Necessity is the mother of invention and all commercial businesses are based on necessity. All flourishing businesses in the world are built to cater to the basic needs of the people who patronize them. Though there is no shortage of business ideas for the entrepreneur today, it is no secret that the more ‘conventional’ ideas find multiple takers, thereby increasing the competition and risk involved in starting the same. Hence the need of the hour increasingly guides our attention to the uncommon, unconventional and sometimes outright crazy business ideas, that entrepreneurs often fail to judge the potential of.
Business ideas surround you and while they may not be easy to spot, it is easy to be diverted from the potential of an idea, simply because it seems offbeat or unconventional. Some very successful businesses have been built around ideas that seemed pretty unconventional at the time. The key of all business ventures is to make life easier for its customers. From this we can conclude that a business idea can be harnessed each time you face a trouble, a boring task or an unfulfilled need in your daily life, that you wish you could find a solution to. If you can formulate a solution and tweak that idea to be applicable to the masses, you have found yourself a great business venture. The drive is to deliver products or services that have their own niche. Whatever the idea is – inspiration, research, and determination are sorely needed to make it a success. But rest assured, nothing can stop an idea, whose time has come.
In fact the world is full of businesses that were considered un-viable, but went on to become huge successes. Consider these few example
Economics student, Fred Smith was given a ‘C’ grade by his professor, for a paper, in which he proposed an overnight parcel shipping system for electronics, medicines and other time-sensitive packages. Even though the response he got was far from encouraging, Fred started off by shipping just 7 packages on his initial run, During the early days he had to pool finances from other sources to make payroll for his employees. His first break came from Merill Lynch and after that there was no looking back. Today we know Fred’s company by the name FedEx.
Financial analyst Jeff Bezos was thoroughly impressed by a statistic he came across, which stated that online sales were increasing by 2300% every year. Back in 1994, selling things over the internet seemed like a fickle business idea. Since books were easy to ship, he started an online bookstore. His perseverance paid off and today the company has several thousand products and millions of customers across the globe. Surely you know Amazon.com right?
Tired of listening to his friends complain about their pets, Gary Dahl jokingly suggested that perhaps keeping a pet rock was better, as it needed no attention and no maintenance. To the surprise of his friends and family, he went ahead and introduced the idea to the market. Though the craze for pet rocks peaked and died down in six months, it made Gary richer by $15,000,000. Yes, Of course, we are talking about Pet Rock.
Here are a few examples from back home:
Rajkumar Mundel, a software engineer with an IT giant, was faced with the horror of having to commute to Pune from Mumbai on a daily basis. This difficulty sparked in him the concept of providing a platform for others like him to share rides.
Quitting his job in 2013, he co-launched his project, www.letsride.com. The initial period of the business was very lean, but he kept on. Today the business is a profit making venture spread across four cities and caters to a whopping 11,000 members.
Sakte Khanna severely longed for home-cooked food during his official stay in the UK and US, and this difficulty bore in him an idea. As soon as he returned home, he started working on a portal which would allow users to avail of fresh home-cooked fare. So, www.mealtango.com was born and its success is for everyone to see.
The difficulty in finding a perfect place for their own party, drove two childhood friends, Rahul Rane and Shrinivas Chaphalkar, to hit upon the simple idea of compiling a list of such party venues. Together, they launched www.megavenues.com, a party venue discovery service, online and on mobile. Today this highly profitable venture offers much needed information for over 10,000 venues spread across 3 countries, including India.
Deepti Kasbekar quit copywriting in 2014, to launch her own start-up which offers shared office workspace for other start-ups. Presently her venture, ‘The Mesh’ has expanded to four locations across Mumbai and Pune, turning into a profitable business with a great future.
The lesson here is to keep your eyes open to opportunities that surround you. Remember, every little trouble you face in your daily life also brings with it the potential of a great business idea. It is up to you to be alert enough to see it, seize it and capitalize. As a rule, the initial phase of any business has always been lean and you must be prepared to cultivate your concept into public acceptance. The immense satisfaction of running a profitable business and living your dream is incomparable and worth every effort you can make on the path to success. The flip side of this process is that you can never really turn it off, like you do to your job at the end of working hours.