Business ideas & how they did it.

howtheydidit.jpgI have 2 new business ideas for you to ponder over and give your thoughts to their viability sent in from readers of our blog. A good idea often comes from the ability to look at something that is done already and find a way to do it better.

I started reading a book called “How they started “(Amazon UK) yesterday, which covers 30 well known businesses that were started without any large existing capital or family connections, basically one person or a small group of people that had an idea and how that was transformed into a successful business. Looks very good from what I have read so far so may be of interest to some of you, not sure if it’s availability outside of the UK as yet.

I’ll quote an important paragraph that appears early on in the book

It is impossible not to try to compare the different stories in a book such as this, to see if there is some apparent natural formula for success. Luckily for us, there really is no single ‘one type of person fits all’ answer. Men and women of different ages, from a variety or racial, educational and family backgrounds, have taken an idea and turned it into a wonderful business. Even experience levels of a particular sector seem to matter remarkably little with this group of ultra successful people. But all the people in this book shared a number of ways of behaving which I think is crucial to their success. It’s not what they were or had to start with that made them a success, but how they went about it, No single X factor, then - but a group of X factors.

Wise words, on with the show and 2 separate ideas sent in that may be worth exploring further.

Idea :1 Tanya’s Idea

My idea was a project I started last year and stopped working on due to too mush going on at that time, but I’m about to try and restart it. (original can be found at

It’s a blog about making use of the features of your cellphone. I think it has legs because it’s a new twist on a very popular niche. Many blogs out there on the hottest and newest cellphones, but only scattered posts about what to do with all the fancy features that most phones have these days.

Would love to hear thoughts and suggestions.


Idea 2: Chris’s Idea

It annoys me to enter my contact information 1 field at a time on all of the sites i visit. I’m sure others have felt the pain of not having an established identity provider online.

The idea would be to create a service that holds your contact information and provide a plugin or API for websites to allow users of our service to avoid having to register everytime. We could start with something like a wordpress plugin to allow easy registration to blogs.

Problems, I’m a rookie programmer, Ideas kinda guy and have low funding resources.

Both ideas immediate sound like they have merit on first glance, Idea 1 from Tanya sounds like a hole in the market, phones have an absolutely huge list of features that would normally get glossed over in a quick review of them so drilling down to find out more sounds like a gap in the market. People also tend to prefer to read tips & tricks online rather than go cover to cover through a user manual.

Idea 2 sounds like the type of idea that must already be done somewhere to some extent, it’s a common problem so I would guess that it must have been solved, possibly in a way that could be improved on and if it isn’t already out there then why not?

I would appreciate any thoughts or comments you have both of them.

About Scott Jones

Scott hails from the north east of Scotland and started earning online at the end of 2000 building websites for local businesses during which time he won an award from Lord Alan Sugar for Excellence in Enterprise. After having quite a bit of success with domaining Scott mainly runs educational evergreen websites which generate over 3 million visitors per month but is always on the lookout for a fresh thinking out of the box way to turn a buck. Follow on Twitter.


  1. Idea 2 is partly addressed by some of the toolbars out there (Google’s for instance) and probably faces privacy issues.

    Idea 1, Tanya just get on and do it. You’ve already got a domain (so presumably hosting too) so the money has already been spent so just get on and do it. I reckon it’s got legs, but even if it hasn’t it’s worth doing for the experience.

  2. Idea one does seem solid as it has identified a hole, as you mentioned.

    About idea 2 (from what I understand of the post by Chris), it has been done to death. Gator (a free tool which became a spyware) was one of the first to make use of this idea and this was five or six years ago.

  3. I feel that Idea 1 has more potential than idea 2. The reason being is that it will attract a certain audience which from that she can capitalize on.

    Idea 2 in my honest opinion has seems to me as it has been done before, and the only way for it to succeed is as you said is to have a different/better approach to solving the problem

  4. Tanya’s Idea has legs go do it thats a winner for sure. As mentioned # 2 is old news. The 1st idea also has makes me think about all those people tht are not good with the features thing “like Me ;)” on Tv,s dvd players, watches, microwaves, etc etc

  5. I have to agree with the other responses. Idea 1 sounds great. I bet most people only use about 10% of what their phone is capable of, I certainly do.

    Keeping up with the latest technology is going to take dedication but if you have a few willing geeky contributors who live and breath phones then that solves that.

    As has also been said, Idea 2 is covered by several other services plus storing personal info is something that is open to lots of abuse and is an area I wouldn’t like to get into.

  6. Just to paraphrase what i said & give others ideas ///The 1st idea also has makes me think about all those people tht are not good with the features thing “like Me ;)” on Tv,s dvd players, watches, microwaves, etc etc///

    I just found heart rate monitor

    Thanks Tanya

  7. No dissenting opinions here. Tanya’s idea sounds great, and auto-form filling is available via client-side programs.

  8. Ooh thanks for publishing my idea - and thanks for the responses and suggestions - especially the one about hiring someone to do it - I don’t know why I didn’t think about that!

    • Well I think you have a great idea which has a lot of great potential if you get the right constant content.

      Well spotted

    • No excuse not to step it up now Tanya and push on!

    • Just a few minutes a day can lead this idea to success, keep working on it and make it happen one piece at a time.

    • As everyone else has said, I think this is a good idea. I’m very technically minded, but theres always things on my phone that I don’t know exist and one day stumble upon them by accident, and sometimes I just have trouble remembering how to get to certain features, so a kind of phone map would be great, just a page I could bookmark and lookup if I’m having one of those “Where on earth is xyz feature” moments.

  9. Thanks for Posting my idea as well. It was an excerise in 2 different fields for me.
    1) taking rejection well - Just because people think it wouldn’t work, doesn’t mean they are right.

    2) research the topic - I actually sent this idea kinda last minute to you just before heading off home at the end of my workday. I get these moments of inspirations all the time and most of them blow badly after I’ve put more than about 15-30 minutes of thought into it.

    If it’s been done before (to death so it would seem) then it means there is a strong need for this type of service, and nobody has done it right. Remember that YouTube and Google weren’t the first to do what they do. They just do it better than everybody else.

    I’ve found a service that I think might have the answer to it now anyway so I don’t see myself competing against a good thing. Check out their site if you wish to have a look. Seems that 37Signals have recently bought into this service.


    • Absolutely Chris, I tend to be the same as you and ideas that of the top of my head seem obvious winners, some have been done and some haev not and as you rightly say some can be bettered, the trick is to know when to hold and fold I guess and I’m still trying to learn that one :)

  10. I thought on Tanya’s idea - has merit, can you find a way to make it a ‘fun feature of the day’ since people can look in their manual that came with their phone to find out what it can do (unless you are like me and have no idea where that manual went after you turned the phone on for the first time). Just try to not make it a SUMIF

    type function description since the raw information is already available on the web. I wish I had a place to go when I change cell phones to tell me how to do the things I need to do on the new cell compared to the old cell - but that is likely a bit out of scope for this project. This idea could really benefit from user generated feedback to include their ‘coolest feature’ and to rate your features (interesting, cool, very hip). Are there enough ideas to generate a posting per day?

  11. Traffic is king.
    We all have the capability to come up with the “next greatest thing”.

    It takes some degree of capital investment in an advertising campaign. Everything else is spam.
    Think about it.

    Sure, wev’e all gotten lucky a few times with viral marketing benefits, but that is luck, and luck isn’t part of the equation in a business plan.

    You DO write up business plans, right? ; )

  12. The problem with idea number 1 is that you would need buy lots of phones, or get phone suppliers to give you them for free, so that you can learn and write about their features. It sounds impractical and something that would require a lot of money to start up. The idea itself doesn’t sound that catchy to me either.

    The second idea is too ambitious. Are you going to succeed with where Microsoft failed with .NET passport? Are companies and sites really going to trust you to hand their users personal data. Have you got the server backbone capable of meeting these demands? Can you afford to pay a security expert to make sure that peoples identities are safe?

    These are the kind of impractical ideas that always come to nothing.

Leave a Reply