4 Startup Ideas You Must Abandon Immediately

bad startup ideas abandon don't start these business models

When everything’s going well, owning your own business is great. You pay yourself whatever you feel like you deserve to take home, you can set your own hours, and you can take leave whenever you want. If all of those things apply to you, you’ve truly made it, and you’re living the dream. We’ll bet it took a long, long time to get there, though. 

The truth is that no matter how good your startup business idea might be, it could fail just as easily as it could succeed. Luck may not go your way. The wrong thing could happen and the wrong time when your company is too small or too young to deal with it, and it could sink your whole ship. In those first few months or years, startups fly by the seat of their pants, and the people in charge of them live on the edge. Secretly, some of the people now running multi-million dollar companies would give anything just to go back in time to those days just for 24 hours to experience the sheer white-knuckle thrill of it. 

Not everyone has the nerve for a white-knuckle ride, but we should remember that the majority of people who start businesses are gamblers, just as surely as all the people who play online slots are gamblers. If you weren't a gambler, you'd take a steady and secure job working for someone else, and bank your cash each month. Instead, you spend it on backing yourself for the same reason an online slots player keeps betting on the next spin - you believe that something good is coming your way. In fact, online slots would make a great business idea if you can find a way into the industry - it's one of the fastest-growing in the world right now. This article isn't about businesses to get involved in, though. It's about businesses to avoid. 

As we said a short while ago, there’s no such thing as a bullet-proof business plan. Things can and do go wrong, and even the best-laid plans can fall through. That being said, if you’re considering going into business for yourself in the near future, these are the ideas you should avoid. 

1. Hair And Beauty 

This market isn't just crowded; it's Tokyo subway crowded. It's 'there's no space inside this room, and everyone is going to suffocate to death' crowded. We understand the temptation that exists to get involved in hair, beauty, and makeup when you have people like the Huffington Post claiming that beauty bloggers are more powerful than A-list celebrities, but they're the exception, not the rule. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that there are a thousand YouTube beauty channels, and that's without even thinking about the conventional end of the market. The top firms spend billions of dollars on marketing and advertising. Even if your idea is revolutionary, as a startup, your budget won't even give you a foot in the door to tell anyone about it. Every celebrity who rolls through town gets their own hair, beauty, and makeup range, and every time it happens, it will go ahead of yours in the queue. This industry is saturated, and any attempt to get involved in it as an unknown will end in failure. 

2. Health Foods And Products 

You could re-read everything we just said about hair and beauty, and almost all of it would apply to the health foods and products market. Every angle on this has been tried from super-foods to juicing, and there’s increasing evidence that the public is finally wising up to the fact that no amount of blended fruits or magnesium tablets is going to help them lose twenty pounds in three weeks. Fad diets are on their way out, not in, and there’s a cynicism about anyone who claims to have a brand new idea for a health food product even if they’re telling the truth. The turning point in this market was probably the collapse of Juicero within less than eighteen months of its launch, and ever since then, the trend has been a downward one. If you get involved in the health foods and products industry, you'll be jumping into a burning building. 

3. Any Business That Doesn’t Solve A Problem 

One of the most common mistakes people make when it comes to opening a business is trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. All successful businesses have solved existing problems. Netflix solved the problem of having to leave the house or wait for the mail to rent videos and movies. Amazon solved the issue of having to wait days to receive anything that’s been ordered for delivery. Domino’s solved the problem of having nothing in the house to cook. What problem does your business solve? How will it make life better for the average person? What does it do that nobody else is doing at the moment, or failing that, what does it do that’s better than anyone else working in the same sector does? If you can’t answer those questions, you don’t have a business worth launching. 

4. Any Business That Fails The Elevator Pitch Test 

If you haven't come across the theory of elevator pitches before, you should take the time to read up on them - they're enormously useful. Simply put, an elevator pitch is a way of explaining what you do for a living and also making someone interested in buying from you or doing business with you - all in the time it would take for an elevator to take you from one floor to the next. In practice, an elevator pitch takes around thirty seconds. If you can't clearly explain what your company does, why you're good at it, and why your prospective customer should buy from you within thirty seconds, your business idea is either too complicated or too niche. Go back to the drawing board and start again. 


As with all things, there will be exceptions to these rules. There might be an incredible brand new health or beauty brand or product to appear in the next few years. You might be able to operate a healthy business within a niche. You might succeed in any of the areas that we've identified - but you'll be doing it against the odds. Thousands of startup businesses fail every year, and you don't want to be among them. Avoid the areas we've outlined above, and you'll be improving your chances.

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