5 Businesses You Can Start Today
There are many businesses you can start that don’t require a college degree or tons of start-up cash. I wanted to list 5 of my favorite ideas from this article on Forbes to inspire those of you who are thinking of starting your own business. Perhaps you feel that being a business owner is out of your reach. It really isn’t!
The key is to find something that people need and then fulfill the need. If I was starting a new business today I would select one of these 5 ideas. I see an opening for all of them in today’s economy, and they don’t require a lot of startup money or ongoing expenses. All you need is common sense, some people skills and a solid decision to do it.
Business networking services.
Description: There are many people looking for a boost in their own small business. You can organize small after-hours mixers at a local hotel or restaurant, and advertise them on a regular basis. Pick one business-owner to be the “speaker” for the night. Give each attending business an opportunity to be the speaker at the next event. You can host several different events in different locales in your metro area, so you can stay busy with a different event every night.
Revenue generation: Admission fee from all who attend. Offer a discount to those who leave their business card so you can build a mailing list.
Tools needed: Computer, Internet, simple website with events calendar + email database, Constant Contact for emailing those on your list about upcoming events.
Possible costs: Space rental fees and insurance. Note that many local restaurants are happy to accommodate a reserved group in the bar area for free, in hopes that people will make use of their cash bar.
Description: If you have strong organizational and time management skills, you can help other small businesses on a part-time basis to get things done. Many small businesses need help, but can’t afford a full time assistant. You can do anything from helping with travel arrangements, managing databases of information, online posting, or scheduling appointments. All of this can be done “virtually” or in other words, from your own home outside their office. You can service several clients at once on a part-time basis, making it into full-time work for you.
Revenue generation: fees you charge on a project basis starting from $25-$40 per hour. Keep excellent records of time spent for each client who hires you.
Tools needed: Computer, high-speed Internet, simple website making it easy for businesses to hire you, phone, fax/printer/scanner and other office software.
I admit, this one is my favorite. According to Multi Briefs, the pet industry is booming in the 2015 economy.
Description: A huge pet-services culture has emerged, especially among families with higher than average incomes. There is an attitude of "pet parenting". Pet lovers are in need of doggie day care, occasional overnight pet-sitting, transportation to/from the vet, grooming, walking and entertainment. Pet owners also need help with matching the perfect pet to their family, locating lost pets, pet training, pet advice, and pet re-homing services. There is also a huge pet clothing market, starting with sweaters and booties for dogs, Halloween costumes, and dress-up for almost every holiday and special occasion. I once saw a dog dressed up to be a bridesmaid (yes, really).
I recently saw a video of an awesome pet sitter idea which inspired me. A 20-something man has made a very profitable business with in-home pet sitting for clients who travel. During the pet-sitter’s stay, he has an associate follow him with a video camera for a few minutes each day while he does fun and crazy stuff with the dog, like bouncing on the bed, playing ball, walking, romping, and riding in the car with the dog’s nose out the window. He even takes the dog to a dog park and indoor dog gym to play. He then presents the fun-filled video, edited with music, to the client when they return from their trip. The owner loves seeing how much fun their dog had while they were away, and will usually post the video on Facebook for their friends to see. The business-owner also posts his videos on his own website. Some of his videos go viral because everyone loves fun, silly dog-romping videos. An ingenious marketing, and client-pleasing, idea!
Revenue generation: depends on the service. Charge by the day for daycare and pet sitting. Charge per project for pet matching and re-homing services.
Tools needed: Computer, Internet, website where you can post videos, larger vehicle, travel crates, and basic pet supplies. You must love and respect people and their pets.
Description: deliver hard-copy materials and packages to homes and businesses.
Revenue generation: $45-50 per delivery (add a surcharge for rush jobs).
Tools needed: a fuel-efficient car or bike (or employees with cars, bikes), a website for people to book your service, computer, Internet.
Description: Buy or consign used clothing and other products, clean them up and sell them in a fun and inviting setting.
Revenue generation: retail sales.
Tools needed: retail space in a popular shopping area, display cases and racks (get these from a used-retail warehouse), merchant account, website for people to find you, computer, Internet, and cash register.
Any of these 5 businesses would be a relatively easy startup with a low initial cash outlay. I wish you the best of luck in starting your new business!
Kristi Dittmann is Co-Owner and Webmaster at W3Now Web Design.
She has helped hundreds of small businesses get started.