Pets are a part of your family. They play with you, sleep in your bed and gleefully greet you after you’ve had a long day at work. Many pet owners are on the lookout for items to spoil their four-legged friends or that will make their pets’ lives easier.
Small businesses are great at serving their specific demographic. They zero on their exact needs and make people’s and pet’s lives easier, or weirder. If you can think of it, there’s probably someone who’s making a profit from it.
Here are just a few unique niche business ideas offering unique products and services for your furry family members.
1. Cat Cafes
We all know that spending time with animals is soothing. If you don’t have any yourself you can go to a business that does. Cat cafés, places where customers can sip tea and pet resident cats, have been popular in Taiwan and Japan for years – so much so that at some cat cafés, reservations are recommended on weekends.
The Calico Cat Cafe in Tokyo website, as you see, showcases its feline residents (website in Japanese but photos are “international”).
The first cat café to open in North America was the still-operating Le Café des Chats in Montreal, Canada in August, 2014. The first in the United States was the Cat Town Café opened in October 2014 in Oakland, California. Now there are cat cafés across the world! Is this the purr-fect pets niche business idea for you?
2. Cat Genie
Cats are capable of taking care of themselves for the most part, minus cleaning their litter boxes and getting fed (in some cases, however, they know how to break into that, too). But what if your cat could use a cat-size toilet? Dream no more.
The Cat Genie, is a full-size cat box that looks, and operates, similarly to a toilet. According to the site, Cat Genie is a full-size, automatic cat box that uses permanent Washable Granules. Unlike disposable cat litter, Cat Genie’s Washable Granules never need changing and are 100 percent dust-free, biodegradable and septic-safe. The self-cleaning product rids itself of liquid and solid cat waste without owners ever having to handle cat litter again.
If leaving your felines alone while you go off to work every day makes you sad, Kittyo might be just the thing you need. Cat owners can use the device and app to interact with their furry friends even when they’re not in the same room. The device, which retails for $249, allows users to speak to their cats, play with them, dispense treats to them and even watch what they do while the owners are gone.
The product works by connecting to a smartphone app, which in turn allows you to control the device from anywhere, as long as you’ve got an internet connection. You can use the device to shine a laser around the room for your cat to play with and record videos with a few taps on your screen. With Kittyo, you don’t have to work from home to play with your cat on your lunch break.
4. I want to Draw A Cat For You
The name pretty much sums up the business : This guy, Steve Gadlin, hand draws pictures of cats (fat, small, wearing hats, tap-dancing, etc), posts them online, and then sells them to people all over the world. He came up with this idea just for fun. But what started as a hobby, quickly turned into a real business with real revenues, almost overnight.
Results: drawing cats = getting paid
He sold more than 18,794 of these simple drawings in 5 years, before closing the site down to start other wacky businesses.
Just before he closed up shop, his cat drawing were selling for as much $29.50 each. Turns out, those “silly” drawings generated some pretty serious revenues with hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales.
Here’s a test that guarantees people will pay you for your niche business idea:
It is easy to sit around, come up with ideas, and imagine how much money we are going to make. But if you want to make your dream a reality, you need to test it. Just one test can save you months or years of effort going down the wrong path.
Here’s how to test a niche business idea in under 20 minutes to see if it’s worth pursuing:
Find 1 person — JUST ONE! — who might be interested in your idea.
You can reach out to this person via email or meet them face-to-face. If you’re not sure who’d be interested, ask ANYONE remotely close to the idea, even if it’s your parents. You’re not aiming for perfection right now, just people.
“Test” for language using this script:
“I’m thinking of starting some kind of website around [YOUR IDEA]. What’s the biggest problem around [YOUR IDEA]?”
Write down the exact language they use.
Did they really say, “I want a solution that’s easy, fast, and secure”? No, they did not. WRITE DOWN WHAT THEY ACTUALLY SAY. “I hate how these jeans look on me” is a terrific response. Why? Because when you create your product/solutions for this need in the market, you need to consider what people actually want. NOT what you think they want, but what they actually say they need.
This exercise will help you determine what they would be willing to pay for. Who knows, you might be a dog-drawing superstar? But you have to test it to find out.