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A Sustainable Design Blog

How to Find a Great Idea for a New Business

by Jennifer Stewart | Feb 24, 2016 | Branding

If you’re a wannabe entrepreneur without anything to sell, I suggest you watch this little video from The School of Life for some inspiration for you next project. They posit that the best thing to sell is that which removes our unhappiness. I agree with this, however the entrepreneur of the future needs to make sure that providing happiness for one person does not create unhappiness in another.

Very often businesses create products that bring delight or ease, which is why we buy them. Your tablet or laptop provides you with a constant dopamine drip and that new energy bar kills your hunger for hours. That’s wonderful. However your tablet has tiny little pieces of rare metals that were strip-mined mined by slaves held at gunpoint, then assembled by people who work 16 hour days for five dollars a day. Your energy bar is filled with oats that required plowing down a section of forest and then dousing it in poisonous insecticide. That’s horrible.

Does it have to be like that, though? No. It really doesn’t, but many say that it does, simply because businesses must compete with those that don’t care about the source of their raw materials or the factory workers that produce them. This means that ethical products are more expensive and therefore less appealing, right?

Wrong. A kid can buy a pair of basketball shoes for $50, so why does he spend $250 on Air Jordan’s? Ordering a bottle of fine cognac is seen as snooty and weird to most 21 year olds, but ordering a bottle of Courvoisier makes that same 21 year old into a pimp. Why? 

Branding. Brands make the common unique, the lame cool, and the expensive worth it. So if you’re an entrepreneur wanting to start an ethical company, don’t worry about competing on price. Compete with your brand.

Jennifer Stewart is the Office Manager and wanna-be organizational psychologist at Modern Species. For more posts from her, click here.

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If you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design.- Dr. Ralph Speth