The Grumpy Economist

For its 125th wedding anniversary concern, the WSJ asked “In the event that you could propose one change in American policy, culture, or culture to regenerate self-confidence and wealth, what would it not be and just why?” Oh, and you have 250 words. I asked my kid how to proceed. He quickly answered, “wish for more desires.” That’s virtually what I did so.

My answer, along with some other great essays at the WSJ. America doesn’t need big new financial ideas to progress again. We have to address a huge selection of little common-sense financial problems that everyone agrees need to be fixed. Achieving that goal requires the revival of a vintage political idea: limited federal government and the rule of regulation.

Our tax code is chaos. The budget is a mess. Immigration is chaos. Energy plan is chaos. Much regulation is a mess. The schools are awful. Boondoggles abound. We pay farmers not to grow crops still. Social programs make work unproductive for many. Dodd-Frank and ObamaCare are monstrous messes.

These are self-inflicted wounds, not exterior problems. Why are we so trapped? To blame “gridlock,” “partisanship” or “obstructionism” for political immobility is really as pointless as blaming “greed” for financial problems. Washington is stuck because that serves its passions. Long laws and vague rules amount to arbitrary power. The administration uses this charged power to buy off allies and to silence opponents.

Big businesses, public-employee unions, and the well-connected get subsidies and security, in return for political support. And silence: No insurance company will speak out against ObamaCare or the Department of Health insurance and Human Services. No standard bank will speak out against Dodd-Frank or the Exchange and Securities Commission. Agencies from the Environmental Protection Agency to the inner Revenue Service wait in the wings to punish the unwary.

This is crony capitalism, worse than bureaucratic socialism in many ways considerably, and more effective for generating money and political power far. But it suffocates competition and innovation, the wellsprings of growth. Not our strong overall economy just, but 250 years of hard-won liberty are in stake. Yes, courts, press, and a few brave politicians can battle it. But in the end, only an outraged electorate provides change-and growth.

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Even though you’ve identified a problem you may not strike on the right solution immediately. Spend some right time brainstorming on potential solutions. Think through how a solution might be produced by you, how much it could cost, how you’d scale production, where you’d get supplies or where the people needed to produce it could come from. Brainstorm on the pricing and revenue models that you might be able to use.

How would you sell it to prospective users? Even though you identify a problem, it’s not useful if it’s not practical or cost-effective. “The basic idea came from a personal pain point. 1,000 when compared to a price that made sense. 1,000 suitcases were proclaimed up wildly because of how these were distributed. If you’ve think of a significant need in the marketplace and a potential solution, how will you know if it’s a good notion or not?

You need to validate your idea with others. The most effective responses are often as straightforward as speaking with people just. Try to get a feel for how much they’d pay to solve the nagging problem. You can even design tests predicated on wireframes or 404 tests of your solution. 404 lab tests are where you promote a web page describing the perfect solution is and have people get into their emails to get notified when the perfect solution is will be available for purchase. This may offer you a sense of demand before building anything. You can prototype a skeletal solution and try to sell it also.

I think that’s what I like. That’s where you can certainly go wrong. They are asked by you, “Would you use this? Would you use X? ” Generally, people desire to be nice plus they say, “That seems useful. I’d use that.” You miss out on a great deal of great information you can get. When debating about how to come up with a business idea, don’t rely on chance inspiration. Become an idea detective, take a look at common areas for inspiration, brainstorm on practical solutions, and get validation before jumping in with both feet. Do those four things, and you have a much better chance of coming up with that next great small business idea.