For several years, former mortgage broker Michael Mack had a successful business flipping houses in Florida. When the bargains began disappearing, he decided to take a break and head to the Dominican Republic to figure out his next venture. He rented a place on the beach, and after soaking up the sun and the lifestyle for several weeks, decided he wanted to stay.
So he began looking for business ideas. Michael put his detective skills to work and asked himself, “What’s missing?”
He noticed that there were numerous vacation homes owned by Americans. He also knew that shipping the family car back and forth was not a prudent option.
Nevertheless, these folks needed transportation while they were residing in their second homes.
Michael put the puzzle pieces together and had an idea. He began importing American cars for sale. He found a location and had soon acquired an inventory. It came as a pleasant surprise to learn that setting up a business in his adopted home was a fairly easy process.
He began marketing his cars, but sales were disappointing. So he switched track.
Instead of selling cars, Michael turned his business into a car rental agency. Once again, the Dominican Republic made it fairly easy to shift gears and his application was approved quickly in one day.
Although an adequate number of car buyers were missing from his previous plan, renters were another matter since the Dominican Republic is the most visited spot in the Caribbean.
Stuck for a business idea? Start asking yourself, “What’s missing?” Notice the things that you find difficult to acquire in your new hometown. Pay attention to the things others mention that they miss. You might come up with an idea to start your own bagel shop to serve deprived bagel lovers…or a scuba equipment rental service for diving visitors.
Or you might come up with a better way of doing something—a service or product people didn’t even know was missing until you showed it to them.
Be willing to learn as you go. As any experienced entrepreneur will tell you, there’s a lot of trial and error involved with starting and running your own business.
If your first idea doesn’t take off as you’d hoped, it may just take a small change—like the one Michael made—to get your cash flow rolling in.
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