business news in context, analysis with attitude

A prime example of how some people turn challenges into a business model can be seen in the New York Times this morning, which reports on the small boom in the luggage shipment business, which allows people to send their luggage ahead of them when taking trips and wanting to avoid airport security hassles.

“A small but growing number of executives are using such services to ship bags ahead when they travel on business,” the Times writes. “These services — some originally created to ship vacationers’ sports equipment like skis or golf clubs — are proliferating. And variations are springing up, like companies that operate ‘virtual closets’ for travelers. These companies store and maintain customers’ clothing and other possessions and ship them to their destination, then return it all to storage once the trip is over.”

And while some of these businesses are more than a decade old, they are finding new popularity as air travel gets more complicated and challenging – not to mention more expensive, as airlines raise their luggage fees.
KC's View:
Now, to be sure, these shipment and “virtual closet” companies aren’t cheap – they tend to be the province of the affluent and time-constrained business travelers with expense accounts. But as some of these shipping firms create alliances with various airlines, hotels and other frequent traveler programs – as seems to be happening in certain cases – we would guess that usage would become cheaper and more frequent.

The point is that these business opportunities have grown out of circumstances created by airport security challenges. The negative spawned an opportunity.

That’s a good lesson for every retailer – to look around, to find opportunity where only challenges seem to exist.

Nothing is impossible. Or, as Jean-Luc Picard once said (or, will say, depending on your point of view), “Things are only impossible until they’re not.”