Monthly Archives: May 2016

Boxes Are Booming

One of the big successes of the last few years is subscription box services. For a fixed price each month, the customer receives a box of supplies or goodies in line with their needs or interests. It could be something utilitarian like razor blades or tampons, or something more indulgent like chocolate or whisky. The benefit to the customer is that they get something they want or need each month without the effort of shopping for it, and the benefit to the company is that they get a continual and regular flow of income.

To get in on this, you’ll need to find a consumable product which either isn’t currently available via this route, or is served badly by existing suppliers. So what could you sell on a box subscription basis? Is there something in your market niche or area of interest?

Activity Database

Home schooling is on the increase. The educational impact is open to debate, but the fact that kids often miss out on group-style activities seems certain. San Francisco-based company Outschool is hoping to change this, by offering dozens of workshops and activities for children to enjoy in groups.

Outschool is a database of local workshops which parents can browse by activity type, date or location. There are a huge range of activities on offer: everything from squid dissection to TV studio tours. Once the user has chosen an activity, they can book and pay for it through Outschool. Parents can see who else is enrolled and share the class with other local families.

Could a similar database developed in your area? I can see no reason why not.

Buy To Let Made Easy

One of the biggest hurdles to overcome with buy-to-let is finding reliable tenants. That’s why I was interested in Roofstock – an Oakland, California based business which provides a market for homes which are already rented. The business recently raised $13m in funding and is about to launch in central Florida, so they must be at least on to something.

This could definitely be worth looking into here in the UK. As far as I know, there’s no publication, agency or database that specialises exclusively in this very attractive niche.

A Ready Made Idea?

I received an email this week from a reader, which may strike a chord with someone. Here’s what she said:

“My idea is  to start a franchise outlet called ‘Sugarfrees’. This would be a shop selling sugar free food, ice cream, chocolate, cakes, kids birthday cakes, biscuits,  bread and natural fruit and veg drinks, etc. It can be done without apartamine or fructose etc and taste just as good.. There is definitely a huge growing market out there.  With the alarming rise in diabetes figures I think it will soon become a necessity.”

It’s not really our ‘thing’ but it’s hard to argue with much of this. I know the lady concerned would be keen to partner with someone with either cash or retail experience to move this idea forward, and be prepared to take a small stake for her input. I don’t doubt it could be a winner, but the key will be in the implementation.

If this interests you, send me an email ( and I’ll pass on your details.