I travel a lot, and for some reason, my cell phone charger frequently gets left behind when I check out of a hotel room. While I’m sure this has benefited many a cleaning crew, it was getting to be an expensive problem for me.

So, one night a couple of months ago I was in a Marriott staring at my charger and grumpily forecasting its future. The unit was attached to my phone, and I was thinking how someone would, no doubt, call me the next morning, I’d unhook the phone to talk, get distracted and once again forget to pack the charger.

But then I had an idea.

It was so simple and obvious that I felt embarrassed to have gone through four chargers before figuring this out. Rolling my suitcase over to the wall, I tied the charger’s cord to its handle, knowing that the only way I could forget the thing now was in the unlikely event that I also forgot all of my clothes.

Granted, this was a small epiphany, but it solved a problem and made a positive impact on my life.

Our industry is full of such flashes of inspiration, and while some may be fairly humble, others are quite ambitious. Many people have grown their businesses, increased efficiency, helped staff morale and saved money on the basis of a single idea.

This special issue of Pool & Spa News celebrates that concept. In the following pages, you’ll find 25 profiles of company owners, all of whom tell us, in their own words, about an idea they had and how it improved their firms.

Some of the insights chronicled here are technologically based. One of my favorites shows the way Mike Medulla utilizes digital cameras in his service company — a great idea that gets even better when you see how well it’s executed.

Another concept I found impressive: Larry Hayes was looking for a way to get his construction crews out to their job sites earlier in the work day, and the solution he hit on is both innovative and time-saving.

So, whether you are a builder, retailer or service technician, I guarantee there’s an idea here for you.