspired to look at the world differently and come up with this brilliant new idea...I would argue that most great entrepreneurs are simply able to look at everyday things in a slightly different way than others," he said.
"Just walk through life for a day and think about all the things that frustrate you and write them down and what you could do to solve that problem, because, if you have that problem, then lots of other people do, too. And if you can solve that problem, then you'll create value and build a business."
The search for the Next Great Business Idea by every Tom, Dick and Harry reminds me of great masses who buy lottery tickets every week. There is something in common between their respective quests - utter futility. That bolt of lightning may strike one or two among the masses, just as one or two among the many millions will strike it rich with a winning ticket. For the myriad multitudes, however, it will be frustration and disappointment.
There is another segment of the population, the ones who know better than to engage in the search for the Next Great Business Idea, because, as they say, and believe, "everything has been done already." This is nonsense, of course. Looking at the technological progress that has been made in the last century alone, and the increasing pace of technological discovery, one should realize that everything is yet to be done! I would say that this is the saddest group of all, because these are the ones without even the dream.