Imagine.....being in the dry cleaning business

In a medium sized town on the south coast of England there is no dry cleaner - at least not in the centre. This is perhaps surprising since dry cleaning is not an especially exotic activity and people need dry cleaning done. Maybe not as much as in New York, with a lot of business attire, and where dry cleaners seem to be on every block - but some nonetheless.

So could there be an opportunity to open a dry cleaning business where none exists right now? We can look at this question in two ways.

On the one hand, we could say there's an obvious gap in the market. On the other, we could say that, if there were a feasible opportunity, someone else would have responded to it by now. Does it just depend on whether we're optimistic or pessimistic, glass half full or empty etc.?

In fact, both answers are reasonable insofar as they are the first "cut" of a decision and they inform the process of making a final choice to go ahead. The point is that, even for a decision as to whether to start a small business, we need to collect and process information, over and above our first impression. For example, what garments can a dry cleaners clean (it could be more than we think at first), how many people wear such garments and do people need dry cleaning (ask them), what is the current and potential competition?

However - and we're now back to where we began - while analysis is necessary, the initial idea has to come from somewhere. Furthermore, the great thing about the idea is that it also helps pose the most important question: can we really see ourselves in that business?


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