You wouldn’t know it based on the sissified city-boy that I’ve evolved into over the past 10 years, but I actually grew up on a small farm in the palm of Michigan. I have a soft spot in my heart for the country, and I’m eagerly awaiting the day when I can trade in traffic jams and lattes for unplowed dirt roads and warm milk from our old brahman Bessie.
For today’s idea, I’m taking a bit of a departure from my usual shtick. Instead of coming up with some random idea and tacking a business model onto it, I’m starting by looking at a potentially profitable niche and thinking through ideas that could serve the target audience. The niche I’m exploring today is Agricultural Equipment. It’s a big business (John Deere alone rakes in over $25 billion in revenue), and with equipment costs that can easily exceed $100,000, there’s a nice business to be had for generating qualified leads for farm equipment retailers.
In thinking about this market, I was reminded of a fantastic speech I heard recently by Rich Barton, founder of Expedia.com and CEO of Zillow. In the speech, Rich said one of the secrets to his success was to empower the average user with information. He then took on markets with high-cost purchases (flights, vacation packages, houses) and built a site to help the average consumer use the available data to make an informed decision.
So, for used farm equipment, my idea is a site called “Harvestimates” which allows farmers to enter in basic details about their equipment and get back an estimate of what it’s worth. Each month, an Email would be sent to the farmer informing them of the updated value of all their equipment, provide options for users to sell their equipment online, and show options to upgrade their equipment or purchase new accessories.
What do you think of this one? Would you bet the farm on this one, or am I counting my chickens before they hatch? To stay updated on the latest posts, you should follow me on Twitter here.