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Top 10 Stupid Business Ideas

By Edited Nov 24, 2016 1 6

It is not all business ideas that are brilliant. Some ideas may even be considered stupid, or maybe you will find them entertaining. Make your choice and decide whether you will go for it, or just have a laugh.

10. Concrete Pianos

Concrete(91573)

Thomas Alva Edison was one of the smartest and most successful inventors of all time. He invented many things and also contributed to many other inventions. He is credited with patents for such products as the light bulb, the telephone, and the Electric Locomotive. We often celebrate the many success that Thomas Edison had, but he also had many flops. Some of his research simply did not work out the way he intended for them to, but others remain simply perplexing. One of his bright business ideas was to build stuff out of concrete.

He started a concrete company and developed many different products. Concrete is commonly used today, but it was expensive back then and not a lot of people could afford to build with it like we do today. One of the craziest items he tried to build and sell was a piano made out of concrete. Even in today’s world this would be considered a stupid business idea.

9. Chastity Belts for Masturbation

Chastity Belts(91577)

It use to be believed that masturbation would cause kids and even adults to cause metal health problems. Religious puritans would argue that personal pleasuring such as this was going to send a person to hell. Businesses have sprouted up throughout history to design, manufacture, and sell chastity belts designed to stop masturbation. Obviously this was a failed business idea from the beginning; however even before the 1930’s there was an extremely small demand for these sexual purity devices. Once it was established that masturbation is not harmful the few sales of these chastity belts dropped off to almost zero. Anybody who would design a product to keep us from enjoying one of the greatest pleasures known to mankind should have known that they had a stupid business idea.

8. Refusing to Adapt To Trends

Schwinn(91578)

Sometimes a company loses money when they intentionally avoid a growing segment of the market. Other times a company will run itself into the ground from poor management. The Schwinn Bicycle Company is the epitome of poor management. When bicycles became lighter Schwinn continue to build heavier bikes. When BMX bicycles became popular they were dismissed but the Schwinn management as to dangerous. BY the time Schwinn realized that they were losing tons of money by not having a BMX bike to sell so they rapidly jumped into the market totally unprepared. By this time it was too late. Schwinn did end up entering the BMX market, however there designs were clunky and heavy compared to the other BMX bicycles on the market.

You would think that the Schwinn Company would have learned an important business lesson here, however you would be wrong. Schwinn repeated their mistakes again when Mountain Bikes became popular. Schwinn dismissed them as simply a fad. By the time they finally entered the mountain bike market the company was in a rapid descent.

The Schwinn bicycle company of today is no longer the same as the past one. The name was sold. Schwinn sells a few high end bikes, but the ones you see at the Mass department stores are simply junk. Schwinn refused to adapt to any new trends because they were out of touch with their potential buyers.

7. New Coke

New Coke

The Coca Cola Company had the best selling soft drink in the World, so they decide to go ahead and change the recipe so they can gain more market share that they were losing to Pepsi. What occurred during the New Coke reformulation was a disaster and the Coke Company rapidly brought back the original formula and called it “Classic Coke”.

As a business you should feel free to adapt to trends and expand product lines, however if you have a successful product do not ever get rid of it.

6. Bottled Water for Pets

Thirsty Cat

The company created bottled water for cats and dogs called Thirsty Cat and Thirsty Dog. This product was doomed to failure from the beginning. First off most people will not splurge on bottled water for their pet, and even if they did the dog still prefers to drink out of the toilet. They did flavor the water for the dogs and cats, but it still was not a commercial success. Cats could get tangy fish flavored bottle water and dogs got a beefy flavored water.

5. Church Brothel

Church Brothel

Turing your Church into a Brothel is a bad idea because it would get you shut down. You would probably get a lot of insider customers, but you could not think you would get away with it for long. Go ahead and laugh, but this actually happened in Sedona Arizona. The Phoenix Goddess Temple was part of a 6 month undercover investigation by law enforcement[3107] before they finally concluded beyond a doubt that it was a brothel that was just posing as a church.

4. Name You Company after a Sexually Transmitted Disease

SyFy

The SciFi Channel changed their moniker to SyFy in 2009. The re-branding effort did not go well because SyFy is a slang term for the Sexually Transmitted Disease Syphilis. Even one of the original founders, Mitchell Rubenstein, spoke out against the name change saying it was dumb. Although the business name change may have been perceived as stupid by a lot of people, the company is still very profitable with a large fan base.

3. Don’t Anger Cleveland

Fiji Water

The Fiji bottled water company ran an ad campaign that said “Fiji because it’s not bottled in Cleveland”. This angered the City of Cleveland and they ran tests on Fiji water. The tests came back showing that Fiji water contained 6.31 micrograms of Arsenic poisoning[3108]. The tap water in Cleveland was much more pure than the fancy Fiji water. Fiji then ran tests on its own and claimed that the level never surpassed 2 micrograms. Business dropped off for Fiji and they eventually had to do some massive layoffs.

2. Email Firing

Radio Shack

Radio Shack though that it would be a good idea to do massive layoffs and to notify everybody that they had been fired by email. Radio Shack employees woke up to the following email from Radio Shack “"The work force reduction notification is currently in progress. Unfortunately your position is one that has been eliminated."

Firing people by email is definitely one of the stupidest business ideas ever.

1. Pet Rock

The Pet Rock may be one of the stupidest ideas ever for a business, yet it became a national sensation and sold millions. A stupid business idea may lead to failure, yet it could also lead to riches.

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Comments

Mar 27, 2012 10:27am
egdcltd
It's interesting that New Coke actually performed better than Pepsi and Coke in blind taste tests, in the same way that Pepsi usually outperforms Coke in the same. It wasn't until people actually saw the can that it all went pear shaped. In both cases, knowing what drink it was affected how it tasted.
Mar 28, 2012 11:32am
askformore
Blind taste test will quite often find another 'winner' than the real world's sales numbers. Maybe, this only proves that advertizing is 'tasteless'.
Mar 27, 2012 11:36am
aidenofthetower
Sometimes I feel like I have stupid business ideas. However, I have never come up with ideas as dumb as some of these. The light bulb was a much better idea than a concrete piano!
Mar 28, 2012 11:35am
askformore
It is OK if you yourself feel that your ideas are stupid. However, don't let other peoples (stupid) comments stop your ideas.
Apr 8, 2012 7:55am
Jack_Luca
Great list -- many times stupidity fails and sometimes it works. Pinning this list.
Apr 9, 2012 10:10am
askformore
Thank you! I agree that these ideas deserve to be 'pinned'.
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Bibliography

  1. Michael Martinez "Arizona church is house of prostitution, police say." CNN. 36/03/2012 <Web >
  2. "Cleveland takes offense at Fiji Water Ad." Bottled Water of the World. 26/03/2012 <Web >

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