3 Quirky Business Ideas That May Just Be Brilliant
May 2 2012

Following is a guest post by Amanda Green.  Amanda writes extensively on the subjects of business and personal finance.

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3 Quirky Business Ideas That May Just Be Brilliant

Great ideas come from anywhere. You can be standing in line for ice cream and voila—new business plan. That’s part of the glory and excitement of entrepreneurial thinking. It’s like magic sometimes! Lately, I’ve had a few quirky little ideas pop into my hopper that I think may actually be borderline brilliant business models—sorry if that sounds arrogant. The following are my latest offerings to entrepreneurial readers looking for inspiration:

Vending machines for zines—I’ve always loved zines, those little nostalgic holdovers from the 80s that just don’t seem to go away. Many traditional zine makers now operate online, the new village square. With the rise of the Internet, I actually see a niche for a return of physical off-line zines that could make for a good business. I could see it operating out of a vending machine, which could be customized in any number of ways. It may be time to contact 1 800 Vending before someone steals my idea. Although I guess I need to think about how I’m going to get all those zine publishers on board too…

Place based messaging app for parents—Parents use technology too. In fact, stay-at-home moms are some of the newest early adopters of helpful smartphone apps. The success of location based media apps like Foursquare and Gowalla also demonstrate many openings for innovation in this field. I suggest a place-based messaging app specifically designed for parents on the go, offering specialized discounts for check-in’s at parent-friendly venues and businesses. This app could also offer a GPS-like service that may behoove a soccer mom with a minivan full of screaming children.

A parent-friendly Internet radio service—Pandora and Last.Fm are great. In fact, I use them all the time, as do millions of other Internet users. But the problem for a parent is that you can never be sure whether something inappropriate will sneak into your playlist. Sure, they claim to have filters for that, but the reality is parents should be able to have total control over the content they expose their children to without resorting to guesswork. I think there would be a huge market for a parent-friendly internet radio service that operated similarly to Pandora, but with an algorithm that specifically eliminated any untoward subject matter from playlists.

Alright, truth be told, these ideas might require a little start up capital. And some brilliant marketing! But I think with ample time and effort they could catch on and appeal to certain niche markets.

Note: Consideration was received to review, edit and post this article.

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneurship, guest post, parenting | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Timing Is Everything – Babble Soft Update
Mar 7 2011

It’s taken me quite some time to write about this because of a crazy busy schedule and I wasn’t really sure how to write about it.  In addition to my day job, I’ve also taken on a side consulting job in order to learn about a different industry and to bring in some additional income.  The last 20+ months seem like a blur to me with all the changes I’ve had to absorb and process in my life personally and professionally.  A few months ago my partner at Babble Soft, Nicole Johnson, who has been running the company for over a year, told me she needed to put the company on hiatus so she could better manage her life.

Nicole also has a day job as well as another side job (baby sleep advice), and as I and a few others on the panel I coordinated called Building A Web Business After Hours at SXSW Interactive (starting here in Austin later this week) a couple of years ago have subsequently realized: it’s very hard to do.  We had to pass the baton to someone else who could spend more time on our respective companies.  Since I had been in her shoes juggling kids, family, day job, oh and just a handful of personal transitions not too long ago, I told her to do what she felt was best for her and her family.

They say timing is everything and it is so true and especially with businesses.  So many things have to go right for an endeavor to be successful.  There has to be the right balance of personal situation, market acceptance, technology working, right people, etc. that sometimes it’s a wonder any businesses survive!

So it was a bitter sweet transition that happened a few months ago and maybe someone will be interested in buying our intellectual property, the domain name, or Nicole will be able to reduce hours at one of her other jobs to re-launch fresh in a year or so!  A few months ago, we moved everything (including my blog) off of a dedicated Rackspace server to a much lower cost alternative.

So goes life.  If things aren’t working out, it’s better to recognize that something is about to break (whether it’s you or your business) to make changes earlier rather than later.  Sometimes things don’t work out as planned, and I’m so glad I live in the US where we can learn from every business success or failure and still be respected and get another job.  As an example, check out the interview by Fareed Zakaria, CNN news/TIME editor, did of the Foursquare founders.

Author: | Filed under: babble soft, entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, Rackspace, success | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »