You don’t have to be an out and out vegetarian to be interested in meat substitutes. Many meat
eaters are also looking for ways in which they can eat more healthily (while still getting their ‘fix’) and it’s
for that reason that a vegetarian butcher starts to make sense.
The first vegetarian butcher, specialising in a wide range of meat substitutes like Soya, Tofu and Lupin (yes
Lupin!) opened it’s doors in The Hague, Holland recently. The target market is both vegetarians, and upmarket
consumers who have decided for health reasons to substitute at least some of their meat eating for an alternative
-–and are prepared to pay a premium price to do it.
Could this take off in the UK? I’m just not sure at the moment, but it’s a situation worth keeping an eye on. It
wouldn’t surprise me at all to see a small chain of vegetarian butchers operating in upmarket areas of the UK
within the next few years. It would delight me if it was one of our readers who made it happen.
The Lessons Of Page
It’s not so long ago that, if you’d written a book and wanted an
opinion on it, the best you could do was hand it to a few friends or family members to see what they thought.
Better than nothing, but it’s hardly an unbiased and representative sample of the market, now is it?
It’s with this problem in mind that a web based service called Page 99 was launched. The name of the service comes
from the fact (which incidentally, is new to me) that when readers are scanning a book to decide whether to buy,
they often flick to page 99 and base their decision on what they find there.
The site enables authors to upload page 99 of their book. Readers are then invited to go there and offer an
unbiased opinion of whether what they’ve just read would persuade them to turn the page or buy the
Did you know that car number plates are big business? Over the last
20 years, prices have risen steadily. The plate, AVH9, for example, cost £450 in the mid-80s and is now worth
an estimated £4,700. Millions of pounds are spent each year on these unique and eternally popular status
Some people choose plates to match their initials or trade. Others buy so they can drop the year code and hide the
age of a vehicle. Demand is high for low-cost numbers amongst less affluent drivers to add status and hide age.
The real beauty of personalised number plates lies with the prices people are prepared to pay for them. The person
most likely to enjoy plates is you - the broker who’s going to make money from them! It’s a business that tends to
weather any storm and actually works even better in a recession. Investors are looking at less volatile investments
than stocks and shares.
Best Buy Plates
Having a personalised plate doesn’t guarantee profits. Plates that are most likely to rise fast in price are those
with common initials relating to names and trades. Those with, say, JW (for John Williams, Jack Wilson etc) and LOT
(for an auctioneer etc) are your best buys.
A plate bearing letters OF is likely to represent more names in the average telephone directory than UYK. So OF 1
would set you back about £16,750 while UYK 1 costs just £2,700. If a personalised plate has a low prefix number
such as 1, that’s even better. As a rule, the lower the number, the higher the price.
Be warned - not all plates appreciate quickly. Some investments can even fall in value, sometimes significantly.
Those most likely to fall are those quirky letter and number combinations chosen more for fun and fad value than
lasting appeal. For example, B10 USE – blouse, potentially. Apart from specific letter and number
combinations, rarity is a key factor of price
Be A Broker
A broker simply mediates between people wanting to buy and others with personalised number plates to sell. At its
simplest, you offer someone else’s plates for sale in return for commission. Few sellers will actually turn down
your offer as you might know someone who wouldn’t otherwise see their advertising. You could make the difference
between selling and not selling.
In practice, several other brokers could be offering the exact same plate. One broker may allow others to market
the plate for a percentage of the commission passed between the plate owner and principal broker. Once you get this
business going, it could expand rapidly with profits for all.
Here’s the big bonus. Unlike the independent car number plate dealer, the broker never has to purchase plates
personally, nor the vehicles. The broker is just in the middle, never holds stock and simply mediates between
owner and buyer for a percentage.
Test The Market
Choose registrations from those you see advertised in mags like Exchange & Mart etc. There are page after page
of ads so you have plenty to choose from. Go for those with common initials like B, C, H, M, N, R, S and P.
Avoid awkward letters like U, Q, X and Z.
Now, you have to match registrations with potential buyers, focusing on actual names or reflecting occupations,
special interests, etc. As examples, BOW 1 could be a great plate for dog lovers and actors used to taking a
‘bow’. Advertise the plate in dog lovers’ magazines, target at dog breeders, vets etc. You could write to
anyone with the initials BOW from listings in telephone directories and the electoral roll!
BET 1 would be great for turf accountants and gamblers, GUM 23 for dentists, and LOT 23 for auctioneers. You can
trawl through ads and group similar dog-, vet-, gambler- and auctioneer-related plates together – this can be very
effective. Interested? More to come soon!