Some people say the best ideas are the simplest ones, and that is often the case. However, is it also relevant in business, can really simple ideas make a profitable business? In this blog we look at simple ideas that ended up making millions of dollars, making a business pitch about your ideas to possible investors is one thing but turning your idea into cash is quite another. He is the stories of successful entrepreneurs who turned their ideas into solid businesses.
An entrepreneurial young lady from North Carolina with just $5,000 of hard earned savings formed a lingerie company called Spanx. She had an idea one night to cut the bottom off her pantyhose and she has never looked back. The first thing the savvy young lady did was to patent her product and then found someone who would back her in terms of manufacturing. Then she took it on herself to market the product and actually sold 50,000 pairs in the first three months. From then on it has been hard graft but very profitable, Sara Blakely has now expanded her range and today she has sales around the world. In 2012 she actually made it onto Forbes World’s Billionaires list.
Jennifer Telfer and her husband came up with the idea for their successful business Pillow Pets by looking at their children when they went to bed. Their young children used to go to bed with their favourite cuddly toys and then push down on them until they were pillows, then drift off into a contented sleep. So, the young entrepreneurs designed stuffed toy animals that could be unfolded to form luxurious pillows. First marketing and selling her products in mall kiosks at holiday times, the business gradually grew and in 2010 Pillow Pets had achieved $300 million turnover.
Inspiration came late in life for Joel Glickman, he was fifty when he had his breakthrough idea as a guest at a wedding. His family owned a plastics business, and as Joel was playing with drinks straws at his table he formulated a plan to create a plastic construction toy. Joel took the brave decision to close the family business and decided to manufacture the toy himself. Not long after K’NEX hit the toy market, and in four years it had established itself as a highly successful business with sales of $100 million.
Possibly the simplest idea is our final one for the first part of our blog. Jim McCann decided to buy a flower shop in New York and left his bartender’s job. He worked hard at the business and grew it significantly by adding another thirteen outlets. But when he saw the opportunity to purchase the 1-800-FLOWERS number in 1986 his business took off into the stratosphere. Jim was the first businessman to have 800 telephone prefixes in his actual business name, and a few years later he added .com to the name and the company went public. Obviously, Jim McCann was not afraid to graft to get what he wanted, but it was his savvy use of modern technologies that really boosted his business.
In part two of our best ever business ideas we look into the world of brewing beer, brushing teeth and fashion.