What Makes a Business Idea Successful?


As I began to reflect on the topic of this blog post, the first thing that came to mind was the old expression “Necessity is the mother of Invention.” Before I looked it up online, I assumed it was a saying coined by Benjamin Franklin. (Either him or Frank Zappa).

Although Ben Franklin has been quoted as saying “Diligence is the mother of good luck,” it was the Greek philosopher Plato who came up with the quote about necessity. What I’d like to take a look at, though, is how that concept relates to the goal of creating a successful small business.

In many cases businesses become successful for the following reason: The owner(s) identified a need in the marketplace that was either unmet or inadequately served.

That brings to mind another well-known cliche: “Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door.”  Apparently that saying was inspired by the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, although in the original quote, no mention was actually made about mousetraps.

The essence of that quote boils down to a timeless truth about business success: If you can identify a widespread problem (or need) and solve it better than anyone else, then you’re in a strong position to achieve massive business success.

There’s more to it than just having a great business idea, though. Other parts of a success formula include factors like effective marketing, efficient manufacturing and distribution channels (if it’s a product), and strong company leadership.

Business success is elusive or short lived for many entrepreneurs because they’re more focused on making the most money in the shortest possible time, rather then channeling their energy and resources into producing superior quality products and providing outstanding service.

Small businesses that prioritize customer satisfaction often find themselves growing organically — by leaps and bounds — within a relatively short period of time. By delivering exceptional  value to customers on a consistent basis, quality-conscious entrepreneurs generate valuable repeat business, word of mouth advertising, a continuous stream of customer referrals, positive online reviews, and a reputation for being the best in the business or a preferred provider of services.

So contrary to the title of the 1961 Broadway musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, small business success usually hinges on meticulous planning, unwavering persistence, hard work, and a drive for continual improvement and innovation.

What Kind of Business Should I Start?

Many people are asking themselves that question, right now. Perhaps you’re one of them. A more detailed and revealing question to ponder is “What business would be a good match for my talents, skills, experience, interests, passions, temperament, and budget?”

50 business startup ideas: Here’s an assortment of 50+ possibilities to consider — some of which are low-cost business ideas and can be started on a part-time basis. Others, such as opening a restaurant, retail store, or franchise business, may require a large investment.

  1. Cleaning services
  2. Catering business
  3. Photography business
  4. Consulting
  5. Landscaping
  6. Real estate
  7. Construction
  8. Handyman business
  9. Vending machine business
  10. Event planning
  11. Party planning
  12. Wedding planning
  13. Retailing (physical location)
  14. Online retailing
  15. eBay business
  16. Painting business
  17. Carpet cleaning
  18. Food businesses: food truck, cafe, bakery, or restaurant (not a low-cost startup!)
  19. Computer repair business
  20. Courier services
  21. Grocery delivery service
  22. Daycare business for children, seniors, or pets
  23. Home health care business
  24. Salon
  25. Dog kennel
  26. Import/export business
  27. Freight brokerage business
  28. Janitorial business
  29. Pressure washing business
  30. Window washing service
  31. Website design business
  32. Rental car business
  33. Self storage business
  34. Moving business
  35. Locksmith service
  36. HVAC services
  37. Matchmaking service
  38. House flipping business
  39. Franchise business
  40. Call center
  41. Coaching, training, or tutoring services
  42. Junk removal and/or dumpster rental
  43. Electrician services
  44. Roofing
  45. Plumbing
  46. Farming, aquaculture, ranching
  47. Property management
  48. Security services (residential, commercial, personal)
  49. Limousine service
  50. Laundromat business

I’ll be listing more good small business ideas in coming weeks. Check out some of my earlier blog posts for other business startup options. Stay tuned for more entrepreneur business ideas, marketing strategies, and business success principles.

If you’d like to download a guide to starting a specific business, I’ve posted links to several small business startup guides* at my website Marketing Survival Kit.

Best of luck in all your entrepreneurial pursuits!

Marketing strategist, business blogger, freelance writer
Email: prowriter30years@yahoo.com

Update: I’ve recently begun devoting more attention to the topics of personal development, human potential, and spirituality in a new blog (about life) called Mastering Life Takes Time!


Online Resources for Entrepreneurs

  • If you’re looking for advice on starting and running a business, the U.S. Small Business Administration is a good resource for guidance and information.
  • The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) also provides a checklist for starting a business.
  • Additional business startup advice, educational programs, and mentoring programs can be found through SCORE.

One final note: Since all startup businesses entail an element of financial risk, it’s wise to develop a marketing plan, a detailed budget, and enlist the help of qualified business advisors, such as a CPA, a business insurance specialist, and a business attorney.


*Disclaimer: I am a compensated affiliate for digital products featured in this blog, including  business guides, proposal software, email marketing services, entrepreneurial training courses, marketing templates, and other small business success tools. Unless otherwise stated, I am currently not endorsing specific products or services.