How to Come Up With a Business Idea


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.

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Elements of a good business idea

Coming up with a good business idea usually includes the following ingredients:

  1. Identifying an unmet or inadequately served need among the general population or (better still) a specialized market segment.
  2. 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.)
  3. 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.

  1. Photography
  2. Photo booth rental
  3. Consulting
  4. Cleaning [Start your own PT office-cleaning business*]
  5. Lawn care, mowing, yard cleanup [Free audio: Lawn business tips and tricks*]
  6. Landscaping
  7. Non-emergency medical transportation
  8. Construction
  9. Handyman business [Getting started*]
  10. Interior/exterior painting
  11. Graphic design
  12. Transportation
  13. Taxi service, limo service, party bus rental
  14. Moving services, trucking business
  15. T-shirt design and sales (online or offline)
  16. Real estate sales, investing, house flipping, rental property
  17. Tutoring
  18. Musical instrument lessons
  19. ESL instruction
  20. Catering
  21. Event planning
  22. Wedding planning, party planning
  23. Princess parties
  24. Floral business
  25. Candy bouquet business [Details here*]
  26. Retail
  27. Computer Repair
  28. eCommerce
  29. Buying and selling on eBay, Craiglist, garage sales, etc.
  30. Jewelry design and sales
  31. Pet sitting, dog walking, dog training, dog grooming, dog breeding
  32. Franchise businesses
  33. Clothing business
  34. Lingerie sales
  35. Food business, such as food truck, ice cream, hot dog cart, Italian ices, bakery, pizza
  36. Home health care
  37. Personal trainer or starting a gym business or fitness bootcamp
  38. Life coach
  39. Carpentry, woodworking*, furniture refinishing
  40. Flooring installation
  41. Plumbing
  42. HVAC
  43. Roofing
  44. Electrical services
  45. Pressure washing
  46. Pool cleaning, maintenance, seasonal openings and closings
  47. home staging
  48. Interior design
  49. Payroll services
  50. Bookkeeping
  51. Medical billing
  52. Accounting/tax preparation
  53. Personal assistant
  54. Virtual assistant
  55. Answering service
  56. Transcription services
  57. Vending machines
  58. Marketing/advertising services, including social media marketing
  59. Blogging
  60. Carpet cleaning
  61. Daycare
  62. Crafts
  63. Sewing
  64. Candle making, soap making, sales
  65. Etsy business
  66. Flea market business
  67. Art business
  68. Consignment sales
  69. Recycling
  70. Wholesaling
  71. Web hosting
  72. Mobile oil change service
  73. Roadside assistance
  74. Window tinting
  75. Property preservation
  76. Snow plowing
  77. Tree trimming
  78. Junk removal
  79. Import/export
  80. Buying and selling used cars
  81. Security guard services
  82. Home security system installation
  83. Home automation
  84. Home inspection services
  85. Home remodeling
  86. Window cleaning
  87. Rental business
  88. Antique dealer
  89. Locksmith
  90. Welding
  91. Printing Business
  92. Background checking services
  93. Safety consulting
  94. Management consulting
  95. Security consulting
  96. Career counseling
  97. Resume writing service
  98. Corporate recruiting
  99. Karate studio (dojo)
  100. Music recording studio
  101. Yoga studio
  102. Gymnastics
  103. Offering classes, continuing adult education
  104. Hair styling, makeup artist
  105. Financial planning
  106. Freelance writing
  107. Personal chef
  108. Boat charter business
  109. Guided tours
  110. Gift basket business
  111. Pest control
  112. Rental property business (apartments, condos, houses, vacation rentals, etc.)
  113. Hotel, B&B
  114. Restaurant, cafe, diner, coffee shop, coffee service,
  115. Delivery service, courier
  116. Linen rental
  117. 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)



Small Business Ideas for 2019


With the new year just weeks away, many entrepreneurs are looking for ways to make 2019 more prosperous than 2018. One of my main objectives in writing this blog post is to help answer a couple of the most frequently asked questions that crop up about starting a new business:

  1. “What kind of business should I start?”
  2. “What is a good business to start?”
  3. “How can I start a business with no money?”

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Clearly, the most popular business ideas people are researching and starting up include the following:

  1. Online business [Try Shopify for free!*]
  2. Cleaning business
  3. Photography business
  4. Selling T-shirts [Free startup guide*]
  5. Starting a consulting business
  6. Landscaping and/or lawn care
  7. Catering
  8. Construction
  9. Real Estate  [Click Here for Realtor® Training Courses*]
  10. Event planning business [Get started with an “Event Planning Blueprint“*]

Other small business ideas people are considering for 2019 include the following options:

  1. Vending machine business
  2. Food truck business
  3. Jewelry business
  4. eBay business
  5. Trucking business
  6. Painting
  7. Home health care
  8. Retail
  9. Carpet cleaning
  10. Bookkeeping

The great thing about being an entrepreneur and looking for small business ideas is that there’s no shortage of them. Although there are literally hundreds of ideas for starting a business — many of which can be started for a couple hundred dollars or much less — some people get bogged down in choosing a business idea to pursue. Once a choice has been made, the next stumbling block for many is getting started!


Since a lack of motivation or self belief can be an obstacle, one has to work with the ebbs and flows of their motivation. The best time for an entrepreneur to start a business is often at the end of the year (2018) or at the beginning of another (2019). There can be a psychological advantage to pursuing a goal at the end or beginning of a new year.

Whenever your motivation is slightly elevated (for whatever reason) or your psychological resistance is lowered, your chances of getting started and gaining momentum are greatly enhanced.

Even though new year’s resolutions don’t work for everyone (or even most people), starting a new business is different than, say, joining a gym, quitting smoking, or trying to lose weight. Starting a business requires more planning, organization, and — in some cases — more of a financial commitment.

Clarifying your business goals for 2019

There’s no simple answer to the question “What kind of business should I start?” but here are a few common-sense guidelines to help identify and clarify business ideas that might be best for you in 2019:

  1. Do a self assessment of what you’re good at, what you enjoy, and what you have marketable experience in. For example, you might realize that you have excellent organizational skills, which could be applied to a variety of business ideas — including professional organizer. If you’re good at fixing or installing things around the house, becoming a handyman could be a great way to start your own business.
  2. Make a list of your interests, passions, hobbies, areas of expertise, and opportunities for gaining new skills, marketable knowledge, and professional certifications.

Reviewing your resume, doing a thorough self assessment, and giving some thought to your natural talents can help clarify your strengths and bring viable business ideas to the surface.

The best way to get started in a new business or freelance practice is to TAKE THE FIRST STEP. As you continue to move forward, you’ll find yourself making progress, identifying new opportunities, and learning exactly what you need to do to successfully be your own boss. It’s a sometimes challenging process and does involve a degree of risk, but the rewards can be well worth the effort!


Stay tuned to this blog for more startup business ideas, motivational tips, and marketing strategies. You can also gain a lot of relevant knowledge about starting your own business by visiting Shopify, a well-known and highly regarded ecommerce platform with which I’m affiliated.*

Whether you’re interested in launching a drop shipping business, starting your own clothing line in 2019, teaching an online course, making money buying and selling thrift store items, publishing your own book, starting an online T-shirt store, or becoming a freelance writer, designer, or software developer, this article can point you in the right direction and help you get started.

By the way… here are a few more business startup ideas to consider (around 100, actually) which I hope will help inspire you with new business ideas, moneymaking goals, and entrepreneurial possibilities in 2019:

  1. Import/export
  2. Dog walking services/ Pet sitting
  3. Party planning/ Wedding planning/ Princess parties
  4. Handyman business
  5. Computer repair
  6. Appliance repair
  7. Web design/graphic design business
  8. Marketing services, including social media marketing
  9. Personal training or gym business
  10. Pressure washing
  11. Courier services
  12. Daycare center
  13. Wholesaling
  14. Window cleaning
  15. Etsy business
  16. Amazon business
  17. eBay business
  18. Pest control services
  19. Franchise business
  20. Interior design
  21. Non-emergency medical transportation
  22. Photo booth rental business
  23. Cookies and cupcakes
  24. Recruiting services
  25. Welding
  26. Hair styling/ hair salon
  27. Making and selling candles
  28. Tax consulting/ tax preparation
  29. Life coaching
  30. Pool cleaning/ maintenance
  31. Virtual assistant services
  32. Dog breeding
  33. Dog training
  34. Dog grooming
  35. Homecare business
  36. Property management
  37. Distribution business
  38. Screen printing
  39. Plumbing
  40. HVAC
  41. Home improvement/ Remodeling
  42. Roofing
  43. Electrical services
  44. House flipping
  45. Janitorial services/ Office cleaning
  46. Limo business
  47. Pizza shop
  48. Printing
  49. Medical billing
  50. Flea market business
  51. Selling art
  52. Background check services
  53. Home inspection services
  54. Sewing business
  55. Restaurant/ Hotel/ Bed and Breakfast
  56. Web hosting
  57. Party bus
  58. Car rental
  59. Bail bonds business
  60. Carpentry or making furniture
  61. Private tutoring
  62. Locksmith services
  63. Security consultant
  64. Roadside assistance/ towing
  65. Moving company
  66. Personal chef
  67. Floral business
  68. Snow removal/ plowing/ shoveling/ snow blowing
  69. Accounting/ tax preparation
  70. Vacation rental business
  71. Payroll services
  72. Security guard business
  73. Financial planning services
  74. Web development company
  75. Solar energy/ solar panel business
  76. Selling used cars/ car dealership
  77. Lingerie
  78. Balloon business
  79. Music business
  80. Sports business
  81. IT consulting
  82. Counseling service
  83. Makeup artist
  84. Linen rental business
  85. Mobile oil change service
  86. Home automation consulting/ sales/ installation
  87. Trash collection/ junk hauling/ dumpster rentals
  88. Entertainment business
  89. Recycling: plastic, metal, etc
  90. Gymnastics business
  91. Dance studio
  92. Karate dojo
  93. Boat charter
  94. Horse training/ boarding
  95. Safety consulting
  96. Freelance writer/ editor/ proofreader/blogger
  97. Voiceover talent
  98. Uber or Lyft driver
  99. Garage sale coordinator
  100. Translator
  101. Gift basket or candy bouquet business*

Best of luck in 2019!


*Business blogger/ Freelance writer/ Compensated affiliate marketer