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Winners and Losers.

Business people often complain about the lack of new ideas. Though it has now become an overly discussed issue, today an organisation's overall capability to introduce products and services based on a totally new idea or with uncommon features remain at the bare minimum. The dilemma is more relevant to the services sector where all emphasis is given to blindly following 'me too' business ideas as most investors neither have an effective idea up their sleeve nor a willingness to risk something new in the market.

On the one hand, business leaders moan about the lack of ideas and regard it as quite a universal phenomenon that needs much attention. But on the other, they often fail to take notice of those ideas that come out of the blue during everyday activities and daily routines. This is also true for fields other than business.. In general, people are not mentally ready to spot a viable business idea or, in other words, they don't have a 'prepared mind' to perceive and recognise those ideas that appear all of a sudden but have potential to thrive if actualised into action.

In daily life, one encounters scores of out-of-the-box ideas and workable business solutions, but such moments of inspiration go in vain and one mostly end ups with nothing except the same alibi of being lost for ideas.

For instance, every new business entrant wants to introduce products that could be 'sold like hot cakes,' an expression that otherwise entails right keywords for a business opportunist. The concept of selling hot and freshly baked cakes is as old as the history of baking but today only a few bakery outlets offer in-house oven-baked cakes to their customers.

Some decades ago, many street vendors used to sell freshly-baked food items door-to-door, an old-age business that can be revived today with introduction of the 'Mobile Bakery.' Similar to an ice-cream vending vehicle moving on streets, the bakery would offer standard quality, fresh bakery items at consumers' doorsteps. This could also lead us to launch of a 'Mobile Tandoor,' or a wheeled oven-cart. A much-needed convenience to accommodate a rapidly-changing urban lifestyle, the 'Mobile Tandoor' could be of much use, particularly in those areas hit by gas supply disruptions.

One can derive business ideas from routine conversations and funny remarks and puns, delivered in jest or by mistake as they can make us think of a feasible business idea. For example, in 1979 municipal elections were held in Karachi in which Haji Nannay Khan, a non-political, independent candidate, contested for the first time in Korangi. During his election campaign, when addressing a large gathering, he said, "I better realise the fact that there is no maternity home in this area. This is my promise that after being elected as a councillor I will set up not one, but two maternity hospitals in town- the first one for women and the second one for men."

Unfortunately, he was not given the required mandate to make it happen, but the idea for opening a 'maternity home for men' needs attention. This is because there is a definite possibility to derive an exceptional business idea from that rare piece of thought, which was innocently shared by Haji Nannay Khan.

Today, many companies have started associating men with maternity in order to trigger a behavioural change in a society which doesn't see the man playing any role in maternity care. However, thanks to the recent trend, a broad range of baby care and mother care products are being introduced with the sole intention to create and invest in a totally new consumer market comprising an emerging crop of male caregivers.

'Storm in a teacup,' or 'tempest in a teapot' is a commonly used idiom, which could be turned into a real phenomenon by introducing 'fizzy tea' or 'fizzy hot drinks'. Some pharmaceutical companies produce calcium effervescent tablets as a food supplement for people with calcium deficiency. Companies can utilise the same idea by making instantly-dissolvable, fizzy tablets offered with different flavours. The idea leads us to introduce a dissolvable 'Coffee Coin' or a 'Tea Tablet' in place of an instant tea contained in a tea bag.

By the same token, pharmaceutical companies can introduce many other medicines in a tea bag, particularly those that are normally taken with hot water. Compared to conventional forms of oral drug administration (tablets, capsules, syrups, etc.), the 'medicine in a tea bag' will become another way to take medicines with much ease and convenience. Joshanda, for instance, is a herbal tea and is commonly used as an alternative medicine to treat cold, cough and flu. If offered in a teabag, joshanda can be even more popular and could attract new consumers.

A popular poetic expression, 'selling a mirror to the blind' is used in Urdu on numerous occasions. As the blind cannot see their image in the mirror, an interactive mirror, powered by artificial intelligence, could help the blind comb thei hair, make themselves up and do other chores easily. Even people with normal eyesight can make the most of such mirrors in numerous ways.

In cricket it is often said that 'catches win matches.' The principle is also applied when devising a business idea. In a business organisation, one must act like a vigilant fielder on the ground, who always keeps an eye on the ball to grab it come what may. Once the ball hits the ground, one misses the catch and some times the team loses the match. Do you want to be a winner or a loser? The decision is yours.
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Date:Jan 31, 2018
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