Entrepreneurs are always on the lookout for new ventures, and while outrageous ideas often don’t have the stamina to become fully-fledged start-ups, every now and then an unconventional business encounters unexpected success.
Such weird business ideas are well-documented online, but people sometimes fail to question what it is that makes these businesses successful. No matter how far removed an eccentric idea may seem from your own business, there is almost always an element of it you can take away and utilize to build your own success.
So let’s take a closer look at what we can learn from some of the strangest business ideas.
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The idea: A ‘hangover service’ that supplies clients with a breakfast burrito, an energy drink and a full post-party cleaning service.
Why it works: High demand, low competition.
The business is based in northern Colorado, as are three of the four University of Colorado campuses. Hangover Helpers is within traveling distance of an estimated 50,000 university students – many of which are likely to have big house parties, and big hangovers the day after. The business is also the only one of its kind (in its catchment area), meaning it can completely dominate the market.
Take away: Find an uncrowded corner of the market, and take it.
The key to finding a niche is to solve a common problem that nobody else is currently solving. Ask yourself these questions:
- Which problems or inconveniences do you regularly encounter in your personal or work life?
- Could there be a simple and effective solution for them?
- Is anyone currently providing that solution?
The idea: Jewelry that contains the ashes of the customers’ loved ones – humans or animals.
Why it works: Uses emotion as leverage.
Emotions are at the root of virtually all human behaviour, serving as the driving force behind it. When experiencing an extreme emotion, consumers are likely to perform actions that either feed or relieve that emotion. By purchasing cremation jewelry, consumers are comforting themselves and relieving their grief.
Take away: Invoke an emotional response.
Try to appeal to people’s emotions. They do not have to be negative emotions, such as grief – it can work with positive emotions, too. For example, imagine a clothing company that inspires a ‘feel-good-in-your-skin’ mentality through their marketing and advertising. Consumers may purchase the company’s clothes based on achieving and feeding that feel-good happiness.
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The idea: Enhance the playing experience for gamers through:
- In-game item harvesting/farming
- Creating guides and walkthroughs
- Creating custom characters and designs.
Why it works: Doing the work for them.
In the past, this has worked successfully for hundreds of other products designed to automate, speed up, and simplify a huge range of everyday tasks (think: clap-on lights, garlic peelers and Roomba vacuum cleaners). It has successfully been translated into the video gaming world, with some ‘cyberpreneurs’ making a living out of it. One gamer was able to make $1,500 per week by selling items in-game [source].
Take away: Whoever your target market is, find a way to cater to their laziness. Consumers are often happy to pay to have remedial or tedious tasks completed for them. This idea can be applied on a small-scale by adding an additional service onto your existing business, or on a large scale by using it as a core element in a business model.
The bottom line…
The success of these seemingly bizarre businesses is based on concepts that virtually every business can utilize. If you can find a high-demand, low-competition market to operate in, use human emotion to your advantage - produce a product or service that makes peoples’ lives easier and there’s no reason your business cannot be successful, too.