Every investment activity starts with an idea.   I’m going to walk you through how I pick up investment ideas on any given day.  I’ll run through this in a hypothetical scenario but it will apply just the same.

Hypothetical:  You work for company XYZ which has 700 employees.   You have money vested in your company 401k plan and profit sharing plan.  You have some extra money and you’re looking for some investment ideas.  Your CEO just announced that due to phenomenal growth they’ll be adding 200 more employees over the next year so you will all be moving to a new building in 4 weeks.

Four weeks later…..

Because your company completely moved from old location to new location they pretty much left everything behind and purchased all new “stuff” for your new office.

Day 1 – You arrive at your new building and the first thing you notice is how beautifully magnificent the new building property glimmers in the sunshine.  You notice the parking lot is nearly full and the building features a cool food court.

Ding! Investment Idea 1 – You notice a sign that reads, “This property is owned and managed by Glimmer Properties. Ticker Symbol: GP”

You walk up to your new office area and the first thing that hits you is that new office furniture smell.  Leather and Oak aromas fill your palette as you glide through the hallways.

Ding! Investment Idea 2 – Many of the tags are still attached to the furniture so you take a look and notice that everything is manufactured by Leather & Oak Furniture.  Ticker Symbol: LO.

As you sit at your new desk you notice your brand spanking new phone.  The phone has a curious logo that reads, “22nd Century Phones” and has a tag line “VOIP Capable.”  You are not entirely sure what all that means but you do notice that everyone has this phone and your company just bought 1000 of them.

You call up your friend to tell her about your new digs and your cool new phone and she mentions that they just got the same new phone system too!

Ding! Investment Idea 3 – You look up 22nd Century Phones and find ticker symbol: TCP

You’re ready for your morning coffee so you head on over to the break room.  You are taken aback by the four huge vending machines.  The first vending machine sells a new energy drink call “Mega Energy” and you notice that the machine is already flashing “Sold Out.”   The second vending machine is selling iPods, Pre-Paid Cell phone cards and some cell phones.  The third vending machine sells snacks and the fourth sells regular soft drinks.

Ding! Ding! Ding! Investment Ideas 4, 5, 6 – Research Vending Machine manufacturer, research energy drink, research cell phone Company.

You head back to your desk and notice a tiny metallic box on your desk.  You’re not sure what it is but there is a button that reads POWER.  You push the POWER button and notice your LCD screen flashes on.  You realize that the tiny box is your new computer.  You flip over the tiny box and it reads, “PicoNano PC – the most energy efficient PC in the world” and below that it reads, “Manufactured by PicoNano.”  You look around and notice that everyone has one of these new computers.

After your machine starts up you notice that the computer screen is a little different.  This computer isn’t running your typical “Windows” software but something called “SecureOS” that looks nearly identical to Windows but it’s a little different.  You get the feeling that it’s more secure.  The software is made by a company called “Spinach Inc” and its ticker symbol is SPIN.

Ding! Ding! Two more investment ideas right here.  PicoNano and Spinach Inc.

You realize that your company has just spent some serious cash on relocating to a new building, buying new furniture and office equipment.  You know they could afford it because your bonus last year was 20k and you look forward to the company’s continued growth.  You also realize that the company employs some of the best people in the country and they’ve clearly researched and analyzed the benefits of each of the products you are now using at your desk and the company expects a great return on their investments.

By simply observing your every day environment and activities you’ve managed to pick up 8 investment ideas on your FIRST day at work at your new building.

At this point, you’ll have a couple of choices for lunch.  Go out to lunch and giggle about nonsense with your co-workers or order in, sit at your computer and start researching these companies as possible investments for your extra cash.

Tomorrow we’ll see how Day 2 will progress.  Preview: You’ll be having your first conference room meeting, you’ll be making some copies, and you will go down to that food court for lunch.