Product Name

Products and Services

GovSquare is mandatory social network that you are added to when you receive your drivers license at 16. When you receive a speeding ticket or felony, your I.D. is scanned and the citation shows up on your GovSquare profile. Depending on how many crimes you commit, you can earn special badges:

  • 2 DUI’s in 5 years? : “Take away the keys “ badge
  • 3 misdemeanors or felonies on one street? : “King of the block” badge
  • Accomplice to a crime? : “I’m with stupid” badge
  • Going to a federal penitentiary? : “Don’t drop the soap” badge
  • Resisting arrest?

resisting arrest

Each time you interact with the Government, it is recorded on your profile for your friends to see. So don’t worry about your neighbors gossiping about your run-ins with the law; the Government does it for you! If that is not enough you can share your criminal record with your friends and they can comment on your belligerence!

To achieve real thug status, other citizens can post reviews of your civil behavior and rate you on a scale of 1 (the perfect citizen) to 10 (maybe you should move to Delaware).

Similar to location-based social media like Foursquare and Gowalla, GovSquare also gives you (and the Government) the ability to “check-in.”

  • Ex. “Alan, Doug, and Stu just checked in to the Las Vegas Police Dept. for stealing a cop car… and a tiger.”

What about the cops who give you tickets and arrested you? With Govsquare you can follow their activity and see who they’re arresting in real time. Don’t forget to give them a “poke!”

What are customers saying about your product/service?

“When we told the government we wanted transparency this wasn’t exactly what we had in mind… but at least we get sweet Internet badges!”


What type of people would use this?

The service is free but it will be most used by felons, teen-angst mischief makers, little old ladies, and your everyday thug.

How will you compare with the competition? What makes you unique?

The government crushes all competition. If you try to compete, the government will make social media app to invade your privacy and humiliate you.

Industry and Distribution

Describe your industry

The location-based application market is exploding. Apps like Foursquare, Gowalla, and Facebook Places are poised to connect tech-savvy citizens to businesses and now… the government.

How will your products and services be sold?

In order to keep up with government inefficiency, all Govsquare accounts must be set up at the Department of Licensing. (Imagine the wait times when middle-aged government employees try to teach citizens how to use social media)

Why is this a Terrible Business Idea?

Although many crimes are public information, putting everyone’s criminal record on the internet would be an extreme invasion of privacy. The Patriot Act would look like the post-it note compare to GovSquare.

We must also remember that inefficiency, budget deficits, and political positioning make almost every government program a terrible business idea…

no matter how cool a “don’t tase me bro” badge would be. :)

Washboard Abs Laundry Services

Submitted by Ryan Rotz
with special help from Amy C. and Ali S.

Product Name
Washboard Abs Laundry Services

Quick summary of terrible business idea
Do you enjoy long, often socially awkward glances at attractive man-abs?
Do you have dirty laundry? (The real kind, not the kind with emotional baggage)
Are you short on time and sick of laundromats?

Give Washboard Abs Laundry Services a call. We’ll pick up your laundry, hand-wash it on our hunky dreamboat employees’ sculpted washboard abs, dry it with our patented palm-frond-fanning technique, and return it to you… with passion and appreciation for you and your feelings.

Products and Services

Washboard Abs Laundry Services (WALS) is an upscale, boutique laundry service offering pickup and drop off service. Clothes are first rinsed in a babbling brook, then transferred to the “Suds and Studs” pool where muscular men in European swimsuits wash dirty laundry by scrubbing it on their soapy sculpted stomachs.

For those with a little extra cash, premium services are available. Our “Comfort Service” gives customers the opportunity to ogle their laundry be washed and dried while reclining in a leather armchair. Mixed drinks and massages are also provided (just ring the bell).

The “Action Service” gives customers the option to participate in the “Suds and Studs” washing pool (to make sure their clothes are being properly washed, of course…) R&B music is also provided upon request (This is very popular).

When the garments are clean, they are released to the drying garden, where another team of shirtless hunks dry the clothes by waving large palm fronds in their general direction.

When the drying ceremony is complete, the clothes are returned to the customer with chocolates, flowers, and handwritten notes from our men on how beautiful, hard working, and appreciated you are for simply… “Being you.”

What does this look like?

We try to keep things PG around here. Use your imagination.

Is this eco-friendly?

Absolutely. Zero electricity is used to wash and dry the clothes. We use 100% man-power.

Is there a warranty?

If customers aren’t 100% satisfied, they are lying.

Even so, we will go above and beyond if necessary. Using our network of attractive retired football players, we will send one of them on a white horse to show up at the disgruntled customer’s doorstep with a handful of diamonds or two tickets to your favorite show, whichever is more expensive.

What are customers saying about your product/service?

“Never before have I received a load of love with my load of laundry.”

“Try the Premium services. It’s like Disney-Vegas-Oprah land. The R&B music was great too!”


Who would buy this?

Customers will be upper class women in their 40’s and 50’s who are looking for a little *ahem* in their life.


Using the same team of ex-football players, our white steeded men will make appearances at local grocery stores and community events. Advertisements will also run on television during soap opera’s, The Oprah Channel and Lifetime. As profitability increases, some of our employees may also find themselves on popular talk shows targeting our customer base. The steeds will also be in attendance. And the diamonds. Definitely the diamonds.


What equipment will you need?
old spice man with your laundry


What kind of employees will you need?

To keep costs low, most WALS employees are rejects and retirees. Couldn’t make it on Jersey Shore? Too old for the NFL? Pop too many pills in the MLB? Lost your swimming endorsements due to (allegedly) smoking illegal substances? WALS is for you!

Any special training or requirements?

Yes. Our men must spend 3 hours a day in the gym and 1 hour per day at the local animal shelter. They must have a positive relationship with their mother and tend to the community herb garden once a month. Exotic accents and overly conditioned hair is preferred.

Why is this a Terrible Business Idea?

Sorry ladies, but the caliber of employees necessary would require too high of a salary for the business to be sustainable.

Injuries would also be likely. Although the Suds and Studs pool would create quite a “stir,” employees would develop raw and overused stomach in a matter of hours (even with soothing R&B music).

In addition, this process would not produce thoroughly cleaned clothes. The clothes would be returned dirty and wrinkled, eliminating repeat customers. It’s a sad a terrible reality.

What do you think?
Would WALS fail? Or would you become a customer?
Leave your thoughts in a comment below!

Floppy disc car stereo

Product Name
Floppy Tunes

Tagline or catch-phrase
“Flop in some tunes and crank it old school!”

Quick summary of terrible business idea
A car stereo that plays audio files stored on floppy disks.


floppy disc car stereo

iPods are for hipsters. The indie crowd wants vintage. They want Floppy Tunes.

Installing a floppy tunes stereo in your car is just as easy as installing any other stereo. However, once installed, you have the ability to insert a floppy disk and listen to a song! Want to listen to another song? Just eject the disk and insert a new one! There is no limit to the number of floppy disks Floppy Tunes will read, as long as they aren’t broken.

Load your favorite songs onto floppy’s with our special Floppy Tunes software and USB adapter (sold separately)

Floppy Tunes stereos also play am/fm radio and have a functional clock!

How much will it cost?
At $50, this product is attainable by even the poorest of retro-geeks.

What are customers saying about your product/service?
“It’s inconvenient, expensive, and all of my friends laugh at me. On the bright side, it impressed the girl working at the used-clothing store enough to go out with me. Take that Steve Jobs!”

What type of people will buy it?

There are other vintage car stereos out there like and but they are much more expensive and targeted towards people who restore classic cars.

Reaching out to the indie community would best be done through

  • indie rock and indie fashion magazines
  • Sponsoring up and coming indie rockers who are gaining popularity through their influence online
  • Getting a popular indie rocker to use Floppy Tunes in a song, music video, or video blog
  • If “Pimp My Ride” ever comes back, getting floppy tunes into one of the “pimped” rides
  • Releasing the product to tech blogs like Wired and Engadget for review and uber-scrutiny

Industry & Distribution Channels
Floppy Tunes would be sold through car audio online-retailers like as well as websites that sell goofy gadgets.

Why is this a Terrible Business Idea?
The benefit of feeling original, retro, and cool would not outweigh the costs:


– Must buy extra hardware (USB floppy drive, floppy discs)

– Must store large quantities of floppy discs in your car

– Extra software

– Limited capabilities

– Can only play one song at a time – No iPod, CD player, Aux input

– Songs would be terrible quality (floppy discs only hold 1.44mb. Most Mp3s are 3-4 times that size and would need to be compressed, degrading the sound quality)

– Manufacturers are stopping their production of floppy discs

This idea is pretty much… a flop

Base Jumper Hoodie

Product Name

Tagline or catch-phrase
“You like jumping off of things. Now you can do it in a hooded sweatshirt”

Quick summary of terrible business idea
An average looking hooded sweatshirt that emits a parachute when the drawstrings are pulled.

The sweatshirt would be quite baggy to fit the parachute pack inside. There would be a crease going down the middle of the back, which could easily be broken (automatically) for the parachute to emerge. Pulling the normal-looking drawstrings would release the chute. For the full incognito effect, the harness that goes around your butt and groin would be (strapped on) under your pants.

What will it look like?

parachute hoodie

How much will it cost?
$2000, including the parachute and harnesses.

What are customers saying about your product/service?

“Until I pull the drawstrings, I’m just some guy jumping off of a building in a hooded sweatshirt. Everyone thinks I’m committing suicide. Surprise! I’m not.”

Basejumpers who like to jump in urban areas, basejumpers in general, skydivers, and probably a few “bros” who are trying to impress “the babes.”

There are multiple companies that make base jumping “containers” (aka backpacks) but none have incorporated them into clothing.  *Niche Alert*

I would start networking with the top base jumpers and get them to use the product, create videos, and distribute online. It would make a great viral video. Advertising on base jumping websites and perhaps partnering with other companies might also prove effective.

Generation X and Y are all about living in the present, living life to the fullest, carpe diem, whatever. With tools like Youtube, the base jumping industry will continue to see massive growth and exposure.

Why is this a Terrible Business Idea?
Good question. This could work right? In some form or another, yes. However, my fear is that some rich high school kid or marketing person who “desperately needs to make a viral video” will buy this product, jump off of a building, and in mid-air realize, “Uh oh, I think I grabbed the wrong sweatshirt…”

TBI #3 Panhandle Pro

Company Name

Panhandle Pro

Tagline or catch-phrase

Don’t beg harder, beg smarter!

Quick summary of terrible business idea

PHP is a network marketing company that provides a “tried and true” system for people like you and me, who want to earn a full-time income on a part-time basis in the massively expanding industry of panhandling.

Products and Services

Describe in detail your product or service

Panhandle Pro has two products serving two different groups of people:

1. Donors receive satisfaction and joy when they give money to our panhandlers.

2. For panhandlers, PHP provides an opportunity to earn money by helping other panhandlers. Introduce others to the PHP opportunity and training system, and as their income increases, you earn a percentage!

Training topics include:

  • Attire and make-up
  • Location
  • Time of day
  • Facial expressions
  • Posture
  • Sign construction and copywriting (font, content, length, etc)
  • Displaying your unique talents
  • Companions (animals, children, toys etc)

Is this a seasonal product? Will sales be affected by certain holidays?

We expect seasonal fluctuations, primarily during Christmas and Thanksgiving.


Who will your customers be?

Donors: Middle class men, traveling by foot or vehicle. They will be located in congested areas of middle-large sized cities.

Panhandlers: Current male and female panhandlers between 25 and 45 who are coherent and ambitious. This also includes people who have been unemployed for a while but do not qualify for unemployment compensation.

(This strategy is based on a Harvard University study of panhandlers)


What products and companies will compete with you?

Depending on the city, PHP could have problems with organized crime organizations (aka, “the mob”).

How will your products or services compare with the competition?

Network marketing has yet to break into this booming industry. This bacon is all for the taking!


What is your marketing strategy?

Network marketing is built on word-of-mouth. As panhandlers and homeless individuals congregate, PHPers will pique their interest and invite them to a “PHP Party” (not to be confused with a “PCP party”)

At the PHP Party, prospects will be enticed by free food, which will be provided after the PHP opportunity is presented.

Industry & Distribution Channels

Describe your industry.

In today’s economic climate, the panhandling industry is growing rapidly. More and more people are doing it… but they don’t know how.

To accomplish more, panhandlers must unite.

How do you sell your products or services?

Independent representatives.


Pay structure (salary, hourly, how much)

For recruiting and training new panhandlers, PHPer will receive a percentage of their trainees’ daily earnings. Depending on how many panhandlers are in your team, you could earn a 5-10% residual.

Growing your PHP team will also earn you promotions and bonuses.

Why is this a Terrible Business Idea?

Tracking revenue would be a nightmare. Since donations are usually in cash, I assume most panhandlers would rather pocket their money than give a share of it to their trainers and to Panhandle Pro. As a result, the people who recruit and train new panhandlers would not be compensated. Soon after, they would stop recruiting.

When people stop getting paid, they stop working.

When people stop working, companies fail.

TBI #1 Bible Burger

Submitted by Nate Hoover and Ryan Rotz

Product Name

Bible Burger

Tagline or catch phrase

“Because you can’t survive on bread alone”

* Quick summary of terrible business idea

Bible Burger is the ultimate religious dining experience. The atmosphere is Red-Robin-esque and features a menu where all items have Bible names (often puns). The waiters introduce themselves in the formal Jewish manor (i.e. “James, son of Zebeddee”) and murals of Bible scenes featuring food cover the walls.

“Would you like your Abrahamburger anointed with the 10 condiments?” Yes.

Menu:  (products and services)


Sadducee salt fries

Lord Cheese-us sampler (featuring Nebuchadchedder, matzah-rella, Gorgon-zealot, and Parme-John)

Forbidden fruit platter (customers will be notified that if they eat the forbidden fruit platter, they will surely die)



Philisteamed Vegetable



The Gentile (bacon burger)

Salvation Burger (3.16 pounds of fulfilling beef)

Mary Magda-lean burger (50% less fat)

Shadrach-of-Lamb Burger

Grilled Mel-cheese-adek Sandwich

Samson and Deli Sandwich

Ciaphish Tacos

The Good Shepard’s Pie

Ask about our Daily Bread special (M-F) and our Sabbath Special (Sat-Sun)!

Salad (“A bowl of vegetables with someone you love
 is better than steak with someone you hate.” Proverbs 15:17)

Gethsemane Garden

Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s


Denarii Cake (pound cake)

Banana Manna Split

Burned (Offering) Ice Cream

Virgin Mary-ion Berry Pie

Kids Menu

5 fish and 2 loaves of bread (fish and chips)

Ye of little faith burger

Family Orders (6 or more people)

12 Tribes of Israel-y good food

The Last Supper

David and Goliath  (one large burger and one small burger)


Moses Merlot  (Red Wine)

White Zerubbabel  (White Wine)

12 Beer-shebas on tap including Pale Ale-lijah

Samaritan wells including Soda and Gomor-Rum (Rum and Coke)

Holy and Unholy Spirits (clear and dark spirits)

* Your meal starts with a basket of Manna (bread) and is concluded with complementary communion elements. Leave a generous tip and you may substitute your grape juice for wine!

** For orders under $10, please Barna-bus your own table.

Please don’t overeat. Gluttony is sinful and will add 10% to your bill.

Is this a seasonal product? Will sales be affected by certain holidays?

Bible Burger would loosely follow the church calendar, including Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, and so forth. This would include decorations, events, entertainment, and special foods. Sales are expected to increase dramatically during these holidays.

What are customers saying about your product/service? (Feel free to make up a fake quote)

“If Christ is the bread of life I sure hope he tastes like Bible Burger.”


Who will your customers be?

Families with children (middle school or younger), middle class, Christian or Catholic. Depending on location, college students will also be a huge market.


What products and companies will compete with you?

Other low to mid-price sit-down restaurants.  Red Robin, Chili’s, Denny’s, Sherries, etc.

How will your products or services compare with the competition? What makes you unique?

We are extremely, over the top, Bible-Themed. Customers come to Bible Burger for the experience.


What is your marketing strategy?

– Local radio and video commercials, mail-order coupons, local sports team sponsorships. We would also try and get on TV and in major publications and newspapers because our niche is so extreme.

– Receipts will say, “don’t let this be your ‘last supper’ at Bible Burger. Come back again soon!

Discounts would also be offered to create buzz and maximize profits:

– Discounts for memorizing the weekly Bible verse.

– Do the “David Dance” (dance naked) when you order by phone and get a discount (2nd Samuel 6:14-23).

– Double Copper Coin discount (Senior Discount)

– True Religion Discount (If you can prove you’re a widow or orphan, you eat for free!) James 1:27

Business Location

Where will you set up shop and what will it look like?

– Cities that have prominent Christian colleges like Wheaton, Liberty, Biola, Fuller, and Regent.

– Bright colors, murals of Bible scenes involving food (Jesus feeding 5000, last supper, eating wheat on the Sabbath).

– As you walk in a statue of Moses raising his staff will greet you. To get to the lobby you will walk through the red sea, with it’s waves parted on either side of you.


High school students will be recruited from youth groups but everyone will be encouraged to apply, regardless of religious affiliation. The main requirements for employees will be a sense of humor, amiability, and a willingness to learn a little about the Bible. However, if feasible, restaurant managers must be Christians in order to keep the Bible Burger brand and mission consistent.

All employees would be addressed in the formal Jewish manor. Instead of “(first name), (last name)” it would be “(first name), son of (father’s name).”

-ex. “Andrew, son of Todd, may I have some more Manna please?”

Wrap Up

* Why is this a Terrible Business Idea?

Here are a few problems I see:

-There could be a lot of backlash from the “religious” community (aka. Christians with no sense of humor). Some smaller communities may even protest or boycott the restaurant, claiming it is sacrilegious.

– We could be overestimating how many families/college students would want to come to Bible Burger. A considerable amount of research would need to be done in order to find the best possible location(s).

– Maintaining the brand image would be very difficult. From a business standpoint, Bible Burger isn’t the worst idea out there, but from a spiritual standpoint, with the wrong company leadership a lot of customers and employees could be misled about Christianity, the Bible, and Jesus.

Copyright © 2007 Terrible Business Ideas. All rights reserved.