Portable Golf Clubs

If  you’ve ever seen someone lugging a set of golf clubs through an airport or watched as they try to manoeuvre them into a small car, you’ll know that they’re not the most portable of things. A typical set contains 14 clubs which all look pretty similar to the untrained eye. When I used to play, I often wondered why nobody had developed a set of clubs with inter-changeable heads, thereby reducing the load. Well a company in the USA has just done something very similar.

The company, DV8,  have created a set of clubs comprising two multi-purpose shafts with interchangeable heads. Apparently the heads take just a couple of seconds to change over. A set of 14 club heads and two shafts fit into the custom-built DV8 kit bag, which is worn as a backpack. As well as fitting easily in any car, the clubs can be carried on a bike, motor bike or as cabin luggage on an aircraft

There are two things to take from this I think:

1. Might the company be interested in UK distribution or representation?

2.  Thinking more widely, are there other types of sports equipment that could be redesigned to improve portability?

Pain Free Puncture

One of the worst things about cycling is punctures. If you’re going on a ride of any distance you need to take spare inner tubes, tyre levers, a pump and a spanner. To change the tube, you have to remove the wheel from the bike and then the Tyre from the rim to get to the tube. The best case scenario is that you get delayed and covered in oil. The worst is that you botch up the whole thing and have to walk home. I was therefore interested to hear about an alternative solution that is about to be launched in the USA.

Patchnride is a tool with a nib at one end and a cartridge containing patching material. To mend a flat, you simply pump the patching material  into the hole via the nib,  and then inflate the tyre. The method is said to take about 60 seconds and doesn’t require removal of the wheel from the bike.

I have no idea how effective this is, but there’s a video here. If it works as well as described, demand could be huge. Cycling is undergoing a boom at the moment, and the new ‘converts’ in particular, don’t like getting their hands dirty. Perhaps the company are looking for UK or European distribution. Something to investigate?

Tattoo Removal Update

We’ve been banging the drum for the future potential of tattoo removal as a business opportunity for some time now, and there’s no let up. According to Market Watch the tattoo removal industry is still growing and expected to hit $83.2 million over the next four years.

The fact that tattoos are a fashion item in themselves, and different styles and designs of tattoo go in and out of fashion, guarantees an ongoing market. In  addition, relationship break-ups and job-hunting has led to an additional  surge in tattoo removals. Heightened unemployment in the recession has led to increased demand from job seekers who need to cover up tattoos in order to obtain employment.

There are currently a number of tattoo removal franchises around at the moment, as well as training courses for people who want to buy their own equipment and start on their own. Needless to say, this is hardly a ‘start tomorrow’ business, but the long term ongoing potential seems to make it very worthy of investigation.

Watching TV Could Cost You £1 Million

Have you ever thought you were too busy making a living to make any money? Well here’s some food for thought. If you spend three hours a day watching TV…the average is actually higher than that…that’s almost 1,095 hours a year you could be using to do something productive. Value your time at say £10 an hour – and that’s very much on the low side – and that’s almost £11,000 a year. Over a lifetime, that’s about £1,000,000.

The reality is that if you were to spend those 3 hours a day working on a business or money making venture, you’d have to be really unlucky to only generate £10 an hour over the long haul. Chances are that you’d make many times that amount – and just  for giving up one of the biggest time-wasters of all.

If this idea appeals, but you don’t know where to start, here’s an idea for you;

If you’re looking for a simple way to make money from home, but are tired of hearing about complicated stuff which is difficult to do, impractical or can only be operated when you’re at work, I have some good news for you…

While the rest of the world is ‘vegging out’ on the sofa, wasting time watching Corrie, Eastenders or Emmerdale, you could be sneaking an easy £100-£200 into your bank account. And you can do it at home from your PC or laptop…

Heck, now I think about it, you could even do it while you’re watching trash T.V as well…If you really must!

For full details visit: www.streetwisenews.com/sos

Better Than College?

I just read about a bit of a trend in the United States. Some parents are buying their kids a business franchise rather than paying for them to go to college. Perhaps there’s something in it.

The cost of a university education in the UK has never been higher and yet the value of the end product – a degree – has never been lower. The less scarce something is, the less it’s worth, and there have never been so many people around with degrees. With tuition fees typically pushing £30,000 for a three year course, and with additional living expenses to take into account, well that’s quite a chunk of money to put towards a franchise or stand alone business enterprise.

If I had a teenager who wasn’t particularly academic, but felt compelled to follow the conventional route, I know I’d be thinking about this quite a bit.

Travel For The Unemployed

The unemployed are not the most obvious group to target travel offers towards, but maybe that’s short-sighted.  What they do have is plenty of time, and not everyone lives from hand to mouth.

US based  JetBlue’s Promise Program allowed  passengers who lose their jobs after booking their flights to cancel and refund their seats, despite the carrier’s well-known ‘no-cancellation’ policy. And since then, other tourism operators including cruises, hoteliers and touring products have also  launched offers for the job insecure and jobless.

Norwegian Cruise Lines offered free travel insurance to cover unemployment, Elite Island Resorts offered to trade‘ worthless’ Wall Street stocks for a stay at their resort, and even drastically reduced ski-passes at Lake Tahoe were offered recently to  those who could prove their unemployed status.

The key factor here seems to be time. Unemployed people have it in abundance Is this a fact you can use? Might there be a win-win offer you could make to the unemployed whereby they get to experience your service or facilities  at a reduced rate, and you get to fill some spare capacity? There may be applications to this beyond tourism, and  the leisure industry has obvious potential.

Unexpected Consequences

A New York restaurant couldn’t understand what was happening. They were serving the same number of people as they did 10 years ago, but service was getting slower. That was despite having more staff and cutting down the menu. Unable to understand the anomaly, they hired an investigation company who compared digital CCTV pictures of the restaurant taken in  July 2004 with those taken in July 2014 and looked  at 45 customers from one day in July in each year. Here’s what they found:

2004:

Customers walk in.

They get seated and are given menus, out of 45 customers 3 request to be seated elsewhere.
Customers on average spend 8 minutes before closing the menu to show they are ready to order.
Waiters shows up almost instantly takes the order. Food starts getting delivered within 6 minutes..  Out of 45 customers 2 sent items back that where too cold.

Waiters keep an eye out for their tables so they can respond quickly if the customer needs something.
Customers are done, check delivered, and within 5 minutes they leave.

Average time from start to finish: 1:05

2014:

Customers walk in.

Customers get seated and is given menus, out of 45 customers 18 requested to be seated elsewhere.

Before even opening the menu they take their phones out, some are taking photos while others are simply doing something else on their  7 out of the 45 customers had waiters come over right away, they showed them something on their phone and spent an average of 5 minutes of the waiter’s time. Given this is recent footage,  waiters were asked  about this and they explained those customers had a problem connecting to the WIFI and demanded the waiters try to help them.

Finally the waiters are walking over to the table to see what the customers would like to order.
The majority have not even opened the menu and ask the waiter to wait a bit. Customer opens the menu, places their hands holding their phones on top of it and continue doing whatever on their phone.

Waiter returns to see if they are ready to order or have any questions. The customer asks for more time.

Finally they are ready to order. Total average time from when the customer was seated until they placed their order 21 minutes. Food starts getting delivered within 6 minutes,.

26 out of 45 customers spend an average of 3 minutes taking photos of the food.  14 out of 45 customers take pictures of each other with the food in front of them or as they are eating the food. This takes on average another 4 minutes as they must review and sometimes retake the photo.

9 out of 45 customers sent their food back to reheat.  Obviously if they hadn’t paused to do whatever on their phone the food wouldn’t have gone cold.

27 out of 45 customers asked their waiter to take a group photo.14 of those requested the waiter retake the photo as they were not pleased with the first photo. On average this entire process between the chit chatting and reviewing the photo taken added another 5 minutes and obviously caused the waiter not to be able to take care of other tables he/she was serving.

Given in most cases the customers are constantly busy on their phones it took an average of 20 minutes more from when they were done eating until they requested a check. Furthermore once the check was delivered it took 15 minutes longer than 10 years ago for them to pay and leave. 8 out of 45 customers bumped into other customers or in one case a waiter (texting while walking) as they were either walking in or out of the restaurant.

Average time from start to finish: 1:55

It’s an amusing anecdote about unexpected consequences, but it raises a serious question….how is the mobile communications revolution impacting on your business, and what can you do to accentuate the positive impact while reducing the negative effects like these?

Streets Paved With Gold

He thought “the streets were paved with gold” is a well worn phrase to describe a naïve individual going to the big city for the first time, but there might actually be some truth in it.

New Yorker Raffi Stepanian makes a living on  the midtown 47th Street with a pair of tweezers. It’s the diamond district and hidden in the cracks of pavements are tiny pieces of diamond, gold, platinum, broken chains and other bits and pieces which have been dropped and can be ‘mined’ for profit.

So if there’s a jewellery quarter in your town, perhaps there’s a source of extra income for you. But even if there isn’t, there’s a lesson here  – many industries have waste  or ‘fall out’ which is insignificant to companies, but could be worth a great deal  when combined by an individual.

What’s “falling between the cracks” near you?

Instructions Writer

I have in front of me, the instructions for a watch which was made in China. Now I’ve got to admit that their English is a lot better than my Chinese, but the wording is laughable. And this is far from an isolated case. It seems that almost every instruction book, no matter what part of the world it originated, is poorly written and difficult to follow.

For quite some time, I’ve thought that there has to be a business to be had in taking badly written instruction documents, and rewriting them in plain, easy-to-follow English. And yet I’ve never heard of anyone actually doing this.

If I were launching this business, I’d start by re-writing some poorly written instructions (by way of example) and then send it to the issuing companies, offering my service at the same time. Would it work? I simply don’t know, but it wouldn’t cost much to try.