Our Bright Ideas series asks successful entrepreneurs how they came up with their great business ideas, and what advice they'd offer other entrepreneurs. Today we hear from Sharone Ben-Harosh, owner of Unpakt — a two-year-old website that makes finding and pricing a moving company quick and simple.
Business News Daily: What does your business do?
Sharone Ben-Harosh: Unpakt is the only online comparison site for moving that allows customers to easily plan their move, compare reputable moving companies who are available in their area, read genuine reviews from real customers, and book a guaranteed moving price. All in one place, in less than 10 minutes.
BND: Where did you get the idea for your business?
S.B.: I noticed three main problems in the moving industry:
- Finding a reputable moving company was very time consuming
- Estimating the price of the move was complicated
- Price estimates were not binding and prices would often increase on the move day itself.
Before the Internet, it was less confusing to find a moving company. A person looking for a reputable moving company would go into the Yellow Pages, and call the two or three moving companies in their area. The biggest problem then was getting a fixed price. The only company in New York who provided fixed prices was Flat Rate, all other companies would provide non-binding estimates which tended to be unrealistically low and then would increase dramatically on the move day itself.
Today, looking for a moving company is very confusing and time consuming. Researching online is misleading because a lot of alleged moving companies are actually just lead generators and brokers who just sell customers' personal details to the highest bidder.
Flat Rate invented an algorithm years ago that could accurately calculate the price of a move based on three factors: Inventory x Distance x Services = Guaranteed price.
Twenty years later, Unpakt is now offering a solution to customers by providing moving companies the ability to enter their own rates into that algorithm. Now, customers can compare guaranteed prices from reputable moving companies, based on their specific needs in less then 10 minutes.
Unpakt can guarantee that the price the customer is given is the price they pay because customers pay through Unpakt and not to the moving company directly. This allows Unpakt to make sure that the guaranteed prices are honored while maintaining the highest level of quality service.
BND: What three things go into a successful business idea?
S.B.: 1. Be the Solution - A successful business idea should solve a problem that troubles enough people around the world. Make sure the product or service is something that people need and that you offer real value.
2. Have a vision for your company - Make sure you are always improving the service or product. It's also extremely important to know where do you see your company five years from now.
3. Plan Ahead – Planning is hard in business because things change and evolve so quickly. It's extremely important to plan the finances of a business as accurately as you can. You don't want to get halfway through a project or idea and run out of money. You might not always be able to plan for the unexpected but you can have a plan for when those situations arise.
BND: What’s the biggest mistake people make when starting a business?
S.B.: Unfortunately, people often get intoxicated with a good idea. They forget how to run it as a business and develop it to the next stage. People often severely underestimate the challenges awaiting them, as projects tend to get more complicated along the way.
[For more business ideas, visit our Business Ideas Section.]
BND: How do you know if your business idea has broad appeal?
S.B.: You can never really know, you can only assume. If you have a good solution for a critical problem, that's a good start. You will never really be sure until you are actually there and your business proves to be a success.
BND: How did you test your business idea?
S.B.: I tested it before I started working on it, I tested while it was being developed, I am testing it now and will probably never stop.
My advice is to never stop asking questions or testing your business idea it can always grow and get better.
BND: What advice would you give to someone who thinks they have a great business idea?
S.B.: You should follow your intuition and do it! But, it's important to make sure you never risk money you don't have and you make wise business decisions. If you have a great idea that requires capital you don't have, look for outside funding.
BND: Where do you look for inspiration when you are trying to find new ideas or ways to grow your business?
S.B.: I look for segments in life that are mishandled and are not easy for users or consumers. Try this exercise: If in 40 years there isn't any limitation on technology, what would be a perfect solution to the problem you are facing and what would that solution look like? Once you visualize that, simply try to be as close to that solution as you can be.