Sometimes old good ideas make the best new ideas and that’s what we are currently witnessing with the resurgence of mobile businesses. In earlier times, knife sharpeners were a common sight traveling through neighborhoods and towns. Today, what started as a food truck renaissance has now spread to a wide range of commercial activities.
To determine if there is a mobile business in your future, we need to consider the question from four distinct points of view:
- Are you looking to start a new venture on something of a “shoestring”?
- Are you an online business that could grow by adding a mobile component?
- Are you a brick-and-mortar store that could grow by adding a mobile component?
- Do you have a home-based business that might benefit from going mobile?
The other important point is to evaluate your community and determine how far you want to roam in your mobile business. Larger urban areas often lend themselves well to most mobile businesses but some smaller areas can be great too. In many cases the determining factor is the level of concentrated activity within the community.
A smaller active community with lots of centralized events can be productive while a larger city with few events can prove to be a dog for many of the business models currently popular among mobile business entrepreneurs.
If you are starting your business as mobile-only, you need to be sure you’re in a community that will support it. If it’s an adjunct for incremental growth and branding, then you can probably do okay in a wider range of communities.
Here are some concepts that are “out on the road” right now:
- All kinds of food. Consider putting a twist on regional favorites.
- New and used.
- Make it yourself or find unique artisan offerings.
- Organic produce and products. Think farmer’s market on wheels and wheeling to all your local farmer’s markets.
- Pet grooming services.
- Tattoo parlor.
- Vinyl records, new and used.
- Beauty salon. Bring the latest coifs, nails and makeup to the street. Locate outside night clubs.
- Junk, I mean used treasures. You know that the guys from American Pickers would be successful anywhere they parked and there are busy flea markets in every city.
- Flower shop.
- Fitness activities. People are experimenting with mobile gyms and dance studios. Be a personal trainer on wheels.
- DNA and drug testing. A guy is taking this to hospitals, job fairs, accident sites and jails. Really.
- Sell cigars and provide a lounge. Not only can you locate at certain events, you have the potential of renting your trailer out for private parties. Some of the other concepts have that potential also.
Many mobile businesses aren’t mobile all the time. They have a semi-permanent parking spot where their customers know they can find them when they aren’t at an event. Food trucks are associated with certain bars, for example. A clothing truck can find a place in a commercial district. This makes life a lot easier on owners.
Many of these concepts also integrate with ecommerce, which adds another revenue stream. And since we’re talking about the Internet, one of the biggest keys to success in the mobile business world is to have a tremendous social media marketing program, and fortunately the idea lends itself very well to social media like Twitter, Instagram, Vine and Facebook.
Image: “Maximus Minimus food truck Seattle Washington” by MarmadukePercy – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.