Sometimes, you have an entrepreneurial spirit, but you’re running low on ideas. It’s difficult to think out of the box, to come up with a unique product or a business model that stands out from the crowd. And of course, there’s the self-doubt. You may have a great idea, but could it really take off?
To get you inspired, we’ve compiled a list of the six unusual startup companies. Each of them has used their ingenuity to earn some major wins. We hope you’ll get a chuckle out of some of these ideas, and that they’ll help get your own creative juices flowing.
Who wouldn’t want to sign up for Lunchspread? The pitch is this: office workers in Manhattan sign up to have free samples of food delivered to them by local restaurants. The food is free because the restaurants pay Lunchspread to help them make connections and cover delivery.
Lunchspread’s founders were surprised by how easy it was to get restaurants on board—they were willing to both pay and give up free food in exchange for high value leads. The real challenge was getting the word out to companies. They succeeded eventually though, and today several thousand companies in NYC use the service.
WeWork is a great idea with even better timing. Nowadays, there are a huge number of people working from home, but even they occasionally need office space. Whether it’s for a client meeting or a quick get-away from the kids, WeWork lets people temporarily rent shared office space, without ever needing to commit to a lease. The idea has proved effective, and has since spread internationally, with WeWork locations in Israel and the U.K.
ElizaJ is proud to rent out luxury portable toilets. You read that right, luxury portable toilets. After all, for fancy outdoor events like weddings or company soirees, a port-a-potty doesn’t exactly set the right tone. That’s where ElizaJ comes in, with fresh flowers, high end soaps and towels, and beautiful, ahem, facilities. They’ve been so successful they’ve even started franchising their brand, so other entrepreneurs can help spread high-end restrooms across the world.
4. Rent a chicken
It might sound ridiculous at first, but it actually makes perfect business sense. Sustainable living is all the rage these days, but many people aren’t sure if they want to commit to such an adventure. Rent-a-chicken lets them dip their toes in the water, so to speak. The customer receives a coop, chickens, and everything else they need to raise it. At the end of the trial period, they can decide whether to adopt the chickens or return them. The business started out as a small service in Pennsylvania, but has now spread to a number of states across the country.
If you can’t sell something, can you sell anything? This bizarre online store invites customers to pay 10$ and receive “something” shipped to them in return. The item from SomethingStore is always new, and could range from a set of earrings to a kitchen appliance. It’s an odd business model, to say the least, but never underestimate the lure of a good surprise. The company has been going strong for eight years and ships thousands of orders each month.
Each of these ideas has proved that there’s always room for a little creativity when it comes to success. Need help spreading the word on your own unique brand? Our PR services can get you on the latest and greatest news sites and podcasts. Talk to us today.
Emily Bell is a marketing expert who has worked extensively with several third-party Amazon sellers recording over $10 million in sales per year. She now works regularly with Amazon consulting agencies such as PPCScope and Egility. Her writing has appeared in Forbes and around the web.