I love entrepreneurs, and I meet them in the most unlikely places. In this case, on a beach.
Earlier this year my wife and I vacationed in Bermuda. I had not been there since a child, and I was excited to return to the beautiful island and give my wife the grand tour.
I did not realize I would also meet the smartest entrepreneur in Bermuda.
For our day at the beach, I decided to take my wife to Horseshoe Bay, a spectacular public beach area featuring the famous Bermudian pink sand, all sorts of rocky coves, and great snorkeling. The weather that day was perfect for the beach: hot and sunny.
We took the local bus to Horseshoe Bay, and were dropped off at the main entrance, which is at the top of a steep hill that winds its way down for hundreds of yards. As we walked down the hill towards the changing room area, we started to pass people who were leaving the beach and making their way back up the hill on foot. It's a long walk uphill in the heat, and these folks looked pretty bedraggled, with sweat pouring off them. We realized that we'd probably have the same hot and sticky walk back up the hill when it came time for us to leave, and we were not looking forward to that.
But that would not be our fate, thanks to a brilliant entrepreneur named Dean Ming. For the last 11 years, Dean has been the owner and operator of the ultimate niche business, which he calls "To the Top." (Smart name, too.) His business does one thing, and one thing only, and it does it very well: gives tourists a quick ride to the top of the hill in a small passenger van.
Dean realized that after spending a day at the beach, then showering and changing into their street clothes, a lot of tourists didn't want to then spend 15 minutes walking up that long and steep hill in the heat. So for $2, he gives them a ride "To the Top," and during the two-minute drive shares a few tidbits of historical information about Bermuda. I estimate that on a good day Dean is pulling in about $200 an hour operating his service. Not bad for one man and his van.
Dean's sign says it's the best two dollars you will spend that day, and I think most of his customers would agree. This is a great example of an entrepreneur identifying a very specific need and then fulfilling that need. Smart. Simple. Successful. We can all learn from entrepreneurs like Dean.
Domain name expert Bill Sweetman is the President & Lead Ninja of Name Ninja, a boutique domain name consulting firm that helps companies acquire, manage, protect, and profit from their domain names. Bill has provided strategic domain name advice to major companies around the world for over 20 years.
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What a beautiful story - just goes to show you don't have to be a mega mogul with an IQ of 150plus to make a decent living. As we say in Australia - good on yer mate.
Posted by: Jay Jay | September 27, 2010 at 04:36 AM
Hey Bill, thanks for the plug, it's Dean! I'm glad I could help you and your Mrs. 'To The Top' the easy way. I love my job, though it may look easy it does have it's chalenges, like long days in the hot sun but some people don't have a job so I am very greatful. It's not all about the money, infact I'd do it for free if I could but that's just not possible. What means more to me is the fact that I get to help all kinds of people from many different parts of the world whom I may never have met had I not been blessed with the idea to offer a ride up the hill. I also get to tell them a thing or two about my country. In just a few minutes I get to make some lasting friendships with repeat visitors who know me by name and look for me when they return. That feels good. Thanks for taking a ride 'To The Top'. I'll see you again sometime.
Dean in Bermuda
Posted by: Dean O Ming | January 21, 2011 at 10:32 PM