If you’ve ever considered a career as an entrepreneur, you’ve probably taken some time to brainstorm the next great product. In the history of inventions, some very strange ideas have turned out to be big hits, largely because they filled a need everyday consumers were not aware they had. If you want to start thinking outside the box, review this list for inspiration on your next great idea.
Entering the food and beverage market is a tough haul; margins are low and almost everything people want to eat or drink has already been invented. That’s the conventional thinking for all but the most ambitious entrepreneurs. You’d have to have been particularly ambitious to consider bottling and selling water, a product that most people in wealthier countries can get for free from their taps. But businesses decided at one time it was a good idea to put this ingredient, essential for human life, into a container and sell it.
If you have a little one crawling around the house — out of the crib, but not yet a toddler — you might see there’s a great opportunity to get some errands done. That’s the idea behind the baby mop, which is a baby onesie with mop heads attached. While you’re doing the dishes or vacuuming and your baby is crawling around the hardwood, she’s cleaning the floor at the same time. While this idea made a splash on social media, there’s no word as to whether parents were following up their children’s cleaning job with one of their own.
Food is subject to trends and fads that capture people’s attention, but not everyone whose interest is piqued wants to follow through. Such a trend is urban farming, where apartment dwellers and people with small plots of land choose to garden, plant vegetables or raise chickens. As appealing as the idea might be in the beginning, the reality of maintenance can be more than one can handle. That’s the pain point that gave rise to Rent-a-Chicken, which allows people to try out chicken farming before committing to buying a full coop and population of foul. This Michigan company allows you to give it a go for the summer, for one all-inclusive price.
In the age of an abundance of digital media, one might think everyday people have had their fill of celebrities and movie locations. But bringing people to the very spot where famous scenes were shot remains big business. On Location Tours offers this service in New York City, escorting tourists to places like the club from The Sopranos or the apartment in Sex and the City. While it seems like it may be a labor-intensive business, taking people from one spot to another, it has become a multi-million dollar venture.
A Canadian company started selling bottled air to consumers back in 2015. The product sells for $25 a can and, according to one user account on Quora, sold 4,000 bottles to China in one week. One businessman has made millions selling cans of air. Depending on your perspective, that’s either innovative or troubling.
When you’re ready to take the plunge into entrepreneurship, think outside the box. Sometimes the weirdest ideas fall flat, but sometimes they turn into unexpected successes. You’ve got nothing to lose by giving your crazy idea a shot.