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Innovative business ideas in a down economy

Who says you have to hibernate in a down economy?  There is an axiom in positive thinking that goes: act as if you are already successful and your mind will go to work to make it so.  I get a joy out of reading about people who step out and use their knowledge, imagination and enthusiasm to make a go of a business of their own.  I found two this week to talk about and found them in two totally different ways.  The Oakland Chocolate Company I found while reading the business section of this morning’s newspaper while having my breakfast.  The other I discovered through Twitter and was intrigued enough to check the website.

The Oakland Chocolate Company is a home-based business with a sole owner who is her own employee.  And she has a day job. According to the newspaper story by reporter Janis Mara, Nancy Nadel is also an Oakland city councilwoman who makes chocolate on weekends.  From the article:

  • “…Oakland City Councilwoman Nancy Nadel spends most Sundays whipping up chocolates in her role as founder of the Oakland Chocolate Co….And despite the sour economy, Oaklanders and others are finding room in their own hearts…for sweets including bonbons filled with quince and truffles made with chipotle pepper….”

I was intrigued with this story for a couple reasons.  One, this is a woman who has a fulltime, consuming  job who is also pursuing a home business based on a passion.  And second, because of her reasons for her business [from the article]:

  • “…Nadel founded her company in December 2007 with the aim of helping the cocoa farmers of St. Mary Parish in Jamaica…when she learned they were struggling….”

The website for the Oakland Chocolate Co. has a page titled, “Our Chocolate Story” that gives a photo description of the growing and fermenting of chocolate in St. Mary Parish.  I learned something new today in reading it: I did not know that the cocoa beans were fermented.  This story is very cool also because it shows interconnectivity between one small business helping another small business all helped by individual consumers who buy – and love – chocolate.  Incidently, not to give any undue promotion for someone else’s business, but Nancy offers a terrific deal on her Box of the Month Club collection…which I ordered today as one of my husband’s early Christmas gifts – the man does love fine chocolate.

There is an advertisement I saw recently somewhere – I think it was a commercial I saw while watching a television show online the other day – that talked about small neighborhood businesses, and their customers, who are the bedrock of a renewing economy.  That could just be true.

The other business I came across I found through a Twitter follow: checkthishouse.com – I looked at the website and checked the Twitter profile, but cannot find the name of the owner, so I shall just refer to him as Checkthishouse.  What made me notice the Twitter follow direct message was how different its pitch was.  Instead of a self-advertisement for just another online get-rich-quick scheme or network marketing opportunity or get-more-leads info…it was about home maintenance, remodeling and repair.  This was different indeed.

The checkthishouse website is rich with information.  It is a value-packed time well spent for anyone seeking good, solid information about maintaining a home – Checkthishouse has information from air conditioning to ventilation.  From the website:

  • “…It is apparently one of the most neglected tasks required of homeowners. I say that because 10 + years of working as an Illinois home inspector and results from over 4000 of evaluated properties fully stand behind this statement...And there’s nothing unusual about not maintaining our homes for several months, even years. Many of us are acting this way because we simply have no time to check the problem, until it becomes necessary to check … or too annoying….”

It’s obvious to me, from my first glance at the website, that this person is passionate about what he does.  And passion is key to business success regardless of what the overall economy is doing.

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2 Responses

  1. Greetings, Linda and your readers! This is an awesome blog, and I’m so complimented that you mentioned my article about Oakland City Councilmember and chocolatier Nancy Nadel. Here’s the URL for the story:


  2. Thanks so much Janis for the kind words…and for the link to the story online! I went back into the post and put in the link. I love reading stories like this in my morning paper. – Linda

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