One of my favorite inspirational quotes is by the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu:
“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”
That saying applies to everything from goal attainment and small business success to academic achievement and career advancement.
Taking challenges one step at a time and being motivated to persist until you succeed are among the qualities of a success-bound entrepreneur.
If you’re thinking of starting a business of any size, it helps to adopt this type of entrepreneurial mindset. Without the right attitude, your journey into self employment is sure to be a short one.
To put it bluntly: “An untrained mind can accomplish nothing!” (Source: A Course in Miracles)
However, if you train your mind to be both goal oriented and action oriented, then your chances of entrepreneurial success are greatly increased.
Another invaluable source of inspiration for entrepreneurs is the classic success book by Napoleon Hill, “Think and Grow Rich.” I believe that if every aspiring business owner, college student, and entrepreneur read that book — and took it seriously — then a lot more people would be reaching their potential and having a positive impact on the economy.
For many self employed people and small business owners, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a good business idea — one that they’re passionate about and that inspires continuous action, innovation, and mental focus.
Coming Up With a Good Business Idea
So how does one come up with a good business idea? Well, in many cases, good startup business ideas are the result of being able to identify an unmet need or an unsolved problem in the marketplace — either locally or globally.
All things being equal, it’s generally best to avoid going into a business in which there’s a lot of stiff competition — especially if you’re just starting out. Although some people have done it successfully, it can be an uphill battle to try and penetrate a highly competitive or saturated market.
An exception: In some cases, however, competition may not be a stumbling block and may actually represent an opportunity. For example, if your potential customers are dissatisfied with the existing service, quality, selection, turnaround time, or responsiveness of the company they’re now doing business with, they (the prospect) would be receptive to your proposal to switch providers or suppliers. If you can provide more value, better service, and superior customer satisfaction than the competition, then you may be in a position to successfully enter a competitive market and gain a growing market share.
Elements of a good business idea
Coming up with a good business idea usually includes the following ingredients:
- Identifying an unmet or inadequately served need among the general population or (better still) a specialized market segment.
- Coming up with innovative, compelling, and cost-effect ways to reach your target demographic and market your business. (The best business idea in the world is destined to fail if you don’t know how to effectively communicate the advantages and unique features of your product or service to your target audience.)
- The starting point of many successful startup businesses is the ability and willingness to leverage one’s own skills, knowledge, areas of expertise, passions, training, education, resources, personal contacts, and natural talents to acquire customers (AKA “marketing“) and provide them with superior quality, service, and satisfaction. (Satisfied customers relead to repeat business, customer referrals, and favorable online reviews and positive word-of-mouth advertising.)
If it’s your goal to come up with a viable business idea and nurture it to fruition, it’s also vitally important to associate with positive-minded people — specifically, other entrepreneurs, family members, mentors, and friends who will encourage, support, and inspire you, rather than bombard you with reasons why your business ideas might not work.
Granted, all business ideas should be carefully considered, researched, and evaluated before investing time or money in them, but business success can only be achieved when you go into it with an attitude of positive expectation.
Small Business Ideas List
One method of coming up with business ideas is to peruse lists of possible choices, based on what other entrepreneurs are engaged in, researching, or thinking about. I hope the following list of 115 business ideas will help you narrow down the possibilities and zero in on the right business idea for you.
- Photo booth rental
- Cleaning [Start your own PT office-cleaning business*]
- Lawn care, mowing, yard cleanup [Free audio: Lawn business tips and tricks*]
- Non-emergency medical transportation
- Handyman business [Getting started*]
- Interior/exterior painting
- Graphic design
- Taxi service, limo service, party bus rental
- Moving services, trucking business
- T-shirt design and sales (online or offline)
- Real estate sales, investing, house flipping, rental property
- Musical instrument lessons
- ESL instruction
- Event planning
- Wedding planning, party planning
- Princess parties
- Floral business
- Candy bouquet business [Details here*]
- Computer Repair
- Buying and selling on eBay, Craiglist, garage sales, etc.
- Jewelry design and sales
- Pet sitting, dog walking, dog training, dog grooming, dog breeding
- Franchise businesses
- Clothing business
- Lingerie sales
- Food business, such as food truck, ice cream, hot dog cart, Italian ices, bakery, pizza
- Home health care
- Personal trainer or starting a gym business or fitness bootcamp
- Life coach
- Carpentry, woodworking*, furniture refinishing
- Flooring installation
- Electrical services
- Pressure washing
- Pool cleaning, maintenance, seasonal openings and closings
- home staging
- Interior design
- Payroll services
- Medical billing
- Accounting/tax preparation
- Personal assistant
- Virtual assistant
- Answering service
- Transcription services
- Vending machines
- Marketing/advertising services, including social media marketing
- Carpet cleaning
- Candle making, soap making, sales
- Etsy business
- Flea market business
- Art business
- Consignment sales
- Web hosting
- Mobile oil change service
- Roadside assistance
- Window tinting
- Property preservation
- Snow plowing
- Tree trimming
- Junk removal
- Buying and selling used cars
- Security guard services
- Home security system installation
- Home automation
- Home inspection services
- Home remodeling
- Window cleaning
- Rental business
- Antique dealer
- Printing Business
- Background checking services
- Safety consulting
- Management consulting
- Security consulting
- Career counseling
- Resume writing service
- Corporate recruiting
- Karate studio (dojo)
- Music recording studio
- Yoga studio
- Offering classes, continuing adult education
- Hair styling, makeup artist
- Financial planning
- Freelance writing
- Personal chef
- Boat charter business
- Guided tours
- Gift basket business
- Pest control
- Rental property business (apartments, condos, houses, vacation rentals, etc.)
- Hotel, B&B
- Restaurant, cafe, diner, coffee shop, coffee service,
- Delivery service, courier
- Linen rental
- Dry cleaning business
Thanks for checking out my latest blog post on all things entrepreneurial! Stay tuned for more business ideas, marketing strategy, and motivational resources.
Best of luck in coming up with a winning business idea, this year!
Business blogger, freelance writer, marketing strategist, coffee drinker
*Disclaimer: I am a compensated affiliate of the products, services, courses, and software featured on this blog.
Cautionary note: A startup business is like a marriage: It should not be entered into lightly! Carefully evaluate all business opportunities and ventures before taking the plunge, seek out trusted and qualified business advisors, and bear in mind that all businesses entail a degree of risk.
But… with that caveat in mind, remember the following quote:
A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for. (John A. Shedd)