Author Topic: Idea for a business - Need advice  (Read 3360 times)

brett2k07

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Idea for a business - Need advice
« on: May 22, 2015, 08:29:53 AM »
First time posting here. I've been lurking for awhile and this community seems to be knowledgeable about quite a wide array of topics, so I thought I would try to get some general advice.

I have an idea for a business. It's a service oriented business that I'm hoping will turn the industry on its head once it takes off. In my opinion, it's a completely radical idea that departs so far from the norm most people will call my crazy. What's the catch, you ask? Glad you did. All of our services will be free (I'm toying with the idea of offering some more in-depth, premium services for a fee, but overall, I want most everything to be free). In this particular industry, that is unheard of.

Obviously, I am going to incur costs, and I will have to find a way to make a profit from this if I want it to go anywhere. Because of the nature of the industry, I will have a treasure trove of customer data at my hands. Things like income, age, number of kids, employers, etc. My initial thoughts were to aggregate this data and sell it.

The other idea I had was to bring in a third party and force customers through a brief survey or something in order to get access to the free services. This would allow the third party to get the non-identifying information directly and reduce the need for us to mine and aggregate it on our own. We would get paid a certain percentage for each survey completed.

I am not in the tech industry, and I am not a software developer or engineer, but I do have a good business acumen thanks to my degree and professional certifications. That being said, no matter which way we go, I would probably need some help from a third party on mining the information from our database, and then aggregating it properly to comply with any legal and ethics requirements.

Either way, I want to do it ethically and responsibly and have really toyed with whether nor not selling customer data like that is really a good idea. Obviously we would make it so that no personal information is disseminated, and proper notifications in a privacy policy would be there, but I know that sometimes the idea of having your information sold like that is just a complete turn off.

I'm kind of at a loss for where to start. Google searches bring up hundreds of differing opinions on the topic, but none really mention breaking into the data aggregation industry. I was hoping you guys might be able to point me to some resources on this, or even give personal experiences, if you have them.

Thanks in advance for your time and opinions.

humbleMouse

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Re: Idea for a business - Need advice
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2015, 08:34:19 AM »
You need to consult with an actual IT professional who knows about taking on real word data aggregation tasks.  It is also worth noting that any developer who has the technical skills to do what you are talking about will be worth 90k-200k/year. 

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Idea for a business - Need advice
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2015, 08:36:24 AM »
Basic data like this is already widely available on nearly every household in the United States.

brett2k07

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Re: Idea for a business - Need advice
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2015, 09:24:32 AM »
You need to consult with an actual IT professional who knows about taking on real word data aggregation tasks.  It is also worth noting that any developer who has the technical skills to do what you are talking about will be worth 90k-200k/year.

Yikes...well that's not going to work...at least not in the beginning. Good to know. Thank you.

Basic data like this is already widely available on nearly every household in the United States.

I know the data exists already, but data aggregation is a multi-billion dollar industry. Companies are constantly buying new data sets because the market is ever changing. If they weren't, companies like Facebook and Google would have gone out of business a long time ago. While the specific items I mentioned might not be relevant or useful by themselves, those are also not the only metrics we would have access to.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Idea for a business - Need advice
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2015, 10:23:56 AM »
Facebook and Google have much broader and deeper datasets than you would. Unless you'd have something unique, specific, and valuable (nobody really cares what kind of plumbing you have in your house, as an example) your data would not be worthwhile.

Not trying to discourage you, necessarily, but there's lots to think about here, and making sure you'd have a valuable product for your profit center is obviously important.

KMMK

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Re: Idea for a business - Need advice
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2015, 11:11:38 AM »
What's your reasoning behind people not paying for the actual service?

brett2k07

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Re: Idea for a business - Need advice
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2015, 12:30:43 PM »
Facebook and Google have much broader and deeper datasets than you would. Unless you'd have something unique, specific, and valuable (nobody really cares what kind of plumbing you have in your house, as an example) your data would not be worthwhile.

Not trying to discourage you, necessarily, but there's lots to think about here, and making sure you'd have a valuable product for your profit center is obviously important.

I understand. I've never seen anybody be intentionally discouraging on this forum. If anything, it's a reality check. I would assume that if I could capture the right data, and price it accordingly for respective queries, it would be valuable to someone somewhere. This may be a few years off anyway until the user base is built to a respectable number. Only having data on 10 customers would be pretty worthless. So perhaps I need to look into a different way to generate revenue until that time comes?

What's your reasoning behind people not paying for the actual service?

It's just a personal thing for me. Plus, it's extremely competitive. I figured if I can market my expertise in the field, offer the services for free while leaning heavily on my expertise , and find a different way to monetize the business it would really give me a competitive advantage. Of course, I might actually be crazy and it just might not be possible to monetize it enough to make it work without charging. Who knows.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2015, 12:32:30 PM by brett2k07 »

okits

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Re: Idea for a business - Need advice
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2015, 10:52:44 PM »
You could offer "free with survey" or pay a fee for your services.  And be very open that "our partners cover the cost of the free services you get in exchange for the opportunity to get to know you better" (data selling).  That way you can still market your business as "free", but those who want their privacy can pay regular rate.