Got some spare time? Here’s an idea.Finding New Ideas

Write down ten business opportunities that you could take advantage of, profitably, over the next twelve months. Make it a brainstorming exercise – after investigation, some will be good, others will be stinkers. But come up with ten of them.

The first four or five will be easy. For example: You do remodeling so you can get into insurance restoration work. It’s a natural takeoff, because the two are almost exactly the same except for the cleanup and smoke elimination, and possibly dealing with an adjuster. Or you could start roofing and gutter cleaning, power washing siding, maybe rodding out perimeter drains around buildings.

Maybe promoting your company to large service providers who are always looking for subcontractors to help them make repairs, replacements or other work done. Car dealerships, restaurants, utility companies, health care offices. When you start talking, you’ll often find that each specialty has a different need, and they often have a hard time finding someone willing to help them get those jobs done.

Listing ten opportunities will take some thought. They won’t fall off a shelf for you; you’ll have to dig them out.

What sets you apart from other contractors that gives you an edge up on anyone else in your area? What can you do better than anyone else? What equipment do you have that allows you to do work that no other company around can do? Or is willing to do?

Think about how the world is changing. Cell phone towers. Have you ever wondered how the companies who repair cell towers find their subcontractors? And it isn’t just the towers. There are support buildings attached to the towers, roads needed to get to the towers, generators and storage tanks and general maintenance work that must be done. And it’s a growing industry. Someone told me recently that, with the growth of smartphones requiring more data transmission, the need for new towers is growing rapidly. There’s a lot of opportunity out there for the companies who figure out how to tap it.

And changing demographics. I’m not as young as I used to be, but I’m still a homeowner. When work needs to be done on my gutters, or painting, or cleaning off moss, Mrs. Stone has told me she doesn’t care how high I climb as long as I keep one foot on the ground. I’m not the only homeowner with a fussy wife.

At the other end of the spectrum, there are a lot of young homeowners who’ve never used a power tool and don’t intend to learn how. They don’t want to clean their own home and they don’t want to maintain it. They’re more than willing to pay someone else to do that work.

You’ve heard of assisted living complexes? When residents move out, their apartments need to be cleaned and repainted, and often repairs are needed. The work needs to be done quickly; there’s a high demand for these units and every day a unit sits empty costs money. Managers at these facilities have a devil of a time finding competent contractors who will do the work quickly and without disturbing other tenants.

What need is out there looking to be filled? What special work can you do that will bring in more dollars over the next year? Where can you look for new ways to make money?

Take this and run with it. Once you have at least ten potential opportunities, start working through them. Throw out the stinkers (after a good review), and dig deeper on the others. Can you make them work? Who do you know, what do you know?

Give it a try. There’s little to lose and a lot to gain.

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