If you are desperate to start your own business, but you don’t know what you want to do then “scratch your own itch”. This means that you should set up a business that delivers something that you yourself need and want – and sometimes can’t find.

An example I can give you of this is a personal one.

I was walking my dogs in the forest in 2008, and one of them went missing. It was a big forest. It wasn’t the first time he’d disappeared. I called for an hour, but still no dog.

I decided that what I really needed was some sort of “tracker” so that I could trace him. It occurred to me that if he’d had a tracking collar that would fix the problem (you know, the type they put on wild animals). But a tracking collar is a) expensive b) too heavy for daily wear c) unavailable in a consumer/domestic pet market. There’s also another problem with this since a lot of dogs go missing because they’ve been deliberately targetted and stolen. If someone is going to steal a dog then they’ll just remove the tracker collar anyway, so that idea wasn’t viable.

Then I had another idea. What if someone invented a microchip that was placed under the skin of the dog – like the identity chips that cats and dogs have?  Except the chips are dumb in these cases; they simply hold information.  No, what I needed was a chip that gave out a signal so that the animal could be traced. It seemed like it would solve my daily disappearing dog problem. I got really excited about it for a time, and did a lot of research on it. At that time, back in 2008 the Internet of Things (IoT) was a dream – and I didn’t realise that the answer to my itch at the time was what would come to be known as the IoT.  Just recently this service was launched by Tractive, an Austrian based developer of apps, hardware and gadgets, using an Orange Business Services IoT solution which embeds SIMS in pets.

Hopefully this gives a good illustration of what I mean by “scratch your own itch”.