Dane Carlson at the Business Opportunities Weblog invited me to participate in his “30 Second/One Question Interview” series.
One man’s trash, is another man’s treasure. What product or service have you imagined would be a good business opportunity, but you’ve rejected because it’s too off the wall?
I have to admit, I had some trouble with this question.
Everytime I thought of a crazy business opportunity that I passed up on, I found someone … somewhere … who was doing it anyway. So, and I hope Dane won’t mind this, I’m going to answer with the business opportunity I rejected that I wish someone in my area would execute really well.
One of the biggest trends of the last decade has been the emergence of the “mass affluent.” Households bringing in 6-plus-figures per year, who are willing to pay premium prices for specific experiences. In this group you have a healthy number of small business owners, dual-income professionals and others who share the following traits:
- They are short (or worse, negative!) on time
- They don’t want to (or don’t have time to) handle household errands
- They have an excess of money available for the right services
Businesses that serve people who will happily trade money for a little more free and/or productive time are poised for enormous growth now and in the future. After all, if it’s a choice between paying an extra buck or two per shirt for dry cleaning or having an extra half hour with little Johnny and Susie … is there really any competition?
So, the biz opp I passed up*** that I (selfishly) hope someone takes advantage of (specifically in the Fairfax County, VA … Reston, Herndon, Chantilly area … ahem) is a personal concierge service.
I’d happily, eagerly and repeatedly pay a service to come pick up a week’s worth of errands (purchases to pack and return, dry cleaning, car detailing, grocery shopping by someone who knows how to pick good fruits and veggies, prescriptions to fill, tickets I want) and who can refer/arrange every possible service I need (a handyman to move stuff to/from the garage, mobile pet groomers, painters, etc.)
In my area, I can get any one or two of these things from a service or two. Having a single “go-to-person” … one point-of-contact … who could handle the most common household issues or refer me (and handle the arrangements) to someone who can, would be worth a substantial premium on a continuity basis.
By the way, there is plenty of opportunity for profit here. Get in the right community, and the business will rage by word-of-mouth. It is not a price-sensitive market. A good concierge could charge a retainer plus broker deals with the services they work with to a) deliver a discount to the concierge clients and b) provide a kickback to the concierge. The key to making it work is someone running it who doesn’t only follow directions well, but who can also anticipate needs and proactively recommend solutions. I dream of this person, surely others must, too.
Thanks for including me, Dane, I appreciate it. Hope my answer was helpful.
*** Some people might wonder why I passed the opp up if it is such a great idea. Well, that’s an easy one. I have an irrational love for entrepreneurs. For lack of the better way to describe it, they are my people. Anything that isn’t specifically about helping entrepreneurs grow the businesses of their dreams, well, it just ain’t me … and I’d rather have a 9-to-5 than do something I don’t love.