The Startup Project: OLEO Part 2 – Idea Formulation

Looking back now I wish I had been documenting this from the moment of idea inception back in September 2016. I had quit my job at Jiffy Lube that April and was working at Muirfield Village Golf Club as a bartender/server to make some cash and pay the credit card bills I had started to rack up. My last business, Art of War Paintball, had failed really before it got up off the ground (that’s a story for another time) and I resigned myself to getting a job.

As any entrepreneur who had this same crisis knows, it took only a few weeks of working for a boss until I regained focus and realized that leading a business was not only the thing I wanted to do, it was the only thing I could do and not go completely insane.

Instead of trying to do something tricky and too creative, I began ironing out the details in my head for a service that people all over would use and enjoy… something that wasn’t reinventing the wheel, just making the wheel that already existed a little bit easier and more convenient to use.

Running a mobile oil change company when most “start up entrepreneurs” were, and still are, trying to create the next Snapchat or Instagram certainly wasn’t glamorous… and as a contrarian I kinda liked the idea of going against the grain in that regard. No, being covered in motor oil isn’t glamorous, but hey, neither is entrepreneurship when you get right down to it.

Doing an oil change is something I know how to do on just about every vehicle, and though I’m not even close to considering myself as a expert on automobiles, any gaps in my knowledge could be quickly filled by utilizing YouTube and Google as valuable resources.

So all of September I learned as much as I can about doing oil changes. Having worked at Jiffy Lube in the past I understood how pricing worked and that most oil change shops make their money by offering cheap oil changes to lure you in and then sell premium services that you may or may not need at a very high margin. I can’t tell you the number of people who came in who wanted and needed just an oil change that ended up purchasing $200 – $300 in ancillary services just because we recommended it. Nothing wrong with that – but I knew there had to be a better way to do this…

I settled on the idea of creating an app that facilitated vehicle maintenance — the working name at the time was “MobOil”, as in Mobile Oil. The idea was to make oil changes “fun!” (or at least as painless as they could be). It’s commonly understood in business by now that reducing friction — that is eliminating steps and making it as easy as possible to buy something is a HUGE variable in the success of a product/service.

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Notes from 9/8/16

Wouldn’t you be more on top of maintaining your vehicle if scheduling maintenance was as simple as downloading a simple app and pressing a few buttons?

Armed with this knowledge and the confidence only ignorance can bring, I set out to find an app developer. What could go wrong?

It turns out, a lot could go wrong.

More to come tomorrow, thanks for reading!

Eric

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