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Bad Business Idea Of The Week #2 “The Cow Hat”


Welcome to the Bad Business Idea of the Week, where you can find inspiration from some of the worst and most ridiculous business ideas out there.

Each week, we’ll analyse a pretty awful business idea that either failed miserably or succeeded beyond expectations. Additionally, we will introduce a fresh suggestion from the Virtual HQ team (mainly from our MD who clearly has nothing better to do). Anyway..

We all have crazy business ideas that we’ve thought could make us millions, but sometimes those ideas are just plain stupid. However, some entrepreneurs still go ahead and try to turn their absurd ideas into successful business ventures. Even big businesses miss the mark sometimes.

Bic for Her Pens

In 2012, Bic released a line of pens “for her”. The product was marketed with the tagline, “designed to fit a woman’s hand,” with pastel colours made specifically for the female demographic. The idea was met with massive backlash from the public, who saw the concept as sexist and unnecessary. The product flopped, and the company was left with a stockpile of unsold pens.

Bic for her pens

Lesson learned: just because you think your product will appeal to a certain demographic doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Do your research.

Unlike the mistake made by Bic above, this idea is a real winner.

New Product – The Cow Hat

Category: B2B + a little B2C(ow)

Product/Service: Product

Annual Market Size: UK market – Beef £9.6 billion (source), UK Dairy Industry £9.2 billion (source)

Main Competition: Cow Enthusiasts

Main Drawbacks: Figuring out how the device is powered, Solar in UK weather? Or Methane.

Chance of success: 80/1000

So what is the Cow Hat® I hear you ask?

To be frank, the name “Cow Hat” simply fails to capture the true essence of this remarkable device. Its multifunctionality has a profound impact on the well-being of our bovine friends, resulting in not only better meat (source) but also a higher quality of milk (source). And let’s not forget the added bonus for consumers: who doesn’t appreciate the joy of a contented cow?

Alright, let’s get down to business. Have you ever witnessed a cow during summertime? They are often tormented by pesky flies buzzing around their heads, landing on them, and causing annoyance. This persistent irritation is likely to result in the cows feeling unhappy, potentially affecting the quality of their milk and causing their meat to be tough and less desirable. (No source for this assumption, just a guess)

The Cow Hat solves this problem.

This device sits on the cows head, and spins (not helicopter blade speed, think more gentle carousel), the spinning has two main benefits:

  • It keeps the flies away = a happier cow
  • Creates a nice subtle breeze, keeping the cow cool = a happier cow

What does it look like?

cow hat blue print

Some early prototype design drawings.

solar powered cow hat

Variations of the full-size cow hat, this larger version keeps away flies, bats, people and evil spirits.

Solar Powered Variant – the ‘mop’ part should be longer

How is it powered?

There are two main options here.

  • Solar power is an option worth considering, although the unpredictable UK weather poses a challenge. As we strive for a greener future, solar panels emerge as the obvious choice. Flies are of course at their worst when the sun is out and it’s hot, and as the solar panels will perform most effectively during this time, this could be a match made in heaven. However, we must carefully determine the optimal size of the panel to ensure device effectiveness and cow comfort. Naturally, a large solar panel would be impractical.

  • Methane Powered – So cows emit methane, which is well known (Source) – Rather than condemning them for their uncontrollable emissions, why not harness their superpower to fuel the Cow Hat? It turns out that just 1 m3 of methane can produce 10 kWh, more than enough to power the fan component of the device. While our extensive scientific research has now addressed this aspect, the primary challenge lies in attaching the necessary piping, microturbine, and other components to the cow in question. The joy derived from the Cow Hat may unfortunately be overshadowed by the scaffolding required to accommodate this power source. Clearly, the involvement of scientists and engineers is crucial to further refine this concept.

methan udders

Who will buy it?

Farmers who both love their cows and love money. In return, the public can contribute by consciously purchasing milk and meat products adorned with the soon-to-be renowned ‘red fan’ logo. The investment made by farmers in these measures would undoubtedly be recuperated by offering premium quality meat and milk. It’s a no-brainer.

red cow logo

How does it compare to similar products?

Well, let’s be honest it doesn’t really, and that’s because we’ve found a gap in the (cattle) market. There is currently nothing out there that holds a candle to this genius (and borderline insane) idea. According to Farmers Weekly, the only options available to our bovine buddies are insecticides, and whilst they may be effective they don’t have the cool factor the Cow Hat has. Yes, our option may be more expensive, and yes it may not have actually been proven to work at all, and yes we know absolutely nothing about cows… I’ve forgotten the point. Oh, BUT it’s guaranteed to put a smile on the face of a grumpy farmer who’s been up since 4 am and make your cows the envy of even Old Macdonald himself.

Cow Hat Reviews

“The Cow Hat would bring much joy to my herd. Finally, I can rest peacefully at night, knowing that our beloved cows are protected from the bothersome advances of flies,” unknown farmer.

“Honestly, it would be advisable to invest your time and money in more worthwhile pursuits.” – unknown farmer who we don’t like.


While taking risks in business is crucial, it is equally important to ensure that these risks are well-calculated. Don’t hesitate to pursue your business ideas, but ensure that they have the potential for success. For those smart and adventurous enough to invest in the incredible Cow Hat technology, we wish you well (and demand 50% of the company once it’s paid its initial debts). In return, we will provide a complimentary virtual office of your choice! A serene rural-based setting would be ideal.

Alexandra handles all things marketing here at Virtual HQ

Alexandra O'Hagan

Marketing Executive

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