Difficult economic times can inspire a lot of creativity when it comes to new business ideas. For example, even though a recession was in full swing, 2010 has seen the highest rate of entrepreneurial activity in decades, according to the Kaufman Foundation.
But that seems counterintuitive. After all, starting a new business is extremely risky. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), more than 50% of small businesses fail in the first five years, and 50% fail in the coming years. Need help with your business? Check out Thinking Capital
These are not good chances for anyone. But when times are bad, sometimes things cannot get worse – especially for people who have lost their jobs and maybe even their homes. So, the prospect of starting a new business is just not as risky as it could be. In addition, for many people, creating their own job becomes their only option.
Although there are many jobs considered to be “recession-proof,” such as plumbers, mortgage entrepreneurs, accountants, and grocers, there are also many bizarre and wacky new businesses that have prosperous. These companies could widen your eyes with disbelief. I know mine did it when I discovered it!
So, what are the strange and wacky businesses that people have started?
Ideas for small and weird businesses
- Bed Bug Barrier
If you’ve ever been to a bed bug infested hostel or hotel, then you know how bad these mites can be.
Well, Tony Abrams made a fortune by inventing barriers to prevent bedbugs from biting. His company, Bed Bug Barriers, creates and sells barriers that go under the feet of a bed. These barriers trap bedbugs when they try to crawl into the bed to bite the sleepers.
I know what you are asking: why would anyone want to rent a chicken?
Well, some people who are interested in urban agriculture want to have chickens. However, it is a big step. What if they do not like taking care of chickens? Then they are stuck with a hen house and several chickens that they do not want.
- Hangover aids
Here’s the situation: You and your friends were up all night partying. Now you are suffering from a horrible hangover, you are dehydrated and your apartment is ransacked. The thought of having to do something to eat and then clean up this colossal mess is just too much to handle.
So what are you doing? You call Hangover Helpers. These two college students from Boulder, CO help their clients crawl on the land of the living with as little pain as possible. The guys come to your house armed with a breakfast burrito and Gatorade for you. They then clean each room where the party took place. This includes cleaning dishes, pots, and pans and recycling all your beer bottles.
- The breaking point
Have you ever intentionally broken a plate? I’m talking about when you’re stressed or angry, and you just throw the thing across the room and watch with a real sense of pleasure because it smashes against the wall. Feels pretty good, right? You might even feel the stress or anger leak from you.
Well, that’s the idea behind The Smashing Place. This Tokyo-based company allows customers to enter, buy a plate or cup of their choice, and crush it against a concrete wall.
- I do, now I do not do
When Josh Opperman’s fiance left him after a three-month engagement, he was crushed. All she had left him was the fancy engagement ring for which he had worked so hard. However, when he returned the ring to the jeweler to make it, he had an unpleasant shock. They only offered him $ 3,500 for the ring that he paid over $ 10,000.
So he started doing, now I do not want to be equal. I do, now I’m not a website that allows people to sell their engagement rings (or other fancy jewelry) to other users for much less than going to a jewelry store. Think of it as the craigslist for fine jewelry.
The site has been incredibly successful and has been featured on CNN, The Today Show, Fox News and The New York Times.
- The Pet Loo
If you have ever had a pet while living in an apartment, then you know how painful it can be to take them out to wash when it is 10 degrees with a strong wind. Or maybe you work long hours and always have to rush home to let them out. Or maybe you are a senior and it is difficult to make multiple trips in and out of your home.
Well, all these reasons are why The Pet Loo was invented. The Pet Loo is a square of fake grass, which is based on a simple system of containment of waste that you put in your house or apartment. It’s like a mini garden where your dog can relieve himself. Although The Pet Loo is based in Australia, similar companies have sprung up in the United States. Good idea? Without a doubt.
In fact, people put their Pet Loos in their laundries, basements, balconies, and even in their yard without grass.
So, these are six strange companies that have worked, but what can you take away? Well, if you’re thinking of starting a business, do not go “weird” just because it worked for others. It’s a sure way to fail. The key to all these unusual businesses is to satisfy a need, even if many people do not realize that they have this need (as with the Tokyo company, The Smashing Place).