How many of you want to get off the wheel and do something for yourself? Who would like to pick with whom you work and invoke the “no @#$hole” rule? Being an entrepreneur is unbelievably hard and under appreciated work. That said, in the season of giving and resolutions, I would like to offer an idea to those of you looking to do something else.

One of my biggest frustrations is trying to find qualified, professional, prompt and service oriented companies to do anything around my home. After just getting a fresh foot of snow, snow removal services come to mind. Pool maintenance, renovations or any kind of repair work lead business professionals into a space where their expectations as consumers will likely not be met. We can all likely write our own negative story on this topic. We do have positive stories as well and those service providers we hang onto dearly and gladly pay any reasonable premium they demand. After struggling to find a remotely qualified company to open, close and do pool repair/maintenance, I lucked into a small entrepreneur this year. Doubled my price but I’m happy to pay it to get prompt, quality work from a professional. Thanks George!

Think about your frustrations; then think about your passions, what you’re good at, what you like to do and how these worlds may collide. Perhaps you are a Project Manager or frequently manage projects in your role. What if you applied those skills, expertise and professional service expectations to the world of home renovations? How much more would you as a business professional pay to have a project plan, service level agreement, guarantees and a communication schedule [that is followed] on their home renovation project? You can create both innovation and differentiated value by solving the compromises we accept as consumers.

Virtually every home service market segment is highly fragmented and populated with tiny, small or mid-sized companies. Most lack processes, tools, automation and trained employees. Even the simplest things like a reasonable web site, answering the phone or returning prospective customer calls allow you to differentiate. Pretty scary, but my expectation is dismally low when I need something done. I will place several calls and often give the business to the only company that responds.

Despite starting small, I think there is opportunity to create scale. One of my best buddies leads a company that seized on such a market opportunity; they created national scale by aggregating a fragmented market, built common processes, tools, automation and differentiated value. Backed by a PE firm, they are over $200M in revenue. They have also expanded from consumer to corporate markets in their niche.

‘Tis the season to be thankful and to think about what is possible in the new year. There are under-served markets where you may be able to transform your passions, interests and skills into an opportunity.

All the best of the holidays and have a great 2015….



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