“Shhh … I have a business idea and I don’t want to share it with anyone!” Have you heard someone say that before? I hear it all the time. People think that they are the only ones with ideas to create a new product or service. They are filled with fear and afraid that someone will steal their idea.
I take the opposite approach. Ideas are everywhere. You can not own an idea. To me, ideas are the Universe seeking to express itself. You may just happen to be in the way and pick up on that vibration but you can own an idea as much as you can own the air in a room. Right now, try and take in all of the air for yourself – it’s impossible. The air is here for us all and so are ideas.
Now, you can own the expression of your ideas. A good intellectual property lawyer can explain how the expression of your ideas can be protected as a trademark, patent or copyright. But until you document and express the idea, there is no value to the idea. This column is protected by copyright laws. I dare you to copy it without my permission. I will sue you so quickly (smile)!
I want to share several solid business ideas I have for Botswana. I am not afraid of someone stealing these concepts. I have learned that if something is really for you then nobody can take it away. The smart person would seek to partner with me when it comes to some of these ideas and attend my upcoming Small Business Camp Weekend in Botswana on 29 November.
Sharing and collaboration is critical to building a sustainable entrepreneurial culture in Botswana. Let’s start sharing our business concepts with others. I’ll go first!
Botswana Mutual Fund – It appears to me that the average consumer is not investing in the Botswana Stock Exchange. An index fund that is marketed properly with a low initial investment of P500 could find widespread appeal.
Botswana Moped Commission – I did not see many motorcycles or mopeds in the country. During my morning jog, outside of the Lansmore Hotel, I saw hundreds of woman walk two miles from the bus depot to their place of employment. I think there is a market for short-run transportation that is energy efficient.
Botswana Technology Experts – How can we solve the high unemployment of recent information technology graduates? Why, that’s simple! We offer their services to the rest of the world. I’ll be the first to invest in an online marketplace that lists graphic designers, programmers, web developers, writers, video editors and other technical skillsets. Companies and individuals from around the globe can visit this website to hire the smartest and best talent from Botswana. Kid Entrepreneurs Need Opportunity Foundation, (KENO) Inc is already laying the groundwork to connect youth in the US, Caribbean and Africa to share their talents.
Custom Clothing – With the downturn in the apparel industry, there is a great deal of ideal capacity. We can develop a website to give people the option of entering their measurements and design specifications. Who wants to be seen wearing the same dress as another woman at a party? Custom designed clothes from Botswana can solve that problem.
Botswana Retail Store in the USA – Imagine a Botswana Branded store on Fifth Avenue, New York City in the heart of the fashion district that showcases your fashion and jewelry designs. Why only manufacture for others? Let’s build Brand Botswana and market directly to the consumers. The profit margins are incredible. Just ask Samsung – the maker of the Galaxy III smartphone.
Botswana Craft Exchange – Consumers love handmade goods. Botswana has a talented arts and crafts community. We can develop a central website that showcases the work of each artist. A seminar can be held to take pictures of each person’s work and launch their own digital storefront.
Beauty of Botswana Magazine – Okay, I will say it .. The women in Botswana are gorgeous! We can no longer keep this a secret. Beauty Sells! Billions of dollars in global trade is based upon using attractive people to advertise products and services. A magazine can showcase one of your natural resources. All I ask is that I be invited to the photo shoot.
Music Showcase – In one comment, I see people praising your musical artists on YouTube for their talent and the next post a user is asking where they can purchase the music. Musicians have to be dragged into the digital age by helping them create an iTunes.com account and develop low-cost music videos for YouTube.
Startup Village – How about a college dormitory just for student entrepreneurs? The energy would be amazing! Dell Computer, Microsoft, Yahoo and Facebook were all started in a college dorm room. Startup Village would be a living space with shared back-office services to support young business owners. Show me some land and I’ll build it!
National Apprenticeship Program – If I had 10 minutes with President Khama, I would ask permission to create a nationwide training program that prepares the youth to be an unpaid apprentice within the private or government sector. I would teach young people how to help any organization increase revenue or reduce expenses. Within 90 days, the youth would be charged with working on a project to to justify a paid position moving forward.
There you have it! All of my top-secret ideas. Go ahead, try and steal them. There is more to an idea than just a few sentences. Do you have the passion, drive and experience to make an idea become a reality?
I hope you can join me for Botswana’s Small Business Camp Week from 26 November until 1 December. I want to work with you on the above ideas as well as your own.
I can’t get you ready. Come ready and I’m here to help you manifest your dreams. Register at http://bizcampweek.eventbrite.com/
Andrew Morrison is the President of Small Business Camp – a training and marketing services firm and the Vice-President of the Botswana American Chamber of Commerce. He built a multi-million dollar database marketing company, lectured at Harvard University, was featured in the Wall Street Journal and appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Television Show. Join his email list at www.SmallBusinessCamp.com and follow him on Twitter at @2AndrewMorrison
© 2013 Andrew Morrison