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Funny Business: Seven Ideas to Beat the Crisis

By and Cathrin Schaer

Times are tough. But not so tough, as it turns out, that you can't make a buck. From bovine meditation to organic bird buffets, SPIEGEL ONLINE brings you seven strange business ideas that should never have worked -- but did.

The German economy isn't what it used to be. Just this week, it was announced that the economy didn't grow at all during the fourth quarter of 2009, leading many to fear that the country might have to wait a while longer to recover from the economic downturn.

Even worse, the European common currency, the euro, is in turmoil as speculators continue to try and profit from Greek budgetary woes. The currency has fallen substantially against the dollar in recent weeks and there are fears that it could continue to plummet. Indeed, things have gotten so bad that a Greek consumer group has called for a boycott of German products, as a result of criticism from Germany -- most particularly in the form of a tasteless cover from the newsmagazine Focus -- of Greece's financial practices.

But while many would prefer to stick their heads in the sand and wait out the crisis, there are those who prefer to confront uncertainty with ingenuity. If you've got the right idea, now might just be the time to start up your own business. Why not begin baking specialty products for pets? Or start a travel agency for stuffed animals? Meditation with farm animals is certainly also a good opportunity for instant profits. After all, a bit of time in the stall is sure to calm the nerves of today's stressed out managers.

For those who think they might have a good business idea, but are too shy to try, SPIEGEL ONLINE brings you some inspiration -- in the form of seven business concepts that never should have found success, but did.

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