Three Surprisingly Successful Business Ideas

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In a fast-paced world with an unending number of choices, it seems that everyone is constantly looking for successful business ideas that will allow them to thrive. However, with everything from coffee franchise opportunities to eCommerce boasting profitable sales and high demand, it often isn’t about identifying an idea that is objectively the best, but instead about finding the choice that is right for you. And that opportunity can come at any time, in any form. Read on to learn about some surprisingly successful business ideas and get inspired!

Innocent Drinks
Innocent Drinks is now a well-known smoothie company that uses natural ingredients and an openly ethical approach to commercial sales. However, few people likely know that its founders-Adam Balon, Jon Wright and Richard Reed- started off as Cambridge-educated professionals living comfortable lives in London. Feeling that something was missing, they started brainstorming successful business ideas that would also help them feel fulfilled. They settled on natural smoothies. After six months of testing different fruit combinations at home, they took their product to a music festival and set up a sign asking customers if they should quit their jobs to make smoothies. The festival goers said yes, and while they experienced some initial struggles to obtain funding, the company now sells around 2 million smoothies a week, earning them a 75% market share in the U.K.

Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky were struggling to pay rent for their loft apartment in San Francisco in 2007 when they realized that attendees for a major design conference were going to have trouble finding accommodation in the city. The two roommates immediately offered visitors the chance to stay on two air mattresses on their floor and eat a home-cooked breakfast, earning $1,000. Adding tech wizard Nathan Blecharczyk to their team, the group created a website that helps tourists find and book everything from free couches to luxury properties. After raising money for the venture with special edition cereal, of all things, they quickly became a well-known service around the world. Today, Airbnb is valued at $1.3 billion and offers insurance and a 24-hour helpline to improve the user experience.

Burt’s Bees
Burt Shavitz, a honey salesman, met Roxanne Quimby, an unemployed waitress, in 1984 and the two decided to earn some extra cash by making beeswax candles. Their operation made a mere $20,000 the first year, but they quickly realized that their customers were drawn to beauty products like natural soaps, perfumes and a now-famous lip balm. By 1991, they were making 500,000 candles a year and had 40 staff members. By their 25th anniversary in 2009, their revenues topped $250 million. Quimby has commented that things were not always easy, especially in the easy years when the business wasn’t performing, but that hundreds of small, smart choices over the years allowed them to succeed.

While the success of these business ideas might not be an everyday phenomenon, they prove that finding the right idea at the right time can help anyone thrive. Whether you choose a coffee van franchise, a graphic design business or something else entirely, remember that successful business ideas come in all forms.

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