7 More Ideas on Swiping Business Models

Still kicking around the ideas found in the Laurence’s post “7 Breakthrough Info Marketing Offers And How To Create Your Own”…and I started wondering:

How many successful — and profitable! — mail order businesses (or products) in the past have simply ceased to exist due to:

The seller or business owner retires from the business due to age…

Or simply gets tired for the concept and moves on to something else…

Or sadly, the business died because the owner passed away and didn’t pass it along to any heirs?

Here’s the deal:

These businesses didn’t fail due to a lack of demand, costs sucking out cash, etc.  The business model and products might have been perfectly sound and extremely profitable.  What if the business didn’t ever fail, really — it simply stopped because there was nobody to keep it moving, like a car without a driver?

Now if someone with good business sense (such as yourself) happened to pick up this business or hot product, and brought it back to life, would it still be a profitable enterprise? ?

Here’s how I would go about testing this idea:

1. Go to a public library and start reviewing specialized niche magazines from 10, 20, or even 40 years in the past. Example:  Magazines for gardeners.

2. Start noting mail order ads, especially for information products (reports, books, courses, etc.) and see if you can discover a  control ad that ran for several years, but then just mysteriously stopped at some point.  Example:  You find a control running from 1975 – 1980 in several gardening magazines promoting a book titled “Growing Your Own Food for Survival.

3.  Google around and see if this product is still being sold somewhere.

4.  Google around and see if you can discover what happened to the person or company selling the product. Maybe you’ll come across an obituary, contact information for a family member, or some other clue to what happened. Example: You find an obituary listed in the Google News Archives that the owner died in car crash in 1981. You then locate and make contact with one of his children.

5. Try to purchase a used copy of the product.  If it was a book, try to locate and purchase a copy via Bookfinder.com.

6.  If you can locate the business owner or heirs, try to get the story on what happened with the business, and pitch the idea of buying the rights to (or  licensing) the product if the business stopped due to non-market factors. Example: “Dad died, so his business went away because none of us kids cared to continue it. Sure, I’ll sell you the rights. Toss out a number.”

7. If you can’t locate the original seller, or if the seller or heirs are unwilling to sell you the rights to the product, or if are simply feeling creative — can you recreate the product and business yourself? Perhaps you can update and improve the ideas behind the original product (don’t plagiarize them).

Now, here’s the important part:

If it was a solid business concept in the past, and if it’s success factors were rooted in unchangeable aspects of human nature, isn’t the business idea at least worth a small market test? Example: You create an entirely new book inspired by “Growing Your Own Food for Survival” and using updated sources. You model your ad concepts on the original controls, though again, updating for today’s market…

(I don’t know the full story, but I’m guessing this is what happened with Joe Karbo’s The Lazy Man’s Way to Riches, which has been updated and sold in recent years by a Richard Nixon.)

One more thing.  I haven’t actually tested this experiment.  But some point soon, I’m going to try it out.  In the mean time, I would welcome your thoughts, critiques or other input on the idea…

One Comments

  1. John says:

    On the topic of niches with permanent staying power, the subject of gardening makes a great free product if going to public domain.

    And so do many other common subjects…

    With everyone striking out to create ebooks about Mobile Marketing or “how to design apps for the iPhone”, they neglect some truly great information that is sitting right under their noses.