You’ve got the imagination, the inclination, the skills as well as the time, but what do you create? I’ve programmed computers since I was 9 years old, way back in 1981. At school I created games for my classmates to play, at college, I created games whereby other students could bet on the winner, then onto work where I created applications for manufacturers, utility companies, insurance agents and finally back to games for pub machines.
During this time though, I wanted my own software house, my own company that produced a product and not one that just sold time. To reach this goal, I was thinking about what software application I should create that would help the largest group of people. In 2015 I created a customer relationship management (CRM) system which all businesses should use to increase their sales, but in truth, I did not use one properly so why would others? As I did not use it, how could I confidently demonstrate it to potential customers?
The answer, as always, was right in front of me! What’s more, I had been developing and using it for nearly 20 years!
Back in 1998, I bought a pine furniture business (St Marks Pine, Newark) and while running this business, I found there was confusion about the progress of orders especially those that needed to be manufactured. So I created an application that would keep the manager and me informed of where each of the orders was within the manufacturing and delivery process. (Not started, Building, Built, Finish Applied, Ready For Delivery and Delivered)
In 2003 I setup FastFix Computers whereby computers could be brought to me for repair. I created another application to help me remember which stage each computer was at during the repair process (Not Started, Started, Waiting For Parts/Info, Ready to Collect and Complete).
In 2012 I set up BusiFix Computers which was similar to FastFix Computers. I knew I needed a system as soon as I took on staff because when I left the shop during the day, I had to leave Post-It notes on every computer so that the staff knew what I had done to each computer; whether it was ready to collect, what the customer needed to know and how much to pay. Computers and software had moved on, and because I was working from both home and the shop I needed a system that worked wherever I was, so the system from FastFix Computers was completely rewritten to use the cloud for data storage and to be multi-user.
I now run a bespoke software company (BusiFixer) with many customers and many unique projects, and so I have evolved the system from BusiFix Computers into what is now EZ Job Control. This time I wrote the system to work with all types of business, big and small and not just mine. I’ve even included a digital wallboard so that a screen can be mounted on a wall and used to show job progress at all times; I had one of these in my repair shop, not only was it useful to me but customers that were in a hurry could see that I was busy!
So, take a look around you. What makes your life easier? What have you created that you use every day? Maybe you have created something to help a friend in their life or business, something they would miss if you took it away. Can you make that into a saleable product that others could use and that you could sell over and over again with little input from yourself? If like me, you have half a lifetime to look back over, there are possibly hundreds of products that you have made that could make a huge difference to others and create an income for yourself. Maybe the idea you are looking for is in your scrap pile or archive of old projects, something so obvious that you are oblivious to it.