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An Interesting Case of Finding and Need and Serving It May 3, 2007

Posted by Brad in Entrepreneurship.

I was walking down the street today and by chance I saw an incredible work of entrepreneurship. Out in front of one of the small businesses along the street I live on was a big white truck with a logo on it that said “shred-it”. Upon closer inspection I found this truck to be an apparatus which pulls up in front of a building and handles the document destruction for the company that contracts it; a giant mobile shredder of sorts. When I got home I did some further research and found Shred-It to be a Toronto-based company with branches all over the world.

It got me thinking about how some of the best business ideas are the simplest and the one’s that you’d normally overlook. I don’t know about you, but I can’t say I would have thought to create a company like Shred-It. Up until now I would venture that most people took document disposal for granted. When you look at it though, this company follows a very typical model for a thriving business. I believe it is the Heinz Company who’s motto is “To do a common thing uncommonly well brings success.”

In a world of increasing specialization it is important to seek out under-served niches. Shred-it has successfully done this by creating a simple solution to an ever-pressing problem. They chose to satisfy a common need and that provides them with a large market. When Shred-it’s service combined with new found fears of identity and data theft, you end up with a blossoming company. In looking to Shred-it as an example I think the major points a young entrepreneur should take away are:

1. Find a common need and specialize (at least initially)
2. Develop an uncommon solution
3. Make it cost effective for the companies you serve

In the future, by following this model, I believe business service contractors like Shred-it will take up an increasing portion of the market as companies look to gain efficiency by farming out non-central tasks to specialists. If you’re looking for further information on how it all works, check out Shredit.com or for another example of a company doing the same type of thing check out AccounTemps.com; a California firm that provides accounting services for companies not yet large enough to worry about the hassle of it all on their own and larger companies who would like extra piece of mind through transparency.


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