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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ideas That Take You Straight To The Bank!

Now here's a great article I read on Forbes which highlights some of the unconventional ideas that turned into legit businesses and have created a pretty penny for the owners. The common themes from these stories is 1 thing and 1 thing only, EXECUTION!

Honestly speaking, an idea is just an idea until you plan and execute it, so before you come up with a great idea you should intend to create a plan and at least try to execute it, because you never know!

Below are 5 success stories that will have you wondering if only I did this! Check them out!

Best friends Adrian Salamunovic and Nazim Ahmed weren't looking for the next million-dollar idea. They were just two guys hanging out on a Friday night, enjoying a good bottle of wine, when the light bulb went on.

Ahmed worked for Bio-Rad, which markets DNA-imaging equipment. Salamunovic noticed Bio-Rad's brochure on the table and to his untrained eye, the images looked like art.

Turns out others saw it that way too. Smelling opportunity, in 2005 the twosome plunked down US$2,000 in savings for initial prints and a Web site to feature their work; they outsourced DNA imaging to a DNA-extraction lab in Montreal. Working out of Ahmed's apartment, they sold a few prints to family and friends.

As the work caught on, they were invited to showcase at an Absolut Vodka-sponsored party in Ottawa's SOHO neighborhood.

The new company, called DNA 11, sold US$40,000 worth of art in the first month. An 8"x10" mini-DNA portrait goes for US$200, while a 36"x54" wall canvas garners $1,300. The Museum of Modern Art features DNA 11 art in its museum stores in New York and Tokyo. The company's revenue in 2008: US$1.4 million.

Fairy Tales Hair Care
Passaic, N.J.
Revenue in 2008: US$6 million

Business ideas come from anyone, anywhere, anytime. In 1999, Risa Barash, a 33-year-old stand-up comic, heard from her then-fiancĂ©'s cousin (got that?) about a rash of head lice cases at his Hewlett, N.Y.-based children's salon. After doing some research (including a lot of chatting with relatives in Israel, where head lice was a big problem), Barash hit upon an organic preventative shampoo, as opposed to chemical-based products applied only after the louse has taken up residence. Her big break came one morning while watching The Rosie O'Donnell Show—Rosie was lamenting her own children's lice outbreak. Barash wrote a letter (in the voice of a fellow well-known comic), walked over to the NBC studio and told the security guard she was delivering some hair products for O'Donnell's kids. The next day, Fairy Tales Hair Care's Rosemary Repel Shampoo was the talk of the show.

The Fiero Store
Stafford Springs, Conn.
Revenue in 2008: US$2.3 million

Matthew Hartzog, 32, spent his teenage summers and school breaks working for his stepfather selling parts and accessories for GM Opels. But the long-defunct, two-seat, mid-engine Fiero was where his heart lay. Approximately 370,000 Fieros rolled off the lines between 1984 and 1988 before Pontiac stopped producing the car; less than 75,000 are currently registered in the U.S. Keeping them purring proved a tidy little business. Fanatics make great customers.

Jimmy Beans Wool
Reno, Nev.
Revenue in 2008: US$2.1 million

Laid off from her software engineering gig, Laura Zander decided to open a yarn store with her husband Doug in 2002. They plowed US$30,000 into hanks of yarn, a Web site and a lease on a new store in Truckee, Calif. Good timing: The knitting market spiked in 2003 after a few celebrities, such as Julia Roberts and Vanna White, were seen knitting and crocheting. Zander found success with walk-in customers; she could teach them how to knit in less than five minutes, and many walked away with $100 worth of novelty yarns, enough to make five scarves, a fashion craze at the time. Zander, 35, now boasts an average of 20,000 customers per month, mostly through the Web site.
Austin, Texas
Revenue in 2008: US$2.5 million

"Pets aren't just household goods—they're beings, just like people are." Such is the mantra of Kevin and Angie O'Brien, the husband-and-wife team who sold a doggy day-care business to get into the pet-moving game. They invested US$97,000 of the proceeds in a new van, Google ads, a Web site, a USDA-backed carriers and intermediate handlers license (allowing the couple to transport animals over state lines) and a $300 membership to IPATA, an international trade association of animal handlers. The couple says it can move any live animal, anywhere around in world—say, a dog from Seattle to Shanghai, mole rats from South Africa to San Antonio and dart frogs from Switzerland to the U.S. It's a turn-key service, covering airline bookings, blood tests, vet check-ups, logistics, customs and quarantine. The company expects to pull in $3.5 million in revenue this year, has been debt free since day one and turned a profit in its second month.


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