Michael Perry: A discounted, genius business plan

Michael Perry: A discounted, genius business plan


I take nothing for granted, but pending a terminal surprise, before the end of this year I will turn 55. In most cases I’m not a big birthday observer, but I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while and have big plans. Business plans, that is. In fact, I am soliciting investors and am ready to take your money.

The entire project is predicated on the fact that when the sun rises on the anniversary of my birth I will become eligible for a wide range of discounts. I’m not sure if we still call them “senior” discounts, but I am less concerned with the terminology than the economic opportunity. The point is, simply by maintaining a pulse I will have earned big savings, or at least I will if I play this right.

Now then: While I’ll be happy to claim a free small drink with my hamburger at your finer dining establishments where they hand the fine dining into your car through a window, my main discount focus will not be on myself. Is this because I am selfless? No, it is because I sense an opportunity for leverage.

It begins with my wife. She is 10 years my junior and therefore unable to take advantage of old person discounts. I view it as my honor and duty to be that old person, standing beside her in the checkout line at various retail outlets and picking up the tab. She is a paragon of frugality and I hope this will make her love me more, especially since I am prone to leaving my 10% discount socks on the floor. I am also trying to bank a little worth against any decline in other respects.

This is just family stuff, though. The real genius of my plan lies beyond heart and hearth. What I have in mind is an app-based discount shopper situation in which anyone ineligible for a senior discount and yet wishing to stretch their dollar will ping me with their location, I will show up to accompany them through the checkout, they get 10% off, then I pocket a percentage of the 10%. You can see the brilliance here. Making money off of other people’s money.

I expect demand will be high, so naturally the app will have a cloud-based, built-in reservation scheduler. This will maximize my availability and therefore my profitability. For an additional point or two, I will make myself available for your entire shopping trip, but you gotta push me in the little race car cart.

This idea is too good to keep to myself, so I will be entering into a franchise arrangement allowing other 55+ individuals to license the app. If all goes as planned, the venture capital will come pouring in, the enterprise will achieve “unicorn” status, and down at the feed mill they will speak of me in hushed tones as a “disruptor.”

So far, demand has been a little less than I might have hoped. Subscriptions for the beta-model are lagging to nonexistent. I still await my first angel investor. It wouldn’t be the first time my genius has been overlooked. I considered offering a discount to anyone over 55, did the math and realized there’s a reason my genius is overlooked.

An original “Roughneck Grace” column exclusive to the Wisconsin State Journal. Audio versions may air on “Tent Show Radio”(tentshowradio.com). Read more from Michael Perry at www.sneezingcow.com.


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