CS3 Professional Issues Term 2 - Business Ideas
If it helps, remember I never said the ideas had to be unique or original,
simply that you think you might make some money out of them. If someone else
has done it successfully somewhere else can you get a business together doing it
here, or better, or cheaper before they grab the market?
For any market, you need to ask:
For instance: If you have a business selling widgets with ..
- Who are the customers
- how many of them are there?
- what product am I selling them
- how do I get their attention?
- what are their needs?
- what will they pay?
- What are my costs?
- who are my investors?
- how will they make money?
- what do I want to do myself and what shall I contract out to others or employ
others to do?
then you will need a market of at least
( 20k + 60k + 10k + 10k ) / ( 50 - 30 ) = 5,000 widgets per annum to break even.
That's about 5,000 / 200 = 25 widgets per day. Can two assembly workers
reasonably turn out 25 widgets per day between them? If not your idea won't
work. Can you sell this many?
- Selling price: £ 50.00 each and
- costs are £ 30.00 in parts to make each one and
- rental / rates costs of factory are £ 20,000 per annum and
- wages and salaries are £ 60,000 per annum (20,000 for you + a techician
at 15,000 and two assembly workers at 10,000 per annum each plus a share of
secretarial, phone reception, cleaning services etc. at 5,000)
- advertising, travel etc. costs are £10,000 per annum
- Interest payments on a loan you took out to buy test gear and tools are
£10,000 per annum
I'll put up some guide figures for you asap at the end of this note
with reasonable costs for wages,
rental of space etc - if what you need isn't there, ask and Ill make an
Narrowcast information services
Is there a market for content delivered (how?) to small or local audiences -
sports enthusiasts, students in this University, clubbers etc.? Take a
subject area dear to your heart, figure out the market using the ideas in
the slides and lecture. Students are a
notoriously difficult market to reach and if you can crack this on there are
real opportunities here. Employers and vendors of various products (which?)
are interested in reaching you especially if you'll remain a customer
afterwards. Of course if it's an easy option everyone will be doing it so
how are you going to compete? You need to be cheaper than or different from
Close to home
If a family member or friend is available, quiz them about what products or
services would make their job easier. If you're serious about setting up your
own business this could well be the best way of getting started
Mobile phone developments
Assume the mobile phone in 2-3 years time will have a WAP-enabled 640*480 2"
screen and will know exactly where it is geographically (GPS or cellular
positioning). Your car will probably have seatback screens that will present
the same kind of interface. What services will be needed for such devices?
Travellers' info service
Could you sell a service with an authentication system for hitch-hikers and
drivers to reduce the risks for all of hitch-hiking? Could you do the same for
tourists - a range of information services so you could arrive in a foreign
town and immediately know via your WAP phone the basics for eating, sleeping,
getting a casual job and meeting people.
Festival Fringe performer information service
Same basic idea but aimed at Fringe performers [Where can I get a gorilla
suit NOW?] and/or audiences
Smart advertising panel
An LCD or LED panel for use in a bus that certainly knows where the bus is and
may know a few things about the mobile phones in the bus, i.e. you. Could this
work? "Next stop: new snowboard shop ..."
We have wheelchairs for people who have physical mobility problems. Is there
a market for aids to increase the independence of Alzheimer's sufferers where
the main early problem is progressive memory loss?
Is there a market for a service taking text in any form (mail attachment or hard
copy) and returning a Web page - no graphic design, simply transferred to
HTML. In some foreign countries the professional salary is roughly £1/hour.
Would such a bureau work better with local cheap labour or by using foreign
Virtual Estate agent
Could you put together a business putting together virtual tours of buildings
for estate agents? - a quick walk round of a house with a digital camera
mounted on a Web page. You could try this for the domestic house market or do
the same for large office blocks, aimed at foreign buyers. What part would you
play in the business? presumably you don't want to spend your life tramping
around with a digital camera. Would such a business grow?
MP3 record label
What industry structure is likely to emerge as MP3 takes off? What is going
to happen to the role of the DJ, the record label, promoters etc.? Are there
niches for a kind of MP3-Yahoo (or MP3-Radio 1)? Pay-per-download services?
Presumably these are on the way so you need to be quick.
Smart parking meters
Could you sell the city (or NCP) a smarter car parking system? Your car has a
barcoded disk on the windscreen; You ask for a parking space in an area and
the system reserves one for you then your in-car navigation system leads you
to it; you are billed at the end of the month. You could reserve your space
via your phone or by stopping at a booth.
We are apparently all going to have these soon. What services will be needed
Could you sell a domestic object locator based on the kind of technology that
stores use to prevent theft of goods? Little silver tags on all your stuff and
a kind of torch that beeps when it can 'see' them. How much would you pay for
such a thing?.
A trainer insole that reports the whereabouts of your kids to the fridgefront
unit (q.v.) and sounds an alarm when they stray out of range. You need never lose
your kids' trainer insoles ever again ..
Are there other product areas that lend themselves to the 'amazon.com' online
store approach? Everyone's getting into this because they think there's money
to be made. Perhaps they're right.
Can just-in-time delivery make small businesses more efficient? Businesses
that are currently static because of the need to keep large stocks could become
mobile, rendezvous-ing with delivery services while on the move. Shops could
become smaller if they could rely on just-in-time stock delivery.
very small-scale e-commerce
Is there an opening for a company offering an on-line presence to very small
businesses (corner shops, newsagents etc.) - what would their particular needs
be? They would not be able to afford anything expensive and might not be able
to cope with a huge increase in custom (though some would). Would the kind of
people that are their main customers actually read on-line souurces? (and if not
could you offer outlets where they would?, e.g. the checkout-back advertising
New advertising opportunities
Where do people hang around with time on their hands? Bus stops, post offices,
supermarket checkouts, on trains and buses. Are there opportunities here for
advertising, with or without using any technology?
Could you sell a device that tracked curling stones either a) based on video
from the roof or b) based on velocity/position locators glued to the stones
that would allow instant analysis of a curling game? Assume you could
manufacture it for £30,000 a system.
Sports goods performance analysis
Are there any high-tech opportunities for measurement and assessment of sports
goods? It would need to be a new sport that hasn't attracted the major companies
or they will be doing it already in-house.
Snow/Skateboard surface design
The half-pipe is a very simple device for doing snowboard or skateboard jumps.
The semi-circular cross-section might not be the best. Using advanced modelling
techniques you might come up with a better one - if so could you sell it?
(something similar was done for frisbees..)
Computer games company services
Currently games companies do most things in-house from artwork to writing code
but do contract out things like motion capture. Are there any other
opportunities for services serving the games development industry?
Could you sell an ad-on service to a newspaper whereby a paper is
printed on the spot to your own specification (recorded on a smart-card),
presumably at a vending machine. Would such a thing be in the newspaper's
interest or would it compete with the main paper? and what is in it for
a) them b) their advertisers and c) you? Presumably it has to be cheaper than
the normal paper or have more extensive content.
Mobile phone based purchasing
In Finland there are vending machines with a phone number on the side - dial it,
dial an extra digit for your choice of Coke or whatever and it is delivered
into your hand; your bill turns up with your phone bill at the end of the month.
Are there any other opportunities for this kind of approach? and what would
be needed to set up such a scheme?
||Guide cost (£)
|Rental: modern industrial unit, 220 m^2
|| per annum
|Rental: serviced office space (i.e. phones, cleaning, receptionist etc. provided)
|| per square metre per annum
|Rental: unserviced office space
|| per square metre per annum
|Rates: office space
|| 25% of rental cost
|| per annum
|Rental: shop in George St.
|| £ 1200
|| square metre per annum
|Rental: shop in Gorgie Road
|| £ 110
|| square metre per annum
|Cost: Restaurant in Bruntsfield, Tollcross, Lothian Road, South Bridge:
restaurant rental is worked out per m^2 of customer area,
not on the total area including the kitchens etc.) + rates.
|| £ 300
|| square metre customer area per annum
|Salary: Experienced electronics Technician
|Wage: Casual manual
|Salary: recent graduate Whizz-kid
||per annum, less if you offer a buy-in
||at least 40%
||over salary - pension/insurance, stationery, wear & tear, expenses etc.
||10% p.a. interest rate plus depreciation
|Time: Market Analyst
|Time: Technical specialist
|fully serviced 128KB/s line to Internet (incl. local hardware)
|| £ 4000
|| per annum
|fully serviced 2MBit/sec line to Internet (incl. local hardware)
|| £ 40000
|| per annum
|| £ 800+
|| lifetime: 1-2 years