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Find a problem, solve it and charge them

Posted by Ilise Benun on

This is one way to come up with a business idea for yourself.

And according to a recent article from the New York Times (the “most emailed” at one point too), lots of people are doing it, instead of wasting their time looking for jobs that aren't there. Here are a few of the more innovative examples I’ve read about (all from the NYT):

Safeguarding Valuables

Problem: People visiting prisons can’t bring their cellphones or other electronic devices inside, but can’t leave them in the lockers either. What to do?

Solution: Robert Williams (aka The Phone Man) will literally hold the items while they’re visiting.

Charge? $3

Read all about it here:

Avoiding Commuter Hell

Problem: There’s a delay or obstruction on your route to or from work but you don’t find out about it until it’s too late and you’re stuck.

Solution: The Clever Commute, a free service that distributes updates sent by riders about train and bus delays that they are witnessing firsthand.

Charge: free (but you can donate). (Josh Crandall, former IT guy on Wall Street, aims to turn the site into a business that can earn real money through advertising and the sale of traffic and transit information to local media.)

Check it out here: or read all about it here:

For more inspiration about people starting businesses right now, check out Brian Lehrer’s show on WNYC from March 19: (Thanks to Carrie Hamilton of Kismet Design for sending along this link and see my comment on this exact topic!)

What problems do you see out there that someone could build a business around solving?

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