This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Three Unlikely Small Business Success Stories

BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- Some of the best business ideas are borne of the notion that "it's so crazy, it just might work."

Who would have predicted the success of Zhu Zhu Pets? These hot toys of the 2009 holiday season, created by the small toymaker Cepia, have their own application on Apple's (AAPL) iPhone. A Zhu Zhu Pets game for the Nintendo DS is due out this spring.

Dr. Sanford Siegal pioneered a diet based on special cookies.

Here are three of our favorite success stories from entrepreneurs who took a chance on seemingly strange ideas.

The average salary in journalism is $41,000, according to This may be why it may sound nuts to target journalists as a potential source of revenue. But that's what Laurel Touby did with, which hosts parties and offers job-hunting services, classes and advice to more than 850,000 media professionals. In 2007, she sold the company to Jupitermedia (now WebMediaBrands (WEBM)) for $23 million.

What began in 1994 as a series of informal gatherings for Touby's writer friends quickly bloomed into a word-of-mouth community. In 1996 she launched the Web site after forming focus groups to find out what the community wanted in an industry resource center.

"I basically listened to the customer, and in that way extracted money out of people who you would think had no money," she says.

The organization still relies on a model of "party marketing," a term Touby coined. "Nobody's going to open an e-mail that says, 'buy my product,'" Touby says, which is why sends e-mails with "Come to our party" in the subject line. The messages lead with party information but end with a plug for upcoming classes, which cost up to $499.

Dr. Siegal's Cookie Diet

"It was quite clear to me that hunger could be controlled by foods, but specific foods were more effective than others," says Dr. Sanford Siegal, who in the 1970s pioneered his seemingly contradictory diet in which patients lose weight by eating specially formulated cookies. "Cookies are popular, people like them, and they're also portable."
1 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
AAPL $94.19 -1.04%
FB $118.06 0.54%
GOOG $695.70 0.48%
TSLA $222.56 -4.20%
YHOO $36.00 -0.03%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,651.26 -99.65 -0.56%
S&P 500 2,051.12 -12.25 -0.59%
NASDAQ 4,725.6390 -37.5850 -0.79%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs