I’ve always toyed with the idea of opening a business and leaving the corporate hive. I’m thinking some sort of e-commerce, perhaps a drop-shipping company with a customer-facing site that would also do fulfillment for other sites. The issue I always face is what to sell. Taking into account the current economic climate; the general state of the country (U.S.) including a population that is living longer; and any necessary products that are not that easy to find; what are some ideas you’d suggest?
Do you ever say, “Gosh, I wish there was a better way to buy <INSERT PRODUCT HERE>?”
Is there anything left that’s (legally!) hard to get these days?
I can’t answer your specific question about what to sell, but the answer to “What would be a good business to open now?” is “anything related to pets.” Two friends of mine have opened pet grooming/supply shops in the past few years, and both businesses are thriving. Even in a recession, people spend money on their dogs and cats (moreso dogs, IME).
Services around nursing homes, hospice care, and aging in general. The Boomers are getting old, and they have cash. I would try to be a supplier, rather than having to operate in that heavily regulated field. Become the expert in installing flat panel cheap TVs and networking the hell out of the nursing home, for example. Bid out installs and support so that the operator does not have to perhaps.
In the current economic climate $0.99 stores, pawn shops, etc. How would you do drop shipping? Ebay?
I don’t think people are living longer though. Life expectancy at 65 only goes up about 1 year per decade. So a 65 year old now lives about 4 years longer than they did in the 1960s. So I don’t know if there is a new market for the elderly.
What people seem to really want is security and good mental health. If you can bottle that, people will buy it.
Property management. In depressed real estate markets, many people are unable to sell their homes, but they don’t want their credit destroyed by a short sale or foreclosure. You find and screen tenants, collect the rent, arrange maintenance, and so on, for a cut of the rent; usually 10%.
Obesity aids and retrofitting. Selling mobility scooters, car seat and furniture reinforcement, equipping houses with extra-large toilets and bathtubs, replacing conventional doors with extra-wide versions, and the like.
I was reading an article about Facebook years ago when it when Yahoo tried to buy it for $1 billion. You know what their hook was? “You can’t get in.” Yep, the same stupid hook that Cartman used 10 years ago to make his theme park a hit.
Therefore, if I had the money to invest, here’s what I’d do:
Sit down and make 100 crazy ideas for websites.
Launch all of them simultaneously.
The ones that stick I invest in the domain name, trademark, and business license.
Some of the dumbest ideas have become huge money makers:
I even have an idea for my first web business: The BBQ Masters: your one-stop shop for all things BBQ!
You may be kidding, but this would work. Read this article about the guy who owns the I Can Has Cheezburger site. Basically, he comes up with ideas for sites (although he bought the LOLCats site for $100,000), most of which are based on user-supplied content. He’ll try a site and then pull the plug if it doesn’t work. He’s earning seven figures from this stuff.
And I remember another article about the guy who operates the Plenty of Fish dating website. The article claims that he only had a ten-hour workweek and also made millions.