Say you’re thinking of launching a side business to make some extra income. Or perhaps you’re sick of your day job, and you’re ready to put your entrepreneurial skills to the test and turn a passion project into a lucrative profession. Before you build a road map for your business, you need an idea that’s both popular and profitable. To help you jump-start your search and get started, use these pro tips and discover small business ideas well-suited for a variety of aspiring entrepreneurs.
Here’s how to determine the type of small business that’s right for you:
— Brainstorm, based on your passions and skills.
— Consider your resources.
— Determine whether your idea will match your aspirations and meet your goals.
Depending on your interests, experience and what you’re looking to get out of the business, there are plenty of side business concepts to consider. Read on for strategies to ensure your small business idea is a success and the right fit for you.
[Read: Best Small Business Apps.]
Brainstorm, Based on Your Passions and Skills
Before you browse a list of potential business opportunities, ask yourself: “What do you do best?” suggests Susan Petang, a certified stress management and life transformation coach in Amityville, New York. “Make a list of the talents and skills at which you excel.”
She also suggests thinking about your business skills. She recommends asking yourself the following questions: “How well-versed in marketing, sales, accounting and so on are you? If you don’t have the necessary business skills, what resources can you access to either learn or get expert help?”
Consider Your Resources
If you want to decide to open restaurant, for example, you’re going to need capital, permits, licenses, equipment and a food supplier. While none of these obstacles may prohibit you from opening a business, remember it will take time, planning and a well-laid-out business plan to get your company off the ground.
You may, instead, want to try a business that you can run from home to keep costs low, “especially businesses focused on marketing intellectual property or soft skills,” says Shel Horowitz, a Hadley, Massachusetts-based business coach who specializes in eco-friendly practices and is the author of numerous books, including “Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World.”
“I started my own business — in 1981– for $200, $176 of which went to buy a used IBM Selectric typewriter. I spent $12 each on initial marketing and the first batch of office supplies,” Horowitz says. “These days, when almost every household already has a computer and internet connection and surplus computers are easy to find, you could start a business with zero capital.”
Determine Whether Your Idea Will Match Your Aspirations and Meet Your Goals
Once you’ve decided to take the leap and start a business, you may want to talk to a business coach or seek out a meeting with somebody from SCORE, a national nonprofit organization that offers free business mentoring services to aspiring and established business owners. You might also want to look into hiring a business coach or heed the advice of Nikki Nash, a business coach. Whenever she talks to entrepreneurs about a business idea, Nash suggests that they ask themselves three questions: Can I see myself doing this for at least three to five years? What would need to happen over the next three to five years for my business to succeed, and do I think it will happen? Am I willing to do the work? “If someone can answer yes to all of their questions, then they have an idea worth exploring,” she says.
Whether you’re seeking work-from-home opportunities, a part-time business or to begin another endeavor, there are plenty of small-business ideas to pique your interest. We’ve pinpointed some ideal opportunities as a starting point to help guide your search.
If you’re really good with your hands, consider the following small-business ideas:
General handyman type of work. If you have the tools, launching a side hustle as a handyman can be a relatively easy business to start. The only snag: You’ll want to become licensed and insured to protect yourself if something goes wrong.
Carpentry. You can make good money with a carpentry business, if you know what you’re doing. That said, the work can be dangerous, so you would need to invest in good insurance.
An appliance repair business. Like other startups, you can charge what the market bears. The only limitation: Appliances are increasingly becoming computerized and wireless. Plus, you’ll likely want to invest in insurance to offset potential injury and damages costs.
If you’re really good with computers and tech, consider the following small-business ideas:
Coding. As the artificial intelligence industry continues to heat up, the demand for coders is likely to continue. Plus, you can easily start a coding business from home. The only con: You may be sitting at your desk all day, which can take a toll on your health.
Computer repair. While you’ll likely have minimal startup costs, computers and devices change so quickly, you may have to spend a lot to take classes or seminars and stay caught up and keep your skills fresh.
Web design. A web design company comes with the bonus of minimal startup costs and the opportunity to work remotely or from home. The only drawback: You may face steep competition in a saturated marketplace.
If you’re a talented chef, consider the following small-business ideas:
A catering business. While you would have the advantage of being your own boss, you’ll need to get licensed and insured, and you may have expensive startup costs.
Making your own line of food. Starting your own line of food is expensive and time-consuming, so you’ll likely want to start small, with steps like bringing your branded cuisine to festivals or a local farmers market. However, if you build your exposure, you may be able to find a company that will help package your food and turn a profit.
Opening a restaurant. Starting your own restaurant is no easy feat. Some obstacles in the beginning stages of getting your business off the ground include learning how to market your restaurant and complete payroll, establishing a loyal customer base, investing in equipment and handling health department regulations. Another barrier: It’s a demanding profession, and you may be working a lot of nights and weekends.
If you want to work from home, consider the following small-business ideas:
Day care provider. While you’ll need your home zoned for a commercial business and get insured, on the plus side, you’ll get to work with kids and be your own boss. Best of all, you may be providing a valuable resource to your local community if there is a high demand for child care services and facilities.
Tax preparation or bookkeeping. On the upside, bookkeeping requires low overhead and startup costs. However, you’ll need to take key steps to ensure that your business is hack-proof and protected from identity thieves.
Any online business that you can run from your home. Operating a business from home comes with low overhead costs, but keep in mind that you’ll still need to invest time and energy to build a client base and establish your brand. And, if you’re planning to sell products such as baked goods, photography or antiques, you’ll need a place to keep your inventory.
A small-scale real estate agency. Building a client base can be tough at the start. You’ll have to invest heavily in marketing, create a web presence and convince people to drop their agents. Plus, you’ll need to get licensed to know the ins and outs of deeds, title insurance and liens.
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