One of the things that I strongly believe is that there are literally hundreds of opportunities just waiting to be acted upon. I just have to shake my head when people say things like “there isn’t anything that I can do.” All it takes to spot the opportunities is to keep your eyes open and actively ask questions.

I was thinking about this while walking to the post office. It’s only a 10 minute walk and as I walked, I passed by 4 abandoned bicycles. Abandoned bicycles are a common scene in Japan. I remember when I used to live in Kyoto, I would walk along the river to get to work and always see bikes that had been thrown into the river. There would be a big storm and they would get washed away and then they would start piling up in the river bed again.

For the most part, these bikes appear to be in reasonable to downright good condition. If I were in any other country, the bikes would quickly be claimed and recycled, but here they usually sit day after day in the same spot until the city cleaning crew comes through every few months.

It wouldn’t take much work at all for someone to come by and and fixed the bikes up a bit and resell them. I did a quick check in the classifieds here for used bikes and they are selling for $30 – $50 each – that means that I walked by a potential $120 to $200 in 10 minutes. There is an opportunity there waiting for someone to take it, but most people who pass by the bikes only see abandoned junk.

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4 Responses to Opportunities

  1. Mike says:

    I have thought of this myself, but don’t forget most people register their bikes with the local police, so even if the bike is dumped and you try to use it again, you could be charged with theft.

    This has happened to a friend of mine. Out of all the crime that goes on in Japan, the police seem most interested in stolen or misplaced bikes.

  2. Jacked Tunes says:

    Also, I think such a money-making model could work our for a totally jobless guy, but otherwise one would need know-how, parts, storage, shop space, tools … an abandoned bike with a torn tire and a broken chain is not worth fixing. Swapping parts from other broken bikes might work out in the long run, but I don’t think the margins are there.

  3. pfadvice says:

    I don’t think I wrote this post quite the way I intended. It wasn’t supposed to be a “why isn’t everyone doing this” post, but a “there are a lot of opportunities if you keep your eyes open” post. It just happened that I saw a lot of bikes during my walk and thus the theme. There would certainly be a lot of issues that would need to be addressed, but then there are issues for any new business.

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