Got a personal problem, maybe an illness or learning disability such as dyslexia? Well, sometimes learning how to cope with that problem teaches you a skillset that can turn into a way to make a living … sometimes even a great living. As an example, take co-founder and CEO of BioTeam, Stan Gloss. BioTeam designs computer systems and networks as a consulting firm for the life sciences market. Gloss is 60, the company is 11, and they have about 20 people – all working from their homes. The company is now worth $3.6 million.
Stan was recently interviewed and said, “Because I couldn’t read, I developed an ability to speak and question and see the connections between things. When I’m doing sales, I can see what the client needs, which people on staff know something about that and make it all connect. My strategy at BioTeam was even though I wasn’t an expert in computers and didn’t understand the science, I figured out whom to talk to, and I set up meetings with my experts. I’d sit there and let them talk.
Burrs and Stickers
Then there’s a different kind of problem … you’ve probably used Velcro in more than one way, even in the last year. Did you know it came about because George de Mestral, a Swiss engineer, had a problem? He would take his dog for hikes in the Alps and seemed to end up with burrs and stickers in his socks and on his dog – taking him more time to remove them than he wanted.
But eventually, he started wondering what it was about the burrs that made them stick so well. He took a good look at them under a microscope and found they had tiny hooks at their ends that caught and held to the microfiber of his socks and the dog’s fur. Ultimately, the information, some research, and effort led to the development of Velcro – de Mestral’s discovery has employed a lot of people since then.
If you live in the U.S., you know someone or several someones who are overweight or obese. You may be one of them. There are so many different weight-loss plans, pills, options, diets, and eating programs out there. And many of them work for some of the people, but essentially, none of them work for everyone. Looking for a billion dollar idea? Be the one to figure out the diet pill that really does shed pounds of fat from a person’s body. Even it if works for just 50 percent of the people with excess weight, your idea would clean up.
After all, the ones that work for about 20-40 percent, even as a temporary fix, make hundreds of millions of dollars – take Nutrisystems for example. Many of the original foods developed on that system, long since improved upon, were developed because the guy who formed the company had deep concerns about his mother’s health.
So, what problem do you face that you could turn into a thriving business?
David Milberg is an NYC credit analyst.