Cool business ideas for startups and business development

Cross-over ideas

I wrote an article called cross-over ideas in the nineties and I did not discuss the ethical issues surrounding it but I was reading this article called Hey, That’s Mine! Give It Back! The Fallacy of the International Clone on TechCrunch it’s quite good as it examines the concept and impact of cloning ideas . There are other opportunities to look out for in this global village: When you travel look out for things that makes a particular economy tick but doesn’t exist in your local economy or alternatively executed better in another country. This can inspire you to think about a variant or an inspired spin-off.

Previous and its new variants ideas that have travelled or been implemented in other counties extend beyond technology driven start ups:

  • Loot the free ad newspaper came from Italy where it had been done from years.
  • The coffee shop / juice bars phenomenon this had it origins in Seattle and was transferred successfully to the UK and Europe Italy already had a coffee culture but the coffee shop put a stylish spin on things. There is the opportunity to create a company focused on tea and drinking chocolate or a combination of all.
  • There is a South African fast Restaurant food company called Nandos has successfully transferred its brand to the UK and there is scope for further expansion of grilled food restaurants from Argentina as they have a different style. There is fast food shop called BaoHaus ( in New York, which uses Cha siu bao or char siu bao (which is a Cantonese barbecue-pork-filled bun or plain bun) as its handle. Baohaus also borrowed an idea and modified it so can other people.
  • Argos ( is a catalogue based physical and online shop in the UK and it uses both strategies to reinforce each other. The purely online stores might start using a physical presence to increase sales by having shops that just enable the customer to physically examine particular items from their product line the customer will only be able to buy the item for either collection at the store on another day or home delivery. This helps with brand recognition and uses a smaller footprint. It will have terminals (and possibly free wifi) to enable customers to explore their inventory or other products not in the store.
  • TV shows and game shows have shown that this works.
  • In fashion the use of African fabrics and prints travels well.
  • Ethiopia one of the origins of coffee is translating its coffee culture as a chain of cafes in china. This Ethiopian homegrown coffee brand is opening 100 cafés in China
  • You  know those cheap  PCs (OLPC’S $100 LAPTOP WAS GOING TO CHANGE THE WORLD — THEN IT ALL WENT WRONG ) that  did not  catch  fire in  the developing world  but  extremely  cheap smart  phone might  be  a solve  especially  if solar  charger are cheap enough.  If not a smart  phone what about a tablet ?

It is estimated that there are millions of ideas products and businesses that need to travel so next time you are on holiday be on the look out. Alternatively go on business scouting holiday look at Europe, go to California, New York, and Asia: see what hot in Hong Kong or Japan. Have brain storming meetings with staff and friends that travel encourage them to be on the look out for ideas that may travel.

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