rate_productsSometimes I get really BAD business ideas.

Sometimes, I get some brilliant business ideas and I get so passionate, yet they turn out to be total duds. Like selling SARS masks to virus infected countries.

Whatever it is, I’ve always wondered, where on how do good business ideas come from? (i.e. market acceptance AND profitable)

According to Entrepreneur magazine, “good ideas” can come if you

  • Ask yourself, “What’s next?”
  • Do something about what bugs you.
  • Look for new niches.
  • Apply your skills to an entirely new field.
  • Find a category lacking recent innovations.
  • Make a cheaper version of an existing product.
  • Talk to shoppers.
  • Play the mix and match game.

I agree with all, except

Do something about what bugs you.

What bugs you doesn’t mean it bugs other people. I am irritated that people don’t re-raack the weights after they’re done using them in gyms (which they should be going to at 6 AM), but no one else seems to care (or wants to go to gym at 6 AM). I am irritated that there are people still selling shady ringtones, subprime mortgages, and sugar water packaged as “magic bullet” weightloss supplements, but people still want them and there are plenty of people willing to trick them into buying them. In other words, entrepreneurs’ view of the world is quite flawed (especially if you’re an entrepreneur into self-development).

What’s even more flawed about this is that tens if not thousands of people in Silicon Valley are solving problems that don’t even exist, because they’ve trained their self to think that their supposed problems exist (TC dead pool), or that they were ahead of their time (Webvan).

Why? All these nerds (me included) listened to these Silicon Valley gurus that believe in this “build it and they will come” bullshit… or “solve your own problems” crap mantra. Ugh.

Make a cheaper version of an existing product.

I think that never works. Go shop at WalMart. There’s plenty of people trying to “one-up” on each other by “innovation of price”. By doing that, you enter the commodities market where the only way to “innovate” is to slash prices. Horrible horrible business. Look at Apple – they didn’t invite MP3 players, they didn’t invent the smart phone, they didn’t invent the computer, they didn’t invent the “app store”. They just took existing product, improved on it, and built a huge brand with perceived value.
So what exactly, make a good product … a good product?

According to Simon Sinek, good product come from good “why”.

So I totally came up with three ideas that have strong WHYs and how I think I can solve them.

1) Free Tour Guides

I was eating vegetarian orange “chicken” (tofu that looks like chicken) in Columbus Park, in the heart of NYC Chinatown.

I noticed there were tour guides giving tours to 20-30 tourists each. I noticed that this one particular tour guide was really a GREAT singer (he sang “Oh Maria” acapella style right before they ended). I talked to the guy and it turns out that he’s actually a “struggling” Broadway theater actor trying make some money doing tours since he lives in the area and knows a lot of history there.

So I had this idea: Uber for tour guides (i.e. mobile app). But they would all be free. These tour guide would make money by bringing them to souvenir shops, restaurants, bars, and entertainment related places. (i.e. lead generatin)

Here’s my why

  • People want free tour guides
  • Local business owners are too busy to do marketing to tourists
  • Great job opportunity for locals

2) Crowdsourced “tanda”

Crowdfunding is not a new concept, and there are lots of platforms.

If you aren’t aware of what tanda is, it’s basically a lending circle where people that trust each other take turns “taking” a pot of money they regularly contribute to. Also called “rotating savings club”, it’s basically a way for people to get a lump sum of money to get cash instead of having to rely on banks or investors, usually to start a business.

A tanda may be managed in different ways. The way it usually works is a group of people that know each other get together to collect money (either weekly, monthly, yearly) to help each other financially. Participants can come up with any rules as long as they benefit the group. Usually there is an amount of money and number of people in the group that they all agree to in order to have cash right away. When they come to an agreement of who will be in the tanda and how much it will be (either weekly, monthly, yearly), they have to come up with the order of whom is going to receive the money. Participants can either raffle the numbers or make the decision in who needs the money most. It all depends on the group’s decisions.

As an example, a tanda is formed between ten friends and family. Each member gives US$100 every two weeks to the group’s organizer. At the end of the month, one participant gets the “pot”, $2000. This continues until each member has received the pot.

Here’s my why:

  • Minority (hispanic) population in US is on the rise
  • Traditional financing process sucks and are totally scammy (in my personal opinion)
  • People would rather invest in businesses from people they know & trust
  • Create businesses and jobs, or pay for medical bills (healthcare cost is now #1 reason for personal bankruptcy in US – source: NerdWallet)


3) “EmailPress” for WordPress for Email

Of course, since Im a marketer, i’m always looking for ways to make marketing tools better, especially email marketing.

Right now, sending emails is kinda expensive. With email service providers Amazon SES, SendGrid, etc., the physical cost of sending emails is practically zero. So why is everyone still on expensive email services like Constant Contact and MailChimp?

Because of the features they provide – it’s much more rich & user friendly, plus you don’t need engineers to create them.

So why not have a WordPress like platform that does all the basic “stuff” (lists, campaigns, autoresponders, interfact with SMTP services, etc.) but have their capabilities “extended” with 3rd party plugins, templates, etc.?

Here’s why

  • Cost of email is dropping, every day. The “real” value is in the content, analysis, and testing (which by the way, PAR does)
  • People shouldn’t have to be “stuck” to any one single provider of any sort, and data should be portable
  • Email industry is ripe for disruption: DIY and self-hosted is the disruptive model (in my opinion)

What do you think? Tell me what you think about these ideas in the comment box below.

By Taewoo Kim

TaeWoo is an accomplished online marketer with 10+ years of experience in affiliate marketing, lead generation, SEM, PPC, and media buying. You can follow him on his blog at FreshSuperCool.com or on Twitter @TaeWooKim.

16 thoughts on “What Do You Think? Rate My Product Ideas”
  1. Awesome TED video…

    My favorite quote from it… “People Don’t buy what-you-do, they buy why-you-do-it…The goal isn’t to sell product to everyone who needs what you make but rather to sell product to everyone who believes what you believe.”

    That is one of the most brilliant and profound statements I ever heard!

  2. I agree with the what bugs you comment. Unless it is a well known problem then it just won’t sell or have a demand.

  3. I think that sometimes making a cheaper version of something overpriced really can be a good idea.

  4. I thought the idea of ​​email by WordPress sensational, I use Get Response but am finding it too expensive a platform email within WordPress itself would be great and I’m sure many people would join

  5. Re: tour idea…

    I know an art gallery that does a deal with tour guides, giving them commissions when people buy. So it’s plausible…
    But here are the big risks:
    – Will the commissions make up for giving away the price of the tour?
    – Will merchants pay reliably? You have to build a system for tracking and measurement (e.g. offline affiliate system). Some will be reliable, others may try to “shave.”
    – How willing are tour guides to take this risk? What benefit do you provide them? Sounds like more work, and more risk … you’d have to guarantee minimum salaries, imho. So you could do that … but point would be that you hire and pay the guides a guaranteed rate, offer the tours – yourself- free, and work out the deals with the merchants.

    1. Hey Gab.. that was more for a comedic relief but i guess it sounded serious. 😉

  6. I definitely like your idea about free tour guides. When consumers see the word free, it seems to strike a cord and gain their interest. It would be a better advertising tool for local businesses than paying for media marketing outlets. Foot traffic would be guaranteed.

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