42 Fresh Business ideas (Part 1)
By Jimbo Owen Gulle, Illustrations by Sonny Ramirez and Jaykee Evangelista
Before you throw away an offbeat business idea, consider its prospects in a market niche that may be waiting to be tapped
You think your business idea is too far out or too offbeat to be workable and profitable?
If so, don’t get rid of it as yet and think it out again. With a little tweaking and the right entrepreneurial push, that idea of yours might be the next big thing to take the market by storm. [See list of unique business ideas that worked here]
Some of the business ideas below are high-tech, while others simply require a set of skills and not much else. We assure you, though, that these ideas are for real, and if they are not being pursued in the Philippines, other entrepreneurs are already profiting from them elsewhere in the world.
We have included the URLs of such existing businesses or online discussion of the venture or strategy, for your reference.
In any case, you can use these ideas simply as possible springboards for entrepreneurial action. With your innate creativity and persistence, you just might be able to think up or bump into the next big business idea yourself.
1. Action figures for adults
Overactive imaginations are not the sole domain of children; indeed, many a mature man and woman see themselves as everyday heroes and heroines. For this reason, action figures for adults – Supermom, Happy Worker, and Money Man, for example – are enjoying a healthy market in the US (See www.happyworker.com).
2. Belly-dancing club
With belly-dancing having already become not only a dance craze, but also a fitness craze, there should now be a substantial market in the country for dancing belles and dedicated belly-dancing clubs. (See www.ambellydanceclub.com)
Filipino motorists love to dress up their cars and the more affluent like to tool around with the latest car models. Advertisers are now taking advantage of this situation by renting out or leasing cars and transforming them into moving billboards using imaginative artworks. (See www.carvertising.ca)
4. Carwash with women washers
This is women-watching and car-care carried to the next level.
5. CD skins
Prolong the life of CDs (yes, the disk itself, not the CD case) with protective CD skins. (See www.d-skin.com)
6. Charity exercising
Event organizers can do this: invite buyers of a product or service to sign up for a public exercise activity in support of a worthy cause – say a walkathon or marathon – then arrange for the sponsoring company to pay a charitable institution on the buyer’s behalf corresponding amount for each step or kilometer he or she expends in the exercise activity. (See plus3network.com)
7. Chicken feather construction materials
Dealing in this product is a responsible step towards eco-friendly building. For instance Ford Philippines had awarded Filipino scientist Menandro Acda an eco-grant to develop this particular product.
Alternatively, manufacturer of construction materials can explore the use of straw and similar raw materials. (See www.ford.com.ph)
8. Cinema café
For coffee shops hard-pressed in coming up with new offerings, having a screening room within the café could be an attractive and profitable possibility. (See www.cinemarestaurants.com; www.clearwatercinemacafe.com)
9. Cremated ashes in fireworks
Strange as it may seem, some people just wish to go out with a bang when they die. Thus, in some parts of the world, the business of having one’s cremated remains loaded into fireworks has sprung up. (See www.heavenlystarsfireworks.com)
A long-time sideline of people who live in residential places dominated by high-rises, this may yet catch on in the Philippines as more and more pet-loving people live in condos. [See the pet market and nine other new business opportunities here]
11. Doodle art
Previously seen as the result of boredom, doodle art has found a lucrative market in corporate gatherings, as was the recent experience of a local group of graffiti artists. Another market that doodle artists can explore are local governments and agencies tasked to beautify the metro’s surroundings (See www.doodleart.ca)
Not to be confused with midwives, doulas attend to the emotional needs and physical comfort of laboring and postpartum women. Filipina mothers in search of a sideline may do well with this occupation, and training would-be doulas could also be a lucrative venture. (See www.doula.com)
13. Easy-to-unwrap packaging
“Wrap rage” has become common in many countries because of tough, hard-to-open plastic packaging and plastic coated wire ties used by some manufacturers for their products. [See tips on attractive packaging here]
To make life easier for customers, the online seller Amazon.com has created smaller, easy-to-open recyclable cardboard boxes that protect products just as well
14. Energy-monitoring smart plug
A US-based company now offers such a device, which monitors and controls the energy use of an appliance. Distributing a similar product locally could not only fill up your pocket but also help protect the environment. (See www.alertme.com)
15. Events in the sky
People are always on the lookout for extraordinary ways of making special events. One such possible value-added service is offering a platform suspended high up from a crane as a venue for holding meetings and parties – even wedding ceremonies. (See www.eventsinthesky.com)
16. Floating utensils
Allowing used dishes to remain in a sink for an extended period isn’t a good idea, so South Korean designer Seongyon Lee designed utensils that can float, thus doing away with the usual problem of finding spoons or forks submerged in the opaque water. The spherical nub that he put in the middle of utensils to make them float also acts as a supporter that helps a person cut and chop food with less effort. (See www.seongyonglee.com)
17. Green tableware
No, these plates and other tableware made from natural plant fibers like bamboo and corn are not for consumption, but they are biodegradable and would strongly appeal to waste-conscious diners. (See www.greenpartygoods.com)
18. “Hand-me-down” stores
What to do with children’s clothing that have been outgrown by their owners? Put them up for adoption. (See www.handmedowns.com)
19. Ice hotel
China, Sweden and several countries around the Arctic circle are fortunate that they can build ice hotels. In a tropical country like the Philippines, however, entrepreneurs can pursue suitable variations of the “ice hotel” theme, such as a lodging facility made entirely of wood or hanging picnic huts in the forest. [ Read cheap airfare, global recovery to boost hotel investments here]
“Party favor”, or the dispensing of goods and services for customers holding parties in their homes or office, has become a lucrative business in some countries. In the United Kingdom, for example, a popular brand of rum (Bacardi) has a service that brings bars to customers’ homes or offices. Or it may be any other out-of-home experience that people would like to bring home, for instance, home elevators, enclosed game rooms, beer taps, and even full-service spas. (See www.trendwatching.com/trends/insperience.htm)
21. Interactive restaurants
When you allow customers to choose, order, and pay for their food through a touchscreen device, you can make the dining experience much more personalized, time-efficient, and pleasant for them. (See www.inamo-restaurant.com)