Max Dumais

SmartCompany /

One way to stand out is to identify where things do not work, and come up with the “fix”.

Put the irk to work 

According to futurist Colin Benjamin, another Smart Blogger on this web magazine, it is estimated that over the next decade between one to two million home businesses will start up.

Unlike the past decade where these businesses were formed to realise an opportunity, the majority of these will be start ups based on a necessity to supplement pension income, and the prognosis is that 80% will not earn enough to put in a tax return.

What’s the lesson in all of this, and who wants to be in the 20%?

Despite the fact that recent research suggests that today’s baby boomers may be better off financially than their children’s generation because there is high home ownership and reasonable levels of investment, the fact is that many will not. The result appears obvious from Colin’s statistics.

Getting started in a business with any chance of success might mean taking on the tried and tested; after all, everyone has to eat, sleep and get information. Lunch stops and bed & breakfast businesses will always make money, and there is always the internet — with plenty of people to Google who will offer advice on that.

However, if you want to break out of the common mould and take a punt, here’s a clue. One way to stand out from the rest and design an income stream is to identify where things are not working today and work towards a way of providing the solution, the “fix”.

What are some of the things we do today that we may not necessarily be doing tomorrow? Will we always use the Saturday classifieds; if not, what else? Will we continually buy new shoes for growing children or might we buy an ongoing service that could offer to match the shoes to growing feet? Will people continue to cop the traffic jam on a freeway or can we design a solution that allows cars to benefit from the transit lane?

Tip of the week

Start by identifying those things that irk you most. Do you think others feel the same, and would they pay for the right solution?

What was the initial reason for introducing those things and what may have changed in the world that might lead to the need to seriously reassess those annoying processes, procedures or routines that people could really do without.

Look around at the changing environment you live in and see what business challenges you could exploit as opportunities that might flow, adding value by removing the “irk” factor.


Thinkcoach Max Dumais set up and ran Dr Edward de Bono’s institute for its first six years. His company Ahead of the Game is all about applying processes and frameworks for individuals and companies to think their way to success.

To see other Thinkcoach blogs, click here.



SmartCompany is the leading online publication in Australia for free news, information and resources catering to Australia’s entrepreneurs, small and medium business owners and business managers.

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