20 Innovative Business Ideas

Innovative business ideas are like comets in the sky. Nobody really knows when they’ll hit you, and even if you have never seen one, you’ll know that it is one the moment you see it. It doesn’t take much talent or education to know if an idea is workable, all it takes is a little gusto, common sense and a bit of adventurism to try out things that have never been done.
Each Company is Unique
And each company also has unique experiences. The best for company A may not be the best move for company B. What works for one company might not necessarily work for the other. Here lies the problem with being a copycat. Businesses can try to compete with each other, but an innovative idea from one business might be the undoing of the other.
Know how your business works, and whether it has an idea that can take off. What is the actual context of the company’s profile, operation and financial performance? What are the risks involved in innovation, and will you be able to afford to experiment? The amount of money that could potentially be gained if you are able to launch an innovative idea should also be assessed in measurable terms. Innovation is just a word, but a good innovative business idea is one that actually produces results.
Here are a few innovative business ideas that have proved to be either really big successes or really popular wastes of money. Either way, they got traction and became popular among both mass and niche markets.

  • Levi Strauss sold denim pants to miners during the Gold Rush. Little did they know that denim pants would be very popular even outside of the mining community.
  • Naked Airlines was an airline that had nude attendants. It closed shop after one flight!
  • eBay was only supposed to be a small website that allows you to buy and sell everything. Now it’s the most popular auction site in the world.
  • Budget airlines address the need for no-frills flights. These have revitalized the airline industry, especially during these times of recession.
  • Dishes paired with drinks: fast food restaurants make it “cheaper” if you buy the food with drinks. This establishes a mindset that the consumer gets a better deal.
  • Designer gowns made out of garbage bags, bubble wrap and plastic – these are green ideas, but not really for mass market consumption.
  • Disneyland is a fantasy land that allows kids and adults to live out their childhood fantasies.
  • Social networking sites were supposed to be meant for closed groups only, like school buddies, college classmates and the like. But their popularity have led to sites like Facebook and MySpace getting millions of users, and millions of dollars in investment.
  • Pet salons service the grooming and pampering needs of our furry friends.
  • Tours of Sewers – they actually do this Paris, of all places!
  • Giving a group or bundle discounts gets a restaurant, travel agency, or any other business more customers.
  • Scripted sporting events like the WWE are not really “real,” but people watch them anyway.
  • Allowing advertisers to buy panels in Olympic venues. Sponsorships at sporting events give your brand a reputation of being health-oriented.
  • Music videos were actually originally marketing tools that meant to sell albums. But artists like Michael Jackson started using these as art forms in themselves, and companies like MTV have established a brand around their music videos.
  • Special packaging for special edition albums from high profile artists have turned CDs and records into collectors’ items.
  • Reality shows have proved that audiences love watching people in their “natural” habitats, and how fights, arguments and relationships ensue.
  • Pay per click advertising has changed the advertising landscape by letting just about any publisher earn money, and just about any company buy cheap, contextual, targeted ads.
  • iTunes has changed the music business. Who would’ve known that selling songs for 99 cents apiece would make Apple billions of dollars.
  • The iPhone has likewise changed the mobile phone market. Not only is it good looking gadget, but with 50,000 applications you can literally turn the phone into anything you want. Enterprising application developers are also able to earn millions from selling applications at 99 cents apiece.
  • Green technology is the name of the game in a lot of industries, such as the auto business. People are becoming more and more environmentally conscious, and cars like the hybrid Toyota Prius and the fully electric Tesla roadster have gained traction in the market.

These are only a few innovative business ideas that have made the grade. Now most of these are considered the standard way of doing business, and taken for granted by the market. But at one time or another, some business people probably thought of these ideas as silly and unmarketable. See where these ideas are now.

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