The best business ideas should have aspects of all three of these traits: Oxygen, Aspirin, & Jewelry.
- Oxygen refers to products or services with inelastic demand: Food. Clothes. Funeral Services. Certain utilities. Entities humans can’t live without. Here’s the kicker: Oxygen can also refer to something businesses can’t live without since businesses are often going to be your target customers. Oxygen in a B-to-B sense would include e-mail and other software platforms like Salesforce.com which are the lifeblood of many organizations.
- Aspirin refers to products that ease pain for businesses or consumers but, ultimately, are not essential for survival. An example, hard though it might be to swallow, is coffee. It feels like oxygen, yes, but in point of fact consumers can live without it. You’re not going to die.
- Jewelry refers to products or services that are strictly luxuries. Think of desserts, movies, video games or other sedentary, recreational activities. You don’t need them. Yes, they’re addictive, but they’re not vital. Nor does their ability to ease pain compare to that of coffee or, well, aspirin.
You’re probably thinking: Isn’t it debatable whether a given product or service is oxygen, aspirin or jewelry? Isn’t it possible that certain items fall into all three categories?
Yes. And that’s when you know you’ve got a great startup idea.