What is the Easiest Business to Start? - Small Business Trends

What is the Easiest Business to Start? - Small Business Trends

What is the Easiest Business to Start? - Small Business Trends

Posted: 01 Aug 2019 01:00 PM PDT

A reader from the Midwest sends this question:

"What is the easiest business to start?  I always wanted to run my own business. I don't have a lot of money and don't have any business experience. But I really want to start controlling my own future and think starting a business is the best way. What kind of business should I start?"  – J.L. from Iowa

That is a great question. The easiest business to start is a service business, especially for a beginner.

A service business is any kind of business where you sell services. In other words, you sell your skill, labor or expertise — instead of products or goods. Examples of service businesses are:

  • You become a consultant and sell your expertise.
  • You provide a service for homeowners such as house cleaning or painting.
  • Or you sell services online to other businesses — such as website design, social media marketing or virtual assistant services.

You might wonder how this differs from being an employee. It's very different. Unlike being an employee, you call the shots. You are in control. You also are building a future asset that you own — your business.

Why a service business? Simple. Almost anyone can start and operate a service business. Everyone has some knowledge or ability to do something that others will pay for. There are also good financial and strategic reasons that a service business makes sense.

5 Reasons a Service Business is the Easiest to Start

Here are 5 reasons a service business is the easiest business to start, especially for beginner entrepreneurs:

1. Requires Little Startup Cash

Many service businesses can be started for little money or no money.

After all, you don't have the expenses of renting office space – you can work out of your home at first. You don't have to develop a product. There's no factory, warehouse or inventory to invest in.

You don't have the expense of hiring employees. Most service businesses start out as sole proprietorships. Later on you can hire help but it's not essential at the beginning.

In fact, your expenses might be as little as the cost of a box of business cards, some flyers or a website.

Some entrepreneurs don't even incur those expenses. Some entrepreneurs opt to use online marketplaces to sell their skills. Usually you can start with a free profile at such sites.

2. Is Fast to Start

A service business is the fastest type of business to start because you don't need to do a lot of advance preparation. You can get your business off the ground right away. The speed makes it one of the easiest businesses to start.

  • Consumer service business: If you decide to start a local consumer service business, you can launch it by spreading the word in your neighborhood. Walk around and talk with people or distribute flyers. Set up a free profile at places like HomeAdvisor.com. Or join a site like Nextdoor — speak up when neighbors need services (be helpful but not overly promotional or your efforts will backfire). Don't forget to set up a Google My Business page.
  • Consulting or services for other businesses: If you decide to perform a service for other businesses or do consulting, establish a profile on LinkedIn. Perhaps join LinkedIn ProFinder. And check out freelance marketplaces like Fiverr, Freelancer.com and Upwork. These marketplaces can be a great way to get early clients. You don't even need your own website at first.

With any service business, it's critical to find the right marketplaces and referral sites.

Once you get your first client or a few clients, be sure to ask them to leave an online review or recommendation. This will accelerate your growth.

3. Generates Money Quickly

Service businesses bring money in the door fast. In most cases you get paid within a few days or weeks, or immediately upon performing the service.

Contrast that with other types of businesses. Other types of businesses can take much longer before they pay off.  For example, if you started a software business, you might have to spend months or years developing a product, marketing it, and ringing up sales. With a retail or ecommerce business, you first have to invest in a place to sell your items and buy inventory to sell. With a manufacturing business, you need to assemble raw materials and have some kind of factory or place to create your goods. All of those things take time and money.

However, with a service business none of those are essential.

Simply do the work and get paid. Rinse and repeat.

Easy peasy and uncomplicated!  You can see why a service business is the easiest business to start.

Over time of course, you may decide to invest in better equipment, or open an office, or hire employees, or create a whiz bang website or put together a marketing campaign. But that all comes later. Remember, you can get by without those expenses in the beginning.

4. Offers a Good Profit Margin

Service businesses have some of the highest profit margins among small businesses.

That's because overhead is low. You don't need a lot of infrastructure or inventory to perform a simple service business.

As a result, more of your hard-earned cash drops to your bottom line. You don't have large expenses.

That's why businesses such as web design firms are among the most profitable. In fact, on this list of the submit it here, almost all are service businesses.

5. Can be Started on the Side

You can run a service business on the side while still employed or in school.

For those currently employed who are not ready to cut ties with a steady paycheck, this is a way to gradually build a business. You keep your financial risk low while moonlighting at a part-time business.

But what if your ultimate goal is to create a product? Service businesses are still a great  way to start. Quite a few products have been created by service providers who spotted a need. For example, the Basecamp project management product famously grew out of a web design business.

In short, a service business will pay the bills while you're readying a product for market. And because you're already working in that market, your brand recognition and reputation may help launch the product.

We leave you with these final thoughts:  unless you have a fantastic business idea burning a hole in your brain, we recommend you start a service business as your first business. It's the easiest business to start. You'll gain valuable business experience. You'll learn how to satisfy customers. In the process you might even discover a product to create. Meanwhile, you are earning money and can set aside a financial stake to fund a different kind of business later on, if you wish.

Still need ideas for the easiest business to start? See these hundreds of business ideas to choose from. Good luck!

All answers to reader questions come from the Small Business Trends Editorial Board, with more than 50 years of combined business experience. If you would like to ask a question, please submit it here.

Image: Depositphotos.com

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300 Examples Of Business Ideas To Help You Start A Successful Business - Entrepreneur

Posted: 31 Jul 2019 11:12 PM PDT

Are you looking for a business idea? But you want to make sure it's profitable first? You can learn from these 300 businesses to ensure your start-up launches on the right foot.

10 min read

You're reading Entrepreneur South Africa, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Starting a business is tough, and not a lot of start-ups make it. To ensure your business is as competitive as possible, you'll need to do lots of research into your competition and see what other innovative businesses are doing. 

This can take a significant amount of time, so we've compiled a directory of 300 innovative business and insights you can gain from them. These 300 businesses are divided into the following categories – choose a section you feel best applies to what you're doing and gain a much needed competitive advantage: 

1. Examples of Food Business Ideas

So, you've decided to start a food business, but how do you differentiate yourself? What are successful food businesses doing to put themselves a topping or two above their competitors? When starting your food business ensure you incorporate the lessons from these companies to ensure your food business idea is a success.

2. Examples of Home Service Business Ideas

Everyone is busy these day. After work, no one wants to have to climb up on a ladder to try and fix a hole in the roof or a shorting light fitting. This creates a business opportunity for you. Here are 10 home service business ideas and examples of successfully operating businesses:

3. Examples of Personal Trainer Business Ideas

There is a growing number of people looking for an interesting way to get their daily/weekly dose of exercise in. You can offer an innovative personal trainer business idea to capture their interest and continue to engage them. Before you launch, it's always beneficial to find out what your competition are up to. Find some examples of personal trainer business ideas here:

4. Examples of Childcare Business Ideas

Parents sometimes need help looking after their children, no matter what age. If you have experience with children and a youth development, education or caretaking qualification, you can start your childcare business idea. Here are 10 examples of childcare business ideas you can use to get your business off the ground:

5. Examples of Educational Business Ideas

There is a growing emphasis on students to improve and increase their education and on adults to continue improving their education. With this solid demand in the educational industry, you can launch a business either improving on skills or teaching brand new skills.

6. Examples of Writing Business Ideas

You can start your writing business from anywhere in the world, as long as you have a solid internet connection. However, there are tips and tricks to ensuring your writing business remains profitable, here are 10 examples of writing business ideas you can use to launch the best possible version of your writing business:

7. Examples of Film-Related Business Ideas

The film industry continuously to grow year-on-year increasing its opportunities for film entrepreneurs. You could start a business doing voice-over work, scriptwriting and even costume design. Before you launch your start-up, here are 10 examples of film-related businesses you can gain insights and strategies from:

8. Examples of Photography Business Ideas

If you have the right equipment and experience you can offer your photography services to both local and international customers. There are a lot of opportunities for someone with a good eye for images. Before you get going here are 10 examples of successful photographic business ideas you can learn from:

9. Examples of Business Consultancy Business Ideas

A business consultant offers advice to companies in their area of expertise. You can consult businesses on everything from leadership development to stress management. Here are 10 examples of business consultancy businesses you can learn from to help give your consultancy a competitive advantage:

10. Examples of Personal Services Business Ideas

Personal services can be anything from housesitting to personal shopping, if you think you have a particular talent for helping others manage their lives, then this could be the business opportunity for you. Before you launch your business here are 10 examples of personal services businesses you can use to ensure you remain competitive within the industry:

11. Examples of Pet Business Ideas

Pet owners are happy to spend money on their pets, whether it's training, boarding or day-care, there are a lot of opportunities in the pet space. If you're an animal lover and want to work with them all day, here are 10 successful examples you can use to ensure your business remains competitive:

12. Examples of Clothing Business Ideas

There is always a demand within the clothing industry, whether you're helping someone to improve their look or repairing their fabric-covered furniture. If you have the talent and the experience you can start a clothing business. Before you get started here are 10 examples of clothing business ideas you can learn from:

13. Examples of Retail Business Ideas

Do you want to sell finished products directly to consumers? The retail industry could be the business opportunity for you. You could open anything from a clothing shop to a gaming parlour but before you get started you will need to know what strategies to employ and what you should offer. 

14. Examples of Online Business Ideas

Advancements in technology have enabled entrepreneurs to create businesses that are wholly operated in a digital environment, resulting in decreased overheads and the freedom to run a business on the move. Before you launch your business learn a few strategies from these examples of online businesses:

15. Examples of Manufacturing Business Ideas

There are many small-scale manufacturing business ideas that can you can convert into a sustainable and profitable business. There's a market for you whether you're launching a manufacturing business that makes shoes, wigs or cosmetics. Here are 10 examples of manufacturing business ideas that can give you insights into starting your own manufacturing business:

16. Examples of Social Media Business Ideas

Social media enables businesses to directly reach and engage with their customers and target markets. If you have the right skills, you can launch a successful social media business.

Before you start your new business, you'll need to see what is happening in this industry. Here are 10 examples of social media businesses to give you a snapshot of this industry:

17. Examples of Tourism Business Ideas

Since South Africa is known for its natural beauty, tourism will always hold numerous business opportunities, especially if you live in a popular tourist destination. Your business can offer everything from tours to accommodation and experiences.

18. Examples of Party Business Ideas

You can offer your services to ensure your clients have the best possible party experience. Starting a party business doesn't mean you have to be at every event, you can help clients find vendors or rent party supplies. 

Here are 10 examples of party business ideas that you can use to gain insights into the entertainment industry and strategies to ensure your business' success:

19. Examples of Cannabis-related Business Ideas

Selling cannabis itself is still illegal, but you can launch a business to support this growing industry. Since users are allowed to use weed within the comfort of their homes, there is the opportunity for support businesses to grow and offer users services. Here are 10 examples of cannabis-related business ideas:

20. Examples of Transportation Business Ideas

Transportation is vital to the progress of every city. There's always something or someone that needs transportation, and someone willing to pay for this to happen. There are numerous potential transport business ideas you can start; from Uber driving to specialised medical transportation. 

Before you launch your transport business you can gain some strategies from these 10 transport business ideas:

21. Examples of Environmentally-Friendly Business Ideas

There is a growing demand by consumers to be more environmentally-friendly. This has created a growing number of green business opportunities. You can open any business from services helping others to be more eco-conscious or offering environmentally friendly products. 

22. Examples of Rooibos Business Ideas

Rooibos naturally has numerous antioxidants and natural benefits. This has made it the cornerstone of several product lines. If working with a natural and beneficial ingredient is exactly what you're looking for then these could be the rooibos business ideas for you:

23. Examples of Drone Business Ideas

Drones and their various applications continue to grow in popularity as entrepreneurs find more and more uses for them. If the idea of running a drone business and offering very niche, specialised services appeals to you, this could be the business idea for you.

24. Examples of Sharing Economy Business Ideas

The sharing economy continues to grow in high demand as consumers look for more cost-effective ways to fund, purchase and find items. You can launch anything from a jewellery rental business to an errand running platform. Before you start here are 10 examples of sharing economy business ideas you can learn strategies from:

25. Examples of Home Décor Business Ideas

Not every person is gifted with the skills and talent to decorate and furnish their homes and gardens. There are customers that will need your help to create the perfect home. If you're passionate about home décor, then this could be the business idea for you.

26. Examples of Film-Related Business Ideas

The film industry continuously to grow year-on-year increasing its opportunities for film entrepreneurs. You could start a business doing voice-over work, scriptwriting and even costume design. Before you launch your start-up, here are 10 examples of film-related businesses you can gain insights and strategies from:

27. Examples of Vegan Business Ideas

Veganism continues to grow in demand across the world, with more people than ever choosing a plant-based diet. You can tap into this market by starting your own vegan business idea. Before you start researching, here are 10 potentially lucrative vegan business ideas you can learn from to ensure your start-ups success:

28. Examples of Elder Care Business Ideas

There are numerous business opportunities available for someone looking to support the elderly community. If this is a passion close to your heart, then this could be the business idea for you.

Before you can start a business, you first need an idea, here are examples of 10 elder care business ideas you can gain insights and strategies from:

29. Examples of Design Business Ideas

Creating and designing something new, innovative and interesting continues to be exciting in numerous industries. If you're good at creating something from scratch or designing something never before seen, then this could be the business idea for you.

Here are 10 examples of actual design businesses you can learn from to ensure your company has a competitive advantage:

30. Examples of Financial Services Business Ideas

You can use your financial experience to start your own business for private individuals or businesses. You can offer numerous services from bookkeeping to expense reduction analyst and tax accountant. Before you launch your business here are 10 examples of financial services businesses you can gain strategies from:

Extra: 10 Examples of Businesses That Could Inspire Your Next Business Idea

Whether you're interested in starting an online life coach business or developing technology for virtual reality or offering a decluttering service. Before you launch your business, here are 10 examples of different kinds of businesses you can gain insights and strategies from:

How Your Small Business Can Make A Mighty Impact - Forbes

Posted: 01 Aug 2019 09:56 AM PDT

No business is too small to do good. 

In 2016, the 90 employees at California-based Antis Roofing donated 693 labor hours to install roofs on eight new Habitat for Humanity homes. They also performed more than 100 leak repairs and provided 10 large-scale roof projects.

The company's mighty effort led to a "Best Corporate Steward" award from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation in 2017 and helped establish the business as a community player. Their initiatives have included partnerships with Ronald McDonald House Charities, American Red Cross, Alzheimer's Orange County and more.

Corporate social responsibility programs are increasingly crucial for businesses of all sizes. According to a study from Score, consumers want to spend money with socially conscious businesses—and millennials want to work for companies that do more than just make a profit. 

"In the past, it used to be charitable contributions," said Marc DeCourcey, senior vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. "That's great, but companies can actually do so much more than just cut checks. They can not only leverage their treasure, but also their time and talent to help address societal challenges."  

While small and medium-sized businesses rarely have the kind of resources large corporations can pour into corporate social responsibility programs, size is not a deal-breaker for making a positive impact. Here are a variety of ways smaller businesses can contribute to their communities at scale.

Build a program around your superpower:

When developing a corporate social responsibility program, DeCourcey recommends looking inward and ask: What's your company's superpower?

"Banks are able to help people with financial education and invest in communities to help with affordable housing," said DeCourcey. "Banks can do that because that's what banks do. A roofing company can't do that—but a roofing company can help fix someone's roof."  

The best use of a smaller business' resources is utilizing what it already has. A doctor's office might provide medical care to underserved communities or a pet supplies shop might donate pet food to a local animal shelter, for instance.

Consider community needs:

Of course, who should receive those resources is an important decision as well. To decide, Reba Dominski, chief social responsibility officer and president of U.S. Bank, suggests starting with research.

"Some of the data and insights I would encourage small businesses to think about is, what are your competitors doing and what are the most pressing needs in your community? You can look through media, or you can use the Chamber as a resource to understand what the community's most pressing needs are."

Get employee buy-in:

Since employees are often deeply involved with corporate social responsibility programs through paid volunteer time or program coordination, they should have a say in what projects they'll be participating in. 

"It works best when you've got everyone at the company plugged in and ready to go," said DeCourcey. "You've got to have the internal conversation first before you start jumping outside your four walls to try to do something good."  

Ask employees what they're passionate about and what they'd like to spend their time doing. 

"If you can put together a program that engages your employees and serves a real need in your community, it's probably going to be a successful program," said Dominski.

Start with a narrow scope:

Large enterprises with corporate social responsibility programs often target multiple causes. They may address sustainability through their supply chain, homelessness with the donation of volunteer time and community education by leveraging internal expertise. 

Smaller businesses, however, are often better off with a more specific focus. 

"You might need to find just one cause," said Dominski. "That focus doesn't have to be lifelong. You can start with a focus on one thing, and then as your business grows, you can then build up that focus and expand."  

Pair the extent of your business' investment with your size, too. If sending your entire staff to volunteer for a whole day will break your budget, consider other options. 

"Board service is an incredibly important way for a business to show up in a community and for a business leader to contribute their expertise," Dominski said. "You're going to have to be scrappy in the resources that you use."

Consider a partnership:

One way to amplify your community investment is to partner with another business or local nonprofit. "Partnerships are really critical," said DeCourcey. "You only have so many resources, but if you're able to aggregate them, all of a sudden, you become a much larger force for good."  

Evaluate your impact:

Corporate social responsibility programs can be tough to evaluate. On one hand, you can count the number of hours volunteered, events hosted or products donated, but that data doesn't necessarily offer insight into the impact you've made on your community.

Dominski recommends a little of both—capturing the data that's trackable, and looking at the big picture, too: Are those you're attempting to serve better off? Is your business making the world a better place?  

Evaluate business outcomes as well. "Does this help employee morale? Does this lift your brand in the community?" said DeCourcey. "Does this help your relations with government? Does this sell another widget? That's not why you do all these things, but all those things help—and they help you do more of it."  

Enjoy it:

Service with a smile is important when contributing to your community. Even just one unenthusiastic participant risks diminishing the impact of your initiatives. 

"Running a small business is hard, hard work," said Dominski. "Launching a corporate social responsibility program—engaging your consumers, engaging your employees, having a positive impact on your community and in the world—I hope that that brings you joy. It can be incredibly rewarding."

And if you approach it with intention, strategy and heart, a corporate social responsibility program is rewarding for staff members, your business and the entire community.


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