Do you run a youth hostel? Do you want to find ways to make more money than you are currently making?
Here are a few ideas for you to consider:
- Sell beer (no brainer)
- Sell water
- Sell local tours
- Organize a pub crawl
- Start a bar inside (& sell lots of shots)
- In-house tourist guides
- Charge $1 for sheets
- Laundry service (laundry costs while traveling)
- Start a chain of hostels across multiple cities and cross promote
- Negotiate special deals (& affiliate program) with a few local restaurants
- Airport / train / bus pick-up and drop off
All in the effort to provide the perfect hostel…
Do you have a liquor license and sell beer? Do you want more customers? Do you want customers that order several hundred dollars of beer at once? Is there a fraternity nearby?
If the answer to all four questions is yes, then you should start a beer delivery service.
The concept is pretty simple. Fraternities have large parties, which require lots of alcohol. At Sigma Phi Epsilon from 2002-2005, we purchased between 30-90 cases of Keystone Light and Keystone Ice at a time for our parties. We made large purchases on average 4 times per month.
Certainly delivery is more convenient than having to find a truck to go pick up the beer. Beer stores nearby want fraternity business due to the large order sizes. Charge an additional fee in exchange for delivering large quantities of beer.
From the fraternity social chair’s perspective (the person who organizes the parties), the ideal scenario would be to input the desired order into an online form (for example – 40 cases of Keystone Light and 20 cases of Keystone Ice) — and get quotes back from beer stores within X miles. The quotes would contain the quantity of beer (& brand), as well as what the delivery would cost if they choose that option (delivery should be optional).
- Liquor license & store
- Nearby fraternity
- Truck and labor to deliver up to 100 cases of beer
- Email & phone
- Software chops to build a simple request and respond marketplace (if you want to go the extra mile)
Subscriptions are a pain to pay for, yet they are an amazing source of repeat revenue for organizations. Things like ESPN Insider, a web host like dreamhost, NYT premium, etc.
Even though the steps involved for each one are almost the exact same, it’s a process I repeat over and over. It’s fragmented, and annoying.
There are services online that I WOULD pay for, if I didn’t have to setup another recurring profile somewhere. And if I knew is was drop dead simple to shut it off the minute it ceases to add value to my life.
The business idea? Build what EasyGiving.co built for donating to charities at Startup Weekend Amsterdam, but applied to web services. Apple proved that if you make it simple enough to pay for content or services you value, users will do it rather than hunt around for a free way to get the same content or service. The ease of use is worth money to many, including me.
And yes, I know there are a number of of payment systems. Such as MergePay. The length of this summary of MergePay on NextWeb tells me one thing. It’s too complex
Make the payment system simple.
Ever since I started traveling in 2005, I’ve long thought about starting a hostel. Or even a chain of hostels.
Simple. There are so many horrible horrible hostels, and I know I can create a better hostel.
I view hostels the same as I view running a bar; if you have a decent location and can’t run a successful bar, you’re an idiot. Okay, that’s a bit extreme. But you get the point. The same thing applies to hostels.
Why it’s appealing opportunity:
- Good margins – I think. Keep the hostel close to capacity, and you’ll make a killing.
- Great lifestyle – Live where you want, and hang out with awesome travelers all day. Listen to great music and socialize. What more could you want?
In my mind, here’s what’s included in the perfect hostel:
- Comfy common area with a couple couches
- A table or two with chairs
- A decent location. Sure, a great location would be awesome – but not entirely necessary
- Chill music
- Character – surfboards, cool artwork, a guitar, etc
- Awesome staff – this is probably the most important item on the list
- Local directions, events, and info
- Common kitchen with a refrigerator to leave leftovers
- WIFI throughout
- Organized events (pub crawls, walking tours, dinners) at least every 3 days
- Great happy hour specials
- Snacks/food available until at least 2 am
- Comfortable mattresses with warm comforter (for a cold weather area)
- Metal storage lockers that hold a regular sized backpack (not a big one), latch, and can accommodate a small lock.
What would your perfect hostel include?
You’ve probably heard of ZipCar. But you probably haven’t heard of GetAround, a startup in San Francisco my friend Jon Sterling showed me over coffee a few weeks ago. The difference between the two — GetAround connects you with locals who put their own cars up for rent.
Extend the same concept to DVDs to take on RedBox with a true person to person DVD sharing platform.
My friends’ family has a wall of DVDs and Blue Rays at least as big as the photo to the right (and more like twice as big). There is a RedBox about a quarter of the mile away, but I still stand a better chance of finding a movie I want to watch if I walk two doors down and borrow one from my neighbor.
There are four challenges to this approach in my mind:
- Convincing individuals to upload their entire DVD inventories – How do you convince individuals to upload their entire library to make it searchable (and tagged to a lat/long)? It seems the only real way to do this is to build the upload tool straight into DVD players, so that every time someone watches a DVD, it auto submits that to their digital library.
- Making it worthwhile for individuals – Users should get paid, maybe $2 per rental? Is that even worth the hassle of loaning out their DVDs for days at a time?
- Pick Up – how do you organize picks and drop offs when the DVDs are sitting in living rooms across the country?
- Reaching scale – how do you get to a point where anyone that uses the site can find someone to borrow a DVD within a mile or two of their house?
What do you think? Would this work, or is getting individuals to upload their entire DVD libraries too much of a hurdle for not enough financial gain?
[Photo via http://tyedyedork.blogspot.com/]
The Fours new restaurant in Norwell, Boston
Every city with a decent expat population and a thriving tourist scene needs a really good sports bar, at least in my opinion. But I’m still amazed at how few places seem to have one. Whether it be college football, NBA, rugby, soccer, or Major League Baseball — chances are good every guy (I’m guessing most of those reading this are guys) loves some sort of sports. Meaning the market is there.
As a guy who is not a sports fanatic, but definitely a fan — I still want to watch all the big games no matter where in the world I am. However, I found no venue to watch the march madness final live in Chiang Mai a month ago. In Siem Reap, there was only one bar playing the super bowl live at 6 am (the bar was packed).
Of course, the business idea here is to open a killer sports bar in whatever city you want to live in — and provide a great sporting experience for expats, tourists, and locals alike.
What’s needed for a killer sports bar?
- More TVs
- Comfortable seating
- Satellite Cable — access to live events all over the globe. You need the ability to play multiple games at the same time as well (I know some satellite services don’t allow this). Make sure American football, baseball, college basketball,
- Willingness to open your place at extremely odd hours to play large sporting events such as the super bowl and the NCAA final LIVE
If you like watching sports, what’s not to love about this business idea?
Business ideas are a dime a dozen. You can find them anywhere, and everywhere — including here on business ideas 24/7. But no matter what business idea you choose to actually tackle with your time and hard earned money — you need to CARE. It doesn’t matter how much time or money you throw at it; if you don’t care deeply about the problem you are working to solve, your business WILL ultimately fail.
Mark my words on that.
I firmly believe Facebook could wipe out the online dating competition (eharmony, chemistry.com, match.com, etc) by adding a single field to their database (or maybe a couple from a technical perspective).
On the profile page of all your friends (and heck, even your non friends) — add a drop down field viewable only to you labeled “I want to:” with the following options “Date/Marry/Hookup/Not Interested”.
You could go through you friends and choose your interest level in each of them. A notification would go to both parties IF both parties indicated they had the same interest in each other. For example, if only one party indicates that they want to “date” a particular friend of theirs, that info stays hidden from everyone forever unless the other friend makes the same indication back at their friend.
What better way to form romantic relationships than by facilitating a discussion between two parties who are interested in the same thing?
Sure, there is the discovery of people that aren’t your current friends who could be a good match for you. That’s essentially what eHarmoney and Match are built on. However, Facebook has enough data to make those recommendations better than Match or eHarmony can — particularly if all their users start telling Facebook what their preferences are based on the types of people they are interested in.
I realize this is another extremely niche business idea since Facebook is likely the only company that can pull it off. Maybe someone can figure out a way to do this using a Facebook login system. The challenge with that approach is then each of your friends has to authorize and app and then interact with it rather than simply changing a drop down field when looking at a friend’s profile.
Thoughts? Would you use this feature if it existed on Facebook?
Remember Geocities? Remember Tripod?
I had websites on both of those sites back in the day — circa 1994 or 1995 I’d guess.
If they can retrieve those websites in their entirety and deliver me the html files? I’ll buy them so I can put them online on my own server. I just want to have them for old times sake.
Tripod? Geocities? Hackers that know how to retrieve sites no longer online? Bueller?
This idea is more of a non profit initiative and isn’t likely to make you any money. That said, it could certainly be a good route to build your personal network and, in turn, build an audience to market products your products and services to down the line.
The idea is extremely simple.
Organize the community of expats and digital nomads living in a particular city. Build a way for local businesses (and non profits and) to submit a request for a new website. That request would go to a dashboard, or an ambassador of that city, to be matched with a small team of digital nomads with varied skills. It seems a team of 4 people (designer, writer, marketing, and coder) could pretty easily build a fairly good, professional looking WordPress website as well as setup a basic social media strategy in a matter of hours.
- There are many many expats and digital nomads floating around the world, many of them with extensive graphic designer, SEO, writing, marketing, business development, and online marketing experience. The vast majority of them have have considerable down time while they are staying in a particular location.
- Most local businesses outside of the US don’t have websites — and if they do, they are horribly designed. Virtually none of them have a clue about how to drive business to their establishment via the web.
Therefore, it makes sense to match those two groups together with some sort of matching making service.
You could even team this with the backpacker time share service I mentioned earlier to give the backpackers something to do in their spare time.
Now, go make the world a better place and facilitate this website matching-making service.
[Photo via Smallbiztrends.com]