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Lost and Found

I have a problem that I need solved and I am hoping some of you entrepreneurial minded Iowans (or anyone from anywhere) can solve it.  There may be a business model in this problem somewhere.

So here is the problem.  I lose things.  And so does my family.  Things like phones, coats, DVDs, etc.   We typically travel over 1000 miles round trip to see family during the holidays.  Many bottles of water and cups of coffee result in several rest area and gas station stops.  Add to that mix a van (yes a soccer mom van) full  of DVDs, mp3 players, cell phones, tangled chargers, coats, shoes, candy, etc. Something is sure to roll out during our frequents stops. And the more stops the more likely something is to be left behind in the last restaurant or, god forbid, the last bathroom.

This last trip took us from Council Bluffs, Iowa, to Minneapolis, Minnesota, to the Wisconsin Dells and then back to Council Bluffs.  On the last leg, somehow, my son’s brand new birthday present was left behind.  A shiny blue Verizon Bliss Cell Phone. (That was a little bit of a plug. If you run across it , please leave a comment below.)

I discovered the tragic loss on Monday morning and proceeded to rack my brain and write down all of the stops we made from the last time I saw him typing out text messages to the time we arrived safely at home. One restaurant, one big box retailer and 3 gas stations.  I proceeded to call them all.  All of them readily told me, “Sorry, we did not have any phones turned in.”  Therein lies my problem.  They did not hesitate to tell me they were sorry.  They did not pause to look.  I do not believe them!

So here is my idea.  There are plenty of “lost and found” websites out there that rely on citizens to either report a lost item or a found item. But these sites are not very well known in all areas. Many people do not even know about them.  So the chances of reconnecting with your lost items is nothing short of a miracle.  A fix to this problem would be to create a web application that is sold or given to retailers, service stations, restaurants, etc. The application would make it easy for the business to post all lost items at the end of the day and it would be posted to their website.  Patrons seeking to reunite would simply call and be directed to check the “lost and found” on the website or they would automatically do that on their own.

Granted, there are a few things to work on with this proposed business model.  The major question would be how would it make money.  But I know that there are some smart entrepreneurial people out there.  Sure, there might be better ways to solve my lost item problem, but in this age of social networking and Web 2.0, surely someone can make it easier.  So, if you find a solution, I will be your biggest fan and customer!


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