Sunday, March 02, 2008

The shopping mall of business ideas

Living in my brain is like waking through a shopping mall of business ideas. The problem is that I'm too chicken to actually walk into any of the stores. I just look and smile, and keep walking. I've sheepishly started some ideas, like Duster Books, which lasted 5 years.

Recently I looked into an idea and ended up doing more research, and spent more time on it than any other project, paper or assignment in my life. The was a birthday party center for kids. I actually got pretty far. I was actually negotiating a space in a mall (the terms were quite favorable) and then didn't do it. It would probably take $300,000 and I would have to leave my current stable job. That's why I didn't do it.

I've heard that most businesses start with less than $15,000 in capital. That's much easier to swallow than 300K.

So the problem now is that there are lots of ideas. When I say them out loud they sound so silly. But I'll share them with you and you can tell me what you think. (in no particular order)

1 Corporate Blogging platform
I've been a big blogger advocate for a while. At work I'm facilitating the integration of a new corporate blogging platform. It is experimental in nature and I'm really excited to see where it goes. But the platform is horrible. I admit, I helped pick it out. But when we did pick it out last year, the options were so slim. Either use this, or build our own custom solution from open source code. The choice was obvious with our resources for this being project very limited. The platform was even ranked #2 as far as corporate blogging platforms go. Ok, the platform isn't that bad, but the user friendliness is non-existent. Using it is like trying to put your seatbelt on when it is already buckled (and you can't unbuckle it first). So, I think I could build a better platform with better user friendliness.

2 Sell anything online (pet supplies?) using the a 4hww principle of outsourcing.
The idea is that you outsource everything. Outsource the website, outsource the inventory, outsource absolutely everything. Apparently it's a lot cheaper than you think. I mention pet supplies because at one time I heard it was a 40 billion/million dollars a year business. I heard that in Manhattan alone there is 4 million pets. Sounds ridiculous I know, but I wouldn't have to sacrifice work/life balance, I still keep my job and the hope is that another income source would be gained. Just outsource it all.

Anyway, I'm interested in what people think. Remember, these are potential ideas waiting to be molded further. I'm not doing them yet, so you can discourage/encourage me all you want. Do you have your own ideas? I would be interested in hearing them.


Shane ( team rad ) said...

I was thinking that it would be really easy to write a program.. or get a programmer to write a program for small library organization. right now I think that for the most part they are REALLY expensive or each one is custom made. Every Law Firm and engineering Firm in the country would buy the software if it was $100 for the basic package. $500 for the network package... Wanna start the company with me? all we need is a web site.. a programmer.. and a few sales men. I think the initial start up would be under 10,000 depending on the programmers costs. We would be the sales team at first. Dad would be the first to buy. However I need to find out what law firms are using.. I dont know.

The Price's said...

Man, I like the way your brain thinks. Mine is the same way. I get in trouble for having too many business ideas. Someone's got to do them eventually, right? I mean, there has to be someone out there in need of a toothbrush that sprays cologne or a laundromat bar. Or what about laundromat gym? Several of my ideas have revolved around laundromats. I feel like they take a lot of time away from the people that use them so why not combine a few things into one? I love your second idea also. I've thought about this many, many times, but faith without works is dead my brother. I've yet to act on it. Someday I'll give it a shot.