Brainstorming over dinner – 7 (crazy) business ideas

By | September 9, 2015

I really enjoy my consulting work . . .and yet, my friends and I spend time in our rental car rides, and dinners talking about business ideas.  Some of my recent ideas:

  • Customized ironing boards.  Women’s clothing is notoriously difficult to iron, and expensive to dry clean.  What if you can order an iron board that was perfectly tailored to your measurements?  Built to handle the A-line dresses, pleats, and things that make women’s dry cleaning 2-3x more expensive than men’s.
  • LED pricing on grocery store shelves.  If you have ever gone to Wal-Mart at night, you will see them re-stocking supplies and sticking hundreds of manual prices to the shelves.  Why not have a strip of LED where the prices of each item could be changed with a flick of a switch, instead of a printed sticker?
  • Rent-a-pet: Yes, a bit of a sacrilege among pet owners, but this is just the fractionalization of an asset (pet) like ZipCars, NetJets, and VRBO.  Before you get all upset and offended, it kind of exists already here.
  • Elderly companion calls: Another potentially controversial service.  Grandma and grandpa get bored and want to talk.  You don’t want to.  Why can hire a service to call them periodically to chat?  Yes, there are LOTS of potential liability and problem / privacy issues.  Yes, the service already exists here.
  • Food truck app: Ever have trouble finding a food truck? Yes, each have their own twitter and facebook following, but what about a simple app that aggregates and tracks all the food trucks. It takes coordination, but it helps you answer, “Where should we go eat [when the trucks are somewhere different every day?
  • Swimming pool shades:  I have some friends who own swimming pools, but they complain that the summers are so hot that that the pool water is actually too warm to be refreshing.  Why not have reflecting pool shades – like those for cars?
  • Drone sunshades:  Instead of buying an expensive canopy to sit over your patio set, why not have a drone which hovers 300 feet above you and cast a nice shadow over your summer picnic?

Consultantsmind 7 Business Ideas

As Chris Sacca – famous angel, turned venture capitalist – mentioned on a podcast here, there is almost no fear in sharing ideas, because everything takes execution. Also, no surprise – early examples of these services and products exist:

If you take any of these ideas, and get super wealthy, famous, let’s talk.

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14 thoughts on “Brainstorming over dinner – 7 (crazy) business ideas

  1. Matt

    Some great ideas and there’s already evidence that some of those ideas are being taken up by industry.

    Swimming pool covers/shades are already a very popular item in Australia. As well as this, a number of supermarkets in Oz have trialled LED strips, rather than paper tags.

    You’re absolutely right, ideas are very cheap to generate and plentiful – it always confuses me when I see people who think they have the world’s greatest idea go out and spend an inordinate amount of money attempting to patent it. The real challenge is in translating that idea (which, by the way, is never original – even if you think it is) into a useful product / service for the end user.

  2. Marina

    Hah, You’re too late re #2 🙂 Those are called ESL electronic shelf labels and some grocery store chains in Europe have been using them for quite a while

  3. Luk

    I’m actually into this subject as my observation is that in consulting, or in finance in general, there are a lot of folks with sound business ideas, however they usually fall short on execution. Many of those guys are some sort of would-be entreprenuers, they have the skills and resources but it seems that the timing is never right to start their own gig. Judging from a third person perspective they’re simply ready, but self doubt and the next awesome project that’s lurking around the corner makes them want to delay their decision.
    I’d love to see some research on that, but my initial conclusion is that it clearly evidences how strong consulting brand is – sometimes it literally makes people delay or abandon their dreams.

    1. consultantsmind Post author

      Completely true. MBA types(generally) are risk adverse. They have good salary, often newer families, new houses with mortgages, and high opportunity cost to start something new. That all equates to no action. Heh heh. Look at me.

  4. Fredrik

    Hi!
    Thanks for a great blog! Following it from Sweden and I can tell that I’ve seen a couple of your ideas in place already 🙂

    LED pricing is quite common here – I’d be surprised if it is not used in the US?
    There are some examples on the first images here
    https://www.google.se/search?q=digital+prisskylt&biw=1600&bih=775&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0CAYQ_AUoAWoVChMI8LiWqIbsxwIV4YNyCh2V3QhZ&dpr=1#imgrc=wRdnTjjZ1n5J_M%3A

    Someone has also built a website (works nicely on your cellphone) that pulls the facebook/twitter-updates from the food trucks here in Stockholm and publishes their current status/location. Not integrated into a map yet though.
    http://stockholmfoodtrucks.nu/

    I’d love to see the Drone Sunshades in place!

    Regards
    /Fredrik

    1. consultantsmind Post author

      Thanks for reading the blog and sharing what you have there in Sweden. I learned a new word recently. FIKA. Socializing over coffee and pastries. Sounds amazing.

  5. JM

    Dog parks were a big’s singles meet up back in the day. Imagine there is a market there to facilitate interaction between singles over pets. An adult petting zoo if you will. Double entendre implied. 😉

  6. tom

    ESL are around for a very long time. You would hit big time if you would manage to create a positive business case. And even bigger with dynamic pricing methods and systems. This is why only some extremely progressive and future oriented companies use them by today.

    1. consultantsmind Post author

      Yes. I believe that Walmart will be the big adopter. Since they have everyday low prices they can be more dynamic in their pricing. A lot of the other retailers having weekly specials that they advertise, therefore, they have to match the prices to what they advertise. Oddly, Walmart has more flexibility to price dynamically.

  7. Efe

    Lovely ideas by the way. I would like to know more about the Drone sunshades. Please do respond

    1. consultantsmindadmin Post author

      Hello, I emailed your directly. Thank you for reading.

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