How to have a lightbulb moment!
Article written by Christine D’Mello and published in the Sydney Morning Herald on April 22
“Ever experienced that moment when an imaginary lightbulb comes on above your head while facing an adverse situation?
Ex-AFL player Danny Hughes turned one such moment into a fruitful venture, ChargeSpot.
“The lightbulb moment happened one day when I was out and my phone went dead,” Hughes says. “I thought, ‘Why aren’t there phone-charging facilities in public places’?
“At the time, I was with my now business partners, Andrew O’Brien and Mick Apeiro, and mentioned the idea to them.”
The trio decided to make that lightbulb moment a reality.
“We spent the next few weeks designing how the machine would work and then set out to find a manufacturer in China,” says Hughes, who played two AFL games for Melbourne in the seniors before retiring because of injury.
“We soon had a supplier and ordered our first sample machine. I think it was important to organise the sample quickly so the idea stayed alive,” he says.
Perth-based business coach Jill Hutchison says a key objective is for people to be clear on what they want out of the idea.
Once they’ve decided what they want, Hutchison says, they need to connect with people who have the right skills to help them become successful.
“One of the common mistakes that I see with business owners is trying to do too much themselves,” says Hutchison, founder of coaching business Evolve Dynamic.
One of the first things Hutchison suggests to someone with an idea is to take it to market and test it.
They can see fairly quickly if there is an element that is going to succeed, she says.
This is what Hughes and his partners did. Apeiro approached a colleague at a Falls Creek restaurant to place the machine for a three-month trial.
“After approaching a few venues, we soon realised that the venues would be keen for the service,” Hughes says. “As we started the trial, we immediately realised that people were willing to pay to charge their phones.”
Their main business model is to place the machines in venues, he says.
“People pay to use the machine and we pay the venues rent. We also sell and lease machines,” Hughes says.
“We also have two events trailers which can charge hundreds of phones simultaneously, which we take to music festivals and major events.”
The company hopes to have 100 machines operational soon across Australia.
A chance remark sparked Deb Farnworth-Wood’s lightbulb moment.
“I was on holiday in Australia looking for a business opportunity and happened to visit the original Australian Skin Clinics in Ashmore on the Gold Coast,” says Farnworth-Wood, who is originally from Britain.
“While talking to the founder of this clinic, he made a throwaway comment that he had planned to franchise the clinic but didn’t think he could get doctors to work together.
“At that time, I had several businesses in partnership with eight doctors and we worked with a range of multidisciplinary healthcare teams, so I thought, ‘That bit is easy. I’ve been getting doctors to work together for over 16 years’.
“We shook hands on a deal that very day.”
Farnworth-Wood moved to Australia in February 2007.
At the time, she says the business had too many services and products.
The global financial crisis hit a few months after her move to Australia, so instead of expanding she learnt as much as she could about franchising.
“Over the next 12 months, I looked at the profitability and effectiveness of every treatment and product to assess whether it should stay or go,” she says.
Australian Skin Clinics’ first franchised clinic opened in October 2011. Within three years, it had expanded to 15. The business has a presence in Queensland and Victoria but is rolling out in other states this year.
Business coach Hutchison recommends connecting with somebody who helps people through entrepreneurial transitions.
Read the entire article here: http://www.smh.com.au/small-business/entrepreneur/how-to-have-a-lightbulb-moment-20150421-1m5qwz.html