One of the great pleasures of hosting the Remote Local Podcast is the chance to learn from fellow entrepreneurs what they would do if they had to start all over today (that's a question I like to ask). In this article I'm going to link a few of those ideas together to help you brainstorm some possibilities for a remote local business of your own.
Don't Be Allergic to Competition
One of the trends of venture-backed startups has been to try to find a category no one is involved in and try to become the market leader in that space. But that's dumb for a number of reasons (Juicero, anyone?):
- It breeds a fear of competition
- It overemphasizes blitz-scaling and speed ("move fast/break things")
- If there's no competition in a space...there might be a sensible reason for that...
I recently shared in my newsletter competing mental scripts as expressed by two different shoe salesmen who sent telegrams back after arriving in Africa.
“Situation hopeless. They don’t wear shoes.”
“Glorious opportunity! They don’t have any shoes yet.”
I'm not saying you need to open a shoe business in Africa, but I think you get my point about competition: don't fear it. There really is almost endless opportunity to deliver a quality product/service and a corresponding supply of customers who will want that product/service.
Buy or Build?
I've written a short piece on whether you should buy or build a business, framed around whether you have more time or more money. The only thing I would add to that frame to continue from what I mentioned above is don't worry about "moving fast and breaking things." The best long-term businesses are built deliberately and intentionally, not as fast as humanly possible (sometimes assisted by VC). Take your time and do it right from day one.
I recently recorded an episode in which my co-host and I brainstormed through some remote local business opportunities. Amongst other possibilities you'll hear me and my co-host Johnny geek out on remote car detailing, one business we think can win because:
- there's often no dominant local player, with wrapped vehicles, proper branding, etc.
- the category is very fragmented, often filled with single vehicle owner-ooperators
- no large investment necessary to get started
Even better? You can make money off your "competition" simply by using them as subcontractors for jobs you pick up because you bring basic digital marketing skills to the table (and answer the phone...more on that in a sec).
Where's the Pain?
If you don't like any of the ideas we shared so far, maybe take a page from Donald Spann's playbook. He started Vicki Virtual, a fully remote call center service, because he was in various Facebook groups of remote local businesses and heard a consistent pain point for new startups without too many (or any) employees: who could we get to answer the phone?
I'll say it over and over until people get it: Answering the phone is a competitive advantage in the remote local and local services world. This was low-hanging fruit that Donald spotted and unsurprisingly, the business took off.
You don't need to start a fully remote call center service (although you could, remember what we said about competition!), but there are lots of problems waiting to be solved, if you can pay attention to pain expressed in Facebook groups, on Reddit, or even in casual conversation with others.
The possibilities for building a remote local business are just as exciting now as they were years ago, when I and many others got our starts. Stand on our shoulders and build your business even better than we did!
This article was written by Neel from MaidThis Franchise, a remote-local franchise opportunity for people looking to escape the rate race and reach financial freedom. Learn more here.