What Constitutes a Good Business Idea?

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There are a lot of good business ideas out there, but there are none that offer a guarantee of success or a road map to riches. Whether a business startup idea could be considered good or great depends on a lot of variables. Here are a few of them:

  1. Demand for the product or service: Do you have reason to believe that there is a strong and ongoing demand for the product or service you’re thinking about offering? Feedback from one or two people (or a “hunch”) is usually not enough of a reason to forge ahead with an idea for a new business.
  2. Competitive factors: If there are already several dominant and well established competitors in your market — whether local, regional, national, or global — ask yourself if you genuinely believe that you have a realistic chance of penetrating that market and gaining a sufficient market share? If there IS stiff competition in the marketplace, then it’s especially important that you offer your customers unique benefits and distinct advantages. Developing a marketing plan* and a unique selling proposition (USP) is one of the first and most important steps to entering a competitive business environment. To put it bluntly but accurately, you have two choices in the business world: “Differentiate or Die!” A marketing book of that title, written by Jack Trout and Steve Rivkin, elaborates on how and why it’s essential to stand out from the crowd to survive in “an era of killer competition”.
  3. Budgetary factors: Although this would not apply to starting a business with no money (and there aren’t a lot of good business ideas that fall under that category), most business startups require (at the very least) a computer, an Internet connection, a phone line (preferably a dedicated one), a supply of business cards, and a couple hundred dollars for miscellaneous marketing and other business expenses. Small business survival depends on a lot of factors, including having enough money to fuel your business growth while meeting your living expenses and financial obligations. Assuming you meet the requirements for a business loan, such as creditworthiness and relevant business experience, financing can often be obtained from financial institutions, the U.S. Small Business Administration, crowdfunding websites, and/or family, friends, or other investors. Writing a business plan is often the first step to securing financing and creating a realistic, goal-oriented business strategy.
  4. Do you have the right stuff? Everyone and their brother talks about starting their own business some day, being their own boss, and escaping the rat race, but only a small percentage of those people have the initiative, the practical experience, the organizational skills, the tenacity, the entrepreneurial mindset, the salesmanship abilities, and other qualities necessary for small business success. Before starting your own business, it’s highly recommended that you have that candid conversation with yourself, as well as with people whose opinions you value.

So there are no quick and easy answers to the questions “What business should I start?” and “What is the best business to start?” It all depends on what you’re good at, what you have a passion for, your tolerance for risk, your financial resources, whether there’s a sufficient demand for your product, service, or idea — and, or course, the positioning of the stars (only  kidding about that last one!)

Whatever type of business idea you decide to pursue, remember to get expert advice on tax planning, choosing a business structure, business insurance, meeting legal requirements, and so on. When starting a business, one of the most authoritative websites to visit for is the U.S. Small Business Administration. As I mentioned, the SBA is also a potential source of small business loans. Free small business advice and entrepreneurial mentor programs are also available from SCORE.

Best of luck in all your small business pursuits!

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

–Joel
Business blogger, freelance writer, marketing strategist
Feel free to post a comment on this blog or  email me if you have any questions.

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*Disclaimer: My business ideas blog and small business marketing website feature links to websites, digital products, and services for which I am a compensated affiliate. Although there are a few exceptions, I do not currently endorse specific products or services.

Small Business Marketing Ideas for Entrepreneurs

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Marketing Ideas for Small Business

How you market your business depends a lot on the kind of business you’re pursuing, who your target market is, and whether your marketing your business on a local, regional, national, or global basis.

If you’re in the process of developing a service business, for example, one of the most important marketing tools that will help you win clients in the commercial, government, and organization sectors is a well-written, professional business proposal.

A leading sources of business proposal templates is a website I’ve been affiliated with for a decade or so, called Proposal Kit. For more information on what an effective proposal consists of and why it’s a necessary marketing tool for service businesses (and many product-based businesses, too), check out this article: “It’s All About Trust

Good marketing ideas can run the gamut from distributing coupons, flyers, and business cards to amassing a large following on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Linkedin.

Attracting a loyal and responsive following on social media can be a difficult feat to accomplish — but more and more people are developing a knack for taming the social media beast. Cross promotion is often a key aspect of building a social media following, so having a well-designed, content-rich website to attract and engage customers is one of the cornerstones of an effective  integrated marketing program.

Here are a few small  business marketing ideas to consider as you plan your customer acquisition and lead generation strategy.

  1. Print and distribute promotional flyers, door hangers, and posters
  2. Build a list of opt-in email subscribers through your website or blog and send them periodic newsletters and announcements.
  3. Place free ads on Craigslist, if appropriate
  4. Hand out business cards at every opportunity
  5. Create and develop a blog that focuses on topics of interest to your target audience
  6. Mail targeted sales letters to prospects, acquaintances, and past customers
  7. Write and distribute press releases to relevant websites and media outlets when you have something newsworthy to publicize.
  8. Cultivate relationships with other entrepreneurs with whom you can exchange leads, referrals, and promotional materials.
  9. Distributing coupons, money-saving offers, and information about seasonal specials can help attract repeat business, word of mouth advertising, and new customers.
  10. Depending on the nature of your business, you might also want to be an exhibitor at trade shows, community events, fairs, and festivals.

I’ve written an overview of several small business strategies and marketing tools on the home page of my website, Marketing Survival Kit. Another article you’ll find helpful is how to avoid avoid 11 common marketing blunders that trip up many a small business owner.

Those are a handful of marketing ideas for both new and established small businesses. Stay tuned to this blog for more tips, tools, and strategies for advertising, marketing, and promoting your business.

–Joel
Business blogger, marketing strategist, freelance writer
Email address: prowriter30years@yahoo.com

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*Disclaimer: Many of my blog posts feature links to digital products, small business marketing services, and commercial websites for which I am a compensated affiliate.

 

 

Questions to Ask When Starting a Business

 “A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.”
― William G.T. Shedd (1820-1894)

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That quote by 19th century theologian William Shedd sums up what it means to be an entrepreneur.While it’s true that there’s a lot of risk involved in starting your own business, it can also be an opportunity for growth, prosperity, and self determination. There’s nothing wrong with working for someone else — and a lot of people need the security of a steady paycheck and company-provided benefits.  Entrepreneurs are a unique breed, however, and are not content having someone else call the shots and place a limit on their potential.

There’s Nothing Easy About Starting a Business

Starting a new business in not unlike preparing for a triathlon, sailing across the Atlantic, or climbing Mount Everest —  well maybe it’s not quite that grueling and treacherous!

In all cases, however, it pays to go into it with as much knowledge, training, preparation, supplies, equipment, and mental toughness as possible. Survival and success in any of these undertakings also depends on the cultivation of self belief, determination, and persistence.

While tenacity and preparation are usually prerequisites to success in any undertaking, one has to acknowledge, early on, whether or not they’re really up to the challenge.

Before taking the plunge into self employment or small business ownership, it’s wise to temper your enthusiasm with a reality check. In the same way that you wouldn’t want to attempt swimming the English Channel without being 100% sure you had the strength, endurance, and motivation to go the distance, it’s also inadvisable to attempt to start your own business if you’re ill prepared or poorly suited to the challenge ahead.

The First Step in Starting a Business

Although many entrepreneurs do not take the time to really think things through, doing a self assessment is a step that should precede all other steps. In the same way that a job interviewer assesses a candidate’s readiness or capability to handle the demands of a particular job, someone considering starting their own business should evaluate their own readiness.

Here are a few of the key questions one should ask themselves when starting a business:

  1. Do I possess the knowledge, skills, and credentials necessary to succeed in this business or profession? (And if not, would I be able to acquire them within a reasonable period of time?)
  2. Do I have access to the money I’ll need for startup costs, operating costs, and living expenses? (If not, have I explored options for obtaining a small business loan, government grant, or other forms of financing?)
  3. Have I demonstrated to myself and others that I can handle setbacks, work through frustration, and overcome obstacles in the pursuit of my goals?
  4. Do I possess the organizational skills, the “people skills,” and the work ethic to handle everything from sales and marketing to customers relations and record keeping?

One you’ve given serious consideration to those kind of probing questions, you’ll be in a better position to decide whether self employment and small business ownership is really the right path for you.

Although there are a lot of different ways one can approach self employment, it’s always best to make sure you’re a good match for the demands of an entrepreneurial lifestyle.

What Do I Need to Start a Business?

Once you’ve decided that you have what it takes to start and succeed in your own business, the U.S.Small Business Administration offers some additional points to ponder that will help you pinpoint your objectives, clarify what you need to do to start a business, and hone in on your strengths, weaknesses, challenges, and priorities. I would strongly recommend reading the SBA’s list of 20 questions to ask yourself before starting a business.

If you’re stuck on the answer to question #2, which is “What kind of business do I want?” then perhaps the following list of startup business ideas will help you narrow down the possibilities. I’ve gathered more than 100 small business ideas that include everything from property management to cake decorating.

What Business Should I Start?

Other than fear of failure, one of the biggest mental barriers to starting your own business is a lack of clarity about what kind of business you should start. There are literally hundreds of self employment options available to you, and each one has its own individual costs, challenges, potential rewards, and startup requirements.

So with that in mind, here’s a list of over 100 of the most popular business ideas — some of which may help you gravitate toward the best small business idea for your temperament, capabilities, tolerance for risk, market conditions, geographic location, and budget.

  1. Cleaning business
  2. Photography
  3. Catering
  4. Consulting
  5. Landscaping
  6. Lawn care
  7. Real estate
  8. Construction
  9. Jewelry
  10. Tutoring, giving group or private lessons, seminars
  11. Vending machine business
  12. Event planning services
  13. Painting services
  14. Retail
  15. eBay business
  16. Carpet cleaning
  17. Clothing business
  18. Fashion business
  19. Shoe business
  20. Food businesses: restaurant, deli, food truck, hot dog cart, ice cream shop
  21. Bakery, cupcake business, cookies, birthday and wedding cake baking and decorating
  22. Pizza shop
  23. Party planning
  24. Bar business
  25. Lawn mowing
  26. Recycling business
  27. Transportation or trucking business
  28. Bookkeeping services
  29. Computer repair services
  30. Courier services and/or delivery services
  31. Daycare center
  32. Home health care
  33. Senior care business
  34. Medical transportation
  35. Wedding planning services
  36. Limo business
  37. Import export business
  38. Wholesale business
  39. Craft business
  40. Gift basket business
  41. Handyman business
  42. Janitorial services
  43. Pressure washing
  44. Laundry business, dry cleaning service, laundromat
  45. Repo business
  46. Web design and/or graphic design business
  47. Printing services (print shop or print broker)
  48. Advertising or marketing business
  49. Credit repair
  50. Cell phone business
  51. Gym business
  52. Bail bonds business
  53. Manufacturing
  54. Pest control
  55. Tax preparation
  56. Insurance
  57. Financial services
  58. Home and business security services
  59. Chiropractic services
  60. Massage therapy
  61. Boutique business
  62. T shirt business
  63. Car detailing
  64. Car rental
  65. Concierge/personal assistant business
  66. DJ business
  67. Junk removal
  68. Scrap metal business
  69. Coffee business: coffee roasting, cafe business, coffee retailing, distribution
  70. Hotel or Bed and Breakfast business
  71. Candle business
  72. Dog boarding
  73. Dog training
  74. Dog grooming
  75. Farming, ranching, growing produce, aquaculture, greenhouse business
  76. Professional practices, such as medical, legal, dental, eye care, CPA, veterinarian
  77. Life coaching
  78. Magazine publishing
  79. Medical billing
  80. Medical supply business
  81. Storage business
  82. Secretarial services
  83. Travel agency
  84. Consignment business
  85. Lingerie business
  86. Party rental
  87. Interior design
  88. Swimming pool cleaning, opening and closing, and maintenance
  89. Fundraising business
  90. Dropship business
  91. Home staging services
  92. Furniture store (new or used), furniture making, woodworking
  93. Fundraising
  94. Mail order
  95. Recruiting business
  96. Property management business
  97. Spa business
  98. Web hosting business
  99. Sewing business, being a seamstress, tailor, clothing alterations
  100. Contracting business, such as construction, home improvement, remodeling, electrician services, HVAC services, plumbing, excavating, roofing, etc.

BTW… 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.

Cool Business Ideas

So if you’ve been asking yourself and others “What kind of business can I start?” I hope the above list will help you generate some great business ideas.

If none of these entrepreneurial ideas resonated with you, then perhaps you’d like to peruse 999 more business ideas developed by the creative minds from Seth Godin’s Alternative MBA program. Whether you’re looking for so-called “crazy business ideas,” fun business ideas, or innovative business ideas, this list is sure to get your creative juices flowing!

If you’ve stumbled across any other cool business ideas that you’d like to share, don’t hesitate to post a comment on this blog or contact me via my email address at prowriter30years@yahoo.com

Thanks for checking out my latest thoughts, observations, and opinions about the ever-challenging and exciting world of self employment and business development. It kind of brings to mind the opening lines from the old TV show The Wide World of Sports: “The thrill of victory… and the agony of defeat.” (The memory of the skier who took that nasty spill at the beginning the program still makes me cringe decades later!)

As you pursue your entrepreneurial goals, may you experience many more victories than defeats!

–Joel
Business blogger, freelance writer, marketing strategist

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*Disclaimer: This blog, as well as my website Marketing Survival Kit, contain links to digital products, websites, and marketing services for which I am a compensated affiliate. Although my mission is to feature only high-quality products and services, at the present time I am not personally endorsing any of them.

Business startup tip: Always consult with licensed business advisors, like Certified Public Accountants, business attorneys, and insurance experts when seeking advice on starting, expanding, and protecting your business.

 

 

What Makes a Business Idea Successful?

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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!

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

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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.

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*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.

 

Starting a Photography Business

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When it comes to starting a business, one of the most popular searches on the Internet is “How to start a photography business.” According to one data base I use, more people are interested in starting a photography business or learning how to become a photographer than almost any other small business or form of self employment. This raises a lot of questions including “Why is this profession so popular?” and “Does the competition make it difficult to break into the business and make a living at it?”

I think the widespread appeal of becoming a photographer is based on several things, including the fact that it’s often associated with glamorous industries, like fashion, modeling, the entertainment business, and weddings. For many people, a photography business is an outgrowth of a lifelong hobby or a passion for capturing beautiful scenes, vacation memories, or family milestones.

Although a lot of professional photographers concentrate mostly on wedding photography, there are a variety of other things to focus on  — so to speak. Here’s a sampling of the many photography business ideas that you can pursue, specialize in, or add to your service offerings:

  1. Outdoor photography
  2. Weddings
  3. Fashion photography
  4. Portraits (aka “head shots”)
  5. Wildlife
  6. Commercial, industrial, and product photography
  7. Music photography, including concert and band photography
  8. Pet photography, especially dogs
  9. Event photography
  10. Family, children, babies, and newborn photography

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There are many other branches of photography and related business ideas, including the following:

  • Real estate photography
  • Architectural photography
  • Sports photography
  • Travel photography
  • Boudoir photography
  • Crime scene photography
  • Forensic photography
  • Lifestyle photography
  • Underwater photography
  • Aerial photography
  • Maternity photography
  • Jewelry photography
  • Medical photography
  • Landscape photography
  • Model photography
  • Automotive photography
  • News photography/photojournalism
  • War, air force, and army photography

So there’s no shortage of ways to make money as a photographer; the challenge for many freelancers is learning to effectively market themselves, stand out from the crowd, and establish a positive reputation that brings in referrals, word of mouth advertising, and a steady stream of business.

How to Start Your Own Photography Business

Some of the basic steps involved in starting your own photography business might include the following:

  1. Create a professional looking website with samples of your best work
  2. Determine competitive prices and service offerings
  3. Design and print a distinctive business card (distribute liberally)
  4. Create and register a unique business name/ getting a business permit
  5. Make sure you have the necessary equipment and editing software
  6. Get access to service agreements, release forms, and proposal templates*
  7. Creating and implementing a marketing plan for your photography business
  8. Start a referral program and network with other businesses that cater to brides, weddings, and other sources of potential photography business
  9. Rise and repeat, as necessary

This list of steps to starting your own photography business in not all inclusive, but it does include many of the key elements involved in getting started.

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Online Resources for Photographers and Other Entrepreneurs

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

Photography Courses, eBooks, Training Material, Business Guides

Thanks for checking out my latest blog post on starting a business. If you have any questions or constructive feedback, feel free to post a comment or email me at prowriter30years@yahoo.com

Best of luck in carving out your own profitable niche in the photography business!

–Joel
Business startup blogger, marketing strategist, freelance writer
Website: Marketing Survival Kit

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*Disclaimer: I am a compensated affiliate of digital products, instructional materials, and  various services intended to help you start, mark, and grow a successful business.

One final note: When starting a business of any kind, it’s wise to consult with a CPA, a business insurance specialist, and an attorney to help  you anticipate and plan for your present and future needs.

 

 

21 Pet Business Ideas

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When you think about the enormous popularity of pets throughout the world, it’s no wonder that there is a large market for products and services that cater to dog and cat owners.

If you’re looking for pet-related business ideas, there’s no shortage of choices. Here’s a list of ideas that other pet entrepreneurs are now pursuing:

  1. Pet sitting business
  2. Starting a pet shop
  3. Pet waste removal service
  4. Pet photography
  5. Dog grooming and/or mobile pet grooming
  6. Dog training
  7. Pet food delivery
  8. Pet boarding (dog kennel)
  9. Cat and dog daycare services
  10. Dog walking
  11. Selling pet food, treats, supplies, and and/or clothing
  12. Pet bakery business
  13. Cat feeding service
  14. Dog breeding business
  15. Cat and dog transportation services
  16. Self-serve dog wash business (I have no idea how that would work!)
  17. Electric fence installation for dogs
  18. Breeding and selling rabbits for pets
  19. Online retail business for pet products [Note: Shopify is one option for setting up and starting your own online store. Try it for free.*]
  20. Pet cremation/pet crematory business (I’m guessing that this business model has a lot of very specific requirements, costs, and regulations associated with it.)

One of the prerequisites of being a successful pet business entrepreneur is that you love and appreciate pets and are able to effectively communicate that feeling to prospective customers. Having the ability to earn people’s trust is a major factor in attracting customers to your pet services business. (As a side note, the attire of the woman pictured below is not recommended for meetings with prospective customers!)

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Tips on Starting a Pet Business

Here are a few other important tips to keep in mind if you’re considering starting any kind of service or product-oriented business geared to pets and pet owners:

  • While there’s a lot of opportunity in the pet industry — both locally and globally — some niches and locations may already be saturated with a heavy amount of competition. It’s always wise to do some competitive analysis and market analysis to determine whether there’s a sufficient demand for the pet service or products you’re considering offer. Ideally, there should be a low amount of competition, too.
  • Among the key aspects of being successful in the pet business is the willingness and ability to deliver exceptional customer service, superior quality, and competitive prices. Pet owners — like most other consumers — are looking for value. In other words, they want to feel like their money was well spend and that they’re getting their money’s worth. The bottom line is that satisfied customers lead to repeat business and word-of-mouth advertising and referrals.

Side note about starting your own business: Although many pet business ideas have the potential to be profitable — either as a full-time business or income supplement — all businesses involve an element of financial risk. So whether you thinking of starting a pet sitting business, a dog walking business, a dog day care service, an online retail store, or a bricks-and-mortar pet store, it’s advisable to carefully plan your strategy and study all relevant aspects of the pet business. Mapping out a clear marketing strategy, for example, can be an indispensable navigational tool as you travel down the sometimes bumpy road of self employment and business ownership.

Thanks for checking out my latest thoughts on startup business ideas and small business marketing strategies.

Feel free to comment on this blog or contact me via email at prowriter30years@yahoo.com if you have any questions, inquiries, or requests.

Stay tuned for more tips, resources, and startup business ideas for entrepreneurs. In the mean time, best of luck in all your small business pursuits!

–Joel
Business startup blogger, freelance writer, marketing strategist

P.S.:  More information and resources, below, on starting a pet business.

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Websites, Business Guides, Training Videos, and Books on Pet Business Ideas*

Online Resources for Entrepreneurs

  • If you’re looking for a list of steps for starting and running a business, the U.S. Small Business Administration is one of the best resources to turn to for guidance and information.
  • The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provides a checklist for starting a business.
  • Additional business startup advice, educational programs, and mentoring can be found through websites and organizations like SCORE.

One final note: When starting a business of any kind, it’s wise to consult with a CPA, a business insurance specialist, and an attorney to help  you anticipate and plan for your present and future needs.

*Disclosure: I am a compensated affiliate of Shopify ecommerce services and various digital products, ebooks (starting a business books), business proposal software, and email marketing services featured on this blog and on my website Marketing Survival Kit.

 

 

Craft Business Ideas

clay-1220103_640Although the idea of making and selling craft items has been around for hundreds of years, the emergence of the Internet has made the craft business easier and potentially more profitable than it once was.

Not only does the Internet give you the capability to quickly search for and find the location of craft shows in your area (or anywhere else you’re willing to travel), but you also have online access to everything from craft supplies and craft kits to  a free newsletter* for novice craft show vendors.

The Internet also provides access to other helpful resources and information, including:

  • Craft fair ideas, such as the ones in this blog
  • Craft tutorials and step-by-step instructions
  • Craft show display ideas, shelves, folding craft tables, booths, signs
  • Online access to wholesale craft outlets
  • Info about craft supply stores near you
  • Sources of cheap craft supplies
  • Craft show websites where vendors can sign up online or inquire
  • Websites offering leather craft supplies, wood craft supplies, wood craft patterns
  • Sewing craft ideas
  • Craft books (the old-fashioned kind and e-books you can download)

Ideas for Making Crafts You Can Sell

Although making and selling crafts at craft shows and through your own online store sounds like a fun business idea, it does require planning, good organizational skills,  record keeping, creativity, talent, and a budget for startup and operating costs.

If you like making gifts, decorative items, and things people can use, then starting a craft business might be a rewarding experience for you — both monetarily and personally. As is the case with any business, there’s no guarantee you’ll make any money. However, if you approach it as a fun business that can be potentially profitable, then you’ll be more likely to get the most out of it.

There are hundreds of craft ideas and handmade products you can sell online, as well as at retail stores, craft shows, fairs, and festivals. Here’s a list of craft ideas to sell (in no particular order) that will hopefully help you come up with the best possible mix of products for your online store or craft booth.

50 Ideas for Craft Businesses, Artists, and Vendors

  1. Animal figurines and animal-themed gift items: pig crafts, penguins, elephant crafts, sheep crafts, turkeys, lion crafts, ladybug-themed crafts, butterfly craft items, monkey crafts, roosters, owl crafts, turtles, frog crafts , ducks, bear crafts, horse crafts, bird crafts, bumble bees
  2. Teddy bears and other stuffed animals
  3. Dream catchers
  4. Angel crafts
  5. Religious-themed crafts
  6. Buddha statues, figurines, sculptures
  7. Baby crafts and gifts for baby showers
  8. Bird feeders
  9. Craft items using recycled items
  10. Tote bags
  11. T-shirt crafts
  12. CD cases and holders
  13. Jewelry, such as earrings and bracelets, and beaded crafts
  14. Hand-made greeting cards
  15. Holiday crafts, especially Christmas crafts, autumn crafts, Halloween (including craft pumpkins), Easter, Valentine’s Day, Mothers’ Day, and so on.
  16. Wedding favors, decorations, keepsakes, and other wedding crafts
  17. Pottery: bowls, coffee mugs, plates, jugs, vases, pitchers, urns
  18. Wood crafts and craft furniture
  19. Retirement gifts, anniversary gifts, and gifts for other special occasions
  20. Engraved gifts
  21. Jewelry boxes
  22. Cigar boxes
  23. Craft magnets
  24. Craft mirrors
  25. Wind chimes
  26. Dolls
  27. Masks
  28. Sculptures
  29. Desk caddies
  30. Mason jar crafts and wine bottle crafts
  31. Lamps
  32. Clocks
  33. Coasters
  34. Place mats
  35. Serving trays
  36. Picture frames
  37. Baskets, bins, storage chests
  38. Gift baskets
  39. Candles, soaps, spa items
  40. Sea shell crafts
  41. Stone crafts
  42. Angel crafts
  43. Heart crafts
  44. Flower crafts
  45. Mosaics
  46. Stained glass crafts
  47. Quilts, blankets, comforters, pillows, sweaters, knitted or crocheted clothing
  48. Woodworking projects like small tables, stools, benches, clocks, plaques, wooden toys
  49. Garden crafts which can run the gamut from planters and pots to stepping stones , garden gnomes, frogs, squirrels, and sun-themed sculptures and artwork
  50. Decorative kitchen cutting boards

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Evaluating Your Craft Business Ideas

When you’re considering different crafts to make and sell, it’s advisable to ask yourself some blunt questions, such as “Are people really going to want to buy this type of item?” Sometimes it pays to ask family and friends whether they think prospective customers would want to pay for a specific craft item, handmade gift, or decorative knickknack. (Ask your family and friends to be brutally honest in helping you evaluate crafts you’re considering selling — and assure them you will not be offended!)

It’s better to have to go back to the drawing board and come up with more marketable crafts to make and sell, rather than wasting time and money on something that doesn’t sell or appeal to your prospective customers.

The challenge is to try and be objective about a craft idea that might seem to be cute or useful or have sentimental value to you, but, in reality, it’s not going to inspire people to open their wallets. Keep in mind that nobody is eager to part with their hard-earned money unless they feel a connection to the items you’re selling. It needs to catch their eye and strike a chord with them, in terms of  value, beauty, uniqueness, usefulness, practicality, and other subjective qualities.

A Few Basic Marketing Tips

From a marketing standpoint, it’s always a good idea to have an ample supply of professional-looking, creative business cards available to hand out to new and prospective customers. Having a website, e-commerce store, craft blog, Pinterest page, or Facebook page can also result in more craft sales, potential referrals, and future business.

If you’re thinking of starting your own online store to sell handmade crafts or other products to a national or global marketplace, Shopify* can provide you with the necessary ecommerce tools to help get you set up and started quickly!

Try Shopify free for 14 days* (No credit card required!)

Thanks for checking out my latest entrepreneurial thoughts, marketing strategies, business startup ideas and — in the case of today’s blog post — craft business ideas.

Follow this blog for more ideas for starting a small business.

–Joel
Business blogger, freelance writer, marketing strategist
Email address: Prowriter30years@yahoo.com
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*Disclosure: I am a compensated affiliate of Shopify ecommerce services, as well as various digital products, ebooks (starting a business books), and email marketing software featured on this blog and on my website Marketing Survival Kit.