eBay competitions: Guardian Business Sense; You Trade; Seller of the Year

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The 2007 Guardian eBay Business Sense competition has announced the five finalists who will use £1500 seed money to compete for a prize of £2500. The competition is to run over the next three months. In contrast You Trade organised by the North East Regional Portal will run until January 2008. You Trade have received over forty entrants and are due to announce the ten finalists in the next few weeks. At the same time eBay.ie is running a Seller of the Year Award, with judging to take place on 28th April.

There are some interesting business proposals from the entrants of Business Sense. The one that strikes a chord with me is Joe Williams who plans to buy broken laptops, strip them down, and sell the working components. He rightly points out that there’s a huge market for components, although the work involved in dis-assembling and testing is labour intensive. Joe already owns his own IT company so branching out into a new area shouldn’t be too difficult and this is one business that has every chance to succeed.

Other ideas include importing cotton school uniforms, apparently polyester rules the market and there is room for quality cotton products. Another entrant aims to import large sized shoes from the United States, with current fake trainers on eBay we hope he won’t fall foul of the “Building Trust by Reducing Counterfeits policy” listing limitations.

The final two ideas will need some clever marketing, Doodle Dolls or “worry dolls” where children can write concerns on a card for parents and carers can then see what is on their minds will need some clever marketing. Although when buyers stumble across them they may love the concept, it’s not the type of product people are searching for daily. Finally Mayan hammocks from Mexico are great for the summer months, but sustaining the business though the winter won’t be easy.

It will be interesting to see how they progress, sadly the finalists from last years competition haven’t made waves in the world of eBay trading, with most having closed their eBay shops. Hopefully lessons have been learnt to assist the new entrants and with support the competition will be less of a gimmick and help establish profitable sustainable businesses.

A final thought: It would be really cute if eBay could at last enable blogs in the UK so that everyone could follow their progress daily. Blogs are long overdue and this would be an excellent time to launch them.


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