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What Are the Different Types of Unusual Business Ideas?

G. Wiesen
G. Wiesen

Unusual business ideas often involve the sale of unorthodox products or services that are offered by companies. There are many different types of unusual products that can be manufactured and sold, with new offerings being established on a regular basis. These goods can range from the “pet rocks” and Chia® Pets of the late 20th Century to different types of strange food products. Unusual business ideas can also include strange services such as exercise for pets and surrogate breakup agencies.

The basic idea behind most unusual business ideas is to find or create a need that many people did not previously realize they had, and then provide a product or service that fills that need. This can be done in a number of different ways, but typically relies upon an original or unusual idea that others had not managed to strike upon. Coming up with these unusual business ideas, however, can be quite difficult and may require a great deal of time and thought or simply the perfect moment in which someone seizes upon an idea. A concept simply being “unusual” is not inherently a virtue, however, and plenty of strange ideas have failed to maintain long-term support.

Unusual foods, like bacon-flavored products, can be an interesting business idea.
Unusual foods, like bacon-flavored products, can be an interesting business idea.

Many unusual business ideas are products that someone creates and that manages to sell to other people for a profit. Examples of these types of products have been seen for decades and can include relatively unimportant goods such as the “pet rock.” The novelty of these types of items often grants them a level of popularity that might not otherwise by achieved by a similar product, and the whims of consumers can be difficult to predict. Some unusual business ideas rely upon trends or changes in attitude and what is popular at any given moment, such as odd foods like bacon-flavored salt or ice cream made from beer.

There are also a number of unusual business ideas that involve services that were previously unimagined or had not been properly implemented. Pet exercise services, for example, have gone beyond simply walking pets and can include massage, or stretching similar to yoga for a pet. There are even services that can be used by one person to end a relationship with someone else, alleviating the need for a potentially dramatic or emotional scene. These types of unusual business ideas can be risky, however, since they may seem “unusual” due to the fact that they are unnecessary; some services have found a niche market and have developed into popular industries.

Discussion Comments


@irontoenail - I just want to point out that most unusual business ideas that take off are still building on existing products or ideas. Facebook was a new take on something that had already been around, for example, it just provided the same service in a much improved way.

If you look back into history, very few big ideas just came out of nowhere. I recently saw a movie about Alan Turing, who is credited with basically inventing the modern computer, and the movie made it seem as if he essentially made the whole thing himself, with his own hands.

In fact, there was an existing machine and he helped to reprogram it. His contribution was immense, but it was hardly an idea that he reached all on his own.

I just don't think it's healthy for people to think they have to be a lone genius to get anything done. Most of the very best new ideas are collaborative.


@pleonasm - It depends on what a person means by unusual. I'm sure a search engine company seemed like an unusual idea once, as did a social network, or a website that would only let you post 140 characters at a time.

Something will often seem unusual until it becomes big and then people will wonder why no one else came up with it first.

Of course, there is a big difference between pet rocks and Facebook, and the difference is that there was an actual need and space for Facebook. It's difficult to figure out ideas for things that are truly innovative and truly needed or wanted, but it can be done, and if it's done well, you can make your fortune.


Just remember that by their very nature, unusual business ideas are probably not going to succeed. Pet rocks, for example, is not something that could be predicted as a guaranteed success and was almost certainly doomed to eventually stop being popular.

It's basically relying on the same mentality that propels memes into popularity, but that doesn't last.

If you are clever enough to come up with endless ideas that are all possible viral hits, then you might be able to make a living off it, but otherwise, I think you're better off sticking with something more ordinary.

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    • Unusual foods, like bacon-flavored products, can be an interesting business idea.
      By: Kelpfish
      Unusual foods, like bacon-flavored products, can be an interesting business idea.