Those of you who know me also know that my little entrepreneurial brain is always at work. The problem with this assignment was narrowing my extensive list of business ideas down to a mere 3 that would be the most workable for this class AND provide a real, functional framework for actually using it to start a business.
Since I am behind on my blog posts, I will say that any ideas I had of being a blogger for a business are long gone! I have lots of ideas and I like to share them with the world, but I can only write when I am feeling it, and that doesn't always work on a blog type deadline (or a classroom one, for that matter). My beloved English teacher from TCC (shout out to Alexis Clifton-McMillian! Woot!) would be both disappointed in this revelation and excited that I had the self awareness to see it. So, no, one of my business ideas is NOT blogger. It wouldn't be able to get big enough for the purpose of writing the business plan anyway. I doubt that even Vani Hari aka "Food Babe" has a staff of 60+ working for her, and her blog is HUGE.
Anyhoo, I believe that the best money to be made, and far more likely to happen, is not to invent a product or idea that is revolutionary, but to "build a better mousetrap", so to speak. It is in that spirit that I think of business ideas. Target an existing product to a niche market and make it so absolutely perfect for them that it changes the entire market. That is my philosophy. That being said, here are my 3 business ideas....
1. Solar powered smartphones.
It was pointed out to me by my International Marketing teacher the first week of class, incorrectly I might add, that this was not a viable new product because it has already been done. That part is true enough, but to look at it that way is a truly imperialistic view on the cell phone as it pertains to the world market. Some quick research led to an unmet need and some cost effective ideas on capitalizing on that need. There is a company in Finland that manufactures cell phones via plants in China, and they can design and customize just about anything. Currently, a basic smart phone can be had on Alibaba for about $10 USD wholesale, but there is a lack of infrastructure to charge that phone in many parts of the world. Especially parts of the world that have, oh I don't know, a lot of SUN!! And $10 USD is still a lot of money for most other countries in the world, especially emerging market countries. Also, current solar cell phones have their charging panel on the back... now who in the hell is going to carry their phone out so that it can charge? And there is no sun in a pocket! So, designing a cell phone that does not have a color screen is also cheaper to produce and faster to charge, and also holds a charge longer. It looks that with customization, a phone could be made with 3G capability and wifi, no color screen, in a Blackberry style format, with a small solar panel that could clip on a backpack or back collar of a shirt and a cord to the phone in a pocket, for under $8 USD. The slightly lower price could make it affordable, especially if broken into a pay as you go plan and not needing to pay for the expensive electricity to charge it. There could be a huge market for this in emerging markets in Africa and South America. It could be further expanded for uses domestically for homeless people in the southern states, and for thru-hikers who would not be able to access power for charging but wanted a phone for emergencies. I really like this idea.
2. Complete software solution for running an independent nail business.
There are software solutions for online booking, accounting, marketing ideas, etc for the nail business but none of them are an affordable COMPLETE solution for the average booth-renter nail tech. I answer all kinds of questions online in forums about tax structure, accounting, marketing to get new clients, what someone needs to start up on their own, and on and on. Nobody is filling this need. Most systems are geared to multiple stylist/tech salons with payroll modules that a sole proprietor doesn't need, and is missing the integration that they do need. There is marketing help in online booking programs, but it is not targeted to nail techs specifically. And with a small tweak in programming to allow for different currency types, this could be scale-able to a global market of nail techs. It should be cloud-based to eliminate the investment in expensive software and hardware, and start on the iOS platform for the apps since that is what the majority of techs use. Many companies have the pieces, but nobody has the whole pie. See, better mousetrap.
3. Business card app.
While I don't think this idea is scale-able large enough for the purpose of this project, I have full intent on doing it someday. I need to give credit where it's due... the general idea was actually LTB's when he was struggling to find someone's card one day. It is an app for your phone that is a cross between social media and an electronic Rolodex (remember those? Or is my age showing again?! LOL!). The basic premise is that users develop an electronic business card and can "give it" to another app user. When information on the card needs to be changed, the card owner changes it and it updates on the app of everyone they have given the card to. Everyone always has their phone, and nobody likes to wonder if they are calling a former place of employment to reach a contact. Problem solved with technology. Now this is here in writing, so if someone steals the idea and does it, I can sue them. Be warned. (I need to use the lesson on Intellectual Property that Mr. Fry gave us......)
So, there are my 3 business ideas. I already know which one I am doing my business plan on, but those were the ones that were in the running when I should have written this blog post. At least my instructor can't say I am trying to slide under the radar... I know he is more intelligent than that and has been checking our blogs anyway. :)
Next blog post... A guest speaker summary... Mr. Erik Hanberg.
Until next time,