Sometimes success in business is about finding a niche market rather than trying to sell something that everyone else is also offering. Or to put it another way, the sun may be blazing down on the seafront but if yours is just one ice cream van in a long line of many then you may struggle to hold your own in the face of all the competition.
Selling umbrellas in the desert may, conversely, be a hard ask, but at least in all likelihood you will have cornered the market. The trick of course is to position yourself between the two extremes, offering a product or service that somebody wants, but which no-one else is selling. Here are a few instances in which a little imagination has been applied to do just that:
Pet Hotel Proprietor
It is a source of some amazement that there are pet owners out there who feel so guilty when they go away for a holiday without their pet that they compensate by treating their beloved pooch or kitty to a similar experience. A simple outside shed can be turned into a pet hotel, with temperature control and a breakfast menu to pander to their every desire. Evening cabaret entertainment and room service would be interesting additions to a concept which is currently still in its infancy.
Manufacturer of Synthetic Wishbones
No longer will vegetarians need to forego the thrill of snapping a wishbone and making a wish that is taken for granted by chicken eaters everywhere. A Seattle-based businessman hit upon the idea of producing an artificial bone which does precisely the same thing without harm being caused to any sentient being. Why does the obscure become so obvious after somebody else has identified a gap in the market?
Enjoy a Coffee and Vent Your Spleen
A café owner in Tokyo offers customers the option of smashing their cups and plates against a concrete wall after enjoying a coffee or a piece of cake. The idea is that it helps to alleviate stress, especially after a hard day’s work in the city. Swearing and foot-stomping is actively encouraged as an integral part of the overall experience.
If you thought this was an obscure idea it may come as a surprise that it is been adopted by Google. The concept is blissfully simple – dispense with the lawnmower and hire a herd of goats to tuck into the overgrown lawn and uproot unwanted weeds. Saves on petrol and repair and maintenance costs, although storage may be an issue for the smaller user.
Open a Doll Hospital
What does any normal person do with a doll which becomes damaged or broken? Why, naturally, they send it to a doll hospital where it can make a full recovery before returning home in one piece! Setting up in business as a doll “surgeon”, performing vital repairs to people’s broke toys (presumably no need for an anesthetic?), is surprisingly not a new idea, the first “doll hospital” having opened in Lisbon as long ago as 1830.