Jeff Beals: Inspiration can come from anywhere

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Posted: Sunday, November 3, 2013 12:00 am

You never know when or from where inspiration will come.

The legendary businessman Henry Ford once visited a beef packing plant in Chicago. Ford took great interest in the way workers processed the beef from whole carcasses into small cuts of ready-to-sell meat.

As Ford observed, it occurred to him that if the process were reversed, all the cuts would go back together to form a whole steer carcass again.

The metaphorical light bulb switched on in Ford's head. “I can build automobiles this way,” he thought. Ford went back home to Detroit and promptly created the famous assembly line.

Think about that. One of the business world's greatest manufacturing innovations was conceived after visiting a gruesome slaughtering plant.

As an entrepreneur, salesperson or professional of any other sort, you need to be on the lookout. Instead of “reinventing the wheel,” find inspiration from other professions, different industries and different places.

Ask yourself, “How can this idea or process be applied to my industry?”

Borrowing from other professions will make your business stronger.

Jeff Beals is an Omaha author and speaker who can be reached at

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