5 of the strangest small business ideas to thrive in a tough economy

A difficult economy can inspire a lot of creativity when it comes to new business ideas. In 2010 entrepreneurial activity reached its highest point in decades despite (or perhaps as a result of) the recession, according to the Kauffman Foundation.

Interestingly, it is often the small and strange new business ventures that have thrived in the struggling economy. These small businesses might make your eyes widen with disbelief but they have experienced a great deal of success.

Read our list of the most unlikely business start-up ideas that have worked:

1. Rent-a-Chicken
If you have ever toyed with the idea of getting chickens (nope, me neither!) but didn’t think you could commit to looking after them, then Rent-A-Chicken could be your solution! For $250, a husband and wife team from Traverse City, Michigan deliver a brood of chickens and everything you need to look after them for the summer. This way you can decide whether or not you want to try raising your own. Clucking mad!

2. The Smashing Place
Have you ever hurled something across the room when you’re stressed or angry and watched in pleasure as is smashes against the wall? I’m not sure I have ever felt the need but there must be a requirement for this service, which has led to an unusual business venture! The Smashing Place in Tokyo caters for people wanting to de-stress. They allow people to come in, buy a plate or a cup of their choice and smash it against a concrete wall. The customer can swear and stomp their feet to their heart’s content to relieve their anger or stress. You could just break things in your own house, but then you’d have to clean up the mess and replace anything you have broken which would defeat the object of your de-stressing activity!

3. Doggles
Eyewear for dogs or ‘Doggles’ may not be everyone’s cup of tea but the business has been featured in CNN, Animal Planet, Woman’s World and National Geographic. The company has also managed to make a profit of more than a million dollars from selling them, so there must be something in it!

4. Hangover Helpers
Had a crazy night out and now feeling the aftermath of the night before? If you are suffering from a horrendous hangover and can’t face the trail of destruction left from last night’s activities call on the Hangover Helpers to bring you back into the world of the living! The two college friends from Boulder, Colorado turn up to your house armed with breakfast burritos and clean every room where the party has taken place including washing up and recycling beer bottles. This idea may sound crazy but how often have you found yourself in this situation and wished there was someone to put the pieces back together. The business idea has featured in Forbes Magazine and on CBS. I think we need a UK-based service!

5. The Pet Loo
Do you live in a flat and find it a huge pain to take your dog out in the middle of the night for them to go toilet? Or maybe you’re one of those people always leaves the party early to go home and let the dog out? The Pet Loo could be your saviour! It is a square of fake grass which sits on top of a waste containment system that you put inside your home. The company has really taken off and people are purchasing the Pet Loo to put in their basements, balconies and even their grass-less back garden.