Work From Home UK
A home workers guide to starting a home based business
Research on how to be your own boss

work from home based business


£9 A Night

Hard as it is to believe, a Malaysian Hotel chain opens its doors in Westminster next week with air conditioned rooms on offer for just £9 a night. Tune Hotels opens its first branch in the capital with the promise of 5 star luxury for 1 star prices.

Needless to say, there is a bit of a catch. The room is £9 a night but you have to pay for everything else. It costs £3 to book on the phone, £3 for TV access, £2 for a hairdryer…even £1.50 if you want a towel. Having the room cleaned costs £7.50, and there are plenty more extras you can pay for.. Despite all this, it looks set to be just about the best deal in London.

I’m telling you about this for two reasons. Firstly because you might need a cheap room for your next trip to the capital, but secondly because it's an interesting and increasingly popular business model. Ryanair have been very successful in the airline industry by charging a low headline price and then charging for EVERYTHING else. Tune hotels are doing the same thing.

Is there room in your market for someone to offer a stripped-bare product or service, and then offer increased levels of comfort/luxury (at a price) for those with deeper pockets or more discerning requirements?

Your Driving Billboard

Placing ad’s on the side of cars isn’t new, but here’s an interesting twist on the idea. Rather than pay drivers cash for allowing their cars to be used, a petrol station company in Singapore are paying ‘in kind’ with free petrol. This is all co-ordinated via a bespoke website and a local shopping magazine.

Might this work here in the UK? Could you broker a deal between an advertiser and the public, whereby the advertiser gets free advertising and the public get free goods and services in return for becoming a mobile billboard? Petrol stations are an obvious target, but the scope for this isn’t limited to car related businesses. It would work equally well with a restaurant chain for example, with drivers getting free food vouchers based on their mileage and visibility profile.

Chicken Sitting

You can’t have failed to notice the trend towards urban folk keeping poultry in the last few years. It’s a trend repeated across the Atlantic, which is why a company called Just Us Hens has been set up in Portland, Oregon to look after people’s hens whilst they’re away.

In addition to charging a fee for daily visits and feeding, the company offer additional services (at extra cost) including wing clipping and beak trimming.

This wouldn’t work everywhere, but I can see it having potential in upmarket urban areas where Giles and Tamara have followed the trend, but tend to travel a lot.

Cash From Waste

Sometimes you need to get right into the minds of potential customers to spot an opportunity. On the face of it, there’s not a lot of value or potential in old tents left behind by festival goers. But that’s before you factor in the environmentally conscious nature of a lot of the young people who attend such events.

WiTHiNTENT salvages the fabric from the leftover tents and then turns them into rainproof clothing and accessories for the festival market.

It seems to me there are three advantages here:

1. Free materials

2. An environmentally friendly business

3. An interesting PR story

Is there some discarded material or product you could recycle into something desirable, and if so, could you set up a business with similar benefits and advantages? The environmental movement isn’t going to go away any time soon, so now could be a good time to start thinking about this.

Retail-and beyond!

There are so many areas in which the traditional retail concept is being extended way beyond its normal boundaries. Take the Adidas store in Tokyo as an example.

Located in an area, popular with runners, the store has numerous shower cubicles and lockers for rent. Customers are encouraged to try out the product properly and effectively use the store like a running club.

The effect is to shift the emphasis away from pure selling, and much more towards a help, advice and mentoring service. It’s a nice reversal too. For many years, gyms and health clubs have sold equipment, clothing and other products. It’s interesting to see a retailer, almost becoming a health club!

Might this be a concept you could borrow for your business? How could you shift the emphasis in your business from pure sales, to a place where customers can go for help, advice and a more holistic experience?

Immigrant Opportunities

There’s little doubt that the UK has seen a massive influx of immigrants from both eastern Europe and further afield in recent years, but how many companies have latched on to the opportunity this affords?

In Italy, where 4 million foreign citizens currently live, bank Extrabanca has seized on the opportunity. They offer a multi-lingual staff representing 11 nationalities, and aim to serve the banking and investment needs of the immigrant communities.

Every business should be looking for an angle or niche which will differentiate them for the competition, and this one seems to have a lot of potential. If you were a Pole living in Italy, do you think you might head for the bank where they spoke your language and were geared up to understand your needs?

So…is there an opportunity to focus on serving one or more immigrant community in your own sphere of business? Even if you’re not going to fully focus on that, is there an opportunity to set up a division or sideline to take advantage of the opportunity?