the best way to find a great business idea

I moved to New York from LA a year ago this month.  One of the few failings of this city, besides winter weather that has me wishing for a wool body suit, is that I can not find good Mexican food here.  It is quite an anomaly if you think about it long enough.  A city known for it’s extraordinary restaurants and cuisine is painfully lacking in one of the most popular types.  This realization caused another one.  Mexican food is the opportunity in New York.  If you’re planning on opening a restaurant here…open a Mexican restaurant.  Do your homework though.  Make sure you’re not adding to the other sub par Mexican joints that are already here.  Go find yourself a kick ass Tex Mex chef who can help you get it right.

It’s clear that I really want someone to open a good Mexican joint here, but that’s not actually the point I’m trying to make.  If you happen to be one of the millions of people out there that has said, “I would love to run my own business but I don’t have any good ideas”.  This post is for you.  Good ideas solve common problems.  A good idea for a restaurant in New York is Mexican.  Nothing coming to mind?  Try this.  Think about your life and where the “necessary evils” exist.  For example, in my neighborhood Time Warner is a necessary evil.  I would love to get service from another internet provider, but they are absolutely the only one available to me.  The person or persons who discover a reliable way for me to not have to use Time Warner (or probably any large communications company for that matter…they all suck for different reasons) for my internet service is going to get my money.

A good example of someone who solved a “necessary evil” are the makers of Uber.  If you’ve ever had to take a taxi outside of Manhattan you know that it’s rarely an enjoyable experience.  Most of the time it is comparable to a visit to the dentist.  They always hassle you about paying with a credit card and they sometimes refuse to take you to certain places.  On top of that, in most cities you have to call way in advance for one and even then it’s a crap shoot on whether they actually show up.  Then comes along Uber and they turned the industry on its head.  The drivers are very courteous and the cars are very nice and clean.  You can order one right from your phone and they will pick you up most anywhere.  I have spoken to many of the drivers and they said that Uber is better for them as well.  I don’t recommend you mention Uber to taxi drivers however unless you’re like me and enjoy seeing the steam come out of their ears.  Taxi drivers don’t like Uber because they say it’s hurting their business.  But I say they hurt their own business by creating an opportunity for Uber to succeed.  If taxi drivers were safe, courteous and reliable then Uber would have had a harder time getting off the ground.

If you haven’t thought of anything yet…don’t be discouraged.  “Necessary evils” aren’t everywhere and when they do show up they don’t last long.  Remember that so that the next time one crosses your path you know to jump on it!


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