Wednesday, February 13, 2008

What's the Big Idea


How many times have you been sitting around with a few friends and this line gets thrown out, "So, I had an idea for a business."

I don't know about you, but it happens to me all the time.

For the past couple weeks I've been helping out on an i3 project called "What's the Big Idea" by creating the slideshow for the pilot.

The concept is pretty simple. The business-starting hopefuls log-on to their credit union's web site. From there, they access the "What's the Big Idea" evaluation tool. Then they fill out a form and a couple pages of questions. At the end of the process they are judged on the readiness of their business plan and then given links to help get their business plan to where it needs to be.

The purpose of the program is to address a growing number of baby boomers who are starting small businesses after retirement. Research shows that credit unions already have a large
portion of baby boomers as members.graphmemelgnmem

The research also shows that business accounts can be a great way to build relationships with members as well as being profitable.

Retail Business
Average Balance $2,307 $7,422
Account profit $72 $268
Services per household 2.79 3.59

*source: Raddon Financial Group

Mazuma Credit Union is piloting the program with a reality based contest. Once the readiness evaluation form is filled out, your business idea is judged by a panel of business members from the credit union. The winner of the contest receives $3000 to spend on marketing.

Not only does this program have the potential to pull in a lot of these post retiree entrepreneurs, but it could also be a great tool for older Gen-Y members coming out of college and looking to start their own business.

Nearly every time I get together with a group of friends, somebody starts a conversation about a business idea they've had. Just last week we were talking about starting a breakfast take-out here in Augusta.

This program could potentially pull in a large group of new members from many demographics as well as bolster existing relationships. It is a great example of credit unions being a source for information and help. It can say "hey, if you have an idea, we'll help you make it real". In today's world of banks that shy away from business lending something like this can be a big difference between your credit union and the bank down the street.


jeff said...

Great idea.

DT said...

I agree. We have to market to our current members. Credit unions need to create products that appeal to this loyal audience. Have you heard of Prime Time Women? Big demo for CUs.

Andy said...


I have not heard of Prime Time Women, I Googled around for it last night but didn't find anything. Do you have a link you could send me? I'd love to read about it.