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Ideas Post

Matt Ventre


10 Businesses to Improve on a Local Level

Lots of businesses in small towns are stuck in 1982. If you can start small, build in efficiencies using technology and smart know-how, you can sweep the market.

These are those markets.

*Law and Order dun dun sound*.

10 Businesses to Improve on a Local Level

    1. Laundromats

    Old machines, no way to tell when they're free, you have to sit around and wait for your stuff (waste of time).

    Improve the experience with wifi, a work-from-here lounge, snacks at a premium, and a system that tells when when machines are available and how much time is left on a website or app. Free.

    2. Home Construction and Installation

    I can't get the insulation people to call me back. They took my money quickly enough, but now there's an excuse every time they don't show up.

    You can fix this with some simple systems that don't force you to relearn a bunch of technology (it's automated).

    Get the scheduling on a system, and stop pissing people like me off.

    3. Coffee Shops

    There's "I need caffeine and I'm going to drown it in sugar and cream" crowd and there's the "I'll pay $6 for a latte and maybe sit down and read a book for an hour" people.

    The problem is there needs to be something in between for smaller locales.

    People *sometimes* want to enjoy their cup, but they also don't love paying costal metropolis prices. They want to hang out and talk with each other, but they don't give a crap about annoying hipster music.

    Lower costs by using a more effective delivery system and fewer employees (which means lowering the quality slightly, but the point is that nobody expects perfection, just better than Dunkin with a smile).

    4. Food Delivery

    If you don't have uber eats, you might have some bonkers locally-run concoction called Eat-n-Run or Yummy2Nite or something else.

    It is as bootleg as it sounds.

    Standardize the processes, make the website intelligible, and have a more driver and customer-friendly ordering and compensation policy.

    Cold food, surly delivery people, and confused restaurants do not a good service make.

    5. Menus

    That's right. I want to order takeout. I don't have a paper menu. 80% of the time I'm screwed or I have to rely on something sketchy like facebook or allmenus or something.

    They're out of date and inaccurate.

    Make it dumb simple for places to enter their food into your system and broadcast that bad boy far and wide - and make sure they have an easy as pie way to update the items when they change.

    That's partially on you as a product: this boils down to incentive. Why should they do that? Figure out the answer and you will have the market in your palm.

    6. Shoe Repair

    It's not just for nice shoes - boots and other high-durability footwear needs regular service in order to maintain its lifespan. I don't mean your $50 Target sneakers, I mean your handmade leather workboots, your equestrian footwear, etc.

    A lot of these shops are beautiful, charming, and homespun. They're also run like it's the 1800s. Just update the service model to maybe having an email or text service to let you know when your boots are refinished and you win (you also have to be decent at the trade, this is kind of a barrier to entry for some).

    7. Dry Cleaning

    Most places are inefficient. Even if your stuff is ready quickly, you're still battling the guessing game. And if you forget you might be without important items for a while.

    The dry cleaning business isn't a secret. You just need to implement a few more straightforward customer-facing touchpoints and automate them and you'll crush. Email me when it's done, give me a loyalty discount (and you can use this to track customers' behavior and target them for deals).

    8. Lawn Care

    Automate scheduling for treatments, allow contract management/payment management online, allow customers to ask questions through email/contact forms instead of calling (but, still have phones because it's important in these markets).

    9. Medical Transport

    Same thing. Automate the scheduling by allowing for caretakers or family members to schedule and update appointments online - give them updates on arrival time, safety issues, potential conflicts with other passengers, etc.

    10. Storage Rentals

    100% customer contact uptime (either with outsourced quick help or VAs who can direct questions during off hours), easy signup online, contracts simple and easy to sign and pay for, key dropoff/pickup is no nonsense.

    Clean the facility.

    You win.

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