Any idea can be a good idea, but not every idea is. Before you process that let’s take the following questions into account. Why did Bavarian Motor Works (BMW) decide to produce cars? How did soft drinks become a billion dollar industry? Who would have thought you could make millions off of junk? When did the internet go from the information highway to the shopping highway? Where did Xerox go wrong with computers and what leads some to believe they should have been the personal computing tycoons of today?
An idea can be a first step in a new direction, the dawn of a new era, or it can be the means to failure – or even worse disaster. In the business world, ideas are at a dime a dozen. So it doesn’t mean much to have an idea unless you know how to turn that idea into realistic goals and are capable of designing a comprehensive plan to achieve those goals.
By looking back on a few of the largest thebigideas and most recognized businesses in the world, and maybe some that aren’t so recognized, and analyzing the ideas that either boomed or bombed their businesses, we can get a clear perception of why an idea isn’t necessarily enough to determine good business.
Bayerische Flugzeug Werke, later called Bayerische Motoren Werke (English for Bavarian Motor Works or otherwise known as BMW), started off by manufacturing aircraft engines in 1916. After World War II the BMW sites had been heavily bombed or seized by the Soviets. The company saw little opportunity in continuing aircraft engine production and eventually lost all interest. However, they kept their, now widely-recognized, BMW roundel, the early trade-mark symbolizing white propellers against a blue sky backdrop. They ventured further into automobile production bringing a long line of motorcycles and cars to the European market. It wasn’t until the 1970’s, however, that BMW succeeded in entering the premium sector of the commercial market with a stride. Today, BMW’s passenger cars are universally known for their sportish-elegance and luxury.
So while BMW started with an idea to make engines for airplanes, they ended up being recognized for their top-of-the-line, first-class, commercial cars. This is one example of why it’s important to shift your strategy, if and when the strategy to utilize an idea fails to render successful. In this case the failure was due primarily to unforeseeable events beyond the influence or control of the company. BMW still stuck with its idea of producing high-grade quality engines regardless of whether those engines ended up in airplanes, motorcycles, or cars. Therefore the idea was neither good nor bad. It was simply an idea, but one that had been applied with the proper strategies.
There are of course many examples of – thought to be crazy – ideas that ended in tremendous success. The Coke Company, for example, was one to revolutionize the soft drink industry. It was difficult to imagine, in the late 1800’s, that some sugar-water would some day hail a $250 billion a year industry. The idea was perfect. People could go days without food, but water was irresistible. Yet people underestimated the value of water. Economically speaking, people put a greater value on dirt than they do water, but ironically water is the most demanded resource on the face of the planet. So the company supplied that demand – with a bit of an incentive. Don’t just drink water.. drink water that has both a flavor and a color!
Today Coke is the soft drink giant of the beverage industry producing both carbonated and non-carbonated soft drinks including such products as carbonated beverages, juices, bottled water, flavored water, and teas. Today Coke has a market cap of $175 billion (USD) and is the world’s largest supplier of beverages