Author Topic: Need Business Ideas  (Read 2027 times)

Mgmny

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Need Business Ideas
« on: September 18, 2017, 07:19:59 AM »
Hello everyone!

This is going to be a standard "What should we do?" request for ideas. My wife and I are looking for some/a side hustle(s) that could potentially become full time when my wife quits her job to be a stay at home mom in a few years (don't let that limit the ideas though, i can just as easily take it over with less parenting responsibility). I know there are no "secret" businesses that can make you a boatload of dollars, but we have a lot of good interpersonal skills that I think we can leverage.

We often find ourselves commenting on independent business owners sucking at their jobs, and how "simple" it would be to do it better than them (Businesses don't call us back when we ask for quotes, or don't return emails, or when we get a quote for something, they never follow up, etc etc.). My wife and I are super-punctual, professional, and generally provide high-quality communication skills in our current careers, that we FEEL would make us great business owners. We vet everything thoroughly before we do it and really pay attention to detail.

We're the type of people that try every possible coupon combination to get our pizza order to the least possible $$ (unbeknownst to me until recently, some people literally pay full price for pizza when there is a 50% coupon waiting for you if you click "deals" at the top of the page!! I was horror-struck when i found this out). We're generally charming people, that face-to-face interactions would be a pleasant experience for customers (i.e. we're not ugly, and people wouldn't avoid doing business with us because of this).

We're smart and it seems like it would be foolish not to leverage this. In a recent poor experience with a glass-repair/replacement company, I thought, "Wow, doing business with these guys really sucked. Learning to be good at replacing standard glass would not take long to learn/master, and I could provide 10000x better customer service than this company. Maybe I should just start a glass repair company, and easily put these guys out of business." But then I think, "You are reasonably intelligent, and there's a reason accountants make more money than construction workers. Don't waste your intellect on a physical-labor enterprise when you can do better making money with your brain." I'm not trying to spread elitism here (I really enjoy working with my hands, actually), but people generally get paid more $$$ to work with their brain than their hands.

I've read a lot of posts on here, and we've looked at franchises (generally a terrible business decision, it seems), and I've looked at businesses for sale, but the ROI seems really low than just opening up my own shop and building the business myself.

We'd appreciate any/all your help, and will definitely answer questions and appreciate constructive criticism. Thank you!

tl;dr: My wife and I are extremely customer-service focused, and would be able to provide a punctual, professional experience for our customers. What business should we start?

lexde

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Re: Need Business Ideas
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2017, 07:37:17 AM »
I don't think there's a cut and dry answer to what you're looking for. It sounds like you want to do business coaching, but don't actually have the foundational experience of running a business yourself.

If someone had a million-dollar business idea, they'd be doing it themselves. So I think the best advice here is to take a long hard look at yourselves and your community, find a need, and fill it. The lucrative jobs take creativity and are usually tailored to their surroundings. What does your community need?

If you don't want a brick and mortar type business, try coding and app development and see what you can do there. I'm sure you could think of 100 ideas for mobile and web applications that would be useful, and then narrow it down to 5 and get to work. You'd be helping others while making a living. Maybe apps that help small businesses stay organized?

But generally, the "what" needs to come from you, not us.


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Mgmny

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Re: Need Business Ideas
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2017, 08:20:10 AM »
I don't think there's a cut and dry answer to what you're looking for. It sounds like you want to do business coaching, but don't actually have the foundational experience of running a business yourself.

If someone had a million-dollar business idea, they'd be doing it themselves. So I think the best advice here is to take a long hard look at yourselves and your community, find a need, and fill it. The lucrative jobs take creativity and are usually tailored to their surroundings. What does your community need?

If you don't want a brick and mortar type business, try coding and app development and see what you can do there. I'm sure you could think of 100 ideas for mobile and web applications that would be useful, and then narrow it down to 5 and get to work. You'd be helping others while making a living. Maybe apps that help small businesses stay organized?

But generally, the "what" needs to come from you, not us.


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Thanks lexde!

I understand why you mention small business coaching, and that isn't really a goal of mine - i was more mentioning this as a way to be better at small business than potential competitors. Like you said though, i have 0 small business experience, so i doubt i could get far as a business coach.

I feel like we'd make a really good realtor or insurance agent team, but everyone and their mother does that, so I guess i'm looking for something with low startup costs that we can capitalize by being pleasant, intelligent people to work with.

lexde

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Re: Need Business Ideas
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2017, 08:36:25 AM »

Thanks lexde!

I understand why you mention small business coaching, and that isn't really a goal of mine - i was more mentioning this as a way to be better at small business than potential competitors. Like you said though, i have 0 small business experience, so i doubt i could get far as a business coach.

I feel like we'd make a really good realtor or insurance agent team, but everyone and their mother does that, so I guess i'm looking for something with low startup costs that we can capitalize by being pleasant, intelligent people to work with.

Realtors can make quite a bit of money and if you're personable and intelligent you're already ahead. While the market IS saturated, you can specialize and you'd be surprised by how far a super clean website and marketing scheme can go. Most realtor sites seem gimmicky to me. If you could get something clean and streamlined you'd do well. Especially if you can cross-market with related fields (i.e. become or partner with a staging and photography service, get on lists of trusted realtors with big names like Dave Ramsey etc.). It will take creativity but that's where the fun is. If you can cross market you can make the business even more lucrative.

financialfreedom

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Re: Need Business Ideas
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2017, 08:55:21 AM »
Build a business/app that allows middle-class, time-poor people connect with great tradespeople / contractors.

Offer the service that you have found is missing. You get paid for providing the full-service to your clients, while providing regular work to quality professionals (for a lower price that the client could get direct).
« Last Edit: September 18, 2017, 08:59:15 AM by financialfreedom »

Fishindude

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Re: Need Business Ideas
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2017, 09:14:40 AM »
We're smart and it seems like it would be foolish not to leverage this. In a recent poor experience with a glass-repair/replacement company, I thought, "Wow, doing business with these guys really sucked. Learning to be good at replacing standard glass would not take long to learn/master, and I could provide 10000x better customer service than this company. Maybe I should just start a glass repair company, and easily put these guys out of business." But then I think, "You are reasonably intelligent, and there's a reason accountants make more money than construction workers. Don't waste your intellect on a physical-labor enterprise when you can do better making money with your brain." I'm not trying to spread elitism here (I really enjoy working with my hands, actually), but people generally get paid more $$$ to work with their brain than their hands.

If you really are smart, you aren't the person out there on the job repairing the glass.  You hire the field labor to do the hands on work, and you personally manage the business in a manner that meets your own standards for customer service, etc.    Some of the most simple service business like this are wide open opportunities.   Think of all of the different things that you would like to be able to hire someone reliable to do for you.   Could be something simple as cutting grass or washing windows. 

Everybody wants to sit at their keyboard and make a living, but less everyday are willing to get their hands dirty doing physical work.  Not saying you need to do all of the physical work personally, but if you can provide that service reliably, you could really have something.



Smokystache

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Re: Need Business Ideas
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2017, 01:32:01 PM »
I wonder if there would be a local market for secret shoppers - but with local companies.

Offer to shop for specific items or services at a business, go through a specific protocol/steps, and then offer a detailed write-up. I think the best market would be mid-to-high-ticket items/services like retirement/financial planners, insurance, law offices, vehicles, building a house, funeral planning, construction, fencing ... something where people drop $1,000-15,000+ or have a long-term contract or relationship. Your report could comment on physical environment/office decor, initial phone or internet interaction, treatment by front office/secretarial staff, treatment during the session, promptness of replies. (Assuming you're a guy) you and you wife would also have the benefit of being able to pose as a married couple or could go places individually (how does the tire shop treat a man vs a woman? Same with lawyer's office).

You could promote it by suggesting, "If we help you save 1-2 sales per year, then our services were worth it."

Could be additional opportunities in teaching (what should be basic) customer service skills, telephone etiquette, etc.

Just a thought.

SC93

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Re: Need Business Ideas
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2017, 03:38:13 PM »
So tell me, in September 2017, what field is not saturated?

As someone else said, your goal should be to start and run the business while others are in the field working. When I had my residential cleaning business the last year I brought in $428,000 and made 32% profit. The same was true with lawn care. I didn't get it built that high before someone made me an offer I couldn't refuse but it would have gotten there. All I ever did was get the customers (marketing) and give bids. But I could have gotten someone else to give the bids if I would have wanted to. I think glass would be a great business if you like the marketing aspect.

As far as your thoughts on other businesses not doing a good job. Let me explain what might be 1 explanation. I was very part time in the used washer and dryer business until a few months ago. I decided to go full time now and the calls/texts/emails/messages are rolling in so fast I can't keep up..... I had to go to my email and sold a set just now. Plus, I have 2 salespeople and 1 guy that works on the machines. So it might not be for lack of trying, some of the businesses are just so busy they can't keep up. The lawn care business is that way for sure.

lexde

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Re: Need Business Ideas
« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2017, 05:40:15 PM »
Build a business/app that allows middle-class, time-poor people connect with great tradespeople / contractors.

Offer the service that you have found is missing. You get paid for providing the full-service to your clients, while providing regular work to quality professionals (for a lower price that the client could get direct).
Angie's List and HomeAdvisor already do that, don't they?

SC93

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Re: Need Business Ideas
« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2017, 10:57:13 PM »
..... and a few others.....

financialfreedom

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Re: Need Business Ideas
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2017, 11:22:38 AM »
Build a business/app that allows middle-class, time-poor people connect with great tradespeople / contractors.

Offer the service that you have found is missing. You get paid for providing the full-service to your clients, while providing regular work to quality professionals (for a lower price that the client could get direct).
Angie's List and HomeAdvisor already do that, don't they?

OP asked for an idea based on their skills. Sure other people do this, but there aren't really any new ideas in business - it's mostly about execution. IMO this could still work very well at a local level - essentially project managing for others.

bobechs

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Re: Need Business Ideas
« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2017, 11:32:49 AM »
When reasonably smart, reasonably charming, reasonably good-looking, customer-service oriented people without significant technical skills (which a competent glazier would have, either by training or experience; see,http://www.calapprenticeship.org/programs/glazier_apprenticeship.php) become a shortage commodity you will first notice that local retail establishments stop listing those 'skills' as necessary to be considered for the near-minimum-wage jobs they are looking to fill.

Until that, presumably distant, time, good luck.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2017, 11:41:26 AM by bobechs »

Mgmny

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Re: Need Business Ideas
« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2017, 12:21:25 PM »
When reasonably smart, reasonably charming, reasonably good-looking, customer-service oriented people without significant technical skills (which a competent glazier would have, either by training or experience; see,http://www.calapprenticeship.org/programs/glazier_apprenticeship.php) become a shortage commodity you will first notice that local retail establishments stop listing those 'skills' as necessary to be considered for the near-minimum-wage jobs they are looking to fill.

Until that, presumably distant, time, good luck.

If that were true, then why do the majority of independent businesses i deal with suck to work with? Why don't they call me back? I have 3 unreturned emails to a contractor who came to my house 2 times to measure/quote. Why would he come out 2x if he didn't want the job? Why did that glass company never follow up on their quote? Why did both Target pharmacy AND Walgreens pharmacy screw up my wife's (very common) prescription this morning? Businesses generally suck at business.

I'm a level 6 local guide on Google, and I have reviewed just about 450 businesses. Now, 80% of my reviews are probably 4-5 stars, but that still means i have about 85 reviews that are 3 or lower stars (all of these have written reviews with them, by the way). Do you know how many businesses have responded to my reviews? 0. ZERO!!! I have never had 1 business out of the 450 respond to my Google Review. Never a "Thanks for reviewing - we're glad you liked it, looking forward to seeing you again" or the more likely alternative "Wow, we're sorry that our server spilled salsa all over you and just said, "whoops, my bad" and then didn't return to the table for 25 minutes. Let us make that up for you!"

bobechs, if you think reasonably minded people with decent customer service skills are dominating business ownership/management, you are sorely mistaken.

mara

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Re: Need Business Ideas
« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2017, 12:35:07 PM »
What are your passions and skill sets? There are many different directions you could go, but, if you want to enjoy your work, it might be good to start with something you enjoy.

HipGnosis

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Re: Need Business Ideas
« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2017, 07:49:26 AM »
I've got a business idea for you.
It's so new I don't know what you would call it.  Something like 'home service coordinator'.
Similar to how a home (building) contractor coordinates between the home builder and all the sub-contractors like excavation, foundation, framing, plumbing, electric, HVAC..., I see a big potential / need for someone that can coordinate between home owners and home service businesses that do things like roof, siding, insulation, flooring, landscaping, paint, tile, countertop, cabinets...
You would need a general understanding of ea. service to know what questions to ask the home owners.  Then you would need to get to know what Co's do what work, their specialties and availability to know who to get estimates from.   You would coordinate for the estimates and know what questions to ask the service estimator.  And then coordinate any issues with the service, and then the follow-up.

I got this idea from trying to get my house re-roofed.  I've been thinking, wanting, needing it for a few years.  I didn't make any progress when I was working full time as I live alone.  I semi-retired in Feb, and it still took me almost 6 months.   The first few estimates were pretty invalid because I didn't know what questions to ask.  I only called one or two roofers at a time because I didn't realize how convoluted the process is.   I contacted one roofer thru their web-site.  It took a couple Emails to realize that I had contacted a roofer in another state that has the same name as a local roofer.
I need other services for my home.  I'm dreading the process, which is why I haven't started yet.  I would gladly pay for a coordinator.

Actually, this idea could probably be applied to any consumer services. I'm just focused on home owner services at the moment.

bobechs

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Re: Need Business Ideas
« Reply #15 on: September 20, 2017, 05:15:21 PM »
I've got a business idea for you.
It's so new I don't know what you would call it.  Something like 'home service coordinator'.
Similar to how a home (building) contractor coordinates between the home builder and all the sub-contractors like excavation, foundation, framing, plumbing, electric, HVAC..., I see a big potential / need for someone that can coordinate between home owners and home service businesses that do things like roof, siding, insulation, flooring, landscaping, paint, tile, countertop, cabinets...
You would need a general understanding of ea. service to know what questions to ask the home owners.  Then you would need to get to know what Co's do what work, their specialties and availability to know who to get estimates from.   You would coordinate for the estimates and know what questions to ask the service estimator.  And then coordinate any issues with the service, and then the follow-up.

I got this idea from trying to get my house re-roofed.  I've been thinking, wanting, needing it for a few years.  I didn't make any progress when I was working full time as I live alone.  I semi-retired in Feb, and it still took me almost 6 months.   The first few estimates were pretty invalid because I didn't know what questions to ask.  I only called one or two roofers at a time because I didn't realize how convoluted the process is.   I contacted one roofer thru their web-site.  It took a couple Emails to realize that I had contacted a roofer in another state that has the same name as a local roofer.
I need other services for my home.  I'm dreading the process, which is why I haven't started yet.  I would gladly pay for a coordinator.

Actually, this idea could probably be applied to any consumer services. I'm just focused on home owner services at the moment.

And you could get Kato Kaelin as a brand ambassador!

jamccain

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Re: Need Business Ideas
« Reply #16 on: September 21, 2017, 10:24:21 AM »
Start a business, any business...then the market will tell you where there is a need for services.  Meaning, start a business and you'll discover by being "out there" where the good ideas are.  So, get out there.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: Need Business Ideas
« Reply #17 on: October 14, 2017, 09:53:02 PM »
When reasonably smart, reasonably charming, reasonably good-looking, customer-service oriented people without significant technical skills (which a competent glazier would have, either by training or experience; see,http://www.calapprenticeship.org/programs/glazier_apprenticeship.php) become a shortage commodity you will first notice that local retail establishments stop listing those 'skills' as necessary to be considered for the near-minimum-wage jobs they are looking to fill.

Until that, presumably distant, time, good luck.

If that were true, then why do the majority of independent businesses i deal with suck to work with? Why don't they call me back? I have 3 unreturned emails to a contractor who came to my house 2 times to measure/quote. Why would he come out 2x if he didn't want the job? Why did that glass company never follow up on their quote? Why did both Target pharmacy AND Walgreens pharmacy screw up my wife's (very common) prescription this morning? Businesses generally suck at business.

I'm a level 6 local guide on Google, and I have reviewed just about 450 businesses. Now, 80% of my reviews are probably 4-5 stars, but that still means i have about 85 reviews that are 3 or lower stars (all of these have written reviews with them, by the way). Do you know how many businesses have responded to my reviews? 0. ZERO!!! I have never had 1 business out of the 450 respond to my Google Review. Never a "Thanks for reviewing - we're glad you liked it, looking forward to seeing you again" or the more likely alternative "Wow, we're sorry that our server spilled salsa all over you and just said, "whoops, my bad" and then didn't return to the table for 25 minutes. Let us make that up for you!"

bobechs, if you think reasonably minded people with decent customer service skills are dominating business ownership/management, you are sorely mistaken.

Can't suggest a reason for the pharmacy situation, but the others sound as though the businesses are too busy doing business. There are plenty of businesses that don't engage in social media because they simply don't need to. They're so busy DOING that they don't have the time or need to. The same goes for tradespeople who quote. There's a fine line they walk daily between actually doing paid work and lining up new paid work.

Google Reviews. I can't say that I've ever once looked at Google Reviews before going to a new business. I doubt I'm the only one.

SC93

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Re: Need Business Ideas
« Reply #18 on: October 14, 2017, 11:40:51 PM »
Yes, this is true ^^^. I've owned several small businesses and I always have good intentions about social media but in the end.... no time. I had 15 girls cleaning, 1 office girl and a right hand man (girl) and still didn't have time. I currently have ideas about social media all the time but no time to act on the ideas. I'd rather be busy making a $1 than having time to keep up with social media. The sad thing is, one way that I always wanted to get new customers from is almost out of range and I never had the chance to try it because I was always too busy. :)

SeattleCPA

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Re: Need Business Ideas
« Reply #19 on: October 17, 2017, 10:26:59 AM »
I wonder if someone who yearns for self-employment or their own business actually needs a new original idea. I actually think you can copy an existing business formula...

Here's a blog post I did that tries to provide some practical tips for doing this: good small business opportunities

But the gist of my suggestion is find some existing, proven, profitable small business opportunity you can learn enough about to make a great living... Thousands of these proven formulas work. The tricky part is figuring out the formula.
My blog Evergreen Small Business
My free downloadable ebook: Thirteen Word Retirement Plan

HipGnosis

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Re: Need Business Ideas
« Reply #20 on: October 18, 2017, 07:22:15 AM »
I wonder if someone who yearns for self-employment or their own business actually needs a new original idea. I actually think you can copy an existing business formula...

Here's a blog post I did that tries to provide some practical tips for doing this: good small business opportunities

But the gist of my suggestion is find some existing, proven, profitable small business opportunity you can learn enough about to make a great living... Thousands of these proven formulas work. The tricky part is figuring out the formula.
You also have to figure it out before the business opportunity is exhausted.  Waterbeds, arcades and earth shoes were proven profitable - for a while.

Mgmny

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Re: Need Business Ideas
« Reply #21 on: October 23, 2017, 09:41:13 AM »
I wonder if someone who yearns for self-employment or their own business actually needs a new original idea. I actually think you can copy an existing business formula...

Here's a blog post I did that tries to provide some practical tips for doing this: good small business opportunities

But the gist of my suggestion is find some existing, proven, profitable small business opportunity you can learn enough about to make a great living... Thousands of these proven formulas work. The tricky part is figuring out the formula.

Thanks for the link! I'll check out your blog now!