Why crazy business ideas are succeeding now more than ever before

It’s The Long Tail Factor At Work.

Did you know there’s an entire Facebook page dedicated to people who can’t fit their hand inside a tin of Pringles? And it’s got 1 million Likes?

Did you know that there are entire cruises dedicated to nudists? (I won’t be sitting on those banana lounges any time soon!)

And that hundreds of people are making a small fortune selling Halloween costumes for dogs?

What’s the next Facebook?

How crazy are these ideas? Well, not so crazy as it would seem.

When it comes to online business, the secret to success is niche marketing, or as Chris Anderson, founder of Wired called it, the Long Tail. So, what is niche marketing or the Long Tail? It’s just a fancy term for choosing a very specific group of people who have a very specific need and targeting them. And as you can see, those business ideas listed above are nothing if not niche.

So the question is how can YOU come up with a crazy idea and build an online business around it?

Well, the secret lies in asking the right questions and then listening very carefully to what the answers are.

I recently had the good fortune to be able to ask 40 of Australia’s top online entrepreneurs any question I wanted as research for a book I’ve written on how to create successful online businesses. To be honest, it felt like I had the business version of an Aladdin’s lamp right in in front of me. And I went and mucked it up! Yes, that’s right, I asked all the wrong questions! So I thought I’d share what those questions were and then tell you what questions the entrepreneurs told me I should be asking. Pretty valuable stuff, I thought!

The questions I asked were:

What markets are yet to be tapped for the next generation of entrepreneurs?
What countries should we be focusing on in the next few years?

Wrong, wrong, wrong!

The questions I should have been asking were:

What problems are yet to be solved?
What needs are yet to be filled?
What new problems are being caused by disruptive technology that need resolving?

As you can see, the questions are quite different and the responses you get back are quite different too.

The best part is that the answers to these questions will uncover a raft of new and untapped business ideas. It’s quite profound when you think of it. Unresolved need = new business idea.

Just think about the thousands of social media consultants, apps, tools and businesses that have been created as a result of Facebook? Without Facebook, none of them would exist. The reality is that as soon as a new business comes along, it creates another problem that needs resolving.

Crazy ideas are becoming successful business ideas because they all solve a very specific need for a very specific group of people.

What crazy need do you have that has yet to be filled? Perhaps that’s the source of your next online business? If a business based on people who can’t fit their hand inside a Pringles tin can be successful, so can yours! Go for it.