FAQ: What Business Should I Start?

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I’d make an educated guess that there are millions of people, right now, who would love to start their own business, but they’re hindered by a lack of focus and resolve. In my opinion, a lack of clarity is one of the top reasons aspiring entrepreneurs do not follow through and take the first step to starting their own business.

The second reason is fear. They’re afraid to fail. They’re afraid of being criticized. They’re afraid of losing money. And that’s the short list!

Are those fears realistic? To a certain extent they are realistic, although people often magnify the risks in their minds and blow them out of proportion. Small business failure is a common occurrence, but there are many ways to reduce risks, capitalize on opportunities,  make the most of your resources, and tip the scales in your direction.

One thing’s for sure, though: Starting your own business definitely requires courage, careful planning, and a willingness to take calculated risks.

Why Do Businesses Fail?

There are dozens of reasons businesses fail, but I believe that the undercurrent of fear that I mentioned is one of the primary causes. Here’s why: When you go into any endeavor in a fearful or tentative way, that state of mind saps your energy, diminishes your creativity, reduces your drive, and clouds your resourcefulness.

The harsh reality of business is that not everyone is cut out to deal with the challenges of setting up, marketing, and managing a small business. Establishing a business is often an uphill battle — at least in the beginning — and it takes a tenacious, goal-oriented, self-confident person to surmount obstacles, overcome setbacks, and persist until they succeed.

So whether you want to start a home business, an online business, or a bricks-and-mortar establishment, you need to first assess whether you possess the motivation, self belief, and mental fortitude to make a go of it. If you possess those qualities, then you already have an edge over much of the competition. It might take some time to realize that advantage, but — to quote one of my favorite sayings — “persistence breaks down resistance!”

How Do You Choose a Business to Start?

There is no simple answer to that question, but here are a two guiding principles and ideas which may help point you in the right direction.

  • Experience and marketable skills: If you have specialized skills, professional training, practical experience, or college degrees, then you may have the basis for a potentially profitable business. There are countless possibilities to consider, including service businessess, distributorships, consultancies, website businesses, retail stores, product lines, inventions to market, or other entrepreneurial pursuits. Note: Although skills, knowledge, and experience can be strong starting points, a stumbling block for many entrepreneurs and business owners is marketing and how to do it effectively. Without effective marketing tools and strategies, such as well-written business proposals*, your chances for business survival and success are small. (For more insights into marketing techniques and tools, visit my website Marketing Survival Kit.) By the way, if you’re interested in learning more about the value and purpose of business proposals, then check out this article: “It’s All About Trust.”*
  • A passion for a product, service, or worthy cause: You’re probably familiar with the old expression (and book title) “Do what you love and the money will follow.” While that concept doesn’t necessarily hold water 100% of the time, it does contain more than a grain of truth. If you love what you’re doing and find it personally rewarding, then that enthusiasm will help win over customers and clients. A feeling of passion for a career or business also fuels your own motivation, resourcefulness, perseverance, and sense of purpose.

100+ Business Ideas for Entrepreneurs

So getting back to the question of “What business should I start?”, here’s a variety of business ideas that will hopefully help you clarify your goals, narrow your focus, and trigger some actionable ideas for becoming your own boss.

  1. Photography business
  2. Consulting
  3. Residential or commercial cleaning business
  4. Lawn care, lawn mowing, or landscaping
  5. Construction
  6. Graphic design and/or website design
  7. T-shirt business
  8. Real estate sales or investing
  9. Tutoring business
  10. Catering
  11. Retail
  12. Computer repair
  13. eCommerce*
  14. Jewelry business
  15. Pet-related business: grooming, dog walking, pet sitting, boarding, breeding, dog training, or making dog treats*
  16. Clothing business
  17. Trucking
  18. Food business: restaurant, food truck business
  19. Home health care
  20. Personal training/coaching
  21. Carpentry
  22. Wedding planning
  23. Event planning services*
  24. Payroll service
  25. Tax preparation
  26. Handyman services*
  27. Medical billing and coding
  28. Vending machine business
  29. Gym/ fitness center/ health club
  30. Painting business
  31. Greeting cards
  32. Marketing and advertising agency
  33. Party bus business
  34. Carpet cleaning
  35. Daycare business
  36. Craft business
  37. Wholesale business
  38. Cake business
  39. Non-emergency medical transportation
  40. Mobile oil change service
  41. Property preservation or management services
  42. Junk removal
  43. Plumbing
  44. Silk screening
  45. Paintball business
  46. Bookkeeping
  47. Tax preparation
  48. Security guard business
  49. Bail bonds business
  50. Contracting business
  51. eBay business
  52. Flea market business
  53. Window cleaning
  54. Pressure washing
  55. Rental business
  56. Swimming pool cleaning and maintenance
  57. Taxicab service
  58. Photo booth rental
  59. Lead generation service
  60. Virtual assistant business
  61. Mobile locksmith services
  62. Print shop
  63. Roadside assistance services
  64. Wine business
  65. Spa
  66. Welding services
  67. Background check services
  68. Staffing and employee recruiting
  69. Moving company
  70. Home inspection services
  71. Furniture business (retailing, woodworking, being an antique dealer, etc.)
  72. Manufacturing
  73. Social media marketing
  74. Balloon business
  75. Hair salon
  76. Food delivery
  77. Financial planning services
  78. Personal chef services
  79. Fashion business
  80. Boat charter business
  81. Senior care services
  82. Decorating business/ interior design
  83. Massage business
  84. Candy business
  85. Trash removal
  86. Shoe store
  87. Floral business/ flower shop
  88. Courier services
  89. House flipping
  90. Gift baskets
  91. Sign business
  92. Counseling practice
  93. Snow removal
  94. Recycling
  95. Pest control
  96. Gymnastics business
  97. Contracting: Home remodeling, roofing, siding, plumbing, electrical services, HVAC services (heating/ventilation/air conditioning)
  98. Resume writing
  99. Makeup artist services
  100. Solar panel installation

Is There a Market for Your Business Idea?

If you have reason to believe there’s a market for a particular product or service you’re considering, then you may have the basis for a viable small business. Keep in mind, however, that a viable business idea is only the “raw material” for a successful small business.

To succeed, you may also need resources like marketing skills, specialized knowledge, funding, permits and licenses, salesmanship ability, customer service skills, equipment, machinery, supplies, vendor relationships, a physical place to do business, insurance coverage, employees, additional training and education, and the advice of a qualified accountant, attorney, and business insurance advisor.

For more entrepreneurial and small business startup ideas, I invite you to check out other posts on this blog, such as 250 Ideas For Self Employment.

Feel free to link to this post or pass it along to other entrepreneurs you know.

Contact me if you have any questions!

Thanks!

–Joel
Freelance writer, blogger, Internet entrepreneur

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*Disclaimer: I am a compensated affiliate of some of the websites, training materials, software, and marketing tools mentioned (linked to) in this blog. Unless otherwise noted, I am not currently endorsing specific products, services, or websites.

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

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!

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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.