6 Surprisingly Simple Ideas That Made Millions

A winning business idea doesn’t have to be complicated or technical to be successful.

drawing light bulb
(Image credit: Thinkstock)

A winning business idea doesn’t have to be complicated or technical to be successful. In fact, arduous business strategies and lengthy execution time can be a commercial inventor’s worst enemy. Seeing opportunities right under your nose can reap great benefits.

Consider Arthur Fry and Spencer Silver, creators of 3M’s ubiquitous Post-it Notes. Their idea for memo paper that you can stick to just about anything, which hit stores in 1980, helped contribute to the company’s $29.9 billion in net sales for 2012 (Fry and Silver have since retired.) Or take Spanx (opens in new tab)’s Sara Blakely, whose vision in 1998 for a new type of women’s shapewear revolutionized the undergarment industry and made her a billionaire. These are examples of how commonplace business ideas can strike a chord with consumers and generate huge sales.

The six no-frills concepts featured here all helped their inventors make millions. Take a look.

Andrea Browne Taylor
Online Editor, Kiplinger.com
Browne Taylor joined Kiplinger in 2011 and is a channel editor for Kiplinger.com covering living and family finance topics. She previously worked at the Washington Post as a Web producer in the Style section and prior to that covered the Jobs, Cars and Real Estate sections. She earned a BA in journalism from Howard University in Washington, D.C.