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There’s a lot of pressure on new startups to produce a universally in-demand, world-changing product, but sometimes the best business ideas are those that make a big difference to one small market!

Here at Daltonsbusiness.com, we scoured locally, the British Isles, for some of the most unusual small businesses in operation, and compiled a list of businesses which we feel deserve a shout out.

These businesses aren’t necessarily household names, but they’re well known to their specific small group of customers.  We’ve create this short list to get you thinking outside of the box – it isn’t necessarily your common, run of the mill businesses that may be the right fit for YOU. We’re big on following your passion to see where it takes you, the players below have followed theirs. 

Ivory Graphics, Cambridgeshire: Personalised Playing Cards

This long-established business in Cambridgeshire is a custom printer with a difference: it specialises in the printing of custom playing cards.

Rather than focusing on more traditional custom print offerings such as business cards, clothing and greetings cards, this business offers its customers the opportunity to create their own poker sets, tarot cards and trump cards. Over the past 20 years, this business has grown in its niche and now supplies its products to some of the UK’s biggest blue chip companies.


House of Marbles, Devon: Marble Museum and Glassworks

A short distance from the Dartmoor National Park, this glassworks business has, over the past 3 decades, developed a very specific offering unlike anything else in the UK.

Originally set up as a bolt-on to a glass manufacturer, the House of Marbles Marble Museum in Devon, South West England holds a globally-renowned collection of marble runs (including the UK’s largest) and a games garden with a giant floating marble.

At first glance, a business dedicated to marbles might not sound like a very lucrative idea, but the museum has over the years remained dedicated to its niche, and has put a lot of energy into continually improving its offering. Today, it is one of south west England’s most popular tourist attractions.


Fluro Shell, Surrey: Road Safety Accessories for Kids

Still in its first year of trading, Fluro Shell Ltd specialises in the production of high-visibility bag covers and hats to ensure that children can be seen when walking home from school in the dark British winters.

Rather than aiming to offer the same sensible styles seen in adults’ reflective apparel, these fetching kid-friendly designs are designed to appeal to the next generation.


Pillowtalk Training, Gloucestershire: Hospitality Training for Small Businesses

It takes years to learn all there is to know about the hospitality business. Hospitality management can of course be studied as an academic discipline at University, and many large chain hotels have their own in-depth staff training programmes, but for owners of small B&B or holiday let businesses, a lot of the learning is on-the-job.

This is a gap in the market that experienced owners Ken & Paula Hartley have tried to answer with their business, Pillowtalk Training. The business specialises in teaching prospective B&B or holiday let business owners everything they need to know about running their own hospitality business, covering everything from UK law to advertising and marketing to the day-to-day practicalities of running a business.


UrbanCrazy, Hertfordshire: Minigolf Installation Experts 

Since 2002, this innovative British company has led the way in the installation and hire of permanent and portable minigolf courses.

Co-founded by British Minigolf Champion Jon Angel back in 2002, this collective of product designers and minigolf fanatics has carved out a niche in the UK market, installing minigolf pitches in a variety of locations such as castle grounds, country parks, and even suburban gardens!


These businesses are all wildly different, and exist in a variety of sectors, serving a variety of customers, but they have one central attribute in common which makes their business work. None of these businesses are aiming to be the biggest in their industry; they’re aiming to be the best in their niche.

Follow your passion, find your niche locally.  Nothing is *too* crazy to work, provided there’s a market for it and motivation to make it work.  As always validate, research and execute with caution, inspiration and above all strategy!

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