Startups, whether you’re expanding a business, starting a new business, there’s so many opportunities out there, probably more than there ever.
I keep on hearing people saying that they’re looking or they’re trying to think of something to do as a startup. Don’t think necessarily of just what you’re doing. Instead, think of problems that you, your neighbors, or other people that you see have. Solving a problem is what makes a business. I want to give you a ton of examples here just really to generate thoughts, generate ideas, and start thinking about things. Some of them are very simple, some of them are a little bit harder in the sense that you have to make something or do something with it. If you have an expertise, yes, you can teach it online now. This is just taking advantage of the technology along with your knowledge.
Remember what I’ve said in earlier episodes: Master what you know. Gain your authority by being the expert; not just by being recognized, but by being solidly known that you are an expert.
How many times have you heard: “Oh, there’s no new ideas”? I keep on hearing that from people, I don’t know whether they want to fund things or what they’re doing, or they want to just convince you to have their help to do it, but there are ideas every day. Sometimes when you’re watching TV and looking at the advertisements, look and see: “Wow, I never thought of that. Gee, that’s interesting.” Example, this weird thing that climbs stairs. It’s basically three wheels that rolls and rotates, and it gives you the ability to climb up the stairs more easily with whatever you’re dragging behind you, a package, etc., some heavy weight. It greatly reduces the ability. Somebody thought that up.
Even dash cams. What were they? They were nothing more – we already had cameras, phones, and everything. Somebody took that camera and the recording capability and put it up as a dash cam. Simple things like: Do you like crawling along the floor and wiping the baseboards? Somebody said: “Okay, I’m going to put a funny-looking cloth on a stick,” and it’s actually sort of a sponge, but it’s something that very simply you can walk along the area and clean your baseboards around your house without ever bending down.
You may remember, maybe about a year or so ago, I mentioned that there was somebody with cerebral palsy that interviewed me for her podcast, and she was the first woman or first person that had an exoskeleton, that is that support around the body to help her walk, and she was the first one this is a little over a year ago. Now they are taking AI (artificial intelligence) to modify the way that the brain is thinking that the person will walk or wants to walk because of how we learn to walk in the first place when we’re younger, it basically takes, responds, and helps and adjusts to your behavior.
Somebody came up with a problem, kids don’t like to carry around or they don’t have with them their bike helmet, they leave it behind, they do whatever. So what did they do? They created a folding bike helmet, and therefore it easily fits into someone’s backpack or anything that the kid has. They don’t have to have it under their arm.
Solar panels have been ugly. A lot of people won’t buy them or don’t want anything to do with them because they really make the outside of the house, at least in my opinion and a lot of others that I hear about, ugly. Somebody has modified the solar panels so that they fit much like an ordinary roof and you don’t see them, you don’t notice that they’re there.
These are all examples of there was a problem that somebody just solved. Isn’t that what inventions are all about? Some of them can be very simple, and you can get funded by GoFundMe or the Kickstarter campaigns, and find out ways to take your business and your creativity to the business world.
Example: This is the time, and what would you think about it? You think about right now this is the time for allergies; everybody is sneezing and they have for the past couple of months. You need a purifier, whether you’re at home or at work. At work you can’t convince them to buy you an air purifier, but a personal air purifier, somebody turned around and raised $600,000 on a Kickstarter campaign and now there’s a personal air purifier that sits next to somebody and emits purified air in their direction. If you’ve ever had allergies like I’ve had, believe me, that is tremendous. You would pay almost anything for that, and yet it is very inexpensive because it’s just a small, little purifier.
Apple came out with the EarPods, those wireless earpieces and the immediate thought from most people, including myself was: “That’s great. I know I’ll lose them.” What did they do? They very quickly came out and extended the technology they already had, Find My iPhone, they took that, extended it to EarPods so that you could find your lost or misplaced EarPod.
If you start thinking in terms of where the population is going, the age of the population, the baby boom this year turns 70 years of age, they go down, too, but there’s going to be a huge amount of people and because we’re living much longer there’s going to be a large number of people that will be going through many of the problems of aging, whether it be difficulty grabbing things due to arthritis and other problems, or whether it’s getting around. Solving those problems is wide, wide open for ideas.
There is one company that came out with some very easy utensils and tableware that was just for people that might have more difficulty over time. Just a slightly different design or they designed it really around the difficulty that somebody would have. Take a look and think of all the things that people have trouble reading as they get older. Are there ways to help them other than the idea of a magnifying glass or something? What about computer screens? What about things on their phone, iPhone or any other phone? Can you come up with the app or the other things that would aid those people?
Hairdryers, incredibly noisy and they also are difficult, they take quite a while. So who comes along? Dyson already had the technology, they came out and now have a new hairdryer that takes advantage of the vacuum technology that they have as a blower.
There are also very simple things, dog shedding, there are gloves that takes extra fur off of a dog that you just rub on the dog. Of course the dog likes it, you’re petting him basically, you’re removing that loose fur and you’re helping yourself. That probably can even be improved upon.
You also have things that are adapting to the new technology. We have virtual reality coming out, so what did they do? They took the virtual reality headset and they mapped it into the PlayStation. Working with PlayStation, there’s a huge market out there and it’s an easy way to overcome the problem of when you’re dealing with virtual reality you might have a problem of the expensive cost of a computer that might actually be able to drive that, but it already exists in PlayStation, there’s tons of people out there that already own them, so if you map that idea of that virtual reality headset so that you’re able to get it to work with the PlayStation, you have the market. That’s what somebody developed.
As I’ve said, there are very simple inventions. Just think of how many times have you been riding in your car that your coffee starts to spill from that little hole, and it’s now in your cup holder, it’s possibly on your seat or down some other things – that’s why somebody came along with the little spill sticks that Starbucks has in its shops. Do you have something for the other stores? Is it a patent that can only be used by, and can you have something that can help other places not have the spills? That person has to be making a fortune if they held on to the patent and are continually selling it to Starbucks or supplying it to Starbucks. It may be exclusive, I don’t know.
Matching GPS to your shopping spree. By your shopping spree I mean you may have to go to the hardware store, to the big bulk store like Costco or BJ’s, the grocery store, a few other places, and you’re just making your list – that can be optimized. Then the GPS when you’re in the neighborhood of anything… I do that right now by putting it into my reminders and using the location capability, but you combine those all into one application and you save people a lot of time. It should be an easy thing to do.
The next time somebody tells you: “I don’t know what to do. I can’t figure out if there’s any room for me in a market or marketplace,” keep in mind that there’s a ton of ideas out there. By the way, the marketplace is continually expanding because of the internet; the market, in many cases, is the world. Good luck.
Let me know if you have any ideas that you want to pursue further, thoughts you have, questions you have. Send me a note. If you want to figure out more about how to get started, feel free to send me a message and I’ll see what I can do as far as helping you out. Take care. No matter how you do it, find your own place among startups.