30 Days to Start a Business: Candidates (Day 4)

by Caleb Page on September 21, 2012

This is the fourth post of a short series on how to start a business within 30 days. In this series, I share step by step the process I went through to start my latest small business. Today I share my fourth day – candidate opportunities.

Yesterday I showed how I do my search. It does not take long if you are always looking. To quote Louis Pasteur, “Luck favors the prepared mind.”

Start a Business: Narrow Down

My search found a few opportunities that fit my criteria:

  • I met a couple of business owners that recognized they were too technical for their businesses. They wanted someone with management ability to partner with them in some way to move their businesses forward. Two were interesting. One was a man who bought a container of electric bikes from manufacturers, sold some of them, and was renting the rest. He wanted to build an electric bike rental business. The other was a group of super-smart engineers who had completed several high-tech projects in microfluidics for academic partners. They thought the products had commercial potential.
  • During one camping trip, we enjoyed s’mores with different toppings and chocolates. I can see how a curbside stand (a “s’morebecue”) will have snack potential. I happen to think that hot dog carts are another low-cost of entry business that one could scale.
  • I regularly check my business performance. I recently noticed a shift in online traffic from desktop to handheld devices – over 20% of the traffic volume in one business comes from smartphones. I also saw that my pay-per-click campaigns targeted at mobile were 1/3 less expensive than my campaigns targeted  at desktops. There is clear potential in mobile.

Start a Business: Decide

It was time to rate each idea. While I love the idea of snacks, I abide by my mom’s rule of “No restaurants, no retail.” I was never serious about the hot dog cart, I still like the s’morebecue. It will have to go, though.

The partnerships had to go as well. I wasn’t ready to make the emotional investment required to work with owners in challenging their assumptions. There is a significant amount of energy required in getting roles and relationships defined before focusing on creating revenue.

I have long liked the idea of mobile but had no clue about how to start. One concept came to me via Craigslist. It was a white label mobile site developer. I’ve sold plenty in my life, but never built a sales force. The challenge of building and scaling a mobile website optimization company had the best potential for me.

The conclusions are short – I’m happy to share more if you want to reach my privately. In tomorrow’s start a business in 30 days, we’ll go through my due diligence process.

Feel free to comment and ask questions – this will be a great way for you to find out what you need to know to get moving.

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