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Entrepreneurial Urges.

It’s a fertile time, early summer, for flowers, vegetables, and ideas. The lull between the end of the school year and the abandon of serious thought for summer recreation is like that. Eventually discipline beckons, actually insists, structured thinking begin for preparations to teach in the fall. For now, my every thought turns to … solving whatever problem is before me. In the past few days, I’ve had several entrepreneurial urges.

1. Corrective eyewear. The model is broken. Personal experience has shown me this, including watching friends and family of the same age either peering under or over ‘multifocal’ glasses to see what they want, or having several pairs of glasses for various distances and never knowing where they all are. Eye care professionals suggest we need to learn how to use our glasses. We’re smart, capable and adaptable. This is why we look over, under, around etc our glasses, and sometimes toss them away. Because we know that’s the best way to see. Can the emerging glut on the market of VR googles fix this situation? 

2. Business School for people in the trades: inspired by the observation that the Ontario government is throwing its support behind training of the trades. And personal experience of how many skilled carpenters, plumbers, roofers, HVAC experts etc could be better at converting the obvious value they provide into good business. It seems there is approximately one business model adopted per trade, i.e. everyone wants the same thing. This leaves any customer that isn’t in the target market for that deliverable unserved. And annoyed. But willing to pay good money for what they want. Ahh, an entrepreneurial opportunity.

3. Educational resources on entrepreneurial ethics. A weird situation has grown out of the attitude of mainstream business about ethics versus attempts at progressive business education in the 21st century. It’s part denial and part embrace. Often viewed as a boring or tedious part of business education, resources are sparse for understanding how important the consideration of traditional business ethics is in a startup, or how complex the use of new technology can be once it becomes mainstream1. A brief look what’s available for educational resources now suggests there is a need to create more.

4. This one is an innovation. Purchasers of prepackaged pub-style food, like chicken wings, spring rolls etc, get big packets of sauce in the carton. How many end up throwing some or all of the sauce out? There must be a target market, perhaps an environmentally, or health conscious one, that doesn’t want those huge sauce servings. Same can be said for prepared salads, that come with enough dressing to null and void all the positive nutritional aspects of a bowl of vegetables. Some people like lotsa sauce. Cool. Some are good at saving extras for later. Excellent. I would say there is a market for alternative products, without the sauce, that people will value because it reduces waste. 

5. Roast garlic candles. I buy 5 packs of garlic, remove the outer papery layers from the bulbs, wrap in foil after drizzling a smidgen of olive oil and roast until the cloves are soft. Pop the roasted garlic out into a canning jar, and place in fridge, using where ever garlic is called for. This imparts a smoother, garlicier flavour than chopped fresh garlic, but the best part is making the house smell like roast garlic. Hence, the idea of candles that smell like this heaven. They probably already exist. Google says they do exist. Smells so good.

6. This one, I’m sure would be a billion dollar market with a good solution. Own a dog? Hate picking up its poo, in a plastic bag, when walking around the ‘hood? Talk about a low tech, disgusting system, and rife for innovation. Here’s my idea: drone collection – a subscription service provides a drone that floats after you and your beloved companion animal, direct bills you for each collection and diversion to a facility that composts and reclaims useful components. Details only provided on request, if the subscriber wants to know what’s reclaimable from dog poo. 

Phase 2 – house drone that does the same for cat poo – auto litter box scooping. Rabbit poo. Ferret poo. Stopping before human poo. 😬

Without too much effort, I could endlessly conjure up the need for solutions to many things I see as I go about my daily business. This is the point to entrepreneurship. 

  • Understanding unmet needs (having to clean up Fido’s excrement, vision correction that works) is a great start. 
  • The creativity to come up with a solution (repackaging packaged food, putting together two things that might not be obvious – candles and garlic, zazzle technology to fix the age-old problem of multiple vision issues). 
  • Seeing when the opportunity is timely (the need for business for the trades, entrepreneurial ethics).
  • The business sense (fewer components (sauce) makes for lower production costs)
  • Customer centric (show trades how to deliver what customers want, find visual solutions that Boomers need in eyewear)
  • Big markets (millions of people own dogs in the US and Canada, all would love not to have to scoop, many would pay)
  • Uncontested market space – business ethics makes people wary. But it’s still an important topic so there’s a need to product materials that work to make business experiences better.

Entrepreneurial ideas are a dime a dozen. Really. This astonishes emerging entrepreneurs. What differentiates ‘cocktail’ entrepreneurs, who are full of ideas when full of drinks/chat/hors d’oeuvres, from true entrepreneurs is the doing. Not sure if I will do any of the above. But drop me a line if you’d like to collaborate. Looking for a trigger.

1 As most entrepreneurs dream that their new technology will become mainstream.

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