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How to Put Your Business Ideas on Steroids

Want to know the single, best tip for idea generation?

We have covered some useful tips to get you started on idea generation when either beginning down the path of entrepreneurship, or looking for more inspiration to expand your business.

These tips may be quite helpful, but unfortunately they wont make you the next Starbucks.

So what are the types of ideas that will make you hugely successful? What is the anatomy of a solid business idea that will bring you the enormous successes that some of the well-known companies have enjoyed?

Let’s have a look at some of these enterprises and see if we can point out any similarities in their ideas and visions.


A recent Fortune article pointed out that Facebook aims to be the main tool that we use to communicate on the internet. CEO Mark Zuckerberg envisions that the site will one day allow users to use their Facebook ID as an “online passkey to gain access to websites and online forums that require personal identification”.

That’s quite an ambition. Zuckerberg’s vision stretches far beyond the aspiration of creating just another social network and instead aims for something much more far-reaching and meaningful.

These visionary ideas are a huge factor in what drives the company’s success forward.


Google is best known for its original ambition: it created a better search engine that delivers more relevant information to the user.

While the concept sounds basic, Google has truly revolutionized the way we find information online.

But Google’s recent projects have made the company even more ambitious:

  • An email client that rivals Outlook in both features and usability
  • An online equivalent to Microsoft Office
  • An internet browser competing with Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari
  • A desktop search application
  • A photo browser rivaling iPhoto

All of these services Google offers are extremely user friendly and have the same amount of features the professional-grade software has–all for FREE! These services can also be used without taking up any more system resources than an open browser window does.

Google is taking on some of the older titans of the tech industry who charge hundreds for their products. Google on the other hand, charges nothing yet still manages to be incredibly profitable.

Google has created an impressive business model that offers free, professional-grade products, all based on ad-supported revenue. This is truly an outstanding feat, all derived on an ambitious and unique vision.


Microsoft’s founding vision might not sound so impressive today, but for its time it was extremely ambitious: to create an operating system that anyone can use.

If you sit back and think for a minute about the wide-reaching effects of this aspiration, you’ll realize that Microsoft’s influence over our day-to-day lives is nothing short of incredible.

What made this vision a reality was the impossible dream of turning a machine that was only used by specialists and programmers into something user friendly that anyone can use.


Apple, as one of the first manufacturers of the Personal Computer has had an equally impressive influence over our day-to-day lives.

Recently, the Cupertino company has continued to produce remarkable innovations and has revolutionized the way we listen to music.

Apple is in the business of consistently producing new and innovative products that continue to wow us every day.


The automobile company’s founder, Henry Ford was once quoted as saying: “If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse”.

Ford Motor Company had a crazy ambition: to create a machine that could be used for faster transportation.

Instead of improving on an existing “technology”, Ford thought outside of the box and created a product truly remarkable that changed our lives forever.

General Electric

GE’s founder, Thomas Edison has 1,093 US patents to his name. He was a serial inventor, most known for inventing the first Incandescent Light Bulb.

Like the previously mentioned visionaries, Edison had an idea that would change the world: using electricity to create light. He then went on to founding a company that would distribute electricity that could provide power for lighting.

Edison’s contribution to our lives is miraculous; and it all started with an ambitious vision and a passion to create.

What can we learn from these companies?

These are some strong examples of companies that have changed the world with technologies we have come to rely on every single day. What can we learn from what these businesses have accomplished?

The answer is to generate star-reaching, ambitious ideas. Never reject an idea because it is too ambitious or far-reaching.

Each of these companies have looked at existing technologies and envisioned something two or more steps ahead of what we were previously used to.

While these ideas may have sounded outrageous at first, the founders of these companies persisted anyway and enjoyed tremendous success because of it.

It doesn’t have to be new, just remarkable

There is a big difference between MySpace and Facebook. Not only between the user interfaces but also in their successes.


MySpace aimed to be a social network targeted to teens and twenty-somethings. Facebook, on the other hand, aims to be a communication medium for EVERYONE.

Facebook’s visions are two steps beyond that of MySpace and are more ambitious and far-reaching than MySpace’s vision of a social network.

The final tip for idea generation: think BIGGER!

Let these company’s successes be your inspiration. They dared to think bigger and more creatively, and sought to do the seemingly impossible. What prevents you from doing the same?

You might not be able to pursue ideas the way larger companies can do, but you can start planning ambitious projects and ideas now.

You may have to begin by taking smaller steps, but they should all lead to an ambitious, seemingly impossible overarching vision. You’d be surprised at where your company will take you if allow your motivations to guide you and if you invest yourself in your vision.

6 comments… add one
  • Brian Linton February 25, 2009, 7:53 pm

    Nice post matt,

    I like how you mentioned that it doesn’t have to be new, just remarkable.

    You really can build a successful company off of a simple product – such as coffee (ie Starbucks)…it is the execution that really counts. And the bigger you think, the better!


    Brian Linton’s last blog post..The Entrepreneur Road Show Episode 1.7 – A Different Life

    • Matt Thomas February 26, 2009, 12:02 pm

      Exactly. Starbucks didn’t set out to create just another coffee shop, they set out to create a premium, gourmet coffee shop with stores all over the world. It is this ambition that makes their idea so powerful. The concept of a coffee shop isn’t new, but creating a brand offering high-end coffee, which is marketed to everyone AND has a global presence is a truly remarkable concept.

  • business search May 28, 2009, 11:34 am

    It is good to read relevant information on your blog. You have covered some good points. Thanks.

  • WorkatHomeOpportunitiesaholic August 29, 2009, 6:49 am

    Thanks a lot, this post is very useful.

  • shopping heaven July 2, 2010, 1:18 am

    You are absolutely talented. These have been so helpful for me,you could come up more of these ideas,right?

    • Matt Thomas July 3, 2010, 10:27 am

      Thanks for the kind words. There are plenty of other businesses out there that we can look to to find inspiration. There are also plenty of businesses which exhibit nothing short of poor business practices. The trick is to look at the value a given business has brought to the market. If their product is an industry changer in some way, you’ll absolutely find inspiration in their business model.

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