What The Onion can teach you about coming up with new business ideas

by Carl Natale on September 9, 2010

Rent this pacifier

Photo by yoshimov, on Flickr

I know it’s The Onion. It’s satire. But I say they’re onto something.

Hoping to win the business of those who just need to get out of the house for a while and clear their heads, the Hertz Corporation unveiled a new service Monday that allows customers to rent a car for as briefly as five minutes.

via Hertz Introduces Short-Term Rental For Just Driving Around To Clear Head | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source.

OK, maybe it’s not a great way to make money. I say the biggest barrier is the hassle of renting not the cost. But there may be a business in taking a need that no one else wants to address. Of course this sounds like Zip Cars.

But take a tool (the car) and see how people use it (clearing their heads). Build a business around that niche. Now think outside the car. Can you adapt other tools or business models to address a niche?

What if someone invented an amnesia-inducing drug and put it in an alcoholic drug. I don’t know if I just created a new beer for people who wanted to forget their troubles or a new Onion piece.

But if someone launches a short-term car rental business for putting the baby to sleep, they’re going to clean up.

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