I’m always trying to think of new and interesting business ideas. I generally try to come up with ideas by thinking of what I would want to do or see in the world. Then, I try to find reasons why it wouldn’t work. If no strong opposing reasons emerge after a while, then it may qualify for being a good idea worth working on.
Here are 31 business ideas that passed a few filters in my mind and managed to stick around.
A browser extension that find 3 similar yet cheaper products to what’s currently in your online shopping cart.
Whenever you add something to your cart on any website, this browser extension would search the web for similar products that are cheaper and have a similar rating. The app would make money through referrals to those products.
Gambling app where you can only loose up to $10 per day.
A few summers ago I traveled to New Hampshire and started playing blackjack at one of their beachside casinos. When I tried to raise my bet above $10, I was surprised when the dealer told me that’s not possible; the maximum bet is $10! I ended up winning some money, but I also realized I had more fun than I usually do, the constraint of not being able to bet more eased my mind since I didn’t feel the usual temptation to bet more and more.
I wish this was applied to more gambling apps. I would like to gamble on sports for fun, but I’m afraid I would gamble (and likely loose) too much. If the app wouldn’t allow me to bet more than $10 though, I wouldn’t be so worried.
The app would make money through subscriptions instead of the usual gambling business model. Also, there could be partnerships with gambling addiction organizations to help be a first step for gambling addicts looking to gamble less.
A website where you can see career paths for any type of jobs, and how those roles map to better jobs or better career paths.
Jobs don’t come with a map or a storyline. But what if they did? People would understand much better how their current job aligns with their short and long-term goals, and they’d therefore be more motivated. Or, they could change to a job that is better aligned with what they ultimately want to do for work.
On this website, you would be able to see a type of job (e.g. restaurant waitress) and see how those skills map to other better-paying jobs (e.g. restaurant manager) and the types of career paths that other people took from that job.
A web platform to easily hire performers at your bar or club.
Most bars and clubs these days don’t have a lot going on besides drinking and music. Having street performers at a bar or club would provide entertainment for guests and extra income for the performers, a win-win situation.
Use AI/ChatGPT to suggest a path for a leisurely drive or walk, with the ability to optimize for different types of paths (nature, people, architecture, etc..).
A platform for brick and mortar stores to offer unique treatments which people can book.
In Japan there is a cafe where the hosts will force you to write and punish you for not staying focused. It may not be for everyone, but some people find it useful or entertaining. A platform that allows for these different types of treatments by the staff could potentially open up more revenue for stores.
AI records your screen and how you work and makes suggestions the next day.
Create cartoon stories easily with friends.
Creating things with friends in a low-stakes project is a great way to connect and learn/grow at the same time.
A web app that lets you build a league and create a tournament for a sport or game
I’m sure something like this exists. The key difference for this idea would be to provide add-on services for each league. For example, if you’re hosting a tournament you could hire a photographer for the finals and share the pictures with the league.
A McDonalds’ Monopoly like game for coffee shops.
This would be a low-tech (or no-tech) kit that coffee shops could purchase. It would make buying your daily coffee more fun, and therefore increase customer loyalty.
ATV and Jet Ski Rental app
App to make it easier for small business to upskill their staff.
Small businesses often struggle to retain staff. If it was easier for them to help up-skill their staff, their business would benefit, and employees would be more likely to stay.
App that helps people find things to do at night besides drinking.
No or less alcohol is a trend that’s been accelerating. But the world at night in America is basically centered around drinking. This app would curate zero or no alcohol options, so you have something else to do when you don’t want to drink at night. This could maybe be a basic website or newsletter, but an app would be easier to remember to use.
User friendly book browsing in a web browser (for bookstore owners).
Amazon lets you sample books through Kindle, which only provides the first few pages. What if there was a way to sample a book online like the way you do in a bookstore? You could skip to random pages and view up to a certain amount of words, for example. This would be a better experience and more similar to a bookstore.
An arcade where you can redeem tickets/points for books.
An app to empower local event curators and organizers.
Local event curators seem to be utilizing social media platforms well. But what if they had something designed specifically for them? Maybe they could host better or more events.
Classes where you make something (food, an app, song, robot, etc…).
Building something solidifies your understanding of something in a way that taking a test doesn’t quite match. This would be a platform where for each class or course listed, you come away with something that you built.
Tip lotto: app or API that lets a portion of tips to your business be entered into a lottery.
Book club cohort app. Read and discover new books with other people, some of whom are re-reading the book and can help explain or just talk about the book.
Ghost travel agency: send your money and some basic requirements for your trip and everything is booked for you. No back and forth and no changes.
This would make booking a trip a lot less complicated. Gaining trust from customers would be the major hurdle though.
Livestream of hot food bar with the option to purchase.
Try 5 different variations of an item before you buy it.
For example, I want to buy the perfect black shirt but I want to try several leading brands. This service would send me black shirts from 5 different brands (which could be previously worn and sanitized), and I could choose one. The margins may be tough for this business though.
A message board for coffee shops and bars that also has a digital ‘twin’, where people nearby post services or other requests.
You could only post to the message board by going to the store and scanning the QR code on the message board, which would avoid spam for the most part.
A museum with art and explanations of the recent week’s events in the world.
Duolingo for risk.
Duolingo is seen as the go-to language learning app. Risk has always fascinated me as a topic, and I think it’s not well understood by most people. This app would provide help you learn both statistics and philosophy, which I believe are the building blocks for understanding risk.
AirBnB for classrooms.
A platform where you can purchase in-person seats for classes would be really cool.
In-game coach for video games.
Something like this probably already exists as e-sports and gaming in general has taken off in the past few years. But it would be really cool and convenient for anyone who is looking to compete with others in a video game, whether casually or professionally.
‘Chopped’ but for music producers.
Chopped is a show where chefs get a basket of ingredients and must produce the best dish in a certain amount of time. A show that did this for music would be entertaining to watch since you get to see the creative process behind music.
Platform for bars to partner with alcohol brands so that customers get a discount on a bottle if they buy drinks from a certain brand.
Shared storage items for apartment or neighborhood.
Google Maps for public games.
This would make it easy to see what public games around you are (e.g. tennis, chess, table tennis, basketball). Taking an extra step, this company could:
- install sensors at each game so you could tell if it’s currently in use
- provide a waitlist if a game is in-use
- match up people who want to play at the same location
- provide add-on services like gaming equipment
What do you think of these ideas? If you had to pick one, which one would you bet on?
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