Our comeback story was published in Inc.’s article, 3 Comeback Stories That Will Make You Believe Anything Is Possible. The following is an excerpt from the story:
Find an established need
After a failed digital photography startup attempt and a brief stint working in high-tech, Greg Shepard was ready to chase his entrepreneurial dream. This time, he decided failing wasn’t an option. Upon reflection and research, Shepard realized he had made a pivotal, and common, mistake with his first business: he assumed that to be successful, he needed an original idea–something that had never been done before. He now knows that when choosing a new venture, it’s a good idea to serve an established need in the marketplace rather than trying to manufacture demand. Having competitors in the space simply proves there’s a market for the business.
“There were hundreds of maid services in Dallas. That indicated there was plenty of business to go around,” he says. He created Dallas Maids, a housecleaning service with an easy-to-use online booking site–a reflection of Shepard’s technology background. The online booking tool also set his company apart by giving customers a convenient way to book maid services using the digital booking interface instead of having to call and make an appointment. Today, Dallas Maids is a million-dollar company. Shepard also started other maid services using the same system. The company benefits from high demand in the market and recurring customers, since most people book weekly or biweekly services.
To come up with a great business of your own, Shepard suggests keeping a running list of all your ideas. To assess the viability of a concept, look to data from industry associations and the U.S. Census Bureau. Research revenue for the category, locally and nationally, and consider consulting with a representative from your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC) or Chamber of Commerce.