Lots of people who want to start businesses seem to want to become billion dollar ones and, hey, that’s understandable. Huge is sexy. But what about something else, something which I think is a big deal but not talked about that often. Starting a business inside another business. Think Facebook apps.
This isn’t the way to a billion dollar business, but it does work and can probably get you out of a day job. If you’re good at it, taking advantage of existing infrastructures with massive traffic (Facebook, iTunes, eBay, etc.) is the way to ensure maximum visibility. Because these sites will be popular until pretty much the end of time (or for our purposes, long enough), you’ll never run out of users as long as you understand the trends.
Let’s take an example. I don’t know this for sure, but I bet you there’s whole businesses out there on eBay that make their profit off holiday goodies like Easter chocolate, Christmas cookies, etc. etc. They know the increased searches that people make, and they know that people are searching all over eBay for deals anyway, so the eyeballs just take care of themselves. They just need to focus on copywriting, price-level competition, etc.
We could say the same thing for iPhone apps. HUGE market. Doesn’t building a currency-exchange application sound easier than building a separate website for the same process and competing with XE.com? Not only that, but the iPhone app market is new, so it’s easier to compete.
In a way, this is what Mahalo does too. They capture random search engine visitors through creating as many pages about popular topics as possible, and making them more authoritative then many others. By grabbing onto topics just as they become popular, they ensure a decent amount of traffic for each page, making sure it’s easier to make each page profitable, and hopefully sending that traffic along to other pages on the site through good .
Likewise, Alltop. There’s traffic coming in from a lot of places but Guy himself has said that a lot of it comes from his Twitter page. Good for him! He’s figured out a way to take advantage of existing traffic streams and make them work for him.
Anyway, I’m sure there’s a ton of ways to do this. There’s so much existing infrastructure everywhere that leveraging any of them can probably create a small home business for someone. Got an idea? Feel free to share.