Have You Been Using Your Brain Lately?


Every day I read where bloggers are whining about Google’s algorithm changes and grumbling about changes with Facebook sharing. They spend hours each day accusing these companies of ruining their online businesses. In reality, change is always inevitable, no matter where your business is located. A wise business person uses his brain to adapt and overcome obstacles, instead of wasting his time blaming others.

Years ago, when someone first created the World Wide Web, savvy entrepreneurs snapped up all the 3- and 4-letter domain names and bloggers said, “Woe is me. All the good domain names are gone.” But then they started getting creative and sites like Zazzle.com, Zynga.com, and Etsy.com become household words, even though they aren’t really words.

Years ago, Amazon cornered the market for online book sales, but these days sites like BooksAMillion.com, BetterWorldBooks.com and BuyBooksOnTheWeb.com are very successful sites.

The key to being successful isn’t to be the only one doing business in your niche. The key isn’t even to have a unique, one-of-a-kind product or service. The key to being successful is creativity. If you have the ability to think creatively, you can even sell ice cubes to Eskimos. In the 1970’s a young man named Gary Dahl proved it beyond a shadow of a doubt.

While sitting around sharing a few pints in the pub one day, Dahl and his friends started complaining about their pets and how they had to feed them all the time, take them for walks, groom them, train them, bathe them and care for them in sickness and in health.

Dahl jokingly suggested to his pals that the ideal pet would be a pet rock. After some consideration he decided this would be a really good idea and Dahl started marketing his Pet Rocks. The rocks were purchased from a local builder’s supply store for only a penny apiece. The straw included in the package cost less than that. And the humorous, tongue-in-cheek Pet Rock Owner’s Manual cost nothing at all for the first run because Dahl just added it on to another printing order.

All told, Dahl made over a million dollars in less than one year selling rocks. Working with no capital and against all odds – because really, does anyone really need a pet rock? – he was creative enough to recognize a need, formulate a marketing plan, and follow it through to fruition.

To blame someone else for ruining your business or to throw up your hands and say there’s nothing else you can do, simply means you’re either lazy or you can’t use your brain to think creatively. In either case, maybe you’re not cut out for the online business world.

If you use your brain to think creatively you can identify “needs” everywhere. Gary Dahl recognized the need for humor. His creativity also allowed him to come up with a unique way to deliver that humor – a pet rock in a crate accompanied by his tongue-in-cheek owner’s manual.

In 1899 Charles H. Duell, Commissioner of the U.S. Patents Office, said, “Everything that can be invented has been invented” but look how much farther we’ve come today. Change will always be inevitable. Instead of crying in your beer, learn to use your brain and adapt.

Stéphane Kerwer
Article written by Stéphane Kerwer (1995 Posts)
Bonjour from a french guy. My name is Stéphane Kerwer and Dukeo is my blog. I do most of the heavy lifting in here but from time to time, you may see some guest posts. To receive updates from Dukeo, follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.
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