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How About This Idea For A New Business?

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My perception of these guys is the man looking through his telescope in the film Armageddon when he realises he's the first to see the comet which will destroy the earth. Overweight, beard, alone, but fiercely defensive of their hobby and certainly willing to pay to get bragging rights.

Now I may be way off base here but if I am right, then rather than providing them with the same as they can get at Wallmart but cheaper (and you have no customer service half way around the world), why not make them better and charge more ?

You would have exclusivity, they would have bragging rights. Perhaps this "super model" could be piggy backed on the same same but cheaper one which opens the door ?

Why do people buy Bang and Olufsen (SP ?) ? because it is better ? no, because it has cachet and some of it looks sexy. It has exclusivity.

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It sounds like a great idea, however the one potential issue is that if your only advantage is low cost what is to stop established manufacturers from cutting prices to compete with you?

You can get lower cost labor in China or Vietnam, if they are larger than you are what is to stop them from using the lowest cost manufacturing in the world and take away your advantage. You are planning to use freely available designs so you have nothing unique.

Think about how you will market this, and most importantly how long you can have a price advantage.


...Anyway, that's my idea. Can anyone shoot my idea down in flames or punch a thousand holes in it?? Please do give your comments.


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Hi! Simon43

I am just wondering if this message of mine will interest you or not but I just want to let u know first I have no ideas or suggestion to share with the business you are trying to get opinion from us. Hwvr, I have a much better proposition to you that I only hope you would be more interested but also concern with business in Thailand. Hwvr, I think this would be much better to discuss with you directly.

My E-mail address is : [email protected] and my name is Rhick Estella / (087) 815-1842. Looking forward to hear from you. Thanks.

Sincerely yours,




My wife and I have a good little hotel business in Phuket, but I always prefer to have 2 income streams. Previously, I relied upon income from writing application software for SMS mobile phone services in the Uk. This has provided me with a good, (but wildly fluctuating) income for the past 10 years or so. However, with the increased mobile phone regulations in the UK (and other territories), my income has been gradually reducing from this source. I think it's time for me to think of another business venture!

So, I've been considering all sorts of ideas. Many of these fail the 'defensible' test, (ie - the business idea can easily be copied, or is at risk of 'legal' means to close it, or is at risk of 'upsetting' an existing Thai business etc etc). The typical bar/restaurant/hotel is not usually a defensible business. (My own hotel is reasonably defensible because it addresses the niche market of single night stays from the nearby airport).

Anyway, here is my idea! (I'm happy to discuss this on an open forum because I believe that it is an idea which cannot easily be copied - see below)

I'm a radio amateur and there are about 3 million radio 'hams' worldwide. Most of these hams are men, with a good disposable income to purchase their expensive amateur radio equipment and antennas. The antennas are typically similar to TV aerials, but physically much larger. A large ham antenna sells in the USA for maybe $500.

My idea is to manufufacture ham antennas here in Phuket and sell them to overseas radio hams.

Why is this idea defensible?

- You need a good technical skill to design and test these antennas. I have a relevant First and Master's degree in this skill area and some 15 years of industry experience. Somchai (or Pete) down the road cannot simply copy what I'm doing.

- My background means that my business would also be 'credible' in the eyes of my potential customers.

- The manufacturing cost is quite low, so the product can be sold at a competitive price. (I imagine that the existing products sold in the USA, UK etc are probably manufactured in the Far East anyway. But the companies sell them at a high mark-up to cover the costs of their overseas offices/staff etc.

- These items are not subject to any export restriction from Thailand, or import restriction into the USA, UK, australia etc.

- The items are quite sturdy, and can be easily shipped, (although I need to check maximum package size allowed by the Thai shippers.

- This is a 'real' business that can be slowly built up and then could be sold at a later stage, if that was something that I wanted to do.

There is a large number of potential customers who regualry upgrade their existing antennas.

As an export-only business, I think that Thai employment rules allow me to own this business 100% as a foreigner. (Need to check this, but it's not a problem if my wife has to own the business - she is not very good at making complex radio antennas...)

Anyway, that's my idea. Can anyone shoot my idea down in flames or punch a thousand holes in it?? Please do give your comments.


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EstellRK, you need to PM me if you have an idea to discuss.

Dan - thanks for your post. I have been in BKK for a day or two and thinking about my ideas and what I can do to carve out a defensible niche for my business.

After considering the existing products and manufacturers, I have identified a specific type of product that is in demand, yet where there seems to be no company offering a range of products. That niche is in the design and manufacture of disguised radio antennas for amateur radio use.

A growing problem in both Europe and the USA are covenants on properties which forbid the erection of any type of radio antenna. (Also, the partners of many male radio hams don't like the 'ugly' antennas...).

Therefore, many radio hams are forced to use 'stealth' thin wire antennas etc. One solution to this problem is to erect a flagpole, complete with national flag, since in many territories it is the individual right to fly the national flag.

Although companies exist which produce rather expensive stealth antennas for military use, no-one seems to have addressed the lower-cost 'ham' market. So a radio amateur will currently buy a standard antenna, and then disguise it him/herself...

So my idea is to design and manufacture a range of disguised antennas that perform well (technically), yet are unobtrusive. So flagpole and weather-vanes and ornamental garden lampposts will be the order of the day! This is a niche area, but with a growing demand. It also means that by designing the technical side of the antenna myself, I am not just relying on the lower cost as my 'defence' strategy.


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