70 Small Business Ideas for Anyone Who Wants to Run Their Own Business

Meg Prater (she/her)

Published: March 19, 2024

A good business idea may seem hard to come by, but with some planning and preparation, you can easily launch a small business to supplement your income — or become your own full-time boss.

Small business ideas symbolically showing the spirit of a small business

Maybe you already have an idea of the business you’d like to start. But while you might feel ready for a new venture and passionate about your idea, you might be looking for some direction.

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To help get you started, here's a list of small business ideas separated into a few sections:

  • What makes a good small business?

Best Small Business Ideas

Best businesses to start with little money, home business ideas.

  • Online Businesses Ideas

Easy Businesses to Start

Business ideas for students, creative small business ideas, how to start a small business at home, starting a small business: faq.

The first step to becoming a successful entrepreneur is finding a business idea that works for you. In this article, you’ll find dozens of small business ideas you can start from home and scale up as your clientele grows. Let’s get started.

What makes a good small business idea?

Not all small business ideas are made equal: Some require more effort and funding than others, while some can be launched with few resources — or resources you already have. As a potential small business owner, you’ll want to save as much money as possible on training, rent, supplies, and other necessities.

Let’s go over what makes a good business idea:

  • Requires little to no training . A good small business idea will ideally leverage your existing field of expertise and require little to no training. That will not only shorten your time-to-launch, but also lessen your expenses, since training courses can cost a significant amount of money. Plus, you’ll be more confident offering services that you feel prepared to deliver.
  • Requires low setup costs. Your business should be cheap to start. Maybe you only need to purchase a website domain or buy a desk for your garage.
  • Requires little hands-on inventory or supply management . A great business idea needs few supplies and little inventory management. If you want to sell physical goods, you can either try drop-shipping and manually make goods in small batches.
  • Is based online . The best small business ideas are based online and can be carried out from your personal computer. This will automatically lower your commuting costs and give you greater flexibility over your personal and work life.
  • Can sustainably be managed by few people . As a small business owner, you won’t have the funds to hire other people to help you run your business — at least not at first. A good business idea should give you the ability to run your business on your own.

what is my business idea about

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Airbnb Co-founder, Brian Chesky, said, “If we tried to think of a good idea, we wouldn’t have been able to think of a good idea. You just have to find the solution for a problem in your own life.”

If you’re like Brian and you’ve already thought about a solution for a problem you encounter in your life — or you’re on the path to doing so — then starting a small business may be in your future. It may also be for you if you dream of clocking out of your nine-to-five job for the last time and becoming your own boss.

Below, we include the best ideas for you to start your small business — with resources and examples to help you get started.

1. Handyman

what is my business idea about

8. Life/Career Coach

If you have experience navigating career, personal, and social transitions successfully, put it to good use as a life or career coach. Many of us are looking for guidance in our careers — and finding someone with the time to mentor us can be tough.

Life/career coaches don’t come cheap, but they are able to offer clients the intense and hands-on training and advice they need to make serious moves in their personal and professional lives. After all, everyone needs some uplifting advice from time to time.

To start your life/career coaching business with confidence, you can look for a certification program (like the Life Coach School’s or Diane Hudson’s ), then apply your skills as you acquire new clients.

what is my business idea about

A resume writing business is economical, has few overhead costs, and has few educational requirements. We still recommend having an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree and a few resume samples on hand. If you still feel that you need to brush up on your resume writing skills, you can take a course like Coursera’s or LinkedIn Learning’s .

Once you’ve gotten resume writing down, you can expand your business to include cover letter writing and even offer career coaching services in conjunction with these services.

10. Freelance Writer

If you have writing skills , there’s someone out there willing to pay you for them. Write blog posts, magazine articles, and website copy galore — just make sure you have a body of work built up to share with potential clients. Even if you create a few sample pieces to have on hand, they’ll help exhibit your work and attract new business.

To become a freelance writer, it’s essential to choose a specialty. For instance, you might choose to only write for publications in the healthcare industry (maybe because you were previously a healthcare worker) or focus on lifestyle publications. Whatever the case, specializing will help you find your niche market and gain confidence as a new freelancer writer.

There are no educational requirements for freelance writing, but you do need strong writing skills. It also helps to enjoy writing. While certification may be beneficial, getting practice and writing every day is more important. Try these writing prompts to start.

11. Landscaper

Mowing, tree-trimming, and seasonal decor are all neighborhood needs. If you have or can acquire the equipment, a landscaping business can be a lucrative affair. It’s also a great choice if you enjoy doing it for your own home and have a good eye for landscape design.

The good news is that you can start small. For instance, you could offer your neighbors seasonal planting services and start with a few perennial plants, or simply offer mulching services.

To grow your landscaping business, you should consider taking some formal training. The following organizations offer courses:

  • New York Botanical Gardens

After completing a course and getting enough experience, you can apply for a certificate from a landscaping organization. While a certificate isn’t necessary to work in the field, it can build your credentials and help you make industry connections to take your landscaping business to the next level. The Association of Professional Landscape Designers offers one potential certificate you could pursue.

Some states require licensure, especially if you’ll be using pesticides and fertilizers. Be sure to review the requirements for your state.

Learn some of the basics now with this video on landscape design from Lowe’s:

12. Videographer

Video production requires you to have invested in the equipment up front, which can be quite expensive. But that’s also what makes your services so valuable. Make sure you have a reel of your work to share or create a website with several selections of your work available for interested viewers.

There are no educational or licensure requirements for starting a video production business. As with writing and other creative arts, though, it pays to specialize. Real estate videos differ radically from wedding videos, and wedding videos differ radically from in-studio interviews and testimonials. By specializing, you target a highly specific customer who’ll benefit the most from your services, and you can also skill-up more effectively in one shooting style.

While you can find general classes on videography, you should consider taking a class in the type of videography you’d like to do. For instance, you could take The Complete Wedding Videography Course .

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13. Photographer

Start by conducting photo shoots for your family and friends. As you build a body of work, ask for referrals and reviews. Photography businesses often grow by word of mouth, so create a Facebook page where you can tag recent clients. Photos where you tag those clients will show up in their friends’ newsfeeds, where they can view your work. You can also ask them to leave reviews on your Facebook business page.

Like with a video production small business, you’ll want to specialize. Will you do product shoots or portraits? How about wedding or fashion photo shoots? Once you specialize, you’ll be able to create a body of work that most accurately represents your strengths.

There are no educational or licensure requirements for starting a small photography business. Still, we recommend investing in a few photography courses, especially if you haven’t used your camera in a while. Some courses you might start with include:

  • Cornell’s Digital Photography Certificate Program
  • New York Institute of Photography’s Course

From there, seek courses that help you build skills in your chosen specialty.

If you’re not sure where to start with freelance photography, take a look at Erica Clayton’s journey into the business below. Her advice? Give yourself a firm deadline to turn a profit.

14. Bed and Breakfast Owner

what is my business idea about

Some consulting industries are more competitive than others, so be sure to complete your research before starting a small consulting business. One way to find out how competitive a consulting niche is by doing keyword search . If your target niche is highly searched or is already dominated by big companies, you may have a harder time breaking in. You can use keyword research tools to uncover keyword volume and local demand.

12. Event Planner

An event planning business is an excellent choice if you have great organizational and interpersonal skills, and it’s relatively cheap to start. You might choose to specialize in a specific type of event — like weddings or company meetings — or set yourself up as an event planner of all trades.

The good news is that event planners are always in demand. It’s not an easily automated job, so this small business idea is set to thrive regardless of the digital landscape. To start, you’ll want to look for a platform that will easily allow you to advertise your availability, such as event planner directories like Eventective and WeddingWire .

If you’re highly organized, detail-oriented, and have experience planning large events, it might be time for others to benefit from your skills.

13. Personal Assistant

Personal assistants help business owners and executives take care of administrative tasks. To launch a freelance personal assistant business, you should leverage networking opportunities on LinkedIn and attend small business events at local chambers of commerce. Most local business owners might not even know they need a personal assistant until you market your services to them.

If you’re an organized, highly-detailed person, the life of a personal assistant might be for you. Don’t want to be tied to one office or person all day, every day? Consider becoming a virtual assistant, which allows you a more flexible work environment.

To become an assistant, choose a niche — will you be helping women business owners specifically? Do you have a specific field of expertise, like bookkeeping? A website can also go a long way, and be sure to print business cards for you to hand out during networking events.

14. Consignment Shop Owner

If you have an eye for style but don’t want to invest in the inventory of a brand-new boutique, consider starting a consignment shop. It will allow you to curate a collection of clothing that matches your goals and aesthetic without the overhead of a boutique selling entirely new garments.

The beauty of a small consignment business is that you can now start one online. You can sign up on a platform such as Poshmark , Depop , and even Etsy , then easily start selling your own used fashion from home.

Once you’ve defined your niche — such as vintage clothing, unique locally made art, or colorful shoes — you can begin sourcing new products from your local stores and thrift shops.

15. Caterer

If the personal chef gig is too restrictive for your schedule, consider catering instead. Pick your projects, work on fewer but larger events, and hone in on your time management skills.

Becoming a caterer is a natural step for those who are used to cooking for large events — for instance, you may have already catered your friend’s wedding or brought a 20-person meal to a potluck (that counts, too!).

It’s essential that you have enough temperature-regulated storage for the meals prior to each event, and that you arrange for reliable, temperature-controlled transportation to and from your home kitchen. Alternatively, you can lower your costs by inviting customers to pick up their order at your home.

16. Gym Owner

Kickboxing gyms, yoga studios, CrossFit, oh my! Turn your passion for fitness into a community for others by creating your own gym — start one from the ground up, become an affiliate, or open a franchise location.

Available franchise opportunities include Anytime Fitness, Orangetheory Fitness, Pure Barre, Planet Fitness, Crunch Fitness, and more. Be prepared to take out a loan to finance your franchise — most agreements start with fees upward of $20,000. But the payoff can be tremendous due to brand recognition. You’ll have no trouble recruiting new members as long as you use local marketing strategies .

Alternatively, you can create a local studio, but ideally, it should be for a specific activity instead of general fitness. Yoga, pilates, bootcamp-style gyms, and martial arts perform well as independent fitness studios.

17. Boutique Agency Owner

What’s your specialty? Whether it’s marketing, social media, or PR, it might be time to start your own agency. Many other small businesses need this type of help but don’t have the resources or volume to necessitate a full-time position.

To start an agency, you would ideally have worked in your specialty for a number of years. You should also be prepared to interface directly with clients, fulfill their requirements, and temper their expectations (if they want results in an unreasonably short amount of time).

Consider building a small team and learn from other entrepreneurs who’ve successfully started their own agencies, like Duane Brown of Take Some Risk .

18. Coffee Shop Owner

Turn your caffeine addiction into something a little more lucrative. Opening a franchise or buying an existing shop are lower-risk entry points to the coffee game, but they usually require a little more cash upfront. Starting a shop from scratch requires more planning and work — but it also maximizes your earning potential in the future.

A coffee shop is an excellent fit if you already have a full-time remote job and wish to supplement your income with a small business. You can manage the coffee shop as you work at one of the tables, but be sure to have the budget to hire an experienced barista who can pick up the slack.

If you would like to open a coffee shop and run it full-time on your own, you’ll need to undertake barista training, understand worldwide coffee sources, and have excellent customer service skills.

19. Moving Company

A truck, moving equipment, manpower, and the correct permits and insurance are the building blocks of starting your own moving company . Before you buy your first fleet of trucks, however, start small with a moving van and keep your costs low.

Still sound like too much of an initial investment? Consider offering packing services only, which have a much lower financial barrier to entry. You can partner with moving companies and offer to do their packing, or have them refer clients to you.

You could even take a niche approach to the industry as Astro International has by offering international moving services.

what is my business idea about

2. Vending Machine Owner

Since 2015, the growth rate for vending machine businesses has increased 1.4%. Even as social distancing restrictions are still in place, this business can still be lucrative if you choose the right locations. High-traffic is key — places like hospitals, schools, and community centers are smart places to start placing your machines to generate enough revenue to cover cost and turn a profit.

3. Social Media Manager

Do you have a knack for social media? As a social media manager, you can use your skills to manage the social media accounts for companies and even individual people. Influencer marketing has become more common and many influencers rely on marketing agencies or employees to help them run their social channels.

what is my business idea about

Online Business Ideas

If you want a business idea that you can run entirely online, check out the ones below. These ideas are ideal for those looking for a passive income stream. In other words, you shouldn’t need to do too much manual work to launch these businesses from your home or preferred business location.

1. Become an online reseller.

To become an online reseller, all you need is some business savvy and some funds to invest in product stock from manufacturers — or, of course,the willingness to sell your own used items. Generally, this is a low-touch but high-performance way of creating a passive income online business.

Online resellers usually use a platform, such as Facebook Marketplace or Amazon Sellers, to sell either their own or manufacturers’ stock. The benefit of using Facebook Marketplace is that you can begin today with your own Facebook account, and simply list items that you already own.

Interested buyers typically drive directly to your home for pick-up — but if you’re not interested in human interaction, you can leave it outside and have the buyer pay via an online platform.

what is my business idea about

Blogging is one of the most accessible small businesses to start, and there are countless niches to choose from. That said, because there are many blogs online, you’ll need to learn blog SEO and keyword research to ensure your audience finds you. That way, you actually make money out of your blogging efforts.

The great news is that a small blogging business has a ridiculously low overhead. All you need is a custom domain and your time for writing blog posts.

5. Home-Baked Goods Seller

Warehouse-made, store-bought chocolate chip cookies will never compare to a batch made with love in someone’s home. Simple desserts can be easily baked and packaged to sell at local events or around your neighborhood. Use custom labels and watch the word spread about your goods!

You can begin a baked goods business easily by opening a Facebook and Instagram profile. Facebook and Instagram are both excellent platforms to market your goods, show pictures of your previous baked products, and even showcase happy clients.

Build a loyal following slowly, and save on costs by asking clients to drive to your home to pick up their order. Choosing a niche can be helpful here, or baking in a specific style that can’t be found at grocery store bakeries. The overhead can be especially low if you already have most essential baking supplies.

6. Ecommerce Store Owner

Do you create, collect, or curate anything special? Consider starting an ecommerce store and turning your hobby into a full-time job. Whether you need somewhere to sell all that pottery you’ve been making, or an excuse to search for the sports memorabilia you love tracking down, an ecommerce store can make it financially viable for you to pursue your passion.

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Starting an ecommerce store is simple and easy. You can set up a shop using an ecommerce website builder , all of which start at a minimal monthly subscription (some even start at free). Be sure to take good photos of your products and write descriptive product pages .

If you don’t have inventory, you can always own an ecommerce store by using dropshipping . Instead of creating and shipping your products yourself, you’ll instead partner with a dropshipping website and have them mail out the orders directly to your client.

7. House Cleaner

With a low barrier to entry, house cleaning can be a great way to start doing what you love — soon. Consider advertising to homes in your neighborhood and get more bang for your buck by earning a few small businesses as clients as well. They’ll usually bring in a higher paycheck for a similar amount of work.

To become a house cleaner, you should be prepared to invest in cleaning supplies and accessories, or be willing to use your own. If you plan to serve small businesses, you should buy industrial janitorial supplies so you can get work done more effectively.

Need some inspiration? This small business cleaning service grew virtually overnight on Instagram after their content went viral during the pandemic.

what is my business idea about

Learn more about choosing the right structure for your business from the Small Business Administration.

6. Create a business bank account.

Once you have a legally formed business and have been issued an Employer Identification Number (EIN), open a bank account specifically for your business. Having a business bank account is essential for keeping your personal and business finances separate which can help you gain an accurate picture of your business’s cash flow and financial health.

Additionally, keeping your personal and business finances separate makes bookkeeping and tax preparation easier.

Many banks offer business checking and savings accounts. Business checking accounts typically do not have a limit on the number of transactions that can take place, and issue a debit card that can be used for making business purchases. However, these checking accounts do not accrue interest.

Business savings accounts typically earn interest over time but have a limited number of transactions that can occur each month. When you’re just starting out, look for a business bank account that does not have a minimum balance requirement so you are not penalized for having low funds as you work to build your business.

7. Determine if your business idea works well from home.

Ask yourself whether your business idea will work well from home. Some businesses simply aren’t suited to be based from home. If you want to run a dog boarding center but live in an apartment without a backyard, you might want to consider a dog walking business instead.

8. Set up an office.

If your business idea is well-suited for being run from home, it’s still important you have a designated workspace. While a home office might not be possible, consider setting aside a corner in your living room or putting a desk in your bedroom for a space that inspires you and creates the conditions for success.

Need a more professional space? If you conduct client-facing work requiring you to be on video calls, no one wants to see your rumpled sheets in the background. Check out local coworking spaces for memberships that earn you access to conference rooms, desk space, and more.

9. Get to work!

You’ve put in the hard work, but I’ve got bad news — it’s only going to get harder. But most entrepreneurs will agree that the payoff of being your own boss, making your own hours, and working on projects that you’re passionate about will pay dividends for the rest of your life.

What are the types of small businesses?

The types of small business structures are sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs), and corporations.

  • Sole Proprietorship — The simplest type of business structure is a sole proprietorship, which is also the easiest to start. As a sole proprietor, you are personally responsible for the business's liabilities and profits, and you have complete control over your business. If you are a solopreneur, you are automatically considered a sole proprietor.
  • Partnership — A partnership is a business model involving two or more individuals who agree to share the business‘s profits and liabilities. Each partner contributes to the business and shares the risks and rewards. It’s essential to have a partnership agreement that defines each partner's roles and responsibilities to ensure clarity and prevent potential misunderstandings.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC) — An LLC, or limited liability company, is a common option for small businesses because it protects its owners by separating personal assets from the company's liabilities. To form an LLC, the business owner must file the required paperwork with the state.
  • Corporation — A corporation is an independent legal entity distinct from its owners. It provides limited liability protection to its shareholders, who are not held personally accountable for the company's debts. Corporations have formal requirements and often raise capital by issuing stocks or shares.

Which business type is best?

The best business type is a limited liability company (LLC). Operating as an LLC means that your personal assets are separate from your business assets. If your business goes bankrupt, your personal holdings won’t be affected. That said, it’s also one of the costlier types, requiring a fee paid to the state.

The easiest business type to start is a sole proprietorship. The main downside is that there’s no differentiation between you and your business.

It's crucial to seek advice from legal or accounting professionals to determine the best business structure based on your unique needs and objectives. Each structure has advantages, legal requirements, tax implications, and flexibility considerations.

How do I create a business idea?

To create a business idea, determine your skill set, work preferences, startup budget, and available resources. It’s important to strike the right balance between what you can feasibly offer and what you can feasibly afford in the short and long term.

We recommend starting with your skill set so that you can easily determine the niche in which you can effectively compete. For instance, if you have ample experience as a writer, you might consider starting a freelance writing business. But if you know you’d prefer to work with clients face-to-face, you might choose to start a ghostwriting business instead. That’s why it’s so important to take your work preferences into account, as well.

After that, take a look at your budget and determine the type of business you can start based on the resources at your disposal. For instance, you might not be able to afford a physical office or location, so a location-based business will likely not be a good fit. In that case, starting an online business is your best option.

What resources or tools can I use to refine and validate my business ideas during the brainstorming process?

Online market research tools like Google Trends, Keyword Planner, and SEMrush can provide insights into market demand, competition, and keyword trends related to your business niche. Industry reports and market analyses from reputable sources such as IBISWorld, Gartner, Statista, and industry-specific publications can offer valuable data and trends to inform your decision-making. Ensure you know the industry risk before embarking on your small business venture.

→ Download Now: Market Research Kit [Free Download]

Additionally, joining entrepreneurial communities, forums, and social media groups can provide opportunities to seek feedback, network with like-minded people, and gain insights from experienced entrepreneurs. Finally, consider conducting surveys or interviews with potential customers to gather feedback and validate your business concept before investing significant time and resources.

What are some of the most successful small businesses?

Every small business has the potential to be successful and profitable, provided it’s backed by a strong product-market fit and a robust business plan . These two elements are essential. Maybe postnatal services are one of the most successful small businesses to launch, but if you live in an area with declining population or a large elderly population, then that small business idea won’t yield a high return on investment.

Think carefully about the market where you’re launching your business, and you’ll be more than likely to see lasting success.

What are the top growing small businesses?

what is my business idea about

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9 Ways to Know if You Have a Great Business Idea

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Table of Contents

Starting a business takes an enormous amount of time and energy, so it’s essential to be passionate about your business idea. However, passion isn’t enough; you also need to understand if your business idea is viable so your personal investment is worth the sacrifice. 

To help budding entrepreneurs, we’ll explain what a great business idea means, how to determine if you have one, and how to spark new business plans.

What is a great business idea?

A great business idea can be monetized and produce unlimited earnings. It poses a solution to a problem many people face. A great business idea is clearly defined to the point where you can explain it to someone effortlessly. Your great business idea is the foundation on which you can build a successful business.

How to determine if you have a good business idea

Sometimes inspiration isn’t the problem; the challenge is determining whether you have a good idea. Critiquing your idea and requesting feedback from as many people as possible is crucial. 

To help you evaluate your business idea, we consulted several experts to create nine essential questions to ask yourself to determine whether your business idea has a chance for future success. 

1. Does your business idea solve a problem?

According to Mike McGee, an entrepreneur and the co-founder of web design school The Starter League – which has been acquired by Fullstack Academy – feels that the best business ideas solve a problem in some way.

“If there is a problem that affects you, your friends, family and co-workers, then the chances are high that it affects people you don’t know as well,” McGee said.

2. Will people pay for it?

Whether you’re focused on a creative new business idea or have an idea for an easy-to-start business , you’ll need customers. Paying customers validate an idea and determine which ones have the greatest chance for success, said Wil Schroter, co-founder and CEO of Fundable.

“An idea is just an idea until you have a paying customer attached to it,” Schroter added. “Anyone can discredit a simple idea, but no one can discredit paying customers.”

3. What’s your price point?

Charlie Harary, co-founder and partner of investment firm H3 & Co., said great business ideas solve problems in a way that is less expensive than what the market will endure.

“Once you have determined that you are solving a legitimate problem in a scalable way, you need to determine not only the value that it delivers to the world but what people would pay for that value,” he said. “Once you determine the price, then you can assess if your solution is business worthy or not.”

Pricing your offerings can be tricky. Low prices can scare away customers , while overpricing can limit sales. You need to set a price point that works for everyone while managing customers’ perception.

4. Is there a sizable niche market for your business idea?

Without a large enough market, your idea may never get off the ground. You must determine if a niche market exists for your idea. You’re better poised for success if your company improves upon what’s already out there – a novel response to a recognized need.

How can you tell if a business niche is, in fact, a market? It’s a mix of “research, gut instinct and personal preference,” according to Ari S. Goldberg, founder and chairman of investment firm RNMKR. “I consider overall industry trends, the amount of investment activity that’s taken place in the space recently, how much I’ve read about it from the consumer side and whether I’ve heard people talking about it,” Goldberg explained.

5. Are you passionate enough about your business idea?

Your business will likely consume all your time, so ensure you’re passionate about it to make it successful. Your idea must be something you genuinely care about, not just something you’ve targeted because it seems like it could be lucrative.

“Since starting a business requires an inordinate amount of time, energy and patience, ideally the idea will be one that you are passionate about as well as one that you have skills or experience [in],” said Melissa Bradley, managing director of Project 500 and professor at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University.

6. Have you tested your business idea?

You won’t know if it’s viable until you test your business idea on strangers who match the profile of your target customer .

“Test it – not just with friends who will be too polite to tell the truth but with honest people who would make up your ideal target audience, and then listen to the feedback,” said Lisa McCartney, co-founder and head of tutoring and learning at PLYTIME.

“If your target sample is saying [your idea] is fantastic and [asking] where can they get it, you know that you’re onto something,” she added. “But if they are less than enthusiastic, it’s probably not as good an idea as you thought.”

7. Are you open to advice?

If you’re not open to changing or adapting your idea to fit what your customers want, your business idea might not be worth pursuing.

“Success happens when you are willing to listen and consider others’ advice,” said Angie Yasulitis, CEO and managing partner at The YaZo Group. “Most good ideas take some tweaking to get to market. Being closed-minded is a business killer.”

Find a mentor or career coach who can offer their advice and experience while helping you evaluate your business idea. If they’re in a similar industry, their feedback could be invaluable.

8. How will you market your business?

Many entrepreneurs think about the problems their business will solve but not how they intend to market their company to their target customers. Jesse Lipson, founder and CEO of Real Magic, said that your small business marketing strategy can determine if your business idea is good.

“If you have a solid go-to-market strategy and a decent product, you’ll probably be successful,” Lipson said. “But if you have a great product without any idea how to reach potential customers, then it’s going to be really tough to make it successful. Thinking through that as early as possible is really key.”

9. Are you being realistic about your goals?

As excited as you may be about a new business idea, staying grounded and realistic is essential. Thomas Gravina, co-founder and CEO of cloud services company Evolve IP, said you shouldn’t have a Field of Dreams mentality when starting your business .

“Just because you have a vision and decide to build it does not mean the rest will follow,” Gravina said. “While you may have an idea that is original, revolutionary or ahead of its time, there should be a real, solid market opportunity to ensure it is successful. Any new business case or new endeavor has to have a viable market that you believe you can sell now – not theoretically or on the premise that there is a future for this market.”

To set achievable business goals , be specific about your plan, find a support group to provide accountability, and visualize your success.

How to come up with a great business idea

To generate a great business idea, start by analyzing your strengths. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are your passions? It’s crucial to choose something you’re passionate about and can see yourself doing day in, day out. For example, explore business ideas for fashion fanatics if you love fashion. If you’re excited about veganism, think of a vegan-friendly business idea .
  • What do others tell you that you’re good at? If you’re the go-to person for certain chores or tasks, this might be a golden opportunity to turn that skill or talent into a business. Talk with your family and friends, and see what they think.
  • What service do you wish existed that currently doesn’t? Say you search the app store for something specific, certain it exists, only to find it doesn’t. This is your chance. Pair up with an app designer or create an app that could benefit people like you worldwide. Consider problems that need solutions. Some of the most successful businesses offer products or services that solve problems for others.

You’ll know if your business idea stinks if experts advise against it, no one seems willing to buy it, no one wants to help, or you’re not even that excited.

Helpful sources to spark new ideas

Sometimes you need a source of inspiration to spur that lightbulb moment. Try to find inspiration in the world around you. Here are four places to look for inspiration:

  • Study successful entrepreneurs. It’s difficult to know where you’re going if you don’t know the path of great entrepreneurs. Read origin stories and study successful entrepreneurs in a similar industry. How did they come up with their business ideas? What advice do they have for up-and-coming entrepreneurs? Learn all you can before embarking on your journey.
  • Use your smartphone. If you know you want to create an app, but you’re not sure exactly what you want to make, search the app store. Browse categories that interest you. Is anything missing, or could you vastly improve on an app’s premise? 
  • Search for similar products or services. The internet is incredibly helpful when finding products and services you need. But have you ever searched for something and been unable to find it? That should be a tip-off of a potential marketing opening you could fill.
  • Turn to social media. People on social media are often quick to identify issues and problems with current products, places and processes. However, few take the time to create a solution. Reading through people’s grievances can give you great insight into problems you may be able to solve. Online review sites are another source of problems in need of solutions.

Explore your business ideas

When you have a potentially great business idea, stop talking and start writing. Talking about an idea before doing some initial processing on paper tricks our brains into thinking we’re actually making progress.

Maybe you always have new ideas popping up in your head. Or perhaps you’re looking for that next big idea to catapult you into business success. Either way, use these strategies to hone your concept and turn your ideas into products or services for your successful business. 

Matt D’Angelo contributed to the writing and reporting in this article. Source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.

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Business Ideas to Become Your Own Boss

Learn about what makes a good business idea, and how to take your idea from inception to production.

Endless job applications and interview callbacks may seem like the gatekeepers of employment, but that’s not necessarily the case. Entrepreneurship is an option that many people pursue, especially in our expanding freelance and small-business economy. There are pros and cons to working for yourself, and each new venture comes with its own set of challenges. Below, we’ll explore the qualities of a good business idea , how to generate great business ideas, and the pros and cons of being your own boss.

Key elements of a good business idea

There’s no limit to what kind of business you can build for yourself. While the specifics will vary, there are a few consistent key elements to all successful businesses.

Clear demand for a product or service

Supply and demand are the building blocks of all business. Every business idea should have hard and clear evidence of demand in your market or field. You can gauge market demand in a few ways. Marketing and outreach software can get your idea in front of your desired audience , or you could get in touch with them using interest surveys or open forums. The better you know your audience, the better your likelihood of success; consider the fact that 14% of startups fail by not regarding customers’ needs.

what is my business idea about

Short and long-term goals

Having a detailed plan is crucial to making any entrepreneurial endeavor successful. Your long-term plans and your short-term plans should work together to keep you on track. Setting SMART goals in the short term will set you up for success in the long term.

Room for growth

Don’t be afraid to alter part—or all—of your idea based on new information or experience. Sometimes change is necessary. It’s important to keep up with the current market and be willing to adapt to unanticipated feedback from your customer base. Being flexible and open-minded can mean the difference between having your idea remain an idea or getting it out in the world. Remember, you can always circle back after you’ve established yourself.

The right amount of motivation

Your business idea doesn’t necessarily have to be based on doing something that you love—though that helps—but it should be based on something you’re motivated to pursue. Whether you’re working to serve a cause or community that’s important to you, honing a skill set, or helping others do the same, motivation can help keep you inspired during challenging times.

How to generate business ideas

Generating business ideas is one of the most important steps for any entrepreneur. If you don't have any good ideas, it's going to be tough to get your business off the ground.

In this blog post, we will teach you how to generate business ideas that will help you achieve success. We will also provide some tips on how to make sure your idea is a viable one.

1. Ask family and friends

The first place any entrepreneur should look when coming up with new business ideas is their own network of family and friends. After all, these are the people who know you best and will be most likely to support your new venture.

By asking those closest to you for ideas, you'll not only get some great suggestions, but you'll also get an idea of what kind of business would be a good fit for your skills.

Your friends and family will also have very different perspectives than you. They have their situations they deal with every day that you may not have thought of.

2. Consider problems in your everyday life - then solve them!

The best business ideas come from solving problems that you or others face every day. If there's something in your life that frustrates you, chances are there are plenty of other people who feel the same way.

Come up with a list of different problems you face going about your day. Once you have a list of about 10 different problems, try to brainstorm 1 to 3 different solutions that don't exist yet.

By identifying these pain points and coming up with a solution, you'll be well on your way to starting a successful business.

3. Build on your hobbies

You're not going to get many business ideas for rocket engineering if you've never even built a model rocket before.

This is why it's important to look at your hobbies and interests when trying to come up with a business idea. It's much easier (and more enjoyable) to build a business around something you're passionate about.

If you love hiking, for example, you could start a hiking gear rental company or a hiking tour company. If you're into cars, you could start a car detailing business or a classic car restoration business.

Whichever option you choose, you'll end up following the journey till its end because you care more about the outcome.

4. Consider if there are tasks you could make easier

The problem many entrepreneurs run into when thinking of a new business idea is trying to create the next biggest thing. But sometimes the best business ideas are those that solve a more mundane problem.

A great way to come up with new business ideas is to think about ways you could make existing tasks easier or more efficient.

For example, let's say you're a real estate agent. You could come up with a service that helps people find their dream home by doing all the research for them.

You could also start a business that helps people stage their homes for sale or that provides virtual tours of properties.

By thinking about ways to make everyday tasks easier, you'll be able to come up with plenty of new business ideas that have the potential to be successful without all the mental effort.

5. Build on existing products or services

If you're struggling to come up with new ideas for a business, it often helps to build on products or services that already exist. You won't have the pressure of coming up with something completely new, and you can focus on improving upon what's already out there. Research similar businesses; what are they doing well? What could you improve upon?

what is my business idea about

A great way to do this is by looking at the current services or products you're already using and asking yourself the "What if?" questions. What if this service was available in my city? What if this product was cheaper/better quality/easier to use?

How to create your business

Once you’ve got an idea and know that there’s a demand for it, you can get started on making it a reality. Below are some standard starting points in getting a business up and running.

Research the market

Whatever idea you have, your product or service will be aimed at a specific group of people and/or at meeting specific needs. It’s important to research the market you plan to serve . The results of that research will be the foundation of your customer service philosophy . Decide how you’re going to serve your customers, through what channels, and what is easiest or most accessible for your client base. Market research is also important to get an accurate read on the real problems, hardships, or difficulties your prospective customers face.

Fulfill a need

Once you’ve found your market and done some research, it’s time to identify a specific need you plan to address. For example, entrepreneur Sara Blakely , the creator of Spanx, identified a need for shapewear that was discreet and comfortable. She filled that need with Spanx. After you’ve identified the needs of your market, you can start to create something concrete that can answer those needs.

Survey your customer base

Another helpful step in the creative process is to get out and directly address your potential customer base. You can do this with an email campaign , an open forum, or an online survey . This can help you market more effectively and help grow your business by building connections and uncovering further market needs. See how Mailchimp's free online survey maker compares to the competition.

Build a budget

Make sure you consider all potential costs when creating your business budget. There are a lot of resources that can help you do things for free or at a reduced cost, like website building or product page design . But there are some things you just can’t DIY. Startup business costs can include:

  • Product production/manufacturing
  • Store or office rental
  • Promotional materials
  • Storage or production space rental
  • Interior design

what is my business idea about

It can be easy to underestimate the cost of starting a business if you’ve never done it before. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the what-ifs, hire a financial adviser who can help you build and maintain a flexible budget.

Find investors if necessary

After you’ve established your budget, you can determine whether acquiring investors will be a helpful or feasible option for you. Investors can be a great resource for getting a new business financially established. However, they can also mean sacrificing some creative control. If you are going to pursue investors, you’ll want to learn how to prepare a pitch deck .

Be flexible

It’s important to remember that business ideas are rarely perfect from the get-go. Be open to adjusting your plan, budget, and ideas as needs arise. Try to avoid major last-minute changes, however, because they can have effects down the line.

Set deadlines

Deadlines can be a useful tool and can help keep your goals on track. With firm deadlines, you can help yourself maintain boundaries, recognize what is plausible and implausible for you, set detail-oriented goals, and measure your success.

Pros and cons of entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship can be rewarding, creatively fulfilling, and a great alternative to a traditional 9-to-5. However, it’s not easy to start and maintain a small business.

There are some incredible benefits for starting your own business or becoming a freelancer, including:

  • Being your own boss
  • Finding untapped niches in a market
  • Becoming an innovator
  • Reaping financial payoffs
  • Being creatively fulfilled

But along with the benefits, there are some drawbacks that new and seasoned small business owners alike can experience.

  • Uncertainty about the future
  • Financial ups and downs
  • Skewed work-life balance
  • Limited support and resources

Set yourself up for success with your new business idea

Generating a business idea, completing your research, and seeing it through the creation process can be a difficult but ultimately rewarding choice. If you’re motivated, organized, and goal-oriented, then running your own business might be the right career move for you. Consider tools that can help you reach your desired business heights, like Mailchimp, and put your venture on the path to success.

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How to Come Up With a Good Business Idea

Aspiring female entrepreneur thinking of a business idea.

7 min. read

Updated January 5, 2024

Some entrepreneurs have a natural gift for generating ideas—most struggle. But without a good idea, starting a business will be an uphill battle.

Luckily, this is a skill you can improve with the right process and a little practice.

This guide will teach you how to generate hundreds of business ideas and identify what makes a good idea. We even have curated lists of ideas for you to explore. Let’s get started.

How to come up with a good business idea

Coming up with a business idea isn’t a strict process. It’s a series of methods to tap into, explore, and see if something sticks. 

Here are a few tried-and-true ways to generate a business idea:

1. Solve a problem

Your business must solve a real problem . 

The most successful businesses always do. But how do you identify a real-world problem? 

Try one (or all) of the following:

  • Think about issues you’ve encountered in your own life.
  • Reach out to friends, family, or colleagues.
  • Look through Reddit, Quora, and other forums.
  • Run a survey.

These are just a few ways to uncover actual problems. Once you’ve identified a few persistent issues, dream up possible solutions. That may lead you to a highly desired business idea.

2. Talk to family and friends

It’s challenging to think up ideas solo. So, reach out to someone you trust.

Your family and friends can be a great source of inspiration. Discuss your desire to start a business with them and ask for their ideas. 

They may have noticed a gap in the market, have a problem that needs solving, or have a unique perspective for harnessing your skillset. 

This outside input can be the spark you need to find a great idea. Plus, you’ll open the door for additional support—such as funding or partnership.

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3. Make tasks easier

The best and most lucrative businesses are often the most mundane. They help solve basic problems by making them easier or more efficient.

To hone in on these simple issues, walk through your day. What tasks do you dread? What undesired work takes up your time? 

These often overlooked pain points are likely screaming for solutions.

4. Build on an existing product or service

A great business idea doesn’t require reinventing the wheel. 

Instead, take an existing product or service and make it better. Improve the design, add new features, or find a new way to market it. You may even be able to introduce a product or service to an underserved market. 

Start looking at the things around you and ask—how could this be easier? How could it be more intuitive, less stressful, and more pleasant? How could it be more affordable?

You may find that even the slightest change will create something unique.

5. Start with a hobby

Your hobbies and passions can be a great source of business ideas. Whether you love baking, photography, or gardening—there’s likely a way to turn your hobby into a business . 

You just need to determine how to monetize your skills or the products you create. If you’re unsure how take it slow and start with a side hustle . You’ll still need to consider pricing, expenses, and how much time to invest—but you’ll have less risk and more time to adapt your hobby into a business.

6. Jump on a trend

Trends can provide excellent business opportunities. Whether it’s a new technology, a fashion statement, or a change in consumer behavior—spotting and capitalizing on emerging trends can lead to successful business ideas. But, there are potential complications you should be aware of.

A very small or non-existent market for this product or service is likely. You’ll need to showcase the problem to stimulate a need many didn’t know they had. Just be sure it has staying power (like AI tools) and is not just a fad (like fidget spinners).

You should expect multiple competitors to emerge as the trend gains traction. Focus on solidifying your brand and build loyalty early on to stay ahead of imitators. 

7. Innovate

Innovation involves developing something new or finding a novel approach to an existing product or service. This requires creativity and a willingness to take risks. Still, it can lead to unique and successful business ideas.

Remember that this may mean no current market for your product or service exists. But if you believe there will be a problem and can convince others, you may be at the forefront of an untapped movement.

What are the qualities of a good business idea?

There’s no genuinely perfect business idea. However, there are clear signs that an idea is worth pursuing and more likely to succeed. 

Clear market demand

There must be a need for your product or service. Meaning your idea needs to, at a minimum, solve a real-world problem for your target customers . 

That’s just the start. 

Will people pay for a solution? Is there a real opportunity to disrupt pre-existing alternatives? 

It may not be a good idea if the answer is no to either question. 

Scalable and profitable

Scalability and profitability are tied together. 

An idea is scalable if you can:

  • Attract more customers.
  • Accommodate this increased demand.
  • Lower costs as you grow.

An idea is profitable if revenue exceeds expenses. 

Now, your business may take time to be profitable. But it should display the ability to grow and scale to achieve profitability. 

If your business idea can’t bring in more customers or decrease costs—you’ll struggle to be profitable.

Fits your goals

Do you want to monetize your passion? Grow quickly and sell? Create a legacy to pass down to your kids?

You need to know what you hope to get from being an entrepreneur. Because only some business ideas will fit your goals. 

So, make sure the business fits your motivation. If it doesn’t, you’ll find it is far more challenging to keep up long-term. 

  • No business idea? Try these

If you’re struggling to develop a business idea, check out one of our curated guides for inspiration.

Business ideas you can start for free

Is the idea of spending money holding you back from starting a business? Don’t worry, there are plenty of business ideas out there that require little to no upfront investment.

30+ business ideas using skills you already have

Whether you’ve developed skills from a hobby, work experience, or online courses—there’s a good chance you can use them to start your own business.

Online business ideas

Skip setting up a brick-and-mortar storefront and go digital. Here are some low-cost online businesses you can start right now.

Subscription service business ideas

While we may be past the gold rush for this business type—the right subscription service could still capture consumers’ attention.

Business ideas to start during a recession

An economic downturn typically spells trouble for business owners. It also presents an opportunity for new entrants to fill gaps in the market.

How to generate business ideas with LinkedIn

Learn to use your professional connections to explore, develop, and test potential business ideas.

Questions to reveal customer pain points

Learn how to speak with potential customers and understand what challenges could be solved with the right business idea.

Hottest industries to start a business

What industries show the most significant growth potential for new businesses? Check out our regularly updated list for insights on what industries may provide the best opportunity for entrepreneurs.

Coming up with an idea is just the first step

Once you have your business idea, it’s time to validate if it will work . 

You’ll need to chat with potential customers, run tests, and explore the financial implications of starting your chosen business. If that sounds tough, don’t worry, the next section of our startup guide will help you understand if you have a good business idea.

For now, pat yourself on the back for getting this far. 

Sorting through the thousands of potential options and finding something you believe can be turned into a business is a big step. Now, you need to determine if your idea can become a legitimate business .

Resources and tools to find your business idea

Make researching and selecting a business idea easier with these templates and tools.

what is my business idea about

Business idea validation checklist

Want to find out if your business idea is a winner? Work through this checklist to test it.

Download Tool

what is my business idea about

One-page business plan template

Document your research, explore the specifics of your idea, and outline how it could work as a business.

Download Template

what is my business idea about

Explore your business idea with LivePlan

With a library of real-world sample business plans, industry benchmarks, and step-by-step guidance—you can quickly determine if your business idea will work.

Clarify your ideas and understand how to start your business with LivePlan

Content Author: Kody Wirth

Kody Wirth is a content writer and SEO specialist for Palo Alto Software—the creator's of Bplans and LivePlan. He has 3+ years experience covering small business topics and runs a part-time content writing service in his spare time.

what is my business idea about

Table of Contents

  • How to come up with a business idea
  • Qualities of a good business idea
  • Your idea is the first step
  • Resources and tools

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How to Effectively Pitch a Business Idea

Business professional pitching idea in office

  • 27 Aug 2020

You’ve identified an underserved need and validated your startup idea . Now it’s time to talk about your business to potential investors. Yet, how do you effectively communicate your idea’s promise and possible impact on the market?

Pitching a business idea is one of the most nerve-wracking parts of any entrepreneur’s journey. It’s what stands in the way between your vision and the financing needed to turn it into a reality. Although daunting, there are steps you can take to ensure a greater chance of success.

Access your free e-book today.

What Makes a Great Pitch?

To make a successful pitch, entrepreneurs must exhibit several characteristics to convince investors to fund their innovative ideas .

Every entrepreneur needs an intricate understanding of their idea, target market, growth strategy, product-market fit , and overall business model . This differentiates your business concept and solidifies the steps needed to make it a reality. The perfect pitch shows investors your proof of concept and instills confidence that they can expect a return on investment .

Another crucial component of a successful pitch is understanding the venture capital (VC) ecosystem.

“It’s critical for entrepreneurs to understand the background and motivations of venture capitalists so when entrepreneurs seek them out to help fund their venture, they know what to prioritize in a firm and how to build a strong, trusting relationship,” says Harvard Business School Senior Lecturer Jeffrey Bussgang in the online course Launching Tech Ventures .

To secure funding and support, here are essential steps to ensure your pitch is effective.

How to Pitch a Business Idea

1. know who you’re pitching.

Some entrepreneurs try to get in front of every investor, despite their industry expertise or firm’s investment stage. Consider that, when you accept an investment, it’s about more than money; you enter a partnership. You must perform your due diligence and research potential investors before making your pitch.

Graphic showing three questions to ask potential investors

When researching, ask yourself:

What industries do they invest in?

A VC firm’s industry focus depends on what the partners’ niche is and where their passions lie. Some firms specialize in a particular sector, such as financial technology (fintech) or education technology (edtech).

For example, Rethink Education is a venture capital fund that invests in early- and growth-stage edtech startups, while Blockchain Capital is dedicated to financing companies innovating in the crypto market. Others are generalists and span several industries.

Knowing the types of companies the firm invests in can help you tailor your pitch and zero in on their presumed priorities.

What stage do they invest in?

If you’re in the earliest stages of business development, you won’t receive growth equity, which is reserved for mature companies that need capital to expand operations, enter a new market, or acquire another business. Before making your pitch, have a rough estimate of the money and resources you need to launch, and then align yourself with investors who can help at that particular stage.

What’s the investor’s track record?

Dig deeper into the investor’s experience and investment history to determine the types of companies they typically finance, the background knowledge they might already have, and whether your personalities will mesh. This information will enable you to modify your pitch and determine if this is the right person or fund to partner with.

“The best venture capitalists become trusted partners and advisors to the founders and team,” says HBS Professor William Sahlman in the online course Entrepreneurship Essentials . “They help recruit key employees. They introduce the company to potential customers. They help raise subsequent rounds of capital. In some cases, they signal that the firm they've backed is a winner, which helps make that assertion true.”

Given the benefits and high stakes, the more you know going into a pitch, the better.

Entrepreneurship Essentials | Succeed in the startup world | Learn More

2. Consider How You Present Yourself, Not Simply Your Idea

Although your ideas and skills matter , your personality is equally as important. According to research published in the Harvard Business Review , venture capitalists’ interest in a startup “was driven less by judgments that the founder was competent than by perceptions about character and trustworthiness.”

Investors also want to know they’re entering a partnership with the right people. Jennifer Fonstad, co-founder of Aspect Ventures , acknowledges in Entrepreneurship Essentials that her investment firm “thinks about team and team dynamics as being very critical.”

Investors want to know whether the founders have worked together before, if your startup’s early hires have complementary skill sets, and whether you’ll be flexible, open-minded, and willing to embrace different perspectives.

Think about this as you prepare your pitch. If investors poke holes in your idea, will you get defensive? When they ask for financial projections, will you exaggerate the numbers? Hopefully, your answers are “no”—firms want to partner with founders they can trust who are open to guidance and mentorship—but if you’re second-guessing your reactions, consider what you might be asked and practice your responses.

As Sahlman reinforces in Entrepreneurship Essentials : “Most experienced investors look at the people first and the opportunity second. Even when a team is young and inexperienced, an investor depends on them to make the right decisions.”

3. Tell a Story

When describing your business idea, zero in on the problem you address for your target audience and how you solve it better than the competition. You could do this by presenting a real-life scenario in which you describe the pain point a current or prospective customer faced and how your product or service fixed the issue. This can help engage investors on a personal level and inspire them to see your idea’s potential.

By complementing your spreadsheets and charts with a compelling story, you can paint a fuller picture of your startup’s future and more effectively highlight its business opportunity.

4. Cover the Details

While it’s important to set the stage, you also need to cover the specifics. In your pitch deck, concisely define your value proposition and share a memorable tagline for investors to leave the meeting with.

According to Bussgang in Launching Tech Ventures , every pitch to an investor should contain the following:

  • Intro: Focus on answering important questions like who you are, why you’re asking for funding, and what your founder-market fit is.
  • Problem: Talk about your ideal customer’s pain point and how you plan to solve it.
  • Solution: Explain how your idea is a compelling solution and why it’s better than existing solutions.
  • Opportunity and Market Size: Provide your total addressable market (TAM), serviceable addressable market (SAM), and serviceable obtainable market (SOM) through research.
  • Competitive Analysis: Understand your unique differences in the market that can help you sustain a competitive advantage.
  • Go-to-Market Plan: Clarify how you’re going to reach your customers.
  • Business Model: Describe how you’re going to make money.
  • Financials: Define what your financial projections are and how you’re going to provide returns for investors.
  • The Ask: Detail how much funding you need, how long it will last, and what milestones you hope to achieve.

“VCs will expect entrepreneurs to clearly define the milestones they need to achieve with each round of funding,” Bussgang continues. “Entrepreneurs should know what experiments they will run to reach these milestones and what they expect the results will be.”

Launching Tech Ventures | Build a viable, valuable tech venture that can profitably scale | Learn More

5. Show the Roadmap

Although you’re in your business’s early stages, investors want to know how they’ll cash out in the end.

“To truly understand the motivations behind VC firms, remember that they are professional investors,” Bussgang explains in Launching Tech Ventures . “Their objective is to generate the maximum return for their limited partners with a dual fiduciary duty to their investors and the company.”

To clinch your pitch, highlight your exit strategy and the options available.

Graphic showing three common exit strategies for businesses

The most common exit strategies include:

  • Acquisition: When one company buys most or all of another company’s shares to gain control of it
  • Merger: When two existing companies unite into one new company
  • Initial Public Offering (IPO): When a private company issues its first sale of stocks to the public and can start raising capital from public investors

Related: What Are Mergers & Acquisitions? 4 Key Risks

3 Kinds of Pitches for Entrepreneurs

While all effective pitches share foundational elements, you should use different types depending on the scenario. To increase your chances of success, tailor your pitch to your audience and the available time frame.

1. The Elevator Pitch

This is one of the most popular pitches. Use this when you need to communicate their startup’s value in 60 seconds or less.

An effective elevator pitch should be concise, convincing, and convey your startup’s value proposition and differentiators. For tech business ideas, mention the innovative technology that sets your concept apart. At the end, include a call to action, such as the amount of capital required to launch.

2. The Short-Form Pitch

You should portray your business idea’s value to prospective clients and investors as efficiently as possible. This means summarizing the most important elements of your idea in a way that makes them want to hear more. Highlight the market size, how you’ll create barriers for competition, your plan to monetize the business, and how much financing you need.

Short-form pitches can run from three to 10 minutes; if you’re pitching in a competitive setting, note any length requirements. These shorter pitches can pique investors’ interest and earn you the chance to present a long-form pitch.

3. The Long-Form Pitch

Sometimes, you’re fortunate enough to have more than a few minutes to pitch your idea. If this opportunity presents itself, it’s crucial to make the most of your time and address every aspect of your business plan.

“You’re not just trying to start any business,” Bussgang says in Launching Tech Ventures . “You’re trying to create a business that’s profitable, sustainable, and valuable.

Zero in on your story and share a real-life scenario. Detail the market size to illustrate demand and clear examples of how you’ll attract and retain customers, particularly in light of competitors. This will show you’re planning for—and ahead of—future challenges.

You should also have a blueprint for testing product-market fit and early results, along with a detailed monetization plan. Lastly, share your exit strategy and the amount of capital needed to, one day, achieve it. Your long-form pitch should communicate your business concept clearly and concisely, open the possibility for follow-up questions, and capture the investors’ interest.

Consider preparing all three pitch lengths to be ready for any opportunity. It’s important to stay agile so you can modify your pitch to fit specific length requirements.

Which HBS Online Entrepreneurship and Innovation Course is Right for You? | Download Your Free Flowchart

Landing the Pitch

Every investor prioritizes different data and information. Yet, if you start by choosing the right investor and then align their needs with your proposed market opportunity, value proposition, and exit strategy, you have a chance at landing the pitch.

“In some ways, startup success depends just as much on whether your hypothesis about the future is right, as it does on whether your idea is a good one,” Bussgang explains in Launching Tech Ventures .

As a result, it’s important for you to do your due diligence before pitching your business idea to investors.

If you’re interested in learning more about what investors look for and how you can create value, explore Entrepreneurship Essentials and Launching Tech Ventures , two of our entrepreneurship and innovation courses . Not sure which is the right fit? Download our free course flowchart to determine which best aligns with your goals.

This post was updated on July 28, 2023. It was originally published on August 27, 2020.

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Written by Jesse Sumrak | March 12, 2024

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Good business ideas

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Can there really be that many good business ideas? Yes, there can. This is actually our filtered-down list—you should have seen how many other almost-good ideas nearly made the cut.

Whether you’re an experienced entrepreneur or brand new to the scene, we’ve compiled the best-of-the-best business ideas for you to bring to life in 2024. These range from freelance writing to career coaching to dog walking and everything in between.

Ready to find your next big idea? Keep scrolling.

What Makes a Business Idea Good or Bad?

It’s not always just the idea you need to think about. Sometimes it’s you, the situation, market circumstances, or industry trends.

One business idea can be good today and bad tomorrow. It all depends on various factors (both predictable and unpredictable). Not every good business idea will be right for you, and that’s OK.

Fortunately for you, you don’t need 50 good business ideas—you really just need one. Here’s what to keep in mind when finding the right startup idea :

  • Personal Interests: Don’t start a freelance writing business if you hate writing. Align your interests with your business. That’s the freedom you get when starting your own business—don’t throw it away from the get-go.
  • Bandwidth: Some business ideas require more input and investment. For example, opening and managing a new Italian restaurant will be more time-consuming than launching a restaurant consulting business. Neither is better than the other—just under your capacity and limitations.
  • Budget: Starting a business isn’t free. Some ideas cost less than others, though. Keep in mind your budget constraints when planning your venture.
  • Trends: You want to be on the climbing side of a trend curve—not the decline. Thinking of starting a business centered around Pokémon GO? You’re only about 6 years too late.
  • Problem-Solving: Find a business idea that solves a problem. Start with the issue, then find a product or service solution.
  • Renovation: A good business idea doesn’t need to be innovative—it can be renovative. Fix a broken idea or build upon an already successful one.

Once you’ve found the right business idea, don’t quit your day job (yet). Test it first.

Don’t Skip: How to Start a Business from Scratch (Step-By-Step Process)

54 Good Business Ideas in 2024

We’ve broken down these good business ideas into a few different sections. Here’s how they’re categorized:

Types of Good Business Ideas

Low-Cost Startup Ideas

Online Business Ideas

Remote Business Ideas

Freelance Ideas

Business Ideas for Women

Side Hustle Ideas

Recession-Proof Business Ideas

LTO product ideas button

7 Good Low-Cost Startup Ideas

Starting a business can be expensive. Rent, wages, inventory, advertising, web hosting, marketing—it all starts to add up quickly.

Fortunately, not every good business idea costs a fortune. You can find plenty that cost little to no cash to launch. Let’s start with these low-cost startup ideas first :

1. Freelance Writing: Turns words into income as a for-hire freelance writer . Find an industry that interests you and start writing. This could be thought-leadership articles, SEO-driven content, email campaigns, social media posts, or web pages.

2. Consulting: Freelancers tend to provide deliverables, while consultants provide advice, strategy, and expertise. If you’ve been in an industry for quite some time, there’s a good chance businesses will pay for your wisdom as a consultant . Develop expertise in emerging industries, like AI, to be an early adopter in a niche agency.

3. Course Creating: Have lucrative know-how? Bundle it all up into a well-designed online class and sell it as a course creator . We’re all for it—that’s what we do at Foundr.

4. Podcasting: Total podcast listeners are growing 20% each year . Jump in on the action by creating your own audio-based show. Here’s how to make your podcast stand out from the rest .

5. Blogging: Everyone likes blogs—you’re reading one right now. If you like to write, drive traffic to a website with blogging . Once you have an audience, you can monetize your visitors with ads, ecommerce, sponsorships, donations, and affiliate marketing. Speaking of affiliate marketing…

6. Affiliate Marketing: Instead of selling your own products, sell other businesses’ goods. You’ll make a commission every time someone clicks through your links and makes a purchase. Learn how Catena Media’s Erik Bergman used affiliate marketing to launch an IPO (initial public offering) his consultancy firm.

7. Website Building: Over 627,000 new businesses open each year in the US, and every single one of them needs a website. If you have a knack for building them, sell your services as a website builder. Here’s how to build sites quickly .

6 Good Online Business Ideas for Beginners

We won’t pretend starting a business is easy. It comes with a suite of challenges that bring even the best entrepreneurs to despair, headaches, and tears.

However, it’s worth the challenge.

Lucky for you, some business ideas are easier to start than others. If you’ve never dabbled in launching a business, then these online business ideas for beginners are a great place to start.

8. Ecommerce: Ecommerce is just selling stuff on the internet. Find a product , sell it online, and make a killing. That’s easier said than done, but our guide on how to start an ecommerce business will walk you through the entire process.

9. Virtual Assisting: Help businesses, executives, and freelancers schedule appointments, make phone calls, submit invoices, and manage basic finances as a virtual assistant .

10. Social Media Managing: Many businesses don’t have the bandwidth to manage social networks across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok ( yes, TikTok ). If you’re a savvy social media marketer, you can provide management services across paid and organic channels.

11. Branding: Designing a top-notch logo is hard. Writing a clever tagline is a challenge. Tying it all together into one cohesive brand—that’s the struggle of a branding expert. If you have a talent for it, sell your services in a freelancing or consulting capacity.

12. Domain Flipping: Instead of building websites from scratch, buy existing sites from domain marketplaces. They could be in great, semi-rough, or poor condition—your job is to polish them up and sell them for a profit.

13. Subscription Box Curating: Create a subscription box for a niche in need. There’s a lot of competition in this space, so you’ll need to be clever with your offering and targeting—but Henrik Werdelin built a 9-figure subscription box business just for dogs .

4 Good Remote Business Ideas

New business ideas have blossomed due to the acceptance of remote work. Give these remote work ideas a try to launch a business and help alleviate unexplored problems.

14. Wellness Programming: Remote work isn’t great for everyone—some folks struggle with stress and isolation. As a wellness programmer, you can provide ways to relax, decompress, and focus on mental and emotional wellbeing. This could be in the form of yoga, meditation, stretching, training, or just healthy habits.

15. Remote Work Services: Provide remote-empowering solutions to businesses in need. While it feels like remote started decades ago, some companies are still learning to adapt and cope. Offer services to boost collaboration or fill holes left open by work-from-home policies.

16. Virtual Fitness Training: Peloton doesn’t have a monopoly on online fitness—some people want other forms of exercise, and others prefer a more local community feel. Become a hyper-specialized fitness trainer in specific niches, such as ultramarathon training, rowing, ski mountaineering, or rock climbing.

17. Content Marketing: Upstart brands and corporations alike are looking for help to churn out content for their organic channels. As a content marketer , you can offer to create pieces like newsletters, website articles, social media copy, or short-form videos, all from the comfort of a home office.

7 Good Freelance Job Ideas

Freelancing has been on the up and up in recent years, and the pandemic has only been a catalyst for the movement. Especially with the Great Resignation upon us , companies need freelancers to step up to the plate and take over heaps of work.

If you have the right skill set, you can fulfill that need with one of these freelance job ideas .

18. Video Shooting and Editing: Video content is all the rage, but it’s not easy for busy businesses to produce. If you know your way around a camera and video editing software, you can find plenty of work as a freelance video specialist.

19. Career Coaching: Help clients find their way through their dream careers. You might guide them towards a more appropriate, fulfilling job, or you could give them the tools they need to negotiate their next big promotion.

20. Public Relations: Help businesses land press coverage with media kits, networking, press releases, and storytelling. It’s a demanding job, but it’s right if you like working in a non-stop, fast-paced environment.

21. Marketing: Use content marketing, email, social media, and advertising to market your clients’ products and services . Marketing is all-encompassing, and you’ll likely choose to niche down to a specific channel or strategy down the road.

22. App Developing: Apps are becoming a must-have part of most businesses’ products and services. However, finding an available engineer to build an app is near impossible. If you know your way around Java , Swift , or Kotlin , you’ll be in high demand for mobile app development.

23. Integrating: Some leaders inspire, others innovate, and a few dream. Integrators get things done. They take dreams and aspirations and turn them into reality. It’s a hands-on job, but it’s high-visibility and high-reward.

24. AI Consultant : With so many AI tools available , businesses are struggling to know how to implement them. Be someone’s go-to for AI implementation and consulting.

How To Find The Next BIG Business Idea | Nextdoor's Sarah Leary

12 Good Business Ideas for Women Entrepreneurs

There are 114% more women entrepreneurs now than 20 years ago. Women are looking for more autonomy, work-life balance, and financial freedom—and they’re finding it on their own rather than waiting for the corporate world to change.

If you’re looking for a good business idea that promises location flexibility and work schedule independence, we have a few thoughts. Plus, these business ideas for women entrepreneurs are typically in women-dominated industries—helping you escape the gender discrimination more prevalent in male-dominated sectors.

25. Etsy Shop: Esty is the go-to marketplace for creative entrepreneurs. Want to make one-of-a-kind products? This is where to go to sell them.

26. Interior Designing: Have an eye for design? Become a residential or commercial interior designer. Ergonomic setups and feng shui (arranging furniture for balance) are becoming more of a priority in the business world, meaning more opportunities for you.

27. Graphic Designing: Logos, landing pages, websites, hero images, email campaigns—anything with pixels needs a graphic designer’s touch. While tools like Canva are growing in popularity, they’ll never replace a need for graphic design experts.

28. Dropshipping: Sell products without storing them in your home or a warehouse. It’s the perfect anti-Lula Roe way to sell goods without risking inventory issues.

29. Life Coaching: Coaching isn’t just for career advice. Sometimes, people need life advice. It’s less therapy and more guidance.

30. Tutoring: Online course instructing is when you want to teach the masses—tutoring is for more private 1:1 teaching. Have an in-demand skill? There’s a good chance someone will pay you to teach it to them.

31. Real Estate: Purchase investment properties, find a tenant to pay rent (hopefully covering the monthly mortgage), and sell the property after it appreciates substantially. That’s real estate for you.

32. Wedding Planning: A wedding is the most important day of two partners’ lives. If you can navigate all the moving parts and piece together something beautiful, you’ll be on everyone’s contact list come springtime.

33. Personal Chef: You don’t need to own a restaurant to be a chef. More individuals and families are hiring personal chefs to cook in private settings.

34: Event Planning: Conferences, parties, meetings, conventions, trade shows—they need talented event planners to come together. If that sounds like you, you’ll always have a job in event planning.

35. Makeup Artist: Makeup isn’t as easy as it looks in the commercials, and that’s why makeup artists are killing it on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok showing people how it’s done.

36. Cleaning Business: Everyone needs cleaning: commercial and residential. If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty (or managing the business), you’ll find plenty of messy people begging for your help.

How Her Rejected Pitch Led to a Billion-Dollar Startup

14 Good Side Hustle Ideas

Some ideas start better as a side hustle until they bloom to maturity. Side hustles (for better or worse) are less committing than full-time ventures. You can often grow them on the side while maintaining your 9-to-5 until the timing is right .

You also have the option to keep them as a side hustle. Not everyone wants to quit their full-time job and become an all-in entrepreneur, and that’s OK. These are the perfect side hustle jobs for pursuing a passion, making an extra buck, or laying the roots for your next business.

37. Ghostwriting: If you don’t mind trading credit for income, ghostwriting can be a lucrative business idea.

38. Podcast Editing: Some people thrive doing podcast interviews, but they can’t navigate the editing process. That’s where you come in.

39. Influencer Marketing Specialist: Most businesses are hesitant to start with influencer marketing simply because they don’t know how. Tell them what they need to know and hold their hand through the process.

40. Lead Generation Consulting: Sales aren’t always the root of the problem—sometimes, it’s lead generation. Guide a client through how they can build and optimize their lead funnel.

41. Browser Extension Developing: Mobile apps are nice, but sometimes a built-in browser extension is more appropriate.

42. Data Scientist: Know your way around numbers? Businesses have more data than they know what to do with. Help them understand the stories behind the numbers.

43. Quality Assurance Testing: There’s a lot of pressure for apps to be built quickly, but that doesn’t mean quality assurance isn’t a priority. Your job is to break apps so that developers can fix them before they go public.

44. Public Speaking Coaching: Public speaking will likely always be a struggle for a large number of individuals. If you can help executives and would-be presenters overcome their fears and step up to the stage, you’ll have a job in public speaking coaching.

45. Media Training: Don’t put an executive in front of a microphone until they’ve been trained on what to do (and more importantly: what not to do). It’s your job to make sure they don’t screw up.

46. Contract Writing: Know your way around legalese? Help businesses write up contracts.

47. Translating: If you’re bilingual, there’s a good chance you can find gigs for translating the two languages.

48 Dog Walking: Just because more people are working from home doesn’t mean they don’t want a dog walker. Sometimes, they don’t want to leave the house, and other times they can’t with illness or kiddos.

49. Pet Sitting: People want to travel and see the world, but they can’t always bring their furry friend. Keep them company for payment.

50. Travel and Experience Host: If you live in a major metropolitan city or somewhere that’s a destination for travelers, it’s easy to take advantage of platforms like Airbnb to host guests in your home or plan custom experiences that only a local can provide. Whether it’s a food tour in your neighborhood or a guided historical hike, travelers will fork out cash to experience your home like you do.

Find YOUR Side Hustle Idea (9 Questions of Doom)

4 Good Business Ideas During a Recession

Sketchy economic times require backup plans. With 9 to 5 jobs in flux, starting a business during a recession is a secure way to make side income and take advantage of shifts in the market.

51. Finance Coach: With a tightening economy comes tightening budgets. As a finance coach, you can help families objectively adjust their monthly budgets and offer suggestions on cutting costs to free up cash.

52. Content Creator: Making entertaining and engaging content for platforms like TikTok, Twitch, or YouTube doesn’t seem like a stable idea, but it meets two criteria of a recession-proof business. First, it’s low-cost to start. All you need is a phone, ideas, and your personality. Second, it meets consumers’ demands during tight economic conditions—escapism and low-cost entertainment.

53. Home Repair: No matter what’s happening with S&P 500, pipes will burst, lights will flicker, and furnaces wig out. Starting a home repair business will keep you in demand no matter the economic climate because what can go wrong will go wrong with a house.

54. Cleaning Services: Almost half the families in America have both parents employed, meaning there’s not much time to make the house squeaky clean for a hosting. It doesn’t matter if the economy is up or down; people are willing to pay for a cleaning service on the regular or in a pinch before their in-laws come from the weekend.

Keep Learning: How to Start an Online Business

Bring Your Good Idea to Life

Once you’ve zeroed in on your good business idea, it’s time to make it a reality. However, you need more than just an idea—you need skills and know-how.

That’s where we can help.

Download our 500 product idea guide to jumpstart your business.

Jumpstart your ecom business 500 product ideas

About Jesse Sumrak

Jesse Sumrak is a writing zealot focused on creating killer content. He’s spent almost a decade writing about startup, marketing, and entrepreneurship topics, having built and sold his own post-apocalyptic fitness bootstrapped business. A writer by day and a peak bagger by night (and early early morning), you can usually find Jesse preparing for the apocalypse on a precipitous peak somewhere in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

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what is my business idea about

what is my business idea about

What Makes A GREAT Business Idea? These 9 Traits

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  • March 26, 2024
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A timeless question:

What makes a GREAT, 8 figure business idea?

This is a question I’ve been asking myself for over a decade now.

I asked it to myself when I was in college taking classes and dreaming about what life would be like after school.

I knew that I wanted to start a business, but what makes a GREAT business idea?, I thought.

I asked it to myself as my business partner, Nathan Hirsch, and I were contemplating starting a new business to tackle the problems we were seeing in the rapidly growing freelance industry.

We knew that we had a problem we wanted to address for a specific niche market, but was it a GREAT business idea?

I asked it to myself in 2020 after we exited our company, FreeUp, and we were trying to figure out how to spend our time.

It was the start of the pandemic and we had ample time to work on something new.

And we kept coming back to the question…” What makes a business idea truly GREAT? ”

For 10 years, I’ve been toiling with this question.

Reading articles, listening to podcasts, and speaking with entrepreneurs to better understand what are the criteria that make up a GREAT business idea.

If you’re an entrepreneur, I’m sure that it’s something you’ve thought about as well.

As entrepreneurs, we aim to start companies that address real problems and have ample opportunity for growth, profits, and impact.

When you’re on Day 1, how do you know if it’s all it’s stacked up to be?

I can’t say that I have a definitive answer by any means, but I have learned a tremendous amount over the past 10+ years experimenting with my own companies and watching others do the same.

In this article, I want to outline the key characteristics that I’ve found to define a GREAT business idea and WHY.

If you read this article, you should walk away with a new framework of how to evaluate business ideas, how to pick the winners from the losers, and how to understand which business ideas will be the best for your personal and professional goals.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

1. MRR, YRR, and LTV 2. Stickiness 3. Turnover Rate 4. Market Size 5. Niche Opportunity 6. Service + Tech Marriage 7. Proven Competition 8. Institutional Investment 9. Trends

All of these characteristics factor into how you can determine if a business idea is GREAT.

How Do I Define GREAT?

great business idea 1

Before we dive into these 9 characteristics that make a great business, I want to define the word “GREAT” when it comes to describing a business.

So, what does a GREAT business entail?

1. The opportunity to grow to 7, 8 and 9 figures…quickly 2. Low cost to operate 3. Strong profit margins at scale 4. Solves a real problem 5. Offers a unique solution 6. Caters to a massive market 7. Is enjoyable to run 8. Has network effects

Disclaimer: This is my definition of a GREAT business idea. Yours may be slightly different and that is 100% okay. Every entrepreneur has slightly different definitions of what makes a business great for THEM.

For me, a great business idea is one that meets these 8 bullet points because it best fits my lifestyle and how I enjoy growing companies.

For you, it may be slightly different. I encourage you to think through what makes a great business idea for YOU. What does your perfect business look like? Add to my list and remove pieces that don’t apply to you until you have your own definition of GREAT.

From there, you can apply the following 9 characteristics to assess if your business idea is one of merit or if there are missing pieces to making it a 7, 8, and 9 figure business potential idea.

9 Characteristics That Make a GREAT Business Idea

1. mrr, yrr, and ltv.

great business idea 2

MRR is monthly recurring revenue that you receive from customers for your business services or products.

YRR is similar. It’s your yearly recurring revenue that you receive on average from each customer.

LTV is lifetime value of a customer. This is the average amount of revenue that you make per customer for the length of time that they stay as a customer.

MRR Example: You own a bookkeeping business that offers monthly services to your clients. You charge them $500 to $1,000 per month for your services. If you have 10 clients at an average of $750 per month, your MRR is $7,500 per month. If you increase to 100 clients, your MRR becomes $75,000 per month. As your clients and average cost per month goes up, your MRR goes up.

YRR Example: You own a coaching business that offers entrepreneurs consulting services. You charge your customers with a yearly subscription to stay in the community and keep working with you. Similar to the MRR example above, if you have 50 customers that pay you a yearly subscription of $5,000, your YRR is $250,000. As long as you don’t have any customer turnover, you can expect to make $250,000 per year with your 50 customers.

LTV Example: You’ve been running your software company for 3 years now and you’ve found that customers stay for an average of 10 months. In those 10 months, they pay an average of $100 per month for your software. Multiplying 10 months by $100 per month, you get a LTV of $1,000 per customer over a 10 month lifespan with your business.

MRR: When looking at a new business idea and determining if it’s great or not, I look at the opportunity for the business model to have MRR. Will this business model produce recurring monthly revenue from customers? If the business idea has MRR built in then it’s a great sign for the idea. If the business model is lacking MRR and it’s all dependent upon one time sales or repeat purchases, it gets downgraded in my book.

MRR is valuable because it allows your growth to compound as you scale. With each new customer, you’re growing your revenue base and creating more revenue in the future.

YRR: When looking at YRR, the story is similar to MRR. I personally prefer that a business have MRR over YRR as it creates more frequent payments from the customer in smaller amounts. If you’re running a business like the example above where it’s a yearly subscription fee, it makes it harder for customers to stay on unless the product or service is critical to their business. It’s a lot easier for a business owner to leave a $100 monthly service running over a $1,2000 yearly subscription.

Overall, you want your YRR to continually increase over time as you add more customers. It all depends on how you manage your turnover rate with customers, which we’ll discuss further later in this article.

LTV: LTV is an important figure to understand and analyze when determining if you have a great business idea. This is a figure that most investors look at when determining if they want to purchase a business or not because it gives them an indication of future cash flow for the business. You want your LTV to be as high as possible per customer.

A high LTV shows a number of things. First, it indicates that customers are staying with your business for a good amount of time. Working off of the example above. If your software company were instead to find that the average time a customer spends with your software is only 3 months then your LTV would only be $300. This shows that the customer doesn’t really enjoy the software or find it that critical to their business. And you, as the business, has only made $300. It may have cost you more than that $300 just to acquire them.

On the contrary, if your software company found that the average time a customer spent with the software was 18 months then your LTV would be $1,800. This shows that customers really love the software and stay for almost 2 years using it. It tells you that you can expect customers to stay for that long on average and that you can expect to make $1,800 on average per new customer that you sign up. That offers a lot of budget to acquire new customers and make a profit off of them as well.

Overall: A GREAT business idea is one that has MRR and/or YRR built into the business model with a high LTV. As you’re determining if your new business idea is GREAT, evaluate these three metrics and keep the results in mind as you make your decision of whether to work on the idea or not.

2. Stickiness

great business idea 3

Definition: 

Stickiness is an informal measure of how loyal a customer becomes to your business, its brands, and its products/services. The more stickiness, the more loyal that a customer could become with the potential of turning into a repeat customer or an ongoing, long term customer. The less stickiness, the more likely that the customer will move away quickly and not come back.

Social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn) are VERY sticky products for their customers. All of these companies keep their customers engaged, keep them coming back for more, and allow them to build relationships through their products.

Other software companies specializing for specific purposes can be very sticky as well. In the eCommerce industry, there are softwares like Helium10, Shopify, and BigCommerce that provide their customers with key functionality to build and sell their products online. Once a customer commits to one of these tools, there’s a strong chance that they’ll stay with them for years to come. Hence, a very sticky product.

A non-sticky product or service is one that where customers don’t feel inclined to come back or to stay with the company. This could be from a bad initial experience or from the product/service being a one-time purchase for the customer.

When thinking about a GREAT business idea, you want to think about how sticky the product/service is that you’ll be building and offering. Make sure that the business model has a history of being sticky with customers and that you can rely on retaining customers for a long period of time. When a business is sticky and you can keep customers around, you experience compounding effects for growth and you can grow faster than if your business is not sticky.

Finally, when you choose a business that is sticky, it also leads to more word of mouth referrals from your customer base. When your customers care about staying with your product/service and they see the true value it in month after month, there’s a much better chance they will leave you a review and refer their friends who could benefit from it as well.

3. Turnover Rate

turnover rate

Definition:

Turnover rate is the percentage of customers that leave your business or stop using your products/services over a certain period of time. The lower the turnover rate, the better because it means more customers are staying with you for longer. The higher the turnover rate, the more work you have to do as a business to replace them and find more customers.

Let’s use EcomBalance as an example. EcomBalance is one of my companies that offers bookkeeping services to companies online. After 12 months, we calculate our turnover rate and we find that out of 100 companies that signed up to work with us, 10 decided to stop our services. 10/100 = 10% turnover rate for that specific 100 companies over a 12 month time frame.

This means that going forward, we can expect 10% of new customers to drop off within a 12 month time frame. As a business, we want to always be working to lower that turnover rate so that we can keep customers past the 12 month time frame.

Another figure to think about in this situation that we’ve already discussed is the LTV, Lifetime Value. When looking at turnover rate, it’s important to look at your average LTV for that specific grouping of customers over that timeframe.

For example. Let’s say that in that 12 month time frame for those 100 customers, on average, each customer stayed for 8 months. This provides us with even more information to be able to understand how our customers are acting and turning over. On average, 10% of customers turn over after 12 months and they stay with us for an average of 8 months. With those numbers, we can figure out how much we’re making from each customer in that 12 month time frame and make sure that it is profitable to the business.

When you’re analyzing a business idea and its business model, look at other companies in the space and understand the average turnover rate. Ideally, the turnover rate is low (under 10%) which tells you that you can expect to keep on a large percentage of customers that you sign up. If you’re evaluating a business idea and you see a high turnover rate (for example: 50%) then you should dig deeper and really understand how that could impact your business if you were to go with the idea. A GREAT business idea is one with a low turnover rate where you can keep customers happy and paying for 12+ months.

4. Market Size

market size

Market Size is the total addressable market that your business idea directly applies to. This is the total number of potential customers that are in the market for the product and/or service that your new business idea is offering.

Let’s look at two examples. First, let’s look at a business idea with a very small market. You live in a rural area somewhere in the United States and your business idea is to start a dog walking company. Neighbors live miles away from each other and there are only 10,000 people in your entire town. The number of dogs owned by the population is relatively high, but but we’re still only talking a few thousand dogs. This is a very small market for this business idea. Does that mean that this business idea is automatically a bad one? Not necessarily, but it’s probably not a great idea for a rural area as we’re describing. Now if you were to take that same business idea and put it in the middle of a booming city where people love their dogs and treat them as their children, well then you’re onto something with much more potential. Your total addressable market increases dramatically and your ability to scale into a profitable, valuable business increases as well.

For a second example, let’s use one of my companies again, EcomBalance. EcomBalance provides monthly bookkeeping and accounting services to the eCommerce industry. The market size? Well, bookkeeping and accounting applies to the majority of businesses whether they are in eCommerce or not. As a company, we aim to work with customers who are doing between $500,000 in sales per year to $20 million in sales per year. This limits our market size to a certain extent, but there are probably still 100,000 businesses, just in eCommerce, that fit that description and are looking for bookkeeping and accounting services. If we were able to capture even just 1% of that market, we’d have 1,000 customers and a wildly profitable company.

Do you see the difference between the market sizes in these examples?

No matter what your business idea is, it’s important to look at market size and understand how it will impact your ability to grow as a business. In our example of the dog walking business out in the country, the market size drastically limits that business owners ability to grow and consistently find new customers.

Before you dive into a new business idea, understand your growth goals and where you want to take it over the next 2-3 years. Once you have a general mindset around that, look at the market size and see if it aligns with where you want to take the business idea. If its too small, expand your target market so that the addressable potential market is larger and will align with your goals. Similarly, if your market size it TOO big (meaning that you’re trying to cater to everyone), niche down and find a niche that is still large enough, but where you can also specialize.

5. Niche Opportunity

great business idea 6

A niche opportunity relates to market size. It is a subset of the overall target market that you can speak directly to and specialize for and that is also still large enough that it has massive potential for fast growth.

EcomBalance and FreeUp are perfect examples. EcomBalance’s overall market is any online business that needs bookkeeping and accounting services. That is a massive market made up of millions of businesses. But within that overall market, there are also hundreds of niches. For example, eCommerce, agencies, software companies, lawyers, healthcare, online education, etc. EcomBalance focuses on the eCommerce niche. While it’s only a subset of the overall potential market for bookkeeping services, it’s still massive and offers ample opportunity to scale at speed.

FreeUp is another similar example. FreeUp is within the overall freelance hiring market. Again, any business in the world could be in the market for hiring a freelancer to help them with different parts of their business. When we started FreeUp, we focused on the eCommerce niche and we stuck to that for the first 2-3 years before rebranding and expanding to cater to other online businesses as well.

A great business idea is one that starts focused on a niche opportunity. As you analyze your business idea, think about how you’ll achieve that niche focus as you get the business off the ground. Building a business that caters to everyone is a lot harder than building a business that caters to a specific group of people . Especially at the start, it’s advantageous to cater to a niche because your brand can gain reputation within that niche and you’ll be able to grow faster. When the time comes that you’re ready to add another niche to your focus, you can do that and expand to offer your services to a new group of people. Great business ideas don’t cater to everyone .

6. Service + Tech Marriage

great business idea 7

A business idea with a service and tech marriage is a business that offers a service as its main product and also has proprietary software that powers the experience behind the scenes.

Let’s say that there is a SEO Agency that offers SEO services to its customers. Their main product is helping their customers get ranked on the first page of Google for specific search terms that apply to their customer’s business. Now, there are lots of agencies out there like this (probably thousands). But in order for the SEO Agency to have the service and tech marriage that we’re talking about, it needs that backend proprietary software that truly powers the experience for the customer and the service that they offer. So, think of it like this. This SEO Agency’s core service is what I mentioned above and they achieve it with their own proprietary software that they’ve developed from their 10+ years of SEO experience. The software is a part of the customer’s experience and it’s what makes the SEO agency unique to the thousand of other SEO agencies out there. This SEO Agency is unique and has a value proposition in the market because of their service and tech marriage.

This characteristic is a bit unique to my personal preference, but I believe that it makes a major difference in how good a business idea can be. Choosing a service for your business and performing it at as high a level as possible with a focus on the customer experience is a good business idea. However, I argue that it’s not a GREAT business idea. Again, thousands of others are already doing it. How do you make it unique? You marry it with software and technology that enhances the customer’s experience and the overall service. Over time, you build not only a top notch service in your specific industry, but you also develop a proprietary piece of software that powers the entire experience. That makes your business idea more unique and more valuable.

7. Proven Competition

competition

Proven competition is the already-existing presence of large, 8 and 9 figure companies within the market. These companies were first-to-market, have proven the market, and continue to grow.

When Nathan Hirsch and I first set out to build FreeUp, we knew that there was already proven competition in the likes of Upwork , Fiverr , TopTal , and others. We knew about them intimately because we had used them to hire talent when we were running our first eCommerce business. We knew them in and out and we saw holes in their customer experience that we wanted to improve upon with FreeUp. I can’t imagine what it would have been like trying to create FreeUp if we didn’t have that proven competition to look at and figure out how we could do it better.

Similarly, when Nathan and I were deciding to build EcomBalance, one of the things we looked at was the current competition and where the market stood. We quickly found Bench , Pilot , Xendoo , and a number of other large companies in the online bookkeeping space. We researched how many customers they had, what software they had built, and how long it took them to go from start to where they were. It offered us confidence that the market was massive and if the three of them could be growing rapidly within it, why couldn’t we as well?

Why would you want there to be leaders already in the market that you’re entering? Doesn’t that make it harder to get customers and gain market share? Having proven competition already in the market shows that there is real opportunity for you to build a similarly sized business catering to a similar or slightly different customer base while providing a uniquely different product or service. In essence, proven competition assures you that the market is there…you just have to find out how to carve out your piece of it. Proven competition also gives you companies to look to when you’re building…what did they do wrong? how could you improve on their offers? what web design is standard in the industry? etc. etc.

If you’re analyzing a business idea and there is no one else offering the same product or service in the market, you’re essentially setting out to create a new market. Yes, this has to be done by companies as new markets are created, but it’s a lot harder than entering a market where the business model and concept has already been proven and is making millions in profits for other companies already.

I’m not saying that there isn’t opportunity in creating your own market, but it’s going to require more funding, more patience, and more resilience as you push through hard times and educate the customer market on this new product/service that you’re offering. There is a much larger chance of failure when there isn’t already proven competition in the market. It’s hard to gauge just how large the market is for your new idea which requires you to take on educating the market in addition to everything else that comes with growing the business.

8. Institutional Investment

institutional investment

Institutional investment is money flowing into a given market from venture capitalists, angel investors, private equity firms, and other private investors.

When Nate and I were researching the online bookkeeping market, we looked at the proven competition to see how they had gotten their starts. Bench, Pilot, and Xendoo had all raised large rounds of funding from venture capitalist, private equity, and high net worth individuals. There was over $150 million invested into just these three companies in the past 5-10 years and investments were continuing to pour in as other competitors joined the mix. Talk about an institutional investment party! It was clear to us that top echelon investors and entrepreneurs were betting big on the online bookkeeping market further indicating that we had found ourselves a GREAT business idea.

When analyzing a business idea, look for large amounts of institutional investment into the market over the past 5-10 years. This indicates that the market and business model is trending within investment communities and there is a lot of hope for the industry to grow and prosper. When you see institutional investment, dig deeper and see which investors are getting into the space. Are they well known with a strong track record of funding successful companies? If so, this is a good sign for your business idea. Venture capitalists and private investors don’t throw money into a market unless they’ve done significant research into the opportunity and believe in where it’s headed in the next 5-10 years. If top investors around the world are investing into the space, it’s a good hunch that it will be growing in some form or fashion over that time period.

If you analyze a new business idea and you find that there is ZERO institutional investment flowing into the market, take caution. It doesn’t mean that the idea is doomed for failure, but it could mean that it is a newer market or that there isn’t much confidence from investors that it will be a large enough market to capitalize on.

Proven competition and institutional investment should be looked at in unison. They tend to move together. So if there is proven competition, there’s a good chance that there is institutional investment as well. Likewise, if there is not any proven competition, then institutional investment tends to be lower.

business trends

Trends in business are movements in a general direction that are creating change and development. Trends impact how business is performed, how customers receive goods and services, and can last for both short and long periods of time.

One of the biggest trends in the past 20 years since the Internet came into existence is the movement of traditionally physical, in-person services to online services and experiences.

Think of eCommerce. Before the Internet, we all went into physical stores to buy products. The Internet arrived, shipping logistics became more sophisticated, and BOOM, we now expect products to arrive at our doorstep within 48 hours of clicking the “Purchase” button online. Ecommerce has been trending up and to the right for the past 20 years since it first started. Covid-19 made that trend even more intense as people were forced to use eCommerce instead of going into physical stores to get what they needed.

Think of bookkeeping, accounting, hiring, lawyers, and other traditional businesses. Before the Internet, all of these companies were brick and mortar locations where you’d go to meet with the business owner to get the service you needed. Today, it’s all moved online. You want an accountant that specializes within your business niche, no problem…go find them online and work with them remotely. The same goes for all of the other business types that I mentioned. This trend of moving online continues to happen for almost every industry we could imagine.

Look for trends when you’re analyzing your business idea. Is your business idea aligning with where the market is headed? Or are you trying to start a business that is in the “old rule” of the market? In order for your business idea to be GREAT, you want it to be hitting on a trend that is happening fervently within the market. This will not only help you to grow fast from the get go as you ride the wave of the trend, but it will also set you up for success in the long run. As you ride the current trend, other trends will arise and you can hop on those as well staying at the forefront of the industry.

One of the first steps of building a new business is research.

As I was writing this article, I reached out to some entrepreneur friends asking them what makes a GREAT business for them. I heard back from Chad Rubin , the Co-founder of Seller Labs and the Prosper Show (both acquired), and now the Founder of Profasee . Here’s what he had to say:

“Self Awareness of yourself and of the business market. What are you good at? What are you not good at? Where are your weaknesses, and how can they be addressed? It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day grind of running a business, but if you don’t know what sets your company apart from others or what sets you apart from other founders in the same space, then there won’t be any focus or direction.

Being able to take an honest look at yourself and the competitive landscape and make adjustments based on that is vital for success. You need to know problem you are solving for, better than anyone else. What feature set will make you, your stakeholder, customers and employees rich.”

It took me years to understand the strategy that I’ve outlined in this article and I was lucky to have gotten into a number of GREAT business ideas just through being in the right place at the right time and having a good intuition for what was needed in the market.

EcomBalance and online bookkeeping was the first business where I was actually able to put this methodology to work. It proved critical in diving into the current state of the market and truly understanding if this idea was just good or if it was truly GREAT.

As I’m writing this article, we’re about 6 months into building EcomBalance and I can confidently say that I see a bright future for the company and for the future of the industry.

There is MRR and YRR with potential for high LTV. There is true stickiness within the business model and relationship with clients. We have experienced low turnover thus far with our initial 50 clients. There is a massive market. We have created a niche opportunity in focusing on the eCommerce industry. We are building our own proprietary software to marry software with experience. There is proven competition and $100M+ in institutional investments. And millions of businesses continue to move online each year that need bookkeeping and accounting services.

It’s hard to predict if a business idea is truly GREAT unless you take the time to look deeper into these 9 characteristics.

I know that this is just the start to my methodology and I plan to continue updating it as I learn more about entrepreneurship and building 7, 8, and 9 figure companies.

If you think that I’ve missed any factors to consider when determining a GREAT business idea, please comment and share.

Cheers to you all!

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Building the Next Big Thing: A Guide to Business Idea Development

Business idea development for new venture concepts is a mixture of art and science. There are playbooks to follow that ensure ideas are validated objectively to ensure financial and opportunity cost risks are minimized.

Building the Next Big Thing: A Guide to Business Idea Development

By Brendan Fitzgerald

Brendan has raised more than $700 million and built strategic relationships with numerous Fortune 500 companies to help grow businesses.

PREVIOUSLY AT

How many times have you heard of successful new business ideas and said to yourself, “Why didn’t I think of that”? Personally, I’ve started seven different businesses, but the ones that never happened are some of my most memorable ones. For example, I often think about Topgolf, the wildly popular golf driving range/sports bar venues that are popping up all over the US. I’ve been playing golf since I was eight years old and socializing in bars since I was 18. Yet never once did it cross my mind to combine these activities into a business. How did I miss that?

My goal with this article is to help you find the next big idea using business and creative frameworks that help you identify interesting concepts and create new business ideas. Hopefully, this will lead to other people kicking themselves as they follow your business success.

There are four steps to identifying a good business opportunity. The four steps are:

  • Find an unmet market need.
  • Create a differentiated solution that meets customers’ needs.
  • Play devil’s advocate.
  • Get market feedback.

1. Find an Unmet Market Need

At the heart of all business opportunities are customers. In order to have customers spend their money on a product, it has to provide better value to them than existing solutions. Thus, the first step in finding a business opportunity is to identify something that customers want that’s not readily available, or affordable, to them.

Your business idea doesn’t have to be some huge revolutionary concept. In fact, those “big ideas” typically take so much money to bring to market, they’re just not feasible for most entrepreneurs. For example, Meg Whitman and Jeff Katzenberg raised $1.75 billion of pre-revenue capital for their mobile video platform Quibi. Not many people could do that.

The best ideas are often incremental improvements over existing products where the market and distribution channels are well established, the product development risks are low, and customers can readily understand the product’s benefits. One of my most successful startups was a real estate syndication company that was the 50th company to enter an established market for providing tax-advantaged real estate investments to individual investors. We quickly became a major player in the market by simply focusing on giving customers a level of service they weren’t getting from other vendors.

So, where do you find unmet market needs? There are two places to look:

  • Your work environment
  • Your personal life

The beauty of looking in your work environment is that if your existing employer has customers, it also very likely has complaints related to customer needs that aren’t being fulfilled. In many cases, if customers aren’t satisfied, the solution they want isn’t readily available elsewhere, or they’d just go to another vendor. If you can find a solution that solves the customers’ problem, then you may well be on to an interesting business opportunity.

I have a friend who was working for a big company that builds satellite ground stations. His employer was in the equipment manufacturing business, selling complex multi-million dollar communication systems. My friend kept hearing smaller prospective customers say that they couldn’t afford their own system but wanted to rent capacity on someone else’s ground station. His employer was swamped trying to build enough ground stations to meet the demand of its big customers. So my friend resigned and established a data services company that owned one ground station and sold data access to a number of these smaller customers.

Away from work, I see potential business opportunities every time I need or want something that I can’t readily obtain at what I view as a fair price. I also listen carefully when my friends and family express their frustration over not being able to find a solution to issues they’re dealing with or their dissatisfaction with something they bought.

2. Come Up with a Differentiated Solution That Meets Customers’ Needs

Finding an unmet market need is always intriguing, but there’s no business opportunity unless you can figure out a way to meet the need. Differentiated solutions can come from your own creativity, your own expertise, or your knowledge of where to go to find the needed creativity/expertise. I’m living proof that you don’t need to have some special “gift” to come up with differentiated solutions. You just need to put your thinking cap on and/or socialize the unmet market need with others who might have specific knowledge that could help.

To demonstrate the concept of solving unmet needs, I have prepared some business idea examples from ventures that I set up myself. Each instance shows the process that I went through to ideate around the situation.

All too often, I hear stories of entrepreneurs who had a solution and were looking for a problem, rather than starting with an unmet market need, e.g., the infamous “build it and they will come” approach. Start with the unmet market need.

3. Play Devil’s Advocate

I’ve started seven businesses but have identified many more unmet market needs. How did I make the decision to start the ones that I did?

It’s easy to eliminate unmet market needs for which you can’t come up with a differentiated solution. However, it takes time, research , and self-awareness to weed out most of the remaining ideas. Here’s the process I typically go through.

As devil’s advocate implies, I try to shoot holes in potential business opportunities that I come up with. The framework that I use for performing due diligence on potential business opportunities is based on the four key elements of any business: Product , People , Market, and Money . The below table lists some of the key issues you should perform due diligence on in each category.

due diligence

I usually start by looking for competitive products that are similar to the differentiated solution that I’ve come up with. Finding a similar product isn’t necessarily the kiss of death, because the market opportunity may be big enough to support multiple players. However, if you find a similar product from a company that’s been struggling for years, that’s probably a good indicator that your solution might not be as good as you hope—unless your product better addresses the need that is causing the competitor to struggle.

The other issue I often find when looking at competitors is that someone else has an even better product than what I’ve come up with, and thus, there really isn’t an unmet market need. When this happens, I typically just tip my hat and move on.

The next thing I usually do is look at the overall economics of the opportunity . What is it going to cost me to develop my solution into a real product that I can sell? What will it cost to produce in volume? What is a reasonable sales price? How many can I realistically sell?

If my back of the envelope financial model doesn’t indicate a real windfall, I usually walk away. I say a real windfall because inevitably, things always look worse, not better, when you do a really detailed financial model .

If I still think I have a good business opportunity after I’ve worked my way through all of the questions in the above table, and any other questions that come up as I’m doing due diligence, I share the idea with several colleagues, friends, or family members and ask for their honest feedback . In addition to getting their input on the business idea development , I also solicit their support for the new venture. If your colleagues, friends, and family aren’t supportive (e.g., lending expertise, financial backing) of the undertaking, that may well be a showstopper.

4. Get Market Feedback

You’ve made it to the final step, and you still think you have a good idea. Now, it’s time to see if knowledgeable people in the market have the same view of the concept.

You need to solicit input from as many prospective customers and distribution channel partners as you can to find out if they need and would pay the price you envision for the concept. It’s rare that anyone makes affirmative commitments at this point, but people will say no. Realistically, the best you can usually hope for is that some prospective customers say they’ll try your product when it’s ready, and the distribution channel partners indicate a willingness to carry it if it works out well for the early adopters.

Additionally, it’s often worth the money to hire former industry insiders who are now consultants to give you feedback on the idea. They can provide invaluable contacts and insights, not to mention fill key roles on your team when you’re ready to start hiring.

Sometimes, it makes sense to engage third parties to help solicit market feedback, but I’ve always found it invaluable to conduct at least some interviews myself so I can hear the feedback directly. This is especially true if third parties report rosy feedback. I’ve learned the hard way that many people don’t want to be negative about other people’s ideas. Remember, the goal here is not to delude yourself that you have a great business opportunity if you really don’t. The goal is to avoid spending time and money on business idea development that’s not likely to pan out.

If your business opportunity requires that you create a new distribution channel, e.g., selling directly from a newly launched website, you need to think hard about how much time and money it will take to create the brand and product awareness required to generate actual sales.

A final scenario to consider entails a business idea that creates a whole new product category, i.e., a product that’s unlike anything else on the market. Think of the personal computer when it first came out.

These types of opportunities create real challenges when trying to get market feedback because potential customers often can’t even correctly envision the product you’re describing. Think of trying to explain to someone in the 1970s that your new product is kind of like a typewriter combined with a TV screen. This is just one of many reasons that “breakthrough” business ideas are the riskiest and take the most money to bring to fruition.

Business Idea Development Is About Finding the Signals to Continue

If your market feedback is positive, it’s time to make the call. Are you really going to put this business idea plan into fruition? If your answer is yes, and your family is supportive, start drafting your resignation letter and read my next article on the details of forming a new company .

Further Reading on the Toptal Blog:

  • From Startup to Success: Mastering Business Controls for Growth

Understanding the basics

How do you develop a business idea.

The initial stages of formulating a business idea comprise four elements: finding an unmet market need, creating a differentiated solution that meets customers’ needs, poking holes in the concept, and soliciting market feedback.

  • BusinessPlan
  • BusinessModel
  • BusinessResearch

Brendan Fitzgerald

Indialantic, FL, United States

Member since February 14, 2020

About the author

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41 Online Business Ideas You Can Start in 2023

Rosalie Murphy

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money .

Setting up an online business can help you become an entrepreneur without significant startup costs. The first step: figuring out the best online business idea for you.

What do you have expertise in? What do you love to do? Do you know someone who needs a type of support you could provide? Answering questions like these can offer inspiration as you prepare to start a business .

Here are 41 online business ideas to help you brainstorm. From side hustles to full-time enterprise, e-commerce businesses to services for remote clients, you may be able to run these from home on your own schedule.

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The 41 best online business ideas

If you're not totally set on going all-in on your online business, many of these ideas can be started part time. As you build your side hustle, it may be successful enough to turn into a full-time gig .

1. E-commerce store

Starting an e-commerce website is relatively easy and cheap — at least when compared with opening up a brick-and-mortar store. You can start with a limited amount of inventory, use an e-commerce website builder to set up your store, then market your products on social media and online marketplaces and see how customers respond. These platforms can also help you manage orders, ship your products and take online payments.

2. Social media marketing

If you’ve got a knack for getting likes, favorites, retweets, followers, shares, comments and clicks, then you might want to consider offering social media marketing services to other businesses. By consulting with companies to manage their social media profiles, spread their content across the web, keep their brands on track and respond to customer questions, you can turn your favorite hobby into your day job.

3. Freelance graphic design

Got an eye for aesthetics? Did you go to art school, or have you always spent your free time designing posters in Photoshop or Illustrator?

If so, then freelance designing might be a good choice. Take on clients at your own speed, build up a good reputation online and by word-of-mouth and work on projects that you find interesting.

4. Freelance writing

If you’re skilled in words instead, you might become a freelance writer . So long as you’ve got an internet connection and a keyboard, you can contribute all types of written content, from blog posts to feature stories to product descriptions. It helps if you’ve got a special area of interest or expertise so your employers will know you’re qualified to comment on certain topics.

» MORE: Best bank accounts for freelancers

5. E-book writing

With Amazon and other websites around, self-publishing has never been easier than it is today. If you think you’ve got something interesting or useful to say — and you believe other people will think so, too — then writing e-books could become a lucrative business.

With e-books, you don’t have to design, print or ship physical copies of your work. Of course, you will have to learn how to format an e-book correctly, pay for editing and cover design services and figure out an effective marketing strategy — but there are plenty of examples to learn from.

6. Translation

If you’re fluent in multiple languages, then translating could be the ideal online freelance job. You can do it from anywhere, so long as you’ve got the text you’re working on and you understand the goal of the translation.

» MORE: Check out 16 other e-commerce business ideas

Editing comes in many shapes and sizes, from copyediting a company’s marketing materials to proofreading novels to indexing academic manuscripts. As long as you have a sharp eye for detail, a strong grasp of grammar and a willingness to get in the weeds, then editing could be a great business idea if you’re interested in working when and how you want.

8. Writing a blog

Starting a blog can support other online business ideas by showing off your skills. Interested in coding, photography and video, fitness, food or anything else? Demonstrate your knowledge by writing great articles on those topics for others’ blogs.

If you choose to start your own blog, it can also generate revenue itself through affiliate links or advertisements.

9. Freelance researching

Whether you’re putting together documents for competitor or market research , answering tough technical questions on forums or analyzing statistics to point out trends, you can put your skills to work for your clients — with the freedom to work how you want.

10. Freelance coding and web design

If you’re seeking flexibility, diversity of projects, taking on work at your own pace and being your own boss, then freelance coding or web design for clients may be a good fit.

Plus, you can double down as a software consultant as well, offering your critical eye and expertise without writing code yourself.

» MORE: Best business credit cards for LLCs

11. Software and app development

Want to take freelance coding to the next level? Instead of helping clients, you can work on your own applications, programs, extensions and add-ons. Whether you sell your work in an app store or you’re holding out for the long haul and are hoping to get bought by a bigger company, the cash you make will be a direct result of your effort and ingenuity. App development is also a way to make money on Shopify .

Keep in mind, it’s not as easy to have a predictable stream of revenue until your app is already out and selling, and by then you’ve already invested a lot of time and energy. You’ll want to be sure that there’s a market out there for the product you’re creating, and that people are willing to pay for it.

12. Business coaching

You’ll need a good track record and a variety of testimonials to back you up, but if you’re already an entrepreneur, business coaching can provide an additional revenue stream. You can offer one-off sessions, small-group experiences or ongoing client relationships at a variety of price points.

13. College consulting

If you went to a top-tier university and have strong writing skills, you may be able to help applicants seeking admission to elite colleges. You might find yourself editing essays, steering students toward test prep courses and recommending scholarship programs, among other things.

» MORE: How to start a consulting business

14. Tutoring

For those studious entrepreneurs who scored highly on standardized tests, tutoring can pull in a lot of money without too much effort. The better your results, the better your reputation — which means the more you can charge per hour, session or package.

15. Online fitness trainer

If fitness and health is your passion, then serving as a fitness trainer to clients could be a fulfilling career. While training people online can be more difficult than being with them in person, this is an increasingly popular option for busy professionals. You can also consider related services like nutrition education.

» MORE: A step-by-step guide to starting a fitness business

16. SEO consulting

Maybe you’re a pro at SEO, or search engine optimization. If you’ve got loads of skill and experience in getting websites to rank highly on Google, and you understand how to turn searchers into customers, then there are plenty of companies willing to pay handsomely for your help.

Whether it’s by editing metadata tags, regularly updating the company blog or searching for smart keywords to rank highly on, a good SEO consultant can drastically change how a company’s website appears to search engine users — and just a few positions on Google can make a huge difference in traffic numbers. In short, you could have a big impact on a business’s bottom line, which means this online business idea is in high demand.

17. Selling handmade goods

If you’re handy or creative, you could craft your products and sell them on sites like Etsy, Amazon and eBay, straight out of your home.

Beyond that, if you’re a visual artist, you may also try selling print-on-demand products. That’s a type of e-commerce business where customers order mugs, T-shirts or other goods and with your artwork printed on them, then a third party creates the product and ships it to the customer.

18. Virtual thrift shop

Maybe you’re not into handicrafts but the idea of an starting an online store is still appealing? Selling clothes online using platforms like thredUP and Poshmark is one option.

If you're more interested in other types of products, you can scour local estate sales and secondhand shops for unique finds. You may also discover good finds on websites like eBay. As you present these products in compelling ways on your own site, good copywriting and a strong brand can go a long way to separating your site from the crowd.

19. Affiliate marketing

Social media pros, take notice: You can get paid by companies to highlight products on your blog, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube or other social channels. The more followers or site visitors you have, the more of an impact your brand recommendation will make, and the more you’ll earn with product placement.

20. Accounting or bookkeeping

Although entering the industry as a virtual bookkeeper or accountant can be tough because of competition from well-known brands in the industry, it can be done if you have the credentials or target clients in a specific niche. You’ll also need formal training and certification, and it may take time to build up a committed client base — but once you do, your clients may be with you for years.

» MORE: See our picks for best small-business accounting software

21. Telemarketing

If you’re a natural conversationalist who likes helping others, virtual telemarketing is another good online small-business idea to consider. Plenty of companies outsource some of their sales and customer service roles, so if you don’t mind working the phone at home or on the go, then try this option out.

22. Online personal assistant

Thinking about becoming a virtual assistant ? What exactly you’ll do depends on what your skills, experience and network of contacts are, but you can expect tasks from data entry to customer management, research, scheduling and other duties.

23. Data entry

If you’re looking for a job that offers a predictable income without requiring intense creativity, then data entry might be a good place to start. Try looking at online job boards for opportunities.

24. Transcription

Offering transcription services online can take many forms: You can transcribe audio interviews for reporters, create captions for TV shows and videos or develop transcribed versions of podcasts. Services like Rev or TranscribeMe can also send you work as it becomes available, which saves you the work of cultivating your own client base.

25. Travel planning

If travel is your passion, you might consider starting an online travel planning business . You can help clients plan every aspect of their trip — from flights to hotels to activities. You can work on itineraries, give tips about food, currency exchange and safety, and serve as a point of contact between your clients and any international contacts.

Not only can you operate your travel planning business at home, you can also do it while you travel. And more traveling will help you grow your business — you might even start a travel blog or photography site to supplement your planning business.

26. Cybersecurity and IT consulting

As a cybersecurity consultant, you can work with businesses of all sizes to evaluate their systems, run testing and offer tips on how they can improve their set up.

For those looking for something broader, you might consider serving as an IT consultant, assisting businesses or individuals with their technology — helping them get it set up, troubleshoot any issues and offer general operating advice.

With the proper computer set up, you can run your cybersecurity or IT consulting business from anywhere — including potentially traveling to clients’ offices for occasional on-site system assistance.

27. Online therapy

With the emergence of companies like TalkSpace and BetterHelp, you no longer have to have an office or your own practice to counsel patients. Again, you’ll need training and proper credentials. But you can explore the online therapy space by joining one of these new companies or another practice that offers virtual appointments.

28. PR consulting

If you're knowledgeable about business branding and marketing, you might start an online PR consulting business. You can assist businesses with their online presence — including social media accounts, press releases, web content and more — as well as advise them on campaigns, initiatives and overall public image.

As a freelance PR consultant, your hours and responsibilities may vary depending on the specific clients you're working with; however, you'll have more control than you would as part of a firm or agency.

29. Podcasting

Provided you have the right audio equipment and a quiet space, you can record your podcast from anywhere. You can then upload your content to various podcast apps and market your business on social media. Once you reach a certain number of listeners, some podcast platforms will help you sell ads and you'll begin generating revenue.

30. Life coaching

Looking for a way to offer advice and guidance to people without needing the extensive education of a medical professional? Consider life coaching . Although you may need a certification to become a life coach, you have much more freedom to find your niche and decide how you can help people through life's ups and downs.

As a life coach, you can also create resources like e-books and courses to give your clients additional resources outside of traditional phone call or video chat meetings.

31. Video production

As a video producer, you can work with different clients in various industries to shoot, cut and edit video to create the perfect final product. Video production can give you the opportunity to explore a unique medium of storytelling and exercise your creativity.

32. Resume writing and career coaching

If you have a background in human resources, or just know your way around formulating the perfect resume, you might consider starting an online resume writing and career coaching business. You can offer clients advice and guidance on their career path, job applications, resumes and cover letters.

LinkedIn is a great place to get started with this type of online business idea, as many professionals look for career help on that platform.

33. Dropshipping

If you don't want the responsibility of creating your own products or buying inventory upfront, you might consider starting a dropshipping business. With this kind of e-commerce operation, you create your own website, choose products from suppliers, list them on your site, and when an order is placed, the supplier will ship them directly to the customer.

You can get started by browsing dropshipping marketplaces or trying to work directly with manufacturers and importers.

» MORE: How to dropship on Shopify

34. Recruiting

If you're a people person and have good online research skills, you might consider a career as a recruiter. As an online recruiter, you can service different businesses looking to hire new employees and help them find and screen candidates. The more experience you have, the higher-level positions you may be tapped to help fill.

35. Marketing consulting

As a marketing consultant, you can provide guidance on a wide range of topics, depending on your specific expertise, and help businesses execute their online marketing strategies and campaigns. This could include email marketing, social media management and advertising, local marketing , event planning and more. You can specialize in a particular industry or geography, or market your skills to a variety of clients using a network like Upwork.

36. Online fundraising or grant writing

Are you passionate about helping mission-based businesses, especially nonprofits, getting the assistance they need? If so, consider a grant writing business. This requires you to work with clients who need help fundraising to identify grants suited to their needs, then apply for and hopefully win them.

37. Online course teaching

You can find information about practically anything online, but sometimes when you're trying to learn a specific skill or topic, it just helps to hear or see someone else explain it. So if there’s a subject you have specialized knowledge of — a particular software program, a craft, a particular historical event — consider designing an online course. If you have formal qualifications like an advanced degree, you might be able to work with an online course service to teach courses online for their students.

38. Online cooking instruction

Do you have an affinity for cooking or baking? Showcasing your skills online via virtual cooking classes is a great way to earn money while doing something you love. There are a variety of ways you can structure your cooking business: You can offer one-on-one instruction videos, host live classes and even create workshops and cooking programs.

This easy business idea could even translate into a cooking blog, e-books, cookbooks and linking your favorite cooking and baking supplies through affiliate marketing.

39. YouTube channel

One way to promote your new brand, service or message is by creating a YouTube channel. If you feel comfortable on camera, have a spot where you can film and love the idea of reaching a wide audience, YouTube might be the right platform for you. Note, though, that it can take some time for your channel to grow and you'll likely need to network on social media and blogging platforms in the beginning.

» MORE: How to make money on YouTube

40. Voiceover work

To start your own voiceover business, you'll need a microphone, sound editing software and the ability to lend your voice to ad agencies, production companies and anyone else looking for a voiceover.

Then, you can sign up for a freelance voiceover site like voices.com and start searching for the right opportunities. Once you've gotten your foot in the door, you'll have excellent clips to show potential clients.

41. Start a team

If you've been freelancing or running your own company for a while, you might be ready to take the plunge and start your own team of consultants or freelancers. For instance, if you have years of writing and editing experience and can no longer handle all your client inquiries yourself, you might be ready to hire your first employee and expand your capacity.

How to choose an online business idea

These online business ideas represent a variety of e-commerce business models . To choose the right one for you, ask these questions.

How do you want to make money?

Lots of business owners seek out predictable, recurring revenue so they can plan their personal finances. Keeping clients on retainer can help with that. But affiliate marketing, advertising or product sales may be harder to predict. Creating a business plan can help you think through your options and decide which you’re comfortable with.

How will you find work?

If you’re selling your skills as a freelancer, consider searching sites like Upwork and Behance to find the right clients. Networking in your local community, joining industry-specific LinkedIn groups and asking for referrals can be helpful, too.

If you’re selling products or building an audience online, you’ll need different tactics. Search engine optimization can help get your videos or product listings in front of people who will be interested in them. But you may need a significant marketing budget to develop an audience that’s large enough to generate revenue.

How much autonomy do you want?

With some online businesses, like selling handmade goods or creating online courses, you’ll have control over your products from start to finish — which can be freeing but also high-pressure. On the other hand, when you’re producing work for clients, you’ll have to conform to the client’s standards — which may feel confining, but you won’t have to do the work of coming up with ideas yourself. Some solopreneurs aim for a mix of client work and self-directed projects so that they have steady revenue while pursuing their passions.

A version of this article originally appeared on JustBusiness, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.

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50 Business Ideas for New Entrepreneurs in 2024

Disclosure: Our content is reader-supported, which means we earn commissions from links on Digital. Commissions do not affect our editorial evaluations or opinions.

Technology has made starting your own small business easy, affordable, and possible. All you need to start a company online is an internet connection, web hosting , and a  domain name . The biggest challenge, however, is coming up with a viable and unique small business idea.

Ready to snag web hosting and a domain? Our featured hosting partners provide a free domain name for the first year when you sign up for a hosting plan to help keep costs as low as possible.

Ideally, the perfect small business idea for you fulfills three important criteria:

  • An activity you like doing
  • Something you are good at
  • Something in demand (i.e., people would pay for)

To help get you get started, we’ve come up with a list of online and offline business ideas that are easy to start. We have categorized each idea as follows:

  • Business type–is it an online or offline opportunity?
  • Investment–how much does it cost to start?
  • Earning potential–how much can you realistically earn?

We also indicate which ideas are well-suited to stay-at-home parents, undergraduate students, and those under 18.

Business to Business (B2B) Service Ideas

1. online bookkeeping.

Like many other professions, bookkeeping has gone online. This is great news for many bookkeepers and accountants who feel trapped in the office environment and long for more personal freedom and the ability to work during their own hours.

With easy-to-use  accounting software  and appointment-setting tools available, it’s never been easier to set up and manage client accounts.

  • Business type: Online
  • Investment: Low investment ⬇︎
  • Potential: Low value ⬇︎
  • Good for: Stay at home parents ✔

2. Business broker

A business broker assists the transaction between buyers and sellers. They must have adequate training and comprehensive knowledge of business law and standard practices in their respective industry. Business brokers are rewarded with commissions for the sales they make.

  • Potential: High value ⬆︎
  • Good for: Undergraduate students ✔

3. Office space rental

Office sharing is a booming industry largely driven by the needs of young entrepreneurs creating the next Google or Amazon.

If you already own a suitable property, you will only have to bear relatively low startup costs. However, this is a substantial investment if you don’t already have suitable property.

  • Business type: Offline
  • Investment: High investment ⬆︎

4. Language translation

Despite the impressive advancements of machine translation, the  demand  for skilled translators is still high value and will probably remain so for quite some time.

You can start looking for work on platforms such as  Fiverr  or  Upwork  and slowly build your clientele. It’s also a good idea to directly contact popular bloggers or a freelance writing business and ask if they would consider having their blog work translated into another language.

  • Good for: Stay at home parents ✔ undergraduate students ✔

5. Importing electronic original equipment manufacturer gadgets

If you look at top-selling items on  Amazon or eBay , you will probably notice many are imported. The formula is fairly simple: purchase your initial inventory, create a brand, and then  market and advertise your products online .

You can even use  dropshipping  or Amazon fulfillment services to do the whole thing and increase your average order value without a physical warehouse.

  • Business type: Online/offline
  • Good for: Stay at home parents ✔ undergraduate students ✔ kids and teens ✔

6. Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketers promote products made by other people and then earn commissions on their sales. Amazon is easy to get accepted into and currently the most popular platform for affiliate marketing, but there are many alternatives as well. Affiliate marketing is often combined with blogging to create a seamless mix of content and promotion.

7. Data analyst consulting

With  the rise of big data , an increasing number of companies need to make sense of heaps of information to adjust overall business strategies. A data analyst has the technical expertise to do this and often has a background in economics, mathematics, or finance.

Data analysts  who work for large international corporations can earn more than enough money to support extravagant lifestyles.

8. Niche interest website owner

New trends start every day, and some become pop culture sensations. Your job as a niche website owner is to capture the market before it gets too saturated.

Creating a niche-interest website ( using WordPress ) will allow you to secure your place on the top of search engines, resulting in thousands of daily visitors. Using a tool like  StudioPress  can make this even easier. Blogging will grow your audience.

Ready to begin? Step one is choosing the right host.  Bluehost our top recommendation for most because of it’s affordable price point, beginner-friendly onboarding process, and any time customer support.

  • Potential: High value ⬆

9. Search engine optimization consultant

Search engine optimization (SEO) is an absolute necessity for anyone who wants to be relevant on the web.

A capable  SEO consultant  can turn a dying business into a prosperous operation in a matter of months. The best SEO professionals can earn as much as seasoned software developers.

10. Business incubator

The role of a  business incubator  is to help new companies and startups plan and begin small businesses successfully. A typical business incubator will provide clients with management training, office space, high-speed internet connectivity, and other necessities.

You don’t have to think too big – being a small,  local incubator  can be the perfect place to start.

Arts and Media Business Ideas

11. self-publishing.

Some self-published authors earn as much as  $100,000 yearly . You can achieve the same kind of success — and all you need is a few freely available tools and the ability to write a compelling book that will sell.

You don’t have to earn six figures to succeed with self-publishing. Just a few hundred extra dollars every month can go a long way. Many self-publishers begin with freelance writing or a simple website, relying on web hosts like Bluehost  to get started.

12. Social media consultant

This business is ideal for someone who knows how to use social media to obtain business objectives. You can specialize (e.g., in running  ads on Facebook and other social media platforms) , or be a generalist social media manager who can navigate LinkedIn, Snapchat stories, Twitter, and more accounts.  Social media tools  make this management easier.

While some social media consultants can earn big bucks, most can only manage to earn an  average wage .

13. Content writer

Businesses of all sizes embrace  content marketing  as their primary way of attracting customers and establishing their position as market leaders.

A content writer should be able to digest complex topics and turn them into engaging posts quickly and well-optimized for search engines. As such, it’s great for people who know a little bit about everything.

14. Podcasting

Podcasting is a fantastic way to make a few bucks on the side for anyone who deals with interesting or niche topics suitable for this format. There are already dozens of entrepreneur and business-focused podcasts out there.

Do you like video games or ethnic music? Interested in startups and entrepreneurship? Plenty of people would look forward to hearing your show on their way to work or school. Check out our full guide on how to start a business podcast to learn more about the process.

15. Blogging

Blogging is still alive and thriving. While it’s technically free to get started, you’ll have to be patient: it will take a while to get exposure and grow your audience. These days, the competition is fierce. Good knowledge of SEO is essential, as is the ability to create excellent content.

For anyone serious about starting, growing, and monetizing a blog, we recommend Bluehost + WordPress as the best place to get started. It’s easy to use, affordable, and flexible to match your needs & skills as you grow.

16. On-demand/streaming video content

PewDiePie is one of the biggest YouTube stars with over 111 million subscribers. His journey to stardom started in his room with a humble webcam and one simple  Let’s Play  video, which he does to this day.

Beyond live game streaming, there are still vast, unexplored seas filled with  opportunities  for anyone on YouTube who dares to go after them.

17. Handmade goods

If you are a crafty person, look at  Etsy , the largest online market for homemade and vintage goods.

You will find an amazing mix of leather wallets, lamps made from river wood, unique hand-printed t-shirts, jewelry, organic soup, and countless other things.  Top sellers  often expand beyond the platform, creating their own brands and opening stores across the globe.

Keep in mind you can sell your products on more than one site, including your own with an ecommerce platform like Shopify & BigCommerce .

18. Antique refurbishment

If you like working with wood and beautiful, valuable objects in general but don’t have the drive to create your own,  antique refurbishing  could be your ticket to success.

Depending on what you do exactly, you don’t need to invest a lot of money to get started, but you will need to  travel  across the country to get the best pieces on which to work.

19. WordPress themes

Are you a web developer or designer who earns passive income from a side business? If so, creating  WordPress themes  might be the right path for you. You can sell your themes on websites like  Envato Market .

Once your theme is finished, you will still need to provide customers with  ongoing support  and updates, but can do so when you please.

20. Drone videographer

If you like piloting drones, perhaps consider working as a  drone videographer . You get to go to interesting places, meet cool people, and eventually develop a portfolio that could land you a job in Hollywood or a high-paying company in the real estate industry.

Professional drones are expensive, but you can  start small  with a midsize one and a GoPro camera and go from there.

21. Subscription service

The main advantage of the subscription model is its predictable nature. As the number of your subscribers rises, you will know exactly how much you can expect to earn every month. Platforms like Patreon or Ko-fi are great ways to connect with fans who support you monthly.

The  largest subscription services  in the world are well-oiled machines that generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue.

Education-Related Business Ideas

22. language teacher.

For a long time, language teaching has been the go-to side business to make money for students and even full-time high school or university teachers. Now, with Skype and ubiquitous internet access, everyone can start  teaching languages  from the comfort of their home.

You don’t even have to know any  foreign languages  yourself – there are many advanced learners who are happy to practice their conversation skills.

23. Online course creator

One of the most popular platforms where people can access massive open online courses ( MOOCs ),  Coursera , has more than  100 million users  hungry for knowledge. Such courses go  far beyond  the traditional high school curriculum.

If you have any skill you think people might be interested in, there’s nothing stopping you from giving it a go. All it takes is a web camera, capture software, and basic editing skills.

Hospitality and Food Services Business Ideas

24. hostel owner.

With services like Airbnb, anyone can turn their house, garage, or single room into a  unique accommodation  for tourists and travelers from all around the world.

The platform takes care of the initial exposure and provides a way for owners and clients to communicate. If you happen to own a house in an attractive destination, you can even expect to  earn good money .

25. Event planner

The internet has enabled people to connect with like-minded individuals from across the globe, creating the best small business opportunity for  event planners .

Event planning requires organizational skills to  manage an event  like a wedding or a trade show. Money can then be made from entrance fees, sponsorships, on-premise sales to attendees, and more.

26. Food truck

Do you like to cook and always like coming up with new, creative ideas? Then opening a  food truck  might be just for you.

27. Catering business

These days, starting a catering business is all about finding the right niche. You can specialize in whatever type of food you like, any type of clients, and any type of venue.

You can cater to young professionals who want to organize networking events or be known as the  go-to caterer  for children’s parties. Picking a specialty can help you find underserved clientele.

28. Craft beer brewing

Producing small amounts of  beer  has recently turned into a popular hobby and fantastic business opportunity.

You will need to  invest  in equipment, acquire the necessary knowledge, and possibly even employ a handful of people to help you with the entire initiative. But seeing the finished product being served to customers in your favorite pub will be a wonderful reward.

29. Gluten-free bakery

This is just like a regular bakery, only  gluten-free . While starting a small home bakery won’t cost you much, a larger commercial operation is expensive.

You can get the necessary  equipment  for a competitive price if you search for used commercial components online. Learn how to use blogging to increase awareness of your business and grow revenue.

30. Guided tours

Are you situated in a popular tourist destination? If so, you may consider yourself lucky.

Starting a guided  tours business  can be a good opportunity. You can use it to make extra money during the summer, or it can be the start of a much larger business that employs other people to work as  guides . Consider setting up a website that enables people to book tours online.

Technology Business Ideas

31. mobile application developer.

Mobile applications are more popular than ever, and people are willing to pay good money for ways to manage their lives from their smartphones.

If you have a great idea and know how to code, you can run with it and  create your app  yourself.

Plenty of software developers  collaborate  with people on app creation if you just have an idea and need graphic design.

32. Virtual reality/augmented reality app developer

The virtual reality (VR) software market is expected to reach  $29.17 billion in revenue during 2022-2026 . A good chunk of that revenue could be in your pocket.

All you have to do is learn how to develop immersive VR and augmented reality  (AR) experiences . The internet is full of resources and communities of like-minded people to help you along the way.

Video:  Get an introduction to virtual reality by creating a VR app for Android in 15 minutes.

33. Virtual reality arcade owner

The first batch of  VR arcades  is just starting to pop up in some of the world’s largest cities.

Virtual reality is the perfect fit for arcades and could really bring new life to this dying business. The technology is still not 100% there, but it probably will be soon.

33. Indoor drone racing venue

Drone racing  is expected to be a multimillion-dollar sport within the next few years.

If you have a suitable indoor venue where you could host races or let people practice their  flying skills , definitely consider this business. Additional income could be made from posting the footage online.

34. Energy auditor

Green energy solutions can lead to dramatic savings, allowing some people to completely drop from  the grid .

As an  energy auditor , you will help businesses and individual home and apartment owners find ways to decrease their energy footprint as well as their monthly bills.

35. 3D printing services

3D printing  is taking the world by storm, and you can be part of this revolution if you invest in a high-quality 3D printer and offer it to other people.

They simply send projects for you to print and pick up, or you can send things in a box.

36. E-bike repair services

E-bikes  are finally becoming affordable for the average consumer. But most traditional bike shops lack the necessary expertise that would allow them to service the often complex electronic components found inside.

If you feel up to the task, this could be a tremendous  opportunity  to become the biggest player in your local area.

37. Web development

As long as there will be a web, there will be a need for web developers.

Modern web development requires more than mastering  HTML  with  CSS  and perhaps learning PHP or JavaScript. Any web developer who wants to be competitive must become familiar with various frameworks, supporting technologies, web designs, and trends.

Taking low-cost courses online is a good place to start.

38. Smart home contractor/consultant

Modern  smart home  solutions can do everything from remotely controlling light bulbs or  air-conditioning  in your house to a health-monitoring application on your smartphone. However, not everyone is in a position to set up or maintain the complex systems that make these conveniences possible.

Personal Services Business Ideas

39. dog walker.

Dog walking usually involves walking the dog from its home and then returning.

A dog walker can either be an individual or part of a business like  Rover . They will be paid for walking or for pet sitting.

  • Good for: Undergraduate students ✔ kids and teens ✔

40. Personal shopper

Shopping for groceries, clothes, or electronic goods can eat up a lot of time. A  personal shopper  can help busy people reclaim this time in exchange for a small fee.

You can go to stores in person , or give online recommendations about which products the client should buy.

  • Business type: Offline/online

41. Mobile pet grooming

As more and more people are postponing or foregoing the decision to have children, their attention turns to  their pets .

Many owners are willing to pay as much as several hundreds of dollars to give their beloved pets a  makeover . If you start a pet grooming business, set up a website that enables visitors to book appointments online.

42. Decluttering services

With the tremendous success of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo, there has been a surge in demand for decluttering services. People need to get rid of useless things that become an emotional burden.

This business is far from being just a  cleaning service  in disguise. More often than not, people will be unwilling to give up even what’s clearly just trash, so you must also have a good understanding of human psychology.

43. Green cleaning services

The only thing that differentiates  green cleaning  services from regular cleaning ones is the type of products used. But this simple thing can turn otherwise unattractive businesses into something highly desirable.

People in upscale neighborhoods are willing to pay a lot of extra money just to know they are helping to preserve the  environment .

44. Beard care products

You can start your own  beard care  brand with a few cheap ingredients available online. When you create a good product, all you need to do is take care of its marketing and bulk manufacturing.

45. Pet daycare

If you love animals and pet sitting and have enough room to spare in your house, you can start a  pet daycare  business.

There’s not much to it: pet owners leave their animals whenever they have to go out for a longer time, and your job is to provide  everything  they need and ensure that the pets will be happy.

46. Daycare service

Even though you can start a  childcare service  from your home, it’s best to still prepare for a large investment.

If you live in a large city, definitely consider catering to a niche group of  parents  and charging premium prices for your services. You could focus on children with specific allergies or serve only organic food.

  • Good for: Stay at home parents ✔

47. Sustainable landscaping

Sustainable landscaping  business uses strategies to avoid negative environmental problems like excess stormwater run-off, drinking water pollution, and invasive species propagation.

These landscapes  often feature shade structures and bike racks made from recycled materials, wireless irrigation systems, native grasses, and large, open areas for sports and leisure.

Health Care Business Ideas

48. medical courier service.

This low-cost startup is an attractive option for those who are organized, responsible, and have a reliable vehicle. Medical couriers may deliver equipment, lab specimens, prescription drugs, documents, or even organs.

Couriers make an average of $36 an hour or over $70,000 a year. You can start as a sole driver and then expand by hiring other drivers. Consider forming a limited liability company (LLC).

  • Investment: Low investment⬇︎

49. Respite care

This business provides planned temporary relief to adult caregivers of elderly parents. This non-medical work may entail a few hours a week of assistance or stepping in while the caregiver takes a vacation.

Individual providers of respite care can expect to earn between $20 to $40 per hour or an average of $54,000 per year. You can start the business as a solo provider and then expand it into a highly profitable venture.

50. Growing medical marijuana

If you live in a state or country where medical marijuana is  legal , you can consider starting your own growing operation. The initial setup can be costly, but your days will be spent taking care of a  wonderful plant  and helping people improve their health and well-being in general.

Don’t Forget To Form Your Business

Once you’ve decided to set up a new company, the most important next step is to form your business and create a website . Most small businesses are set up as an LLC . This keeps all your assets separate from the company’s, limiting your personal liability while giving the pass-through tax benefits of being a sole proprietor.

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Business Ideas

what is my business idea about

Learn about: 1. Introduction to Business Ideas 2. Definitions and Features of Business Ideas 3. Need 4. Aspects 5. Sources 6. Elements of Idea Generation 7. Idea Generation Techniques 8. How to Evaluate Ideas

9. Ideation Techniques, Catalysts and Inhibitors and Opportunity Maps 10. Feasibility Analysis 11. Converting a Business Idea into a Business Opportunity.

Business Ideas: Introduction, Definition, Features, Needs, Aspects, Elements, Techniques and Feasibility Analysis

Business ideas – introduction.

A promising venture always starts with a brilliant business idea. Successful entrepreneurs are innovators or problem resolvers who come with ideas to fill the potential gaps in the market or handle an existing scenario with an alternative outlook to find the better and cheaper way of doing the things.

Once a business idea is conceived, the next step is to deliberate on the viability and the feasibility of the business idea.

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The entrepreneurs are the disruptive thinkers, offering innovative yet commercially viable ideas, later culminating in to successful business stories. For e.g. Fed Ex completely revolutionized letter posting mechanism through central sorting techniques and 24-hour operations across the globe.

Business Ideas   – Definitions and Features

According to Webster’s dictionary, “an idea means what exists in the mind as a representation (as of something comprehended) or as a formulation (as of a plan).” An idea is the content of cognition or the main thing one is thinking about or intends to do. An idea may apply to a mental image or formulation of something seen or known or imagined, to a pure abstraction, or to something that exists in the mind of a person.

The celebrated economist, Joseph Schumpeter perceived an entrepreneur as a person having the willingness and the ability to convert a new idea or invention into a successful innovation. Those idea which have a value to the investor, customer and capable of generating a revenue model for a business, are business ideas.

In this context, the case of Japanese automobile company, Toyota is worth mentioning. Due to regular innovations and the zeal to provide utility to end consumers, they have emerged as the pioneers in developing eco -friendly high quality and safe cars for consumers.

Unless an idea is relevant in the market place, having requisite feasibility, commercial viability and innovative content, it cannot be termed as business ideas. All ideas despite being innovative may not culminate into a viable business opportunity. Business ideas should be thoroughly tested and validated before resources are tied up in the business. The success of a business, in the first place rely heavily on robustness of sound business idea.

Features of Sound Business Ideas:

Unless an idea meets certain prerequisite it cannot be termed as business idea.

Following are the characteristics of a sound business idea:

1. Fulfils a customer need – a problem is solved

2. Clear focus

3. Innovative

5. Sustainable

6. Profitable in the long term

The development of new products and/or services usually focuses on improving “customer’s satisfaction”. Successful implementation of a business idea eventually leads to lowering of cost, while also passing on the benefits to the consumers in terms of lower product prices.

Business Ideas – Need

The business idea must be relevant to the entrepreneur. It should be based on a fact that the entrepreneur should be able to sell the product/service at a profit.

The business idea should be selected so as to:

1. Enable entrepreneur to utilise the skills. An entrepreneur may have technical, market or any other skills. This gives much greater confidence in entering the market.

2. Enable the use of locally available raw materials for product or service. As compared to imported materials local materials are easy to procure and convert.

3. Help entrepreneurs make products that have a demand, but are not freely available in the market. It is potentially a good idea to start with a product that can be sold. In this case the entrepreneur has only to learn production technology and locate the sources of raw material.

4. Enable use of any technical know-how of the entrepreneur or some specific machines, the entrepreneur is familiar with. If an entrepreneur has knowledge of some special manufacturing techniques, because of previous experience or otherwise it is easier for the entrepreneur to manufacture the product.

5. Enable the entrepreneur to solve a current problem existing in the market. Products may be available in the market but do not meet the demand fully or in a satisfactory manner. Sometimes an existing product is used in combination with another, which is not available. Attempts to solve such market problems do give rise to business ideas.

Business Ideas – 3 Aspects to be Considered

To persuade an investor to park the funds into a business idea, the following aspects should be considered:

1. End User’s Benefit:

An entrepreneur should introspect and ask what the real customer benefit is, and what problems will be solved through his product or service? The key to marketing success is not ingenious product – rather it is the satisfied consumer. People buy products services to satisfy a need, or to solve a problem, e.g., food and drink, home, clothes or movie tickets-something that makes work easier, or enhancing their wellbeing or self-esteem, etc.

The first vital aspect of a successful business idea is to clearly describe what need will be catered to and how, i.e. in which form it will be catered to. This is also referred as a “Unique Selling Proposition” (U.S.P) by marketing practitioners.

A business idea can succeed only when it has commercial value, i.e. when the market accepts it. The second important aspect of a successful business idea is to identify how big the target market is for the product or service offered and how it differentiates itself from the products and services of competitors.

3. Revenue Mechanism:

The business idea should clearly reflect the manner in which the revenue will be earned along with the quantum of revenue to be earned by selling the product or service. The business so set up on the basis of such an idea, should not only be profitable but also sustainable in line with the legal, social and environmental challenges and expected compliances with the relevant laws.

Business Ideas – Several Sources

A business idea/project idea may be discovered from several sources.

The ideas also originate in several forms:

A government-owned laboratory filing the most parents in the country; the chief of another government-owned laboratory defecting to the private sector; a resurgence in venture capital activity in the country, this time focused around the creation of IP (Intellectual Property); a continuation of the trend of multinationals putting down research laboratories and development centres in India; and a significant growth in patent-filing activity by Indian companies. Like all good ideas it grows and grew till it acquired a lite of its own.

Early on in the making of this, BT’s Twelfth Anniversary Issue, it became evident that this wasn’t just about multinationals setting research-shop in India.

Project identification is concerned with collection, compilation and analysis of economic data for the eventual purpose of locating possible opportunities for investment and with the development of such opportunities.

Opportunities according to Drucker are of three kinds – additive, complementary and breakthrough. Additive opportunities are those opportunities which enable the decision-maker to better utilise the existing resources without in any way involving a change in the character of business. These opportunities involve minimum disturbance to the existing state of affairs and hence the least risk.

Complementary opportunities involve the introduction of new ideas and as such do lead to a certain amount of change in the existing structure. Breakthrough opportunities, on the other hand involve fundamental changes in both the structure and character of business. These opportunities involve minimum disturbance to the existing state of affairs and hence the least risk. The element of risk is greater in the case of complementary opportunities and is greatest in the case of breakthrough opportunities.

As the element of risk increases, it becomes more and more important to precisely define the scope and nature of the project objectives and to select the best possible approach so as to minimise both resource consumption and risks and to optimise the return or gains.

Human mind has an infinite capacity to observe and to innovate and deduct. Observation is one of the most important sources of project ideas. The observant mind continuously comes across situations which can be utilised to develop investment opportunities. The observation may be made during the com of one’s routine occupation or otherwise. The dearth of a particular article or service may for instance lead to the development of an industry which can provide the article or service in short supply.

The availability of a specified type of raw material or skill may lead to yet another type of industrial activity. The observant mind is always on the lookout for opportunities which can form the basis for the development of new project ideas. Observation of the existing processes can sometimes lead to new opportunities and financially beneficial project ideas.

This would for instance be the case when a processing unit decides to manufacture machines which it has so far been using for processing purpose only. The process of deduction is on many occasions used to supplement and rationalise project ideas based on pure observations. In innovative units, it often becomes necessary to depend upon the deductive process for the development of new approaches to the solution of existing problems.

Trade and professional magazines provide a very fertile source of project ideas. The statistics and information given by these magazines and reports and records of professional bodies often reveal opportunities which can be eventually developed into investment propositions. It is very important for every person who is involved in the development of new investment opportunities to remain in touch with the latest developments in his own field of specialisation.

It is also necessary for him to keep in touch with developments in order fields which may be horizontally or even vertically liked with his own line of specialisation. Study of technical and professional literature, besides keeping a person all in a running attitude (courant), also stimulates thinking and helps in the process of development of new project ideas.

Bulletins of Research Institutes are also a very fertile source of information for new project ideas and opportunities. These bulletins generally give the broad outlines of the new processes or products developed by research institution. However, the information made available in the research Bulletin may not be adequate for concretisation of ideas. Further correspondence with the research institute may become necessary.

In most developing countries where planned development has been accepted as an approach towards the removal of poverty the plan document published by the Government provides a very useful source of project ideas. The plan document generally analyses the existing economic situation in a country and also pinpoints the investment opportunities which fit into the overall planning effort. Considerable information can, therefore, be gathered from the plan document.

Departmental publications of various departments of Governments also provide useful information which can help in the development of new project ideas. These publications are either periodical in character or are issued on special occasions. The census document which is a periodical publication is a very useful source of information about the economic structure of the society and various trends in the growth of economy and purchasing power and can be used to develop new ideas.

The project idea is a user friendly concept of what a project should be like. It is the raw expression of the desire of the project sponsoring body to achieve something. The exact form in which the project idea is expressed is immaterial.

In order to avoid unnecessary communication between the project sponsoring body and the project formulation team, the project idea should indicate broad objectives of the sponsor and limit these in time, space, function and structure. In case no limitations are envisaged, the sponsoring body should state so and leave the project formulation team in no doubt about it.

1. Observing Markets:

Careful observation of markets can reveal a business idea. Market surveys can also reveal the demand and supply position for various products. It is necessary to estimate future demand and to take into account anticipated changes in fashions, income levels, technology, etc. In this connection, it will be useful to ascertain whether the demand is elastic or inelastic and whether the product is repeat purchase or not.

Attempt should be made to determine the trend of demand and the composition and pattern of potential users of the product. A survey of the available channels of distribution should also be made so that the selling campaign can be properly planned well in advance of the production. Advice of professional experts like dealers, commercial consultants, bank managers, advertising agencies may also be obtained to supplement product analysis and market surveys.

Competition and price trends can also be found through market surveys. From the data collected through market observation, one can identify the products/industries which are in demand and which require increase in supply. A promoter can then find out the most profitable line of business. For example, the scarcity of edible oil prompted many firms to enter into the production/supply of edible oils in India.

2. Prospective Consumers:

Consumer knows best what he wants and the habits/tastes which are going to be popular in the near future. Contacts with prospective consumers can also reveal the features that should be built into a product/service. These days’ good business firms generally conduct a survey among prospective consumers before choosing the product to be manufactured.

These firms also conduct a market test of the prototype product before launching it into the market. The customer is the foundation of a business and it is he who keeps it going. Therefore, data on consumer needs and preferences must be collected. Initially, a new enterprise should concentrate on one or a limited range of products. More products can be added to complete the line later on as the business becomes well established.

3. Developments in other Nations:

People in underdeveloped countries generally follow the fashion trends of developed countries. For example, video, washing machines, micro ovens, etc. which are now the ‘in things’ in India were being used in the United States and Europe before the eighties.

Therefore, an entrepreneur can discover good business ideas by keeping in touch with developments in advanced nations. Sometimes, entrepreneurs visit foreign countries in search of ideas for new products/processes. Trade delegations of various chambers of commerce, etc. visit foreign markets to explore foreign collaborations and other types of business ideas.

4. Study of Project Profiles:

Various Government and private agencies publish periodic profiles of various projects and industries. These profiles describe in detail the technical, financial and market requirements and prevailing position. A careful scrutiny of such project profiles is very helpful in choosing the line of business. Technical and other types of experts may be employed to carry out a specialised study of project profiles and to suggest the most promoting projects/industries for further evaluations.

5. Government Organisations:

Several Government organisations nowadays assist entrepreneurs in discovering and evaluating business ideas. Development banks, state industrial development/investment corporations, technical consultancy organisations, investment centres, export promotion councils, etc. provide advice and assistance in technical, financial, marketing and other areas of business.

Government also identifies the priority sectors for investment through five year plans, industrial policy resolutions and guidelines for industry. In this connection government publications on trade and industry can also be helpful in discovering business ideas. Items reserved for small sector will also indicate the potential areas.

6. Trade Fairs and Exhibitions:

National and international trade fairs are a very good source of business ideas. At these fairs, producers and dealers in the concerned industry put up their products for display and/or sale. A visit to these fairs provides information about new products/machines. Negotiations for the purchase, production, collaboration, dealership, etc. may also be made at these fairs.

7. Attending Motivation Campaigns:

Entrepreneurial programmes are organised periodically by the Public Sector Commercial banks, Industrial and Technical consultancy organisations, Small Industries Service Institute and the District Industries Centres individually and in association with one another where also advice and guidance are made available to the Interested participants/potential entrepreneurs.

Some Other Sources of Business Ideas:

When a person wants to setup an enterprise the first action is to generate ideas for products or businesses. Initially it seems difficult to be able to think of many ideas. The entrepreneurs should use as many sources as possible for scanning product ideas from the environment.

Sources of Business Ideas:

i. Discussion with other people

ii. Looking through books

iii. Visiting shops and attending trade shows

iv. Information from Research institutes

v. Brainstorming.

Generating Ideas:

When an entrepreneur explores different sources of business ideas like talking to others, visiting shops etc., he should use different approaches like:

i. Brainstorming – It helps in generating a large number of product ideas. It should be conducted by an expert and none of the ideas mentioned be evaluated or judged. At this stage one should not worry if the ideas is suitable or not.

ii. New ways of doing old things – A large number of products are being made and provided in the market using traditional methods and practices. One approach can be to examine if these can be made by a different and newer method that gives the entrepreneur an advantage over the older method.

iii. Converting hobby into business – Some people are adept at doing something or the other as a hobby or for use in the house only. It is possible to use such skills to set up an enterprise. Hobbies like photography, interior decoration, fashion designing etc., are often developed as business ventures.

iv. Utilising waste material – Conservation and environment protections are presently getting a lot of attention. Recycling waste or turning them into useful products are good product ideas. Presently energy conservation products also have good potential.

v. Improving an existing product – An existing product can be improved by using old techniques with more care or using newly developed technology.

Business Ideas – Elements of the Good Idea Generation Process

It seems incongruous that good idea generation can be a process or that a process may lead to insight. However, if you examine the behaviour of people who regularly generate good ideas? Such as creatives in advertising – you will find that common patterns of behaviour do emerge and it is possible to make insight more likely.

Below are just some elements of the good idea generation process:

Element # 1. Read and study:

Read and study as many things about your industry or product and services. You need to investigate specific information of what you are going to sell. Keep up with current events and be ready to take advantage of business opportunities. If you read or watch the news regularly with the conscious intent of finding business ideas, you’ll be amazed at how many business opportunities your brain generates.

Keeping up with current events will help you identify market trends, news, fads, industry news- and sometimes just new ideas that have business possibilities. You need to have all information about your idea. For example, if you want to be involved in restaurant, you study everything about the subject matter in detail. If you want to start a business, you have to know what’s going on in your industry, what sells and at what price, etc.

Element # 2. Improve general knowledge:

Don’t limit yourself to only learn about things in your own industry. Learn as many topics as possible from other industries. It can be any topic. This enables you to think out of your own industry. Once you investigate and research enough, your mind is the storehouse of all the ideas you have studied. You have full knowledge of what to do next with your idea. And this is the main source to your creative ideas. All the knowledge you have learned so far is the raw materials to produce new ideas. Mix all the knowledge and generate the best one.

Element # 3. Brainstorming:

Brainstorming is one group method for generating both business solutions and ideas. It is most effective if performed within a criticism-free zone where group members are encouraged to freely contribute ideas during the brainstorming session. Brainstorming is a way in which you get out of your conscious self and become an idea machine. You take off your “judgment hat” and let any idea come to your mind. Many of the ideas you come up with won’t work for you, but you’re not looking for many ideas you’re looking for one or two ways to solve a problem or create an opportunity.

Element # 4. Think on does it make customers’ life easier or solve a problem?

Every product serves a purpose – successful businesses are rarely built on novelty value. Think on whether your idea is really going to solve the problem. How many products are there in the market for the same purpose? It’s crucial to be clear about how your product helps people or solves a specific problem. Again, market research will help loads.

i. Know what purpose your product serves?

ii. Make sure this responds to a market gap.

iii. Market research.

Element # 5. Think on; is there a market for your idea?

Very thorough market research is an absolute must for new business ideas. Market research can prove invaluable in determining your idea’s potential. You can gather information from industry associations, Web searches, periodicals, federal and state agencies and so forth. A trip to the library or a few hours online can set you on your way to really understanding your market. Your aim is to gain a general sense of the type of customer your product or service will serve-or at least to being willing to find out through the research process.

Growing markets are going to appeal more to investors and provide better business opportunities.

i. Do thorough market research.

ii. Smaller profit margin requires greater demand.

iii. Growing markets are preferable.

Element # 6. Checking out the competition:

Your aim is to understand what your competition is doing so you can do it better. Maybe their service is poor. Maybe their product has some flaws-something you’ll only know if you try it out yourself. Or maybe you’ve figured out a way to do things better, smarter, more cost-effectively. Market yourself or your product in a way that is completely unique from your competition. Look around at what they’re doing and do something different. It’s actually easier to do this than it sounds. It just takes a little thought, preparation, trial and error. But no matter what, dare to be different.

That can be disheartening if you’ve already spent X amount of hours in the idea stage, plus X amount of hours on market research-only to find that you’re not quite ready to get started after all. But taking the time to refocus your energies and determine why your idea needs some tightening is the best predictor of future success.

Element # 7. Analysis:

Analyze the business idea from three perspectives – company, customer, and competitors.

Here’s what he looks at for each of the four issues:

(a) Company – Think of your idea in terms of its product/service features, the benefits to customers, the personality of your company, what are your promises and commitments to the customers?

(b) Customers – There are three different customers you’ll need to think about in relation to your idea – purchasers (those who make the decision or write the cheque), influencers (the individual, organization or group of people who influence the purchasing decision) and the end users (the person or group of people who will directly interact with your product or service).

(c) Competitors – Think about the competitors, some competitors are good in innovation; some are in setting pricing etc. You must be able to beat the competitors by thoroughly analyzing their core competencies. Their placement within each level is based on how often your business would compete with them and how you would tailor your messages when competing with each of these groups.

Element # 8. Think on the viability of the idea?

Unless you have lots of your own money to pour in, you need a business that can operate cheaply to begin with and one that doesn’t require dozens of staff. At the initial stage to make the idea practical it should be the economic one. It should not involve number of resources that is difficult to arrange. Your business will only work if your product is technologically possible and manufacturing costs are feasible. Otherwise even if your idea is the best one but if it is not under the reach of maximum people then it is of no use. Work out who would make it and for how much.

i. Be realistic.

ii. Low starting costs and fewer staff are more likely to work.

Element # 9. Refine and Narrow:

Refine your raw idea until it’s up to your satisfaction. You can always do your own research on the raw idea by asking questions to target market to test the feasibility of the idea and how to improve the idea further. Your idea ought to be able to satisfy a very precise need and be readily acceptable once it comes into fruition. Refining will take care of any general indicators and concentrate on the core of the business idea.

Element # 10. Can it generate profit?

Work out how you’d make your product and how much you’d sell it for. You need enough profit left over to sustain a business. Factor in employees’ salaries, expenses, administration costs, labour, transport and material costs. The smaller your profit margin, the more demand you need to make up for it. Talk to manufacturers to find out about costs.

i. Work out all costs.

ii. Compare with estimated sale price.

iii. Smaller profit margin needs higher demand.

Element # 11. Is there room for growth?

You could gradually offer a bigger range of products, set up business in new locations, make ongoing improvements to your service and reach more customers. Look to web technology for ways to evolve. It’s best if plans for growth correspond with how the market working in looks set to develop over the next few years.

Basically new idea is a combination of old ideas. You need to have enough old ideas to come up with new ideas. That’s why constant reading and observation are important.

Business Ideas – Top 13 Idea Generation Techniques: SCAMPER, Brainstorming, Mind Mapping, Focus Groups, Problem Inventory Analysis and a Few Others

It is beyond doubt that sound business ideas lay the foundation for the lucrative business.

Business ideas can be generated from the following sources:

Technique # 1. SCAMPER :

It is an idea generation technique that makes use of action verbs as a stimulus to generate the business idea. This checklist technique was developed by Bob Eberie. Through this technique people are aided to generate ideas either for product modification or for developing a new product. SCAMPER is an acronym word, where each letter in it, indicates an action verb which in turn signify for a quick call for a creative idea.

i. S – Substitute

ii. C – Combine

iii. A – Adapt

iv. M – Modify

v. P – Put to another use

vi. E – Eliminate

vii. R – Reverse

Technique # 2. Brainstorming :

In this process, large number of solutions for a specific impending problem (idea) is sought from the participants. While stressing on the large number of ideas, participants are allowed to speak about their ideas freely without fear of criticism or sarcasm. Even bizarre/weird ideas are considered with open hands.

In fact, the crazier the idea, the better it is. Frequently, ideas are worked together to nurture one good idea, often indicated by the slogan “1+1=3”. Brainstorming generally involves employees, prospective entrepreneurs, customers or even group of people. The typical brainstorming group can include six to ten participants.

Technique # 3. Mind Mapping :

Mind mapping is a graphical technique developed by Tony Buzan, a UK researcher, who developed this technique so that mind is provoked to imagine connections between various pieces of information or ideas. In this technique, first each fact or idea is written down and later connected by curves or lines to its minor or major (previous or following) fact or idea, thereby creating a web of relationships.

It is used in brainstorming, project planning, and problem solving. The intent behind this technique is to capture attention and to gain and frame information to enable sharing of concepts and ideas.

To get started with mind mapping, the participant just has to write a key phrase or word in the middle of the page. Then, he must write anything else that comes to his mind on the very same page.

Technique # 4. Focus Groups :

It is a guided activity where the participants are already informed about the situation/ product or service or being users themselves. People are selected for this activity based on their insights or relationships so as to extract business ideas through open and frank discussion.

Participant are generally five to ten in numbers, selected from either employees, customer base, or are a research group having requisite knowledge about the topic. There is a moderator who keeps the discussion live on the underlined topic so that viable ideas can be found out.

Technique # 5. Problem Inventory Analysis :

Problem Inventory analysis though seems similar to focus group method, yet it is somewhat different from the latter in the sense that it not only generates the ideas, but also identifies the problems the product faces. The procedure involves two steps – One, providing consumers a list of specific problems in a general product category.

Two, identifying and discussing the products in the category that, suffer from the specific problems. This method is found relatively more effective for the reason that it is easier to relate known products to a set of suggested problems and then arrive at a new product or an idea.

However, experiences available suggest that problem inventory analysis method should better be used for generating and identifying new ideas for screening and evaluation. The results derived from product inventory analysis need to be carefully screened and evaluated as they may not actually reflect a genuine business opportunity.

For example an experiment by a company, General Foods’ to introduce a compact cereal box in response to the problem that the available boxes did not fit well on the shelf was not successful, as the problem of package size had little effect on actual purchasing behavior. Therefore, to ensure the better if not the best results, problem inventory analysis should be used primarily to generate product ideas for evaluation.

Technique # 6. Synectics:

Synectics is another kind of creative idea generation and problem solving technique developed by William J.J. Gordon and George M. Prince. In this technique, interest is provoked in those areas, of which the subject may not be aware of. It is a manner of approaching problem-solving and creativity in a rational manner. This study endeavors to examine the creative processes while they are in progress.

According to J. J Gordon, three vital assumptions are central to Synectics research:

i. It is possible to describe and teach the creative process.

ii. Invention processes in sciences and the arts are analogous and triggered by the very same “psychic” processes.

iii. Group and individual creativity are analogous.

Technique # 7. Storyboarding :

Storyboarding is sought to create a visual story to explore or describe a particular problem/ situation. In this activity, creative people are allowed to represent information obtained during research in a lucid manner. Cork board is used to depict pictures, quotes from the user, and other relevant information to explain a particular scenario. This enables the listeners to imagine and comprehend the relationships and relevance between various ideas, possibly giving way for a plausible solution.

Technique # 8. Role Playing :

In the role playing technique, each participant can take on a personality or role different from his own. As the technique is fun, it can help people reduce their inhibitions and come out with unexpected ideas.

Technique # 9. Customer Advisory Boards :

Organisation in order to assess customers wants, preferences, dislikes, and problems develop and organize customer advisory boards. At such boards, customers are allowed to voice suggestions, challenges and problems faced so as to chalk out the strategy to deal with them, often leading to creating a refined or altogether a new product or service.

Technique # 10. Attribute Listing :

It is an analytical approach to identify new forms of a system or product by recognizing possible areas of improvement. Initially, it is broken into parts, finding the physical features of each component along with its all functions being studied, to know how much to alter/enhance a particular product. It is primarily done to assess whether recombination of the components would damage or improve the product.

Technique # 11. Morphological Analysis :

Morphological analysis has to do with recognizing the structural aspects of a problem and studying the relationships among them. For example – Imagine the problem is transporting an object from one place to another by way of a powered vehicle.

The significant dimensions are- the kind of vehicle (cart, sling, bed, chair); the power source (internal-combustion engine, pressed air, electric motor); and the medium (air, hard surface, rails, rollers, oil, water). Thus, a cart-kind of vehicle moving over rough surface with an internal-combustion engine to power, is an automobile. The expectation is that it would be possible to determine some novel combinations.

Technique # 12. Forced Relationships :

In this technique, completely different ideas are joined together to create a new idea. Due to different outcomes resulting from different combinations very often worthy ideas are generated, while some of them have future viability also. For e.g. I-Watch a smart watch, created by Apple Inc. while combining the features of a traditional watch with other real time applications, offers a novelty to its users.

Another e.g. can be seen in the case of electric cars, where the future seems very promising, as the idea of having greener and cleaner means of transportation, culminates into having place and time utility. (TESLA INC. is world’s leading organization engaged in making electric cars and other utility vehicles).

Technique # 13. Reverse Brainstorming :

This technique is also sometimes called “negative brainstorming,” It is a process which turns typical brainstorming technique into upside down situation.

Rather than asking the participants to find the ways for solving a problem or coming up with great ideas for improving a process or achieving a goal, they are asked to brainstorm different ways to completely undermine a process or make it impossible to achieve a goal. Through this, all the pent-up negative thoughts are allowed to flow to the surface. This leads to assess the reasons for the possible failures or bottlenecks.

Accordingly tools are developed to find out the possible solutions. One of the best ways to envision the process of reverse brainstorming is to compare it to a typical brainstorming process.

For instance, following sets of questions can be examined:

i. Typical brainstorming question – How can we increase sales? Improve customer service?

ii. Reverse brainstorming question – How can we decrease sales so that the sales figure comes to zero?

iii. Typical brainstorming question – How can we increase our market share in the competitive market?

iv. Reverse brainstorming question – How can we ensure that our market share is reduced to abysmally low levels?

Business Ideas – How to Evaluate Ideas: List of Questions and Checklist

Whether you want to start an online or offline business, the first thing you need to do is find out whether your product or service will sell. The first step to finding that out is to research the supply and demand of the market. Ideally you want a product or service with high demand and low competition. There are many resources with which you can accomplish that. But, before we get to that, always remember that a business idea is not a business opportunity until you go through the evaluation procedure and judge it to be feasible.

1. Define your product or service. Be specific in your definition. What exactly will be your prospective customers? How will it be produced and/or provided? How will it be delivered to the customer? How much will it cost? What are the options? What is the warranty?

2. Ask Around –

First, bounce your ideas off your family and friends.

Here is a list of good questions to ask:

i. Have you ever heard of this product/service before?

ii. Would you buy this product/service?

iii. If yes, what is the maximum that you would pay for it and how often would you buy it?

iv. If no, why not?

v. If you can design this product/service, how could you make it better?

Be prepared to receive many different kinds of answers. Don’t get discouraged if some of them are negative; you can’t please everyone.

Ask Some Experts:

There are many free resources available to you.

Here are just a few:

i. Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) – This is a government sponsored organization that helps small businesses with loans, paperwork, education and others services.

ii. Chamber of Commerce – Most towns and cities have a local Chamber of Commerce to help you with your small business.

When you speak with experts, prepare for and expect hard questions. Make sure your thought process is streamlined. Don’t forget survey your potential customers. Develop a list of questionnaires and get as many people to answer them as possible.

3. Analyze the impact of idea (product) on the environment. Today government, customers and investors have become very serious about environment. They are very sensitive about the product that is having bad impact on the environment. Customers try to purchase environment friendly products. Eyen government may ban the product that is not good for customers’ health or for the environment.

4. Describe your customers. Who will, buy your product or service? Why will they buy from you rather than your competitor(s)? It is not only customers, but competitors as well, that will determine the success or failure of your new business idea. Securing customers in today’s cluttered marketplace is difficult and requires creativity and plenty of hard work. Identifying your customer base and attracting them to be potential customers is first and foremost. Keep in mind the old axiom “People don’t plan to fail. They fail to plan.”

5. Identify your competitors. Learn about their products, services and company. Learn how they do business. You can get plenty of information from the company through annual reports, financial statements, industry publications/reports and marketing materials. Get information from their customers what unique they get from the company. Analyze the competitor’s marketing strategies, their methods of promotions. Those information will tell you what they think are the advantages of their products to the customers. Is your product or service better than that of the competitors?

6. Define your competitive advantage. Competitive advantages exist when the company is able to deliver the same benefits as competitors but at a lower cost (cost advantage), or deliver benefits that exceed those of competing products (differentiation advantage). Thus competitive advantage enables the company to create superior value for its customers and superior profits for itself.

What makes your product or service better than your competitors’ offering? You can gain a competitive advantage in a multitude of ways. You could offer cheaper prices, better quality, faster service or a longer warranty. Perhaps you have a proprietary technology or method of doing business that provides your business with a competitive advantage.

7. To be successful, you must be able to sell your product or service at a price that covers the costs directly associated with producing and delivering that product or service to your customers plus contribute towards paying other operational costs not to mention providing a profit to the business.

8. How will you communicate the availability of your product or service to your prospective customers? Internet advertising, direct mail, outbound telephone calls, radio, television, print advertising, trade shows and outdoor bill boards are all tools a business can use to educate and inform prospective customers about the availability of your product or service. Selecting a particular tool depends upon the type of product, market and customers to whom you want to communicate. So select a particular or combinations of tools for your product or services.

9. Describe the things that could go wrong to negatively impact your business. Loss of suppliers, insufficient profit, product defects, customer dissatisfaction and better competitors are examples of things that could go wrong. What might go wrong with your business? How will you handle those problems should they arise?

10. SWOT Analysis –

SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Many companies use SWOT analysis to make business decisions. Putting your business ideas through the SWOT test will help you clarify and develop your idea.

Strengths and weaknesses are considered controllable/internal factors while opportunities and threats are considered uncontrollable/external factors.

Examples of Strengths: 

i. Superior expertise in an industry

ii. Patent protected product

Examples of Weaknesses:

i. Weak supply chain

ii. High learning curve

Examples of Opportunities:

i. Product/service is in high demand

ii. Changes in regulation

Examples of Threats:

i. Many established competitors

ii. Changing technology threaten to make product/service obsolete.

11. Checklists for idea evaluation –

In normal business life there are always a lot of business ideas but only few of them turn out to be business opportunity and even less turn into a profitable venture. This approach is most appropriate when deciding on starting a business. When there are more than one possible business idea and one needs to decide which one to follow we score business ideas (e.g., ideal ,idea2, idea3) by assigning a rating from 1 to 4 for each question, with 4 being highest. After we score the ideas we sum the total and select the idea with the highest score. Following are the checklists for evaluating an idea.

New Idea Evaluation Checklist:

1. Is your idea legal?

2. Please describe in detail the nature of the idea.

3. On what technologies is this idea based?

4. Who will be the customers for this product?

5. Does it need packaging?

6. What benefits will it bring the customers?

7. What is the approximate price range of the product/service?

8. What companies are currently competing in this market?

9. How will the product rank against competing products in terms of price/performance?

10. Is there just one product or a line of products?

11. What is the customer’s perception of the current products?

12. Which distribution channel do customers prefer?

13. What is the market size for this new product?

14. What is the lifecycle of the product or service?

15. What is the market growth rate?

16. Does your idea fit into a trend?

17. How much will it cost to get your idea to market?

18. What regulatory threats/trends will influence this market?

19. How many customers are there in the market by segment? (Geography, type of company, industry, application, etc.)

20. What is its environmental impact?

Business Ideas – Ideation Techniques, Catalysts and Inhibitors and Opportunity Maps

Idea generation implies the methods used for coming up with thoughts that can use an identified opportunity. There are various methods that can be used for coming up with ideas.

Following are some of the more commonly used ideation techniques:

1. Focus Groups:

A focus group is a way of interviewing a group of people on a specific topic to gain farther insights about the topic. It is usually moderated by the interviewer or the researcher who would like to get this information. The group composition is relatively homogeneous. This technique is broadly used by companies to get ideas on packaging, new features, benefit analysis of a product or feature and also improvement initiatives.

2. Brainstorming:

Brainstorming techniques are used to generate as many ideas as possible on a certain topic. The greater the number of ideas better is the result. Typically, people who come into a brainstorming session tend to be a very heterogeneous mix, of about eight to fourteen people. As the intention is to generate as many ideas as possible, the heterogeneity encourages differing perspectives and outlook.

3. Creative Writing:

This technique is typically used when lot of literary strength is available about writing around that topic. Various people are brought in or encouraged to write about a topic from their perspective; around the objective that is stated or a problem or a challenge that is posed. Creative writing is free flow in nature. It is left to the person trying to jot down the ideas that come to his or her mind during the process that is most important.

4. Wish Lists:

Wish lists method is generally used to collect ideas especially from a potential customer environment. People could be asked at random to name what they would like to see as a product or a feature that could address a particular problem. Wish lists are very useful in product development scenarios where absolutely unheard of or new ideas about situations or products can be gathered.

5. Ideal Scenario:

Ideal Scenario technique requires the participants to imagine a future situation or solution which in their definition will be an ideal solution to the problem or challenge at hand. They may be asked to imagine and describe it in words. At times to increase the creativity quotient, people may also be asked to create visuals either as a collage or a painting that would describe the future looking scenario of what will be the ideal solution.

6. Campaigns:

Campaigns are used to initiate idea generation around a problem or a challenge. They could use various forums or events to collect ideas and reward some of the best ideas that they get, and thereby gaining access to many ideas. One can make use of campaigns routinely in aspects of harnessing creative ideas around tag line creation, logo creation where the challenge is open to many people.

7. Introspection:

This is yet another idea generation technique, wherein one takes time off from general activities to just thinking about the topic at hand. This is done in solitude without any external influence or interaction. Whatever ideas come to the mind are jotted down.

TRIZ is acronym of Russian phrase ‘Teorija Rezbenija Izobretatelskib Zadach’ and literally means ‘Theory of inventive problem solving’. This method was identified by a Russian engineer in the navy who went about reverse engineering old discoveries and inventions. As per this method there are various combinations or principles that can be used to arrive at a solution for a problem. TRIZ is used widely to arrive at product innovation.

9. Time Machine:

The time machine is another interesting approach. In this approach people are asked to travel a few years forward from now to imagine the situation that they could be in with respect to the challenge under consideration. The imagined scenario can be then worked upon to lead to some current ideas.

10. Catch-Ball:

Catch-ball technique has its origin from Japan. Catch-ball is a method of throwing an idea to individuals or a group. They then add something to that idea and pass it over to the next individual or group. In this way the idea evolves or improves. In this method over a period of such passes the idea is expected to take a particular shape.

11. Scientific Method:

The other common method is the scientific method of researching to come up with newer ideas. It is a very evolutionary method, wherein a particular idea is taken and subjected to experimentation to seek its evolution to the next level. This is typically done in R&D centres wherein starting with the raw ingredients an attempt is made to evolve the final composition by trial and error method.

An entrepreneur could find this to be quite an expensive proposition. However, there are industries like pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, biotechnology, etc., where this is the only available option to come across solutions to existing or identified challenges.

Ideation Catalysts and Inhibitors:

There are factors that enable and inhibit ideation.

Some members of these two categories are:

i. Being resourceful

ii. Being knowledgeable

iii. Fresh thinking or child like ability to think without barriers

iv. Open mindedness to happenings in the ecosystem

v. Tolerance for error

vi. Acceptance of failure

vii. Increase in the variety of people and experience

viii. Belief in oneself

Inhibitors:

i. Belief that creativity or ideation cannot be learnt

ii. Fear of failure

iii. Pressure to align and think in a programmed fashion

iv. Greater importance for reputation

Idea to Opportunity Maps:

After identifying opportunities that could best suit one’s personal and professional profile, ideation techniques can be used to come up with many ideas in the specific opportunity space.

Once the entrepreneur comes out with a list of ideas, then every idea tied to the opportunity under consideration becomes known as an Idea to Opportunity Map (I2O Map). One opportunity could have many ideas associated with it.

For example, if one has identified ‘working professionals not having access to healthy wholesome breakfast’ as an opportunity, many ideas can be associated with it like a chain of healthy breakfast stores near IT parks, a serve-at-desk option or a stall in the cafeteria. All the three ideas are mapped to the single opportunity.

Each of these is called as an I2O map. Now an I2O map has its own demands on implementation and limits of returns it can provide. The next step is to weigh the I2O maps against a set of criteria that will allow the entrepreneur to recognise those that are best suited in terms of commercial and personal gains.

Evaluation of Idea to Opportunity Maps:

Every idea selected for the opportunity represents an Idea to Opportunity Map (I2O Map) for us. Instead of evaluating only the idea, we would be evaluating the idea in the context of the opportunity to select the more suitable ones for further processing.

Similar to the opportunity evaluation sieve, this sieve is also made of certain imperatives, namely:

1. The economic imperative

2. The cultural imperative

3. The social imperative

4. The personal imperative

1. The Economic Imperative – This imperative addresses the viability of the I2O map and the entrepreneur’s capability and willingness to go ahead with the venture. It weighs each of the I2O Map for clear customer definition, possible cost of execution, industry nuances, alignment of economic gains with entrepreneurial aspirations and the value proposition offered by it.

2. The Cultural Imperative – The second aspect is the cultural imperative. It is important to take the I2O Maps’ capability to cater and leverage to the cultural nuances of the potential customer segment. Also it provides an early check to see if there are any alignment issues with respect to cultural aspects of the potential market that is to be served.

3. The Social Imperative – It is important to understand if the I2O map is socially acceptable or would give rise to some concerns. Trying to understand the possible reactions of the social ecosystem to the I2O map, levers of support and roadblocks could go a long way in the successful implementation of the venture.

4. The Personal Imperative – The personal imperative are the questions that are to be answered by the entrepreneur or the founding group about their view on the I2O map. This enables an early check to see if the entrepreneur would be excited enough to persevere doing the business represented by the I2O Map across the highs and lows of the entrepreneurial journey.

From Idea to Business:

The I2O map or I2O mapping process helps in increasing the chances of success of potential enterprise and entrepreneur drastically. But it is also important to understand that I2O map by itself cannot become the base for writing the business plan. An I2O map can only tell us that there is a potentially viable way to exploit the opportunity. The next step between I2O map evaluation and business plan formulation is called business modelling. Business Modelling will help us understand and ascertain the economics of the business and its operation nuances.

Business Ideas – Feasibility Analysis : Need and Elements

Feasibility Analysis refers to the process of examining the viability of a business idea. It means assessment of the potential and practical applicability of business idea. It is not just concerned with product or service but it is study of business viability as a whole. Feasibility analysis helps in identifying possibility, practicality, capacity and achievability of the project.

A prospective entrepreneur having creative and innovative idea must conduct feasibility analysis. It may not only add vitality to the viability of the underlying business proposition but also add vision to the business opportunity.

The following points equips an entrepreneur to decide if he should continue with the existing business idea or not:

1. Is this business possible?

2. Is this business practicable?

3. Probability of success of business in future?

4. Do I have access to all the resources required to start the business?

Feasibility analysis helps to critically analyze the business concept in detail. It requires use of both primary as well as secondary data.

Primary data can be collected from potential customers, industry experts etc. while secondary data can be collected through previous studies (if any), published sources, reports and feedback taken by other firms.

Need for Feasibility Analysis

1. Feasibility analysis helps in providing guidelines for preparing business plan.

2. Through feasibility study, Shortcomings/gaps if any can be detected and measures can be taken to resolve them.

3. It helps in understanding the viability of the concept or business idea.

4. It boosts up the confidence level of an entrepreneur w.r.t the business idea.

5. It reduces the chances of business failure.

6. It apprises entrepreneur about the risk involved.

7. It Saves an entrepreneur from potential business loss and instills the prospects of success driven by hard work and risk taking capability.

8. It also ropes in the confidence of potential investors.

Elements of Feasibility Analysis

Feasibility analysis includes study of various aspects of a business. It includes identifying product viability, technical feasibility and commercial feasibility.

Following are some of the important aspects that should be considered by an entrepreneur while conducting a feasibility analysis:

1. Product/Service Feasibility Analysis – Give Example :

It includes studying various aspects of product/service to be provided to customers. The main aspect to be examined here is testing the desirability and demand for product/service.

In order to test the desirability, one needs to examine following factors:

i. What excites consumer about the product. What attributes makes him desire a product? Is it look of the product, is it the fragrance, do users provide importance to size and shape of the product (e.g. soaps).

ii. What need does the product satisfy?

iii. Does it fill a gap in market?

iv. Does it solve customer’s problem?

v. Not only these, it also includes the study of right time to introduce a product? Is there any particular occasion when people buy/try new product e.g. during the time of Diwali, Wedding Season etc. For example, during wedding season there is not only wide range of Indian clothes available in the market but there is also increase in related products like ornaments, footwear’s etc.

So in order to test desirability and demand for the product, concept testing is done at this stage. Under this, description about product/service is mentioned and shared with potential customers, industry experts to solicit their responses. Their feedback on the same, provides insights about the viability of a product. It provides answers to questions like preferences/dislikes about the product, suggestions that can be incorporated to improve the utility of the product.

Given the volatile nature of the market, these days forecasting the demand for the product is not an easy task. Therefore start-ups can go for “Buying Intention Survey”. It helps entrepreneurs identify/ estimate the demand for a product in the market in future.

An entrepreneur may use questionnaire for this and distribute it among targeted markets. It gives them an indication about intention of customers to buy the product. Any modifications required in the product may be brought to the notice of the entrepreneur at this stage. It improves chances of successfully launching the product in the market.

2. Industry Analysis/Target Market Accessibility (Primary Search, Secondary Search) :

Industry refers to groups of firms producing similar or substitute products/services.

An Entrepreneur should conduct feasibility analysis to find, industry attractiveness for the product. Various parameters can be used to study an industry like demographic characteristics of the target group, growth pattern in industry, number of firms competing against each other, profit margins, entry barriers in the industry etc.

Industry is considered attractive enough if profit margins are high, number of competitors are low and firm’s life cycle is in initial stages. This gives lot of scope for the firm to venture in the industry and innovate.

3. Technical Feasibility/Concept Test :

Technical feasibility is study of most appropriate technology to be adopted by business to transform business idea into easily marketable product. Under this, factors like technology to be used, production process involved, type of raw materials needed, ideal size of plant to be installed and equipments required are assessed.

Also factors like manpower requirement, funds needed to support use of latest technologies, cost involved in developing or buyout along with implementation, are judged for success of business.

4. Commercial Feasibility/Business Concept :

Commercial viability is the study of viability of business idea on commercial scale. It is possible to develop environmentally sustainable as well as useful products, yet such products may not be commercially appropriate. Therefore, it is imperative to conduct commercial feasibility test before taking the final decision to commence the production of a product.

A commercial feasibility facilitates an entrepreneur to identify following relevant factors:

i. Manufacturing cost of production over short run and long run.

ii. Anticipating demand for product in near future and in long run.

iii. Competition level in the market.

Higher cost of production, intense competition level and inefficiency in operations can pose serious threats for firm in long run. One should either be able to fight these challenges to survive or should scrap the project at its planning stage only to avoid wastage of time, resources, manpower and capital.

5. Financial Feasibility :

Assessing financial feasibility of the product involves study of various costs aspects related with carrying of the project.

Under financial feasibility firm identifies following factors:

i. Cost of the Project-Fund Required to Start Sustain Initial Losses:

Cost of project primarily includes capital budgeting expenditure on acquisition of capital assets like land and building, plant and machinery, furniture and fixture and other long term revenue yielding assets. It is a long term commitment of substantial amount therefore decisions for investment in these types of assets should be taken carefully. Investments in long term assets are irreversible in nature and expose the firm to substantial risks.

ii. Working Capital:

Estimation of Working capital requirements should be done with utmost care as both over investments as well as under investments in working capital can hamper routine nature activities to great extent. Having insufficient working capital will lead to liquidity crunch and will stall the business activities while excessive investments in working capital will block the funds that will undermine the profitability.

iii. Break Even Analysis:

Break-even level is that level of activity at which a firm is able to meet all the variable costs out of its revenue. Identifying the possible sales volumes at which break-even level will be achieved is important for working of business, as it indicates the stage till which firm will continue to make losses. Break-even level will give an idea about resources and time required to reach that particular level of activity,

iv. Projected Income Statements:

Finance is the backbone of any business. Future sales are projected and revenue charts are prepared to assess the inflow and outflow of funds in the business. Projected income and expenditure statements reflect the magnitude of gap between the income and expenditure so that the difference between the two can be bridged by arranging for funds or deploying excess funds in lucrative avenues.

Business Ideas – Converting a Business Idea into a Business Opportunity

A business idea germinates and to convert into a business opportunity it is to be scrutinised carefully.

1. Preliminary Evaluation and Testing of Ideas :

Once business ideas are discovered, screening and testing of these ideas is done.

The following considerations are significant in the evaluation and testing of business ideas:

i. Technical Feasibility :

It refers to the possibility of producing the product. Technical feasibility of an idea is judged in terms of availability of necessary technology, machinery and equipment, labour skills and raw materials. The advice and assistance of technical experts may be necessary to judge the technical feasibility of various business ideas.

ii. Commercial Viability:

A cost-benefit analysis is required to ascertain the profitability of the ideas. An elaborate study of market conditions and prevailing situation is made to assess the viability and prospects of the proposed project. This is known as feasibility study of the project. A number of calculations have to be made about the likely demand, expected sales volume, selling price, cost of production, break-even point, etc. The services of market analysis and financial experts may be necessary for this propose.

There is a difference between a business idea and a business opportunity. While the idea for a product or service may be workable (technically feasible), the proposed business built on this may not be profitable. It is normal for an entrepreneur to have several ideas that have to be rejected before finding one that is not only workable but worthwhile. In order to judge the workability and profitability of the proposed business, feasibility analysis has to be conducted.

2. Detailed Analysis :

After preliminary evaluation of the idea, the promising idea is subjected to a thorough analysis from all angles. Full investigation is carried out in the technical feasibility and economic viability of the proposed project. Financial and managerial feasibility of the idea are tested.

At this stage a lot of information is required. Consultations with experts in various areas of the industry may be necessary to carry out the detailed analysis. Due care should be exercised at this stage because the idea is finally accepted or rejected at this stage.

After the evaluation of a business idea is completed, the findings are presented in the form of a report known as ‘feasibility report’ or ‘project report.’ This report helps in the final selection of project. It is also useful for procuring licenses, finance, etc. from governmental agencies.

3. Idea Selection :

The feasibility report is analysed to finally choose the most promising idea.

Generally, the following considerations influence the selection of idea for a product or service:

i. Products whose imports are banned or restricted by the government.

ii. Products which can be exported easily and profitably.

iii. Products whose demand exceeds their supply so that there exists ready demand.

iv. Products in which the entrepreneur has manufacturing and/or marketing experience.

v. Parent ancillary relationships, i.e., the product is to be manufactured for a parent company.

vi. Products which showed high profitability.

vii. Products based on the expansion or diversification plans of existing forms of the family/ friends/relatives.

viii. Products which ensured specific advantages. The advantages might accrue because of the scale of the industry or the location of the factory or technology of manufacture.

ix. Products favoured by the country’s industrial/licensing policy, e.g., delicensed industries.

x. Products for which incentives and subsidies are available.

While considering these various factors — market, owner’s own experience, policy and incentives — an entrepreneur would generally come across a mix of some encouraging and some discouraging factors with reference to every product. It therefore, becomes necessary to analyse and compare the pros and cons. A selection matrix may be prepared for this purpose.

Many more items can be added for such comparison. The matrix indicates the type of diverse data that needs to be collected for each project. It also throws light on how each item can hold out some encouraging and some discouraging factors. The entrepreneurial selection needs to take all these factors into account.

4. Input Requirements :

Once the promoter is convinced of the feasibility and profitability of the project, he assembles the necessary resources to launch the enterprise. He has to choose partners/collaborators, collect the required finances and acquire land and buildings, plant and machinery, furniture and fixtures, patents, employees, etc. Decisions have to be made about the size, location, layout, etc. of the enterprise. The form of ownership organisation has to be selected.

According to Shubin “the firm is launched by assembling and organising the physical facilities, developing operation and production processes, advertising its product and initiating a sales promotion campaign, recruiting labour and accumulating inventories.”

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12 small business ideas in 2024.

small business ideas

Our evaluations and opinions are not influenced by our advertising relationships, but we may earn a commission from our partners’ links. This content is created independently from TIME’s editorial staff. Learn more about it.

Small businesses—those with fewer than 500 employees—aren't really that small when you consider their collective impact on the economy. Some 33.2 million small businesses in the U.S. account for 99.9% of the nation's companies and employ 61.7 million people or 46% of all private sector employees according to recent data from the U.S. Small Business Administration .

A record-breaking 5.4 million new business applications were filed in 2021—an average of almost 15,000 per day—with nearly as many (5.1 million) filed in 2022.

If you're considering joining the ranks of entrepreneurs but aren't sure where to start, here are 12 small business ideas to consider.

12 small business ideas to profit from in 2024

Bookkeeping.

A bookkeeping business might be a good option if you're good with numbers, well-organized, and detail-oriented. As a freelance bookkeeper, you'll record financial transactions, reconcile bank and credit card statements, generate invoices, manage collections, prepare budgets and forecasts, manage payroll, prepare financial statements, gather tax data, and more. Managing someone's finances does come with inherent risks, so consider forming an LLC if you go this route.

Auto detailing

High car prices are compelling people to drive their vehicles longer, bolstering the demand for auto detailing services to keep those cars looking new. According to Grand View Research , the global car detailing market was valued at $37.91 billion in 2022, and it's expected to grow 5.5% annually through 2030. Depending on your business plan, you can offer mobile detailing services or have customers visit you. While you don’t need any formal training, completing a certificate program, such as the ones offered by the International Detailing Association , can help you stand out from the competition.

Cleaning services

A house cleaning business is a good option if you're detail-oriented and have strong time management skills. Depending on the client, you might sweep, vacuum, mop, dust, clean the kitchen and bathrooms, remove garbage and recycling, change the bed linens, tidy the living areas, and clean the windows. Some clients will provide the cleaning supplies, while others expect you to bring your own. You don't need formal training or certifications to clean homes—but being bonded and insured indicates a level of professionalism.

Elderly care

By 2034, older adults are expected to outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau . The rapidly aging population will create greater demand for in-home caregiving. As an elderly care provider, you'll provide companionship, monitor medications, prepare meals, help with household chores, schedule medical appointments, provide transportation, and assist with basic needs, including eating, bathing, and grooming.

Event planning

Event planners help individuals and companies plan and execute special events like weddings, birthday parties, graduation ceremonies, conferences, and fundraisers. An event planning business can be very rewarding if you're highly organized, meticulous, have strong communication skills, and know how to stick to a budget.

While you won't need any special licensing or credentials, it helps to have a network of vendors and professionals to help you successfully pull off each event. If you prefer not to start your business from scratch, consider using an online marketplace such as Flippa to buy an existing online business, app, or blog.

Freelance copywriting

If you have a knack for creative or technical writing, freelance copywriting could be a rewarding business opportunity. Copywriters create content for websites, newsletters, social media captions, blog posts, graphics, billboards, magazines, brochures, instruction manuals, and more. You'll need a computer and a good internet connection to get started, and a proofreading tool like Grammarly can help you hone your craft.

Handyman services

A handyman (aka odd-jobber, fixer, or contractor) performs various repair and maintenance tasks to keep homes and businesses in good condition. Depending on your skill set, you might concentrate on odd repair jobs, such as installing fixtures and cleaning the gutters, or specialize in a specific area, such as electrical, plumbing, or HVAC systems. Your state may require a general contractor license for larger projects and specific licensing if you perform electrical, plumbing, or HVAC work.

Online tutoring

According to the Education Recovery Scorecard , math, reading, and history scores from the past three years show that students learned much less during the pandemic than average. With so many kids falling behind in school, online tutoring is in high demand—and it's expected to grow. While you don't need any specific certifications, tutors generally have a college degree or relevant real-life experience in the subject area(s) they offer.

Pet care services

If you love animals, there are several pet care business opportunities worth considering. One option is a dog walking business, where you provide companionship and exercise for your customers' furry friends (you can work with one dog or several at a time). Another possibility is a mobile or brick-and-mortar pet grooming business, where you keep dogs looking (and smelling) great. Alternatively, you could offer pet-sitting services to care for animals while their owners are away on business trips or vacations.

Real estate

There are many ways to turn your passion for real estate into a thriving business, whether you want to open a real estate agency, flip houses, work as a property manager, or invest in rental properties. You'll need a state real estate license to act as an agent, broker, or property manager. Otherwise, there are no specific requirements to flip houses or rent out properties you own, though it's wise to study the local laws and regulations to avoid legal trouble.

Rideshare driver

If you have a valid driver's license and own a vehicle, you can work a side hustle or even a full-time gig as an Uber or Lyft driver. As a rideshare driver, you can choose your own hours, drive as much as you want, and earn cash from fares, tips, and promotions. You must meet minimum age requirements and have a clean driving record, proof of vehicle insurance, and an eligible car. DoorDash is an option if you like driving but prefer transporting groceries and restaurant meals instead of people.

Virtual assistant

Many business executives depend on virtual assistants (VAs) to help with administrative tasks like answering phone calls, monitoring email accounts, scheduling appointments, coordinating travel, ordering supplies, and managing social media profiles. Successful virtual assistants are detail-oriented and have excellent verbal and written communication skills, strong organizational and time management skills, and proficiency in a broad range of computer programs.

What to know before starting your small business

Starting a small business requires a lot of planning and paperwork. Some tasks you'll need to tackle include writing a business plan, figuring out financing, choosing a business structure, getting a federal tax ID, applying for licenses and permits, opening business bank accounts , getting a business credit card , and choosing the right business software.

According to the SBA, about 38% of small businesses use specialized software in their business operations. Here are some options for managing your company's finances, taxes, and legal responsibilities.

Financial tools

A big part of running a small business is managing the finances. Platforms like Lili offer tools to streamline your business operations so you can easily handle banking, accounting, invoicing, payments, tax preparation, and more. Lili also supports joint banking access—a big plus if your business has multiple owners.

The most common small business taxes include income, self-employment, employment, and excise taxes (only imposed on certain goods, services, and activities). Several online tax software providers like TurboTax and TaxSlayer Self-Employed make filing accurate tax returns that comply with the most up-to-date tax laws easier. Once you start turning a profit, wealth management apps such as Playbook can optimize your investments and income taxes and help you set goals to build wealth.

You'll have to file paperwork to establish and operate your company. Platforms like LegalZoom eliminate the guesswork and make it easy to register, manage, and protect your business. With LegalZoom's tools, you can form your business with the proper structure, stay compliant, protect your intellectual property (IP) with trademark and copyright services, and get professional help when needed.

TIME Stamped: When starting a business, recognize your strengths and weaknesses

While anyone can make a few extra bucks with money-making apps such as Survey Junkie or Swagbucks, starting a small business is a more significant and rewarding endeavor. When choosing a path, you need to consider your strengths and weaknesses so you know where to focus your attention.

Small business owners wear a lot of different hats, but you might need help in certain areas. Recognize what you do well—and what you don't—and turn to family members, business partners, independent contractors, and employees when you need help.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What is the best business checking account.

Whether you're a solopreneur or manage a small business with employees, keeping your personal and business finances separate is essential. A business checking account lets you make deposits and withdrawals, write checks, process electronic payments, and use a debit card to make purchases—all for your business. The best business checking accounts have low fees, workable minimum balance requirements, excellent customer service, and convenient access to your cash.

How can I start a business with 10K?

If you have a $10,000 budget to start a business, focus on ideas with low startup costs that you can scale into something bigger. For example, you can launch a cleaning services business for just a few hundred dollars. Eventually, you can put more cash into marketing, build your client base, and hire staff to meet customer demand. If you don't have the money to start or grow your business, consider a small business loan , crowdfunding, or venture capital funding.

How can I make a website for my business?

A polished website conveys professionalism and engages potential customers. You can hire an expert to make a website for you or take the DIY approach and save some money. You must pick and register a domain name and then choose your design and hosting providers. Website builders like Squarespace offer hundreds of low-cost templates you can customize with your content and link to your social media profiles.

How do you write a business plan?

A business plan guides you through each phase of starting and managing your business. There's no right or wrong way to write a business plan, but it should include details about your business goals, the products or services you'll offer, a marketing and sales plan, and financial projections. The SBA outlines two main types of business plans (traditional and lean startup), which can be helpful if you’re starting out.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

100 Best Online Business Ideas for Beginners

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Darren DeMatas

January 24, 2024

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In addition to receiving commissions generated through affiliate marketing, we are able to fund our independent research and reviews at no extra cost to our readers. Learn more.

It’s easier than ever before to start an online business , even without any formal education or business experience. 

If you’re looking for a list of online business ideas for beginners, I’ve got you covered. 

Nah, we’re not talking about little side hustles here. Although, you can make legit money online with a side hustle. 

In this post we’re diving into viable businesses that allow you to be your own boss.

I’ve marketed websites professionally for almost two decades. In the last ten years, I transitioned to full time online entrepreneurship. Over the years, I’ve learned what types of businesses work well online and those that don’t.

I currently have two affiliate businesses, a B2B ecommerce startup and I co-own a marketing agency . Though that’s where I am now, that came on the heels of failure. 

In the beginning, I had a wholesale retail brand with a partner. We found that we were selling other brands at such a low price to compete that we slowly killed our profit margin. You won’t find wholesale or retail arbitrage on this list.

Without further ado, let’s jump into these businesses that anyone can start and run from home.

1. Start a Blog

Even if you don’t consider yourself a tech whiz, you can start your blog with little to no website design experience. If you know how to monetize it , you can build your blog into quite a lucrative source of income. That doesn’t mean you can build a blog and expect money to come in overnight. 

You must create content consistently and develop a way to sell something through the blog, whether it be sponsored posts, coaching services, ad space through networks like Google AdSense, affiliate products, or even digital products that you make yourself.

All you need to get started is web hosting and a domain.

It’s a pretty simple business model. The more quality blog posts you produce, the more revenue you can make. As long as you are able to build links to your blog.

The most successful blogs tend to be what many call a niche blog . By focusing on one core area of content you are passionate about, you’ll be able to attract more targeted readers to your blog posts, who are likely to buy the products and services you recommend.

Adam Enfroy

Take for instance my friend, Adam Enfroy . He’s a digital marketer turned blogger on pace to hit 7 figures with his blog.

2. Sell Feet Pics Online

It sounds weird, sure, but selling feet pics online can be a lucrative venture. You don’t have to have “pretty” feet to get started, since there are a ton of niches to work with. And you’re not limited to selling to people with foot fetishes – you can sell to stock photo sites and marketing agencies, too.

3. Start a Subscription Box

Subscription boxes are everywhere you look these days, it seems so why not take a piece of that pie for yourself? No matter what you’re interested in, chances are there is an ecommerce subscription box service out there for it. Think about Dollar Shave Club , Loot Crate , Bawdy Bookworms , and Hunt a Killer . All of these are monthly subscription services that cater to entirely different audiences.

1. Start A Subscription Box

Bawdy Bookworms launched with a quarterly box, but added a lower cost monthly option to its business model. In less than one year, Bawdy Bookworms was able to double its sales by adding a smaller, more frequent option for its customers.

To boost your earning potential even more, you can open a separate online store where you sell past boxes or items that were in past boxes. It’s a great way to get rid of overstock and capture customers who aren’t ready to commit to a full subscription.

Want a sales team out there working for you without having to pay them a dime until they make a sale? Start your own affiliate marketing program so that others can promote your products and ideas.

4. Start an Advertising Network

If you have a group of niche blogs with decent traffic, you can sell ad space. Once you have a decent number of advertisers participating, you can invite other website owners and bloggers to join your advertising network to earn money with ad revenue.

5. Affiliate Marketing

As an affiliate marketer , you earn a commission when you promote someone else’s product. You can do this with information products like ebooks, video series, membership sites, etc., you can earn up to 50% in commission sales, and there are relatively low barriers to entry. You can become an Amazon affiliate and earn with the Amazon Associates program. To be successful, you need a knowledge of SEO in copywriting, but that is relatively easy to learn with a bit of research online. 

How affiliate marketing works

 Affiliate marketers often use various marketing strategies, including SEO, social media, frequent blogging , and pay per click ads to generate traffic and sales. If you’re not familiar with any of these, it can be a good idea to hire an SEO consultant to help you as you are starting an online business. This way, you can take your time as you learn the skills yourself.

If you’ve got an idea, chances are there is a business online already that you can use to make money with their affiliate programs. Once you get one business up and running, you might want to explore other affiliate marketing programs in different niches to increase your earning potential.

6. Ad Management 

Take a look at all of the local businesses in your area. Chances are, the majority of them would love to get more customers but don’t know how to do it. You come in and help them work on Facebook Ad or Google Ad campaigns to increase their business. Many small business owners are willing to pay for help learning about and managing pay per click ads.

7. Digital Marketing

As digital content and digital marketing demand continue to grow, many businesses can’t afford a full digital marketing department. As such, they reach out to digital marketing firms. Start your own just by taking some free online courses on digital marketing.

6. Digital Marketing

8. Search Engine Optimization

SEO is a crucial part of bringing people to your website online. It’s what helps you rank better in search engines. In an SEO consulting business, you analyze websites and give webmasters feedback on what they can do to improve their rankings. Keep in mind, however, to be a successful SEO consultant, it’s about more than just throwing keywords in the right places.

9. Lead Generation

Businesses are always looking for new leads because they are the lifeblood of business. When you work as a lead generator, you match customers to potential companies they would like to work with to solve their problems.

10. Social Media Management

If you love Facebook, Instagram, and various other social media platforms, a social media management business may be the answer. If you’re good at creating content and engaging with your audience, you can work as a social media manager to help other businesses do the same. Thanks to scheduling tools, this business is great for scaling. 

11. Become an Influencer

Whether you become an Instagram influencer or use another platform like YouTube, you can use your status to earn through sponsored posts, advertising campaigns, events, and more. Many businesses use influencer marketing to reach their ideal customers. With sites like:

  • SocialBakers

You can be connected with businesses who want to spread the word about their products.

12. Start a Podcast

Like blogs, podcasts can be a great income generator. As your podcast grows, you can offer paid sponsorships as well as selling your own products and services. With podcasts, you’ll earn your listeners’ trust, which makes it more likely they will purchase whatever you’re offering.

Research shows the number of Americans listening to a podcast every week has grown 120% over the last five years . 90 million listen to a podcast monthly.  

To start a podcast, you don’t need any expensive or fancy audio equipment. It helps to have the episodes transcribed for accessibility and content marketing purposes.

John Lee Dumas, creator of the Entrepreneur on Fire podcast earns more than $250,000/month podcasting.

13. Start a Podcast Network

Let’s say you liked the idea of starting a podcast, so you’ve got one now. You can expand on that business idea to create additional podcasts until you have a complete network. Invite other podcasters to join your network, too. You’ll get increased visibility and can build an income by selling ads.

14. Start a Voiceover Business

All videos and ads need voiceover work. As long as you have a decent microphone and basic sound editing skills, you can produce quality recordings. You’ll be able to find work with independent production companies, ad agencies, and more.

15. Sound Editing and Post-Production

If you can use editing software, you can build an online business helping others make music and videos that sound great. You can edit podcasts, audio tracks for videos, master music, etc. 

16. Online Video Production

Videos are a great marketing tool, and if you can master that type of content creation, you’ll have no shortage of clients to work with. Combine it with social media management, and you’ll be that much more marketable.

17. Virtual Assistant

Virtual assistants (VAs) help with administrative tasks like managing email, scheduling appointments, and handling data entry. For companies that don’t want to hire in-house staff, VA businesses are the solution. Businesses can save as much as 78% on operational costs compared to a full-time employee.

Thinking bigger? You can also start your own virtual assistance business where you match other virtual assistants with clients. Similar to how a staffing agency works.

If you are good at managing people, this is a great small business idea for online entrepreneurs. 

18. Pinterest Virtual Assistant

This is similar to a traditional VA business but focusing on helping companies strengthen their presence on Pinterest. In this role, you help build a Pinterest marketing strategy, create pinnable graphics, set up boards, scheduling pins throughout the day, etc. 

19. Freelance Writing

Are you a decent writer? Are you willing to learn? Do you know a couple of different niches? You can start a freelance writing business providing content for other companies. You can use your own blog as a portfolio to help you get started. 

20. Self-Publishing

If you’ve ever thought about writing a book, writing an ebook is a great way to break into the market. You don’t need anything special to do it. All you have to do is convert your Word or Google Doc into a PDF, and you can list your digital product for sale through Amazon’s Kindle Direct self-publishing service. The more books you write, the more money you make. 

21. Technical Writer

Ever wonder who writes instruction manuals for electronics help guides for new software? Those are technical writers. If you enjoy writing and the technical side of things, then being a technical writer may be right for you.

22. Resume Writing

People are always looking for jobs. Some of those job seekers may look to others to improve their resumes and cover letters. Your services can help them get hired for their dream job. 

23. Speech Writing

A great speech is something many people need, but an art few have mastered. If you’re a writer who enjoys crafting presentations, you could build an online service business with speechwriting. You can also offer press releases (more on that below) and other public relations writing.

24. Grant Writer

 Grant and proposal writers help non-profits secure the funding they need to continue operations. Grant writers convince organizations to award funds to give the money to a particular non-profit.

It’s not an easy profitable online business idea to start, though, because it can be tough to break into. If you want to learn more about it, look into some of the American Grant Writers’ Association courses.

25. Press Release Writer

Do you enjoy telling stories? Do you love the idea of telling a compelling story in a limited amount of space that follows a specific format?

Press releases are much shorter than ebooks or grants, so that means each word needs to pack a punch. But, if you’re an effective communicator, you can earn some big bucks crafting press releases.

You can offer these as part of larger content packages for businesses or as part of your public relations business.

26. Copywriter

Copywriters can earn six figures or more writing sales copy for businesses. To make those big bucks, though, you must be able to write content that attracts potential customer attention and then convinces them to buy. The higher the conversion rate you earn for your clients, the more valuable you become.

To learn more or to hone your skills, take a look at the Copyblogger blog. Within the site, there’s a place where you can find webinars and ebooks to help you improve as a writer.

27. Editing and Proofreading

As an editor and proofreader, you look for the weak points in a story or other writing pieces and help the writer improve it. If you’ve got an eye for detail, then working in an editing and proofreading business can be a lucrative source of income.

28. Transcription

Digital transcription involves taking audio or video files and creating a written transcript of everything that’s said. Transcribing requires a bit more equipment to get started, but this could be a great business idea for you if you type fast.

29. Web Design

web design services

Do you have the knowledge and skill to create a website from scratch and customize it to your client’s needs? That’s all it takes. Of course, you do need your own killer website to market your services.

30. Web Developer

Web developers are the people working behind the scenes to write the code that designers use to build websites.

If the idea of coding for a living makes you happy, you can get started with various freelance gig websites. As you build a portfolio, you can strike out on your own to build clients.

If you don’t know anything about web development or coding but want to learn, there are plenty of online classes to help you get started.

31. Web Maintenance

 Beyond website design and development , website maintenance is a huge part of running an online business. The majority of people don’t know how to handle updates, backups, server issues, and website security. It’s a great way to generate a recurring monthly income.

32. Web Hosting

If you’re in web design or development, it makes sense to offer web hosting to clients as well. Many web hosting companies like Liquid Web offer reseller plans that put you in control. If you’re not in design and development, you can partner with someone to provide a full-service solution.

33. Website Flipper

An easy way to make money is to invest in online business ideas that are already profitable. Buy an existing website, hold onto it for a bit to build it up, and sell it for a profit once it has increased in value. Flippa is a leading marketplace to connect buyers and sellers.

34. Domain Flipper

This is the same concept as flipping websites, except with this one, you’re buying domain names and selling them again to someone for a profit. There is no website to go along with it.

You can also work as a domain broker, who finds the owners of domains for interested buyers and makes a deal. You’ll earn a portion of the sale for a finder’s fee.

35. Software Testing

All software, websites, and tech products need to be tested for bugs or other issues before going public. You can create an online business based on testing others’ software to find bugs, websites to report on usability, and so on. You can start with crowd-testing platforms like Userlytics , Utest , and Testbirds . You can also start your own business for quality control.

36. Build a Membership Site

Membership sites are a typical online business idea that brings people together for a long-term perspective. Membership sites allow members to access tools, online courses , and other types of products. Running and maintaining your membership site can be a little demanding but can bring in a steady stream of recurring income.

37. Sell Your Knowledge

Sell your knowledge

If you’re an expert at something, take your knowledge and turn it into digital products and services. For instance, you can create an online course or ebook. 

No matter how crazy your idea may seem, do a bit of research to see if there are currently any courses out there that cover it. You’ll see what the competition is doing and how you make yours different. When you find something you feel confident in, start looking at domain names and build it out.

38. Build Apps

If you’re an app developer or willing to learn to become one, you have a virtually unlimited market for new mobile apps. You can make money developing apps for other people or partner with people to bring you ideas and marketing skills.

39. Graphic Design

If you consider yourself artistic and enjoy creating, consider graphic design. Graphic designers build sales pages, logos, web pages, and more. You don’t have to be great at drawing, and you don’t need a college degree or an expensive computer. All it takes to get started is some visual creativity and a portfolio to show to prospective clients. 

40. Build WordPress Themes

WordPress has many themes out there to choose from, but there’s still plenty of room in the market for new ones. If you’re a developer, you can build a source of passive income with custom themes. If your graphic designer, you can partner with a developer to turn your design into a workable WordPress theme.

41. Build WordPress Plugins 

WordPress plugins are essential for WordPress websites, so if you’ve got the technical knowledge it takes to create them, you can build a business. Plus, it’s scalable since you can license the software to as many WordPress users as you want. If you can’t build it yourself, you can partner with the developer.

42. Cryptocurrency Trading

Cryptocurrency is rapidly gaining popularity because there’s a lot of money to be made. If you’re okay with taking a risk and have a little bit of starting capital, you may want to try your hand at currency trading. Because it’s a volatile market, you can make money day trading as long as you’re willing to handle the risk.

Crypto Currency Trading

43. Stock Trading

You don’t have to be a financial pro to make money in stock trading. Whether you dabble in fractional shares or have the startup capital to make some significant investments, you can earn some extra cash. Though this can be a profitable online business, it does require a certain amount of risk tolerance. If you’re not prepared to lose the money you put in, you may want to look into another small business idea.

44. Cryptocurrency Mining

Though it’s a bit more technical, setting up an online business focused solely on cryptocurrency mining or creating the mining rig makes you a lot of money. If you know basic mining from cloud mining, you’re one step ahead.

45. Bookkeeping and Accounting

You don’t have to be a certified public accountant to offer services to businesses. If you’ve got some experience and a knack for numbers, you can build a successful online business helping keep track of books for other companies.

46. Tax Prep

If you’re an accountant or otherwise familiar with tax preparation, you can start an online business dedicated to helping others prepare their tax returns. Though you’ll be busiest during tax season, you can stay busy year-round. 

47. Financial Planning

With a wide range of online investment tools, it’s an excellent time for the personal finance industry. Nearly half of the population has no plan for retirement . There’s a real need to plan for retirement and save for the future. Advisors do not need to work for large investment firms to build a financial planning business.

48.  Peer to Peer Lending

Traditional loans aren’t for everyone. With peer to peer lending, you connect borrowers to individual investors who want to make competitive returns with their money. It does require some capital to start, and there is risk involved.

49.  Make and Sell Candles

With a bit of wax, coloring, and essential oils, you can create candles or wax melts. Sell on Etsy, other online marketplaces, and through your own ecommerce site.

50. Make and Sell Jewelry

If you’re crafty, you can make your own jewelry and sell it on your own online store or Etsy. You can also source jewelry from manufacturers for dropshipping.

51. Soap and Lotion Making

Much like making candles and jewelry, you can make soaps, lotions, bath soaks, etc., and sell online with Etsy and other marketplaces.

52. Gift Basket Design

Gift baskets are still an option for friends, family, and coworkers. By having various supplies on hand for numerous occasions, you can put together various gift baskets and sell them. Creating several different packages to choose from gives you greater control over your profit margin.

Research shows that gifting food is becoming a widely accepted practical option during the coronavirus and beyond. The increase in food gifting is an opportunity for gift basket companies. 

53. Floral Arrangement

Fresh flowers are an integral part of weddings, Proms, and other events. If you’ve got an eye for design, you can start a successful business with floral arrangements. You’ll be able to make even more money if You have the option to include small gifts with the flower delivery.

54. Party/Event Planning

If you have a knack for planning parties, baby showers, weddings, etc., you can start an online business as an event planner.

To get started, pick a niche based on your skill set and market demand. For instance, you can focus on starting a business centered on weddings, birthday parties, or baby showers.

From there, build your niche website, then use social media and Facebook Ads to start spreading the word.

 If you enjoy baking, you can start an online bakery. You can take custom orders for cakes, cookies, pies, and other baked goods to make money.

Bakery

To supplement your income stream, you can create baking kits with everything you need to make a particular baked good -then sell those as gifts or as solutions for customers who want a from-scratch product without all the hassle.

56. T-Shirt Business

Have an idea for a cute, funny, or catchy t-shirt you think others would really enjoy? With print-on-demand services , you can launch a full ecommerce store selling t-shirts without ever carrying an inventory.

57. Phone Case Business

Along the same lines as the tshirts business, you can create a print-on-demand business for phone cases. Cover your bases with the most popular Android and iPhone products. Then, expand into tablet cases.

58. Real Estate Crowdfunding

Want to build a real estate business without a lot of capital to get started? You can invest in it with others online and generate income without the responsibility of directly owning the property.

59. Customer Service

If you enjoy working with people and have a background in customer service, you can start an online business providing customer support for other companies. Platforms like ModSquad make it easy to get started.

60. Virtual Tech Support

Similar to the customer service business, this is an ideal option for people who are savvy with technology and computers. Those who aren’t tech-savvy can come to you with issues, and you can help them solve their problems remotely. As a tech support agent, you could work for another company or go out on your own as a full-time freelancer.

61. Teaching and Tutoring

Many people, not just certified teachers, can make money teaching and tutoring online. If you’re an expert in something, you can make money by showing others how to improve their skills.

Teaching and Tutoring

If you have a formal education in Education, you’ll be eligible to work with more sites like VIPKid , which only allows licensed teachers to teach English to students in foreign countries.

62. Language Services

If you’re fluent in more than one language, you can host classes, private tutoring sessions, and create several other products centered around teaching people a second language.

Beyond teaching another language, you could also offer your services as a translator.

63. Foreign Culture Consultant

If you’re an expert in another culture, you can provide services as a foreign culture consultant. People who are planning an international trip or hosting a foreign exchange student may be interested in your services so they can prepare ahead of time.

64. Start a YouTube Channel

Though it may seem like the market is saturated, there are still plenty of opportunities to make money on YouTube. Choose a niche you’re passionate and knowledgeable about. Earn through advertising and brand sponsorships. You can also convert your YouTube videos to MP3s and promote them on other channels.

65. Start an OnlyFans or Patreon Channel

OnlyFans has a controversial reputation because there are no restrictions on the type of content you can upload (and lock behind a paywall.) While there is certainly no shortage of adult content on the platform, that doesn’t mean your OnlyFans channel has to be centered on that. 

Both OnlyFans and Patreon allow content creators to earn money for the things they create.

66. Dropshipping

If you have a business idea but don’t want the hassle of purchasing and storing inventory, then an online business in dropshipping may be what you’re looking for. A dropshipping business connects with wholesalers to ship the products directly to your customers. Get started with platforms like Spocket , today.

How Dropshipping Works

You can find a wide variety of products through platforms like Alibaba or Spocket . Sell on Shopify or another ecommerce platform. If the platform you sell through integrates with your chosen dropshipping service, you can manage everything from a central location, making it easier for you.

You can easily run more than one ecommerce business at the same time using th e dropshipping business model.

67. Stock Photography Business

If you’ve got decent camera equipment and an eye for photography, then you can get paid for your photos. Many stock photography websites purchase photos from photographers like you and a percentage every time your images are used.

68. Sell Your Music

Do you write music? With a platform like TuneCore , songwriters can get published and distributed without a record deal. Plus, they handle royalties, so you’ll get paid every time someone purchases or streams one of your songs.

Sell Music

69. Build an Online Game

Online games like World of Warcraft are popular, with good reason. If you have a concept or idea for an online game, you don’t need to learn to build it yourself. You can partner with a developer to do it for you. Even if you make the game free to play, you can earn through advertising and in-game purchases.

If you want to start an online business with a game but don’t have any ideas for products, there are plenty of business opportunities out there for you. Many app developers create apps and flip them just like websites. You can purchase an existing game and then look for ways to start increasing its revenue.

70. Create Software as a Service

Known as SaaS, this is a software you build and license for a monthly fee. The software is available online from anywhere there is an internet connection. So If you can’t handle the software development  yourself, you can partner with someone who can and earn with the subscription model.

71. Sell Digital Printables and Planners

If you love organization and helping people get organized, you can create a series of digital documents for planning. By selling the printables, your customers can purchase and print just what they need, and you can make recurring revenue.

72. Recruiter

Companies spend a lot of money trying to find the right employees to fill open positions. You can work as a recruiter to connect potential candidates to employers who would be interested. You earn each time one of your recruits gets hired.

73. Direct Sales

I’m not talking about joining one (or more) multi-level marketing companies like Tupperware or Colorstreet. Instead, you’ll work as a commission-based salesperson on behalf of multiple companies. You replace the need for an in-house sales team.

74. Travel Consultant

Do you enjoy making travel plans for yourself, friends, and family? Make a consulting business out of it! Specializing in a niche helps to establish authority for a particular type of travel or a specific region.

75. Data Analysis

To make informed decisions about your business, you need data. But more than the data itself, you need to know what it means. That’s where data analysis comes in. It turns all the numbers and information into actionable insights small business owners can use to guide their decisions. If you consider yourself a data nerd who loves diving into analytics, this could be the right business for you.

76. Wellness Coach/Personal Trainer

If you’re a fitness buff who understands how to build a workout and nutrition plan, you can earn an income by helping people get healthier. You can do this with a business model that includes virtual group classes, one-on-one sessions, or online courses. 

Wellness Coach

You might want to consider working as a wellness or mental health coach, which is similar to life coaching but focuses on health. Certificate programs are available to help you build credibility and expertise.

77. Business Coach

Much like life coaching, business coaching means working with business owners to help them reach their goals. You don’t have to have any formal education to make it work – just results.’

78. Life Coaching

We can’t always do it all on our own. Life coaching helps people in various ways -happiness, relationships, health and wellness, finances and career, etc. To become a life coach, you don’t have to have special training, though certification helps. You can work in your local area with clients in person or expand your reach with video sessions.

Want to learn more about life coaching? Listen to the Life Coaching School Podcast .

79. Dating Coaching

As a dating coach or online dating consultant, you offer people guidance about connecting with others on various dating sites. Your ideal clients are those who spend a lot of time on the apps but come up empty or are disappointed with the results. Basically, you serve as an online matchmaker.

80. Teach a Musical Instrument

Do you play an instrument? You don’t have to be a professional level player to teach others. Whether you play the piano, guitar, or another musical instrument, you can book private lessons with students.

81. Sell Voice Lessons

This is the same as teaching a musical instrument, but in this case, the instrument is your voice.

82. Recycle Electronics

If you want to do your part for the environment and make some money, too, you can earn by recycling electronics. Starting a business repairing things that aren’t wanted or needed, then reselling them is easier than many may realize.

83. Art Lessons

Are you artistic? You can make money by teaching others your skill. Whether you do it through online courses or private lessons, there’s plenty of opportunities.

84. Online Researcher

Every day, an insane amount of content gets added to the internet. Though many of us have basic research skills, this job is more than just searching for a topic on multiple search engines.

If you love sorting through information and can tell a quality source from “fake news,” you can start an online business as a researcher. You can conduct/locate market research, help private investigators, conduct academic research, and more.

85. College Admissions Consultant

As a college admissions consultant, also known as an independent education counselor, you’ll work with parents and students to determine the schools they should apply to. You’ll also help with the application and essay writing process. To further your consulting business, you can also offer financial aid guidance, help with scholarship applications and essays, SAT/ACT test prep, course selection advice, and more.

College Admission Consultant

86. Public Relations

If you have experience with marketing strategies and connections in the press, instead start an online business doing public relations work for other companies. This includes online reputation management, influencer outreach, and more.

87. Crowdfunding Consultant

If you’re starting a new business but looking for capital support to make your product or service come to life, then you may turn to crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. But, without the right planning and execution, the campaign is sure to fall flat. 

For companies who want to make the most of their crowdfunding efforts, crowdfunding consultants step in to help plan and execute the campaign – from all the assets to advertising and rewards. 

88. 3D Printed Products

3-D printers are no longer unattainable for the average consumer. With a few hundred dollars, you can start a profitable online business selling your own 3-D printed products.

Though the startup costs for an ecommerce business like this one can be a bit higher than a dropshipping business, for instance, the sky’s the limit. You can build your ecommerce website selling whatever 3D printed product you want to make.

89. Content Curator

 Content curators sort through data online and collect the most relevant content to share on social media, blogs, and websites.

Businesses who frequently share promotional content online will have trouble keeping their audience engaged. That’s where sharing content from other sources but still has value to their target audience comes into play.

You can start a content curation business, collecting relevant content for other small businesses. Expand upon that business by adding social media management services and social media marketing.

90. Meal Planner

Plenty of people want to save money and eat healthier by cooking more of their meals at home. However, they don’t take the time to plan their meals either because they don’t know how or they don’t have time. That’s where you come in.

Meal Planner

More than one business model works here. You can:

  • Create a series of meal plans for the most popular diets out there to sell online.
  • Offer personalized meal plans based on one on one consultation.
  • Use a subscription model to provide meal plans to paid members every week.
  • Create online courses or other products that teach people how to plan their meals on their own.
  • Use a hybrid approach combining one or more business models.

Take a look at how Once a Month Meals does it. It’s a membership site full of freezer cooking meal plans. Paid members get access to everything they need (shopping lists, labels, recipes, directions, etc.) to create customized meal plans. Free members get limited resources.

91. Project Manager

If you’re experienced with platforms like Trello, Asana, or Wrike, you can help other small business owners and bloggers stay organized. As an expert, you can help them manage projects or train them on the platforms’ finer points to make it easier for them to handle things themselves.

92. Branding Consultant

As a branding consultant or branding strategist, you’ll help companies determine what customers want and how they can provide it. You essentially serve as a one-person marketing team.

93. College Prep Tutor

Many high school students need an extra boost in getting ready for the SAT or ACT. You can easily run an online business aimed at helping students get a better score.

94. Design Email Newsletter Templates

Online entrepreneurs need multiple ways to reach their audience. Email newsletters are a popular way to stay in touch with customers. You can design templates for other online business owners to use with their email lists. 

As long as you have some basic knowledge of design and marketing skills, you’ll be good to go. After you create a few pre-designed templates, you can sell them to blog owners and entrepreneurs. You can make templates that work with multiple email marketing platforms or choose one to specialize in.

95. Data Mining

 Data mining is what companies use to convert their raw data into useful information. If you’re into programming languages like Python and R, you can quickly learn data mining software suites and start a business offering data mining to other small businesses.

96. Content Strategist

 As a content strategist, you’ll plan, write, and edit content for businesses. You’ll use marketing strategies to distribute the content across social media platforms and the web. You’ll keep the content on-brand message and work to help businesses reach their goals with the content you create.

97. Illustrator

Love to draw? You can provide your services as an illustrator to authors for books, web design, product tutorials, and more. Build a portfolio and ask people for referrals. You can also cold email businesses to see if they are interested in your services.

98. Sell Slogans

If you like coming up with catchy slogans, you can start a small business selling them for other companies to use. It’s an excellent way to break into the advertising business, too.

One way to get money off of your slogans without selling them directly to others is to sell products with your slogans on them. You might want to offer potential customers the choice of product with a platform like Printify.

Sell Slogans

99. Charisma and Confidence Training

This is one of my favorite online business ideas. Charisma and confidence are two skills that make life more comfortable, and yet, it’s an area where lots of people struggle.

Even if you’re not an authority in the field, you can teach people confidence, social skills, and charisma based on what you’ve learned through trial and error in your own life. You can start a blog and YouTube channel to build authority in the industry, without any formal education or expertise.

100. Start a Clothing Line

With a bit of creativity and a flair for fashion, you can start your own clothing line , without ever having to sew a thing. Start out by selling a single product, and expand to offer other clothing items, just like Black Milk Clothing . 

What Makes Online Businesses Successful

Starting an online business is not easy. Just because there are so many business ideas for beginners out there doesn’t mean you don’t have to work to get it profitable.

While there are many ways to start a great online business, you still have to work hard. Low barriers to entry and little startup costs often mean that lots of people jump in, so there can be a considerable amount of competition. Running an online business is about more than finding an idea you like and running with it. So before I send you off to get started building one of these small business ideas, I wanted to talk about some of the things that make a successful online business.

Looking at the Big Picture

When you start an online business, you have to have a plan, but you also need long term goals. What do you want your business to look like a year from now? What do you want it to look like five years from now?

The most successful entrepreneurs know how to look ahead while also focusing on what’s in front of them. Failure to see the big picture can stifle growth.

Using Tools and Automation

In the beginning, you may be continuing to work your full-time job while starting your online business. Even if you were a stay-at-home parent before, there’s only going to be a limited amount of time to focus on getting the company up and running. With limited capital, it may be difficult to hire any kind of contractor or employee to help you grow faster.

With social media marketing tools, scheduling tools, and automation, it is now easier for one person to get more things done than they used to. Though the initial setup process does take some time, creating a series of automated processes to handle tedious tasks such as invoicing can help save time that entrepreneurs then use for more critical tasks. 

Outsourcing Where Necessary

Online businesses need social media marketing, paper click advertising, content marketing, and a website to succeed. However, if you’re not an expert in any of these things, it can be far more effective to hire someone who does understand these things.

Though you take the time to learn new skills yourself, it may mean losing money or letting your business suffer while you do. Outsourcing does cost time and money but often makes it easier for you to grow faster since you can focus your efforts on the skills that are your strongest.

Continuing Education

The idea that once you start a business, you know all there is to know is plain silly. Regardless of industry, things change, and in certain industries, they change quite rapidly. The best entrepreneurs know they need to learn more. They continuously look for new information and stay on top of industry news and trends.

Differentiating from the Competition

Even if there isn’t a lot of competition in your industry, having something that sets you apart and makes you different from the others in your market goes a great way toward reaching your target audience. If people can’t tell you from your number one competitor, you’ll have a hard time captivating potential customers and staying at the top of their minds.

Knowing their Value Proposition

One of the best ways to stand out from the competition is to know and understand your value proposition. Without that, your core messaging and your overall brand will suffer. When those are not as clear as possible, your conversion rates will also be lower.

The great thing about being an online entrepreneur is that you can run multiple successful online businesses. The best online business to start isn’t the same for everyone. What works for one business owner may be an idea that terrifies another. No matter what kind of online business you want to start, the key to success is taking your time and researching your target market and competition.

All that said, as an aspiring entrepreneur and small business owner, it’s crucial to do your homework on the business side of things. You can start an online business as a sole proprietor. You may need a business license , depending on where you’re operating your business. However, as you grow, it may be more advantageous to consider forming an LLC or other company entities. Before starting an online business, make sure you abide by all local, state, and federal laws. For help with this, you can turn to an attorney and a tax professional. If you don’t have a lot of capital for startup costs, there are services available online to help you.

I hope you enjoyed this list of ideas for beginners . Starting an online business isn’t for the faint of heart, but it is easier now than ever before.

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Want to Test Your Business Idea Without Spending Much Money? Use the "Mousetrap" Model Instead of building products and then learning who wants them, you can test demand before really investing your time and energy.

By Paul Cheek • Apr 2, 2024

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

There is a common misconception that entrepreneurs should build products and then sell them, but there is a different order of operations that can increase odds of success. In this article, you will learn to:

  • Build a mousetrap to rapidly test value propositions with your target end users out in the real-world
  • Identify the most appropriate advertising platform, set a budget, and plan a digital advertising campaign targeting end users with your value proposition
  • Develop an understanding of the metrics that matter when running early advertising experiments
  • Turn those who responded to your ads into a list of individuals who are interested in your quantified value proposition - who might be your first customers!

Your Overall Marketing Strategy

Your business will employ a variety of marketing approaches over the course of time and will require a comprehensive well-rounded marketing strategy. This tactic looks specifically at how you can leverage online advertising at the earliest stages. Why? Because online advertising platforms provide you with the most control regarding input data such as who you would like to target and when compared to other means of marketing when you do not yet have customers or are looking to experiment with new customer segments. Not to mention that online advertising is also relatively inexpensive and allows you to run micro-experiments with small ad buys. Because you can set very specific parameters for who will see your online advertisement, you have more control using these platforms than with any other medium. Unlike a billboard — where a broad audience sees the advertisement and the only targeting parameter is location — online advertising gives you control over exactly who will see your ad. This control saves you money by only reaching those people in your beachhead market and saves time by only generating leads from that limited pool of prospects. Online advertising also provides you with data on current and previous campaigns to inform future decisions, including further refining your messaging and visuals. Lastly, online advertising provides you with the ability to make rapid changes and run quick experiments to test new hypotheses. While extremely helpful for an early-stage startup or a business looking to expand with new products or market segments, in the long term you'll need a holistic marketing strategy to optimize the cost of customer acquisition. And online advertising may not be the best for you - that's up to you to decide. Your business is unique so while you may choose to employ a different advertising medium initially remember that you need the same level of control to target exclusively those in your beachhead market. Keep in mind also that while you might be focused on direct, outbound sales to get your first customers, every business needs some marketing as well to bring in new leads and build a scalable, repeatable sales process.

How to Use the "Mousetrap" Model

"Mousetraps" are a way to determine whether your prospective end users are enticed by your value proposition before ever building the product. You provide the "bait" (i.e. messaging and imagery around your quantified value proposition) and see whether people take the bait and get ensnared in the trap, which in this case is simply adding their name and email to a waiting list, subscribing to a newsletter, registering for a live demo, or even preordering. Much like you might try out different foods for bait to catch a pesky mouse (a little cheese one day, some peanut butter the next), your mousetraps can test how your value proposition and messaging perform as bait for potential customers. Luckily building these landing page moustraps is quite easy and cheap. You really don't want much at all on these pages; the more that's on there the less certainty you'll have regarding which element turned prospects off or compelled them to sign up for your mailing list. These landing pages usually just need one image that evokes the persona, the problem, or the solution to draw in the target audience, along with a headline and just a few lines of text. Resist the temptations to get creative with catchy taglines or spout off a laundry list of features and functionality, particularly if you haven't built any of them yet. Once you've built a mousetrap, setting it involves running an ad on a digital advertising platform targeting your ideal user or buyer persona. The advertisement should have the same or similar visuals and messaging as the mousetrap with a link to the landing page. After the ad is run, you can determine end user interest based on the number of click-throughs from the ad and then, subsequently, how many provided their information via the landing page form. This data offers an indication as to whether the target end user actually desires the quantified value proposition. Because it's such an easy lift to create these mousetrap landing pages, it might make sense to create multiple versions of your landing pages and ads that tweak the messaging with different potential quantified value propositions to optimize your ultimate go-to-market approach. Emphasizing different parts of the value proposition, using different phrasing and terminology, or even just rearranging the order of selling points on the page enables you to compare results between multiple mousetraps to identify which particular combination of messaging and end user targeting works best. Now when you start committing larger dollars to lead generation, the team will have more confidence that the venture is putting its best foot forward.

This is part of 15 tactics I detail in the newly released book, Disciplined Entrepreneurship: Startup Tactics , drawn from lessons I teach at MIT.

This article was excerpted with permission from the publisher, Wiley, from Disciplined Entrepreneurship Startup Tactics by Paul Cheek. Copyright © 2024 by Paul Cheek. All rights reserved. This book is available wherever books and eBooks are sold.

Paul Cheek is a serial tech entrepreneur, entrepreneurship educator, software engineer, author, and patented inventor. He is the Executive Director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, a Senior Lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the author of Disciplined Entrepreneurship: Startup Tactics .

Paul was MIT’s first Hacker in Residence and has since taught, mentored, and advised thousands of entrepreneurs around the world. Paul was named to Forbes 30 Under 30, the definitive list of young people changing the world. Paul is a co-founder of Oceanworks, a for-profit company with a mission to end plastic pollution and previously co-founded Work Today, a venture-backed digital staffing and recruiting company. Paul advises startups and both speaks and consults with Fortune 500 companies and universities globally to advance entrepreneurship.

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63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

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40 Small Business Ideas You Can Do From Home

Do you dream of starting a business from home but have no idea what type of business to start? Oh, believe me, I've been there!

If you're interested in being the boss and calling the shots, here is a list of the best small business ideas you can easily run from home!

1. App Creator

If you have an idea for a smartphone app that makes life simpler or more enjoyable, becoming an app creator or developer may be the perfect small business idea for you! One mom that has found success as an app creator is Patti Rogers . She created the Rallyhood app to help organize community outreach and simplify communication between individuals in a group.

To start this business, you'll likely have to secure funding for your app development. As an app creator, you can earn money through ads, in-app purchases, or affiliate marketing once it's live.

2. Bake and Sell Dog Treats

It's estimated that pet owners spent $136.8 billion on their pets last year, with online shopping being the preferred method for purchasing pet supplies for millenials! If you want to cash in on this lucrative industry, consider starting your own gourmet dog treat business. My friend, Kristin Larsen, did this as a side gig for many years and easily earned $500-$1,000+ per month!

Today, she teaches others how to start their own dog treat businesses. If this sounds appealing, you can check out her free training here . Once you're on the page, click on the pink free training workshop button. You can also enroll in her course, which you can complete in as little as a weekend.

Are you known for your baked goods? Do you enjoy decorating cupcakes and cookies? Then maybe starting an at-home bakery business is your calling. With this sort of business, you'll need to secure the proper permits and licenses and figure out kitchen space, storage, and delivery logistics.

One woman that's found success as a baker is self-taught cake designer Jennifer Jacobs of the Wandering Whisk. Jennifer ran her cake-baking business for four years out of her home, but in 2019 she opened a brick-and-mortar location. If you think this is the ideal business for you, check out this post for more details.

There are so many reasons why I love blogging, such as you can write about any topic; there are multiple ways to monetize and market your business, you don't need a college degree, and it doesn't cost a lot of money to start. 

If you're interested in starting a blog, I have a free step-by-step tutorial  that walks you through the process. Once you have your blog up and you've written a few blog posts, you can make money with affiliate programs , direct ad sales, brand sponsorships, selling e-books, digital courses, printables, and so much more! According to  Financial Samurai , bloggers who have 100,000 page views per month can easily earn $1,000-$10,000 per month.

Of course, with blogging, there is a learning curve. You'll need to educate yourself on best blogging practices, like learning SEO (search engine optimization), how to diversify your income streams, and FTC rules for affiliate marketing and sponsorships. Even though there is a lot to learn with blogging, I'd argue it's one of the best online business ideas who people who enjoy writing and being creative.

5. Bookkeeper

If you're detail-oriented and love working with numbers, launching a virtual bookkeeping business may be your calling. Not only is bookkeeping lucrative ($60-$80 per hour), but it's also an in-demand service, as most business owners dread bookkeeping tasks, myself included. While bookkeeping itself is pretty straightforward, you will need to be familiar with bookkeeping software, how to get clients, and stand out from the crowd; this is where a bookkeeping course can come in handy.

The course I'm most familiar with and recommend is Bookkeeper Launch . More than 15,000 students have gone through this program, including Callie Sitek of the Radical Profits Club; you can read more about her entrepreneurial journey here .

6. Consulting Business

Not a new business idea by far, but it is an easy one to start. Take the expertise, knowledge, and skills that you already have to consult others in that area. For instance, if you worked as a social media manager before becoming a stay-at-home parent, take this expertise and pitch businesses that don't yet have an online social media presence. 

With consulting, you're helping businesses and individuals incorporate processes, strategies, and a plan for achieving their goals. Other consulting business ideas might be baby-proofing consults for new parents or organic lawn care consulting for the environmentally conscious. Take what you know, and start pitching your ideal clients. For a full blueprint on how to begin a consulting business from home, check out this article .

7. Copywriter

When I first heard of copywriters, I thought they were legal professionals that dealt with filling copyrights for books. That is not what they do!

Copywriters are skilled persuasive writers that write marketing promotions and advertising campaigns. While you can get a degree in business and marketing to become a copywriter, many copywriters that I know have taken online training courses and have become proficient at writing persuasive copy.

One such individual is Mindy McHorse , who left her project management job and pursued copywriting by taking a course through the American Writers & Artists Institute. According to Salary.com , an agency copywriter can expect to earn $63,711-$80,404 annually, but a freelance copywriter, especially one who writes copy that converts leads to sales, can make much more!

Both Mindy McHorse and Danny Margulies earn six figures a year running freelance copywriting businesses from home - be sure to check out their stories!

8. Course Creator

If you've succeeded in a particular area and people always ask you how you achieved your success, you may be the perfect candidate to create an online course. I know people who have created courses on how to choose a paint color, how to decorate your house, and how to stay on budget -- the topics are endless!

You can use video, audio, written, or a combination of the three formats to present your materials to students. There are lots of platforms that you can use to deliver your course content, from free sites like Skillshare and Udemy or paid platforms like Teachable , Kajabi , or Uscreen .

Now, let's talk about money. Some course creators earn an average of $0-$1,000 per month. Yet others, like Nick Stephenson , have made $130,208 with his first-course launch! According to data , 17.9% of creators using the Teachable platform for 15 months sold under $25,000, so you can make excellent money selling courses online!

9. Craft Seller

If you love creating handmade items, you can make a full-time income selling crafts on Etsy , Amazon Handmade , or Shopify. One such crafter that's found success in the crafting arena is Melanie from Simple Made Pretty . In 2014, Melanie started selling custom-made cards on Etsy, and because of her unique greeting card niche (she created anniversary cards for homeowners), she ended up doing exceptionally well. Today she earns a full-time income from selling crafts like printables, decals, SVG files , and party supplies on her Shopify store and crafting blog.

10. Customer Service Agency

If you would like to start your micro-call center business, Arise can help you achieve your goals. For a small startup fee, Arise will guide you through the steps of starting and running a call center business from home. With this opportunity, you can remain a solopreneur or expand and manage a team of call center agents. With Arise, you can choose to focus on retail, e-commerce, travel and hospitality, insurance, roadside assistance, healthcare, telecommunications, and more. The average costs for getting started with Arise are $280-$595.

11. Direct Seller

The direct sales industry has come a long way in the past ten years! Selling updated and premium products and expanding into a variety of niches, if you have the right personality for direct selling, this may be the perfect business idea for you!

For a nominal startup fee, you'll get everything you need to start selling products online and in person. One thing I love about direct sales is that you have other team members helping and cheering you on. With this sort of business model, you'll earn a commission (averaging 20-40%) on personal sales, and if you decide to build a team, you'll make even more.

Here are a few opportunities worth checking out:

  • Cabi - clothing
  • Noonday - fashion accessories
  • Tastefully Simple - food

12. Dog Walking and Pet Sitting Business

One of the easiest home businesses to start is that of a dog walker or pet sitter. People are always needing qualified pet lovers to care for their pets while they are on vacation or working long days at the office. With this business idea, you don't even need a website to get started. Post a notification on your local neighborhood or Facebook group letting others know about your pet-watching services.

The types of pets you can watch and the services you can offer are diverse, and all depend on your preferences, availability, and skills. If you'd like to reach a further audience, you could post a cheap ad on Craigslist or use a third-party app like Rover or Wag! to connect with potential clients.

13. Event Planner

If you love planning, organizing, and executing events, becoming a home-based event planner  may be your calling. While most companies will want you to have training or experience in the hospitality industry, you can start your own event planning business without a degree or previous job experience. 

First, read up on the industry. Then see if you can plan a party for someone you know, either for free or at a discounted rate, to get some experience and a positive testimonial that you can use to promote your business. Start with smaller gigs like birthday parties and then work your way up to bigger events like weddings or corporate events. You can even specialize in an area, like decorating , and pitch other event planners with your service offerings.

14. Flea Market Flipper

Do you enjoy watching TV shows like Storage Wars, Auction Kings, and American Pickers? Think you'd be good at finding that diamond in the rough? If so, becoming a flea market or garage sale flipper or reseller may be your calling.

One couple that has found success in this industry is Melissa and Rob Stephenson . In 2016, they earned $130K, reselling used stuff on eBay. They search for items on OfferUp, flea markets, and even dumpsters for things that are cheaply priced (or free), and they clean them up and sell them for a profit.

15. Franchise Owner

You're already familiar with franchises like Starbucks and McDonald's, but did you know there are smaller, more affordable franchise opportunities that you can do from home? The great thing about franchises is that you get detailed training and instructions, making it easier to replicate the same successful business model. The downside of franchise opportunities is that they often have steep startup costs and recurring fees. If you're curious about this business model, here are some home-based franchise opportunities to check out.

  • Club Z - tutoring
  • Cruise Planners - travel
  • Elite Teepees - children's sleepover parties
  • Fit 4 Mom - fitness
  • Neat Method - organizing

16. Freelance Writer

If you've got a way with words, there are many ways in which you can make a good living as a freelance writer . From copywriting and grant writing to ghostwriting, resume writing, and writing articles online, there are a ton of opportunities for people who can eloquently string words together.

Here are some places where you can apply, pitch, and bid on freelance gigs:

17. Graphic Designer

You don't have to go to design school to be a graphic designer ; in fact, I know many self-taught designers who run successful businesses from home. Even if you don't know how to use Photoshop , you can create simple graphics using Canva or PicMonkey. Depending on your skill level and the types of projects you work on, graphic designers can earn anywhere from $35,430-$100,920 per year.

18. Influencer

If you love creating content for TikTok, Instagram, or YouTube , becoming an influencer may be your calling. The great thing about this small business idea is all you really need is a smartphone with a good camera and the time to create eye-catching content.

As your audience grows, you can make money through paid sponsorships , ad revenue, and affiliate marketing. Once you have some money coming in, set up a blog to expand your web presence and earnings. One person who has found major success in making millions as an influencer is Judy Travis , who creates parenting content and beauty reviews on her YouTube channel.

19. Inventor

If you can create a product or service that solves a problem, you can make excellent money as an inventor!

One of the most well-known female inventors of our time is Sara Blakely , the creator, and founder of Spanx. If you're not familiar with Sara's story -- she needed a smoothing undergarment to go under some white pants she was wearing to a party but didn't have anything that fit the bill. So, she cut up some control-top pantyhose to solve her problem. This one moment started the whole Spanx revolution. Today Spanx makes slimming undergarments, leggings, and clothing for women and men and generates an estimated $400 million a year!

20. Life Coach 

If you enjoy helping other people achieve their life ambitions, starting your own business as a life coach might be just the thing for you. Most coaches, whether a life, business, career, health or another specialty, enroll in some sort of online training. iPEC offers certificate training programs in life, executive, health and wellness, and sports and performance coaching. This is a good small business idea for people who are empathic and enjoy helping others. 

One lifestyle entrepreneur coach who has had massive success is  Jessica Nazarali . She started a blog and an online health food shop that she worked as a side gig on nights and weekends. This side gig quickly took off, and people started approaching her on how to do the same. Jessica eventually quit her day job, sold her business, and started coaching other lifestyle entrepreneurs on how to be successful. Today, she earns seven figures a year, mentoring others!

With coaching, you can work anywhere in the world, as long as you have a computer and internet connection. With platforms like Zoom, it's never been easier to run a virtual coaching business from home!

21. Lip Gloss Maker and Seller

OK, I'll admit it, I have a small lip gloss addiction. Right now, in my purse, I have eight tubes of lip gloss. It turns out I'm not the only one who enjoys a good tinted or plumping gloss; according to  Grand View Research , Americans spent 1.98 billion dollars on lip care products in 2020. If you love makeup, becoming a lip gloss maker and seller is a fun way to start your own business. 

Honestly, I had never thought about this business idea until I came across an entrepreneur ( Kiki Quesada ) on TikTok who films her lip gloss business-making activities. With over 1.7 million followers on TikTok, she's constantly running out of products to sell. I'd say she's doing pretty well with her lip gloss business! For more info on starting this kind of business, check out  this post.

22. Membership Business

This is a good business idea for people with expertise in a specific area; start a membership business! With platforms like Patreon and Podia, it has never been simpler to generate recurring income with a membership business. 

First, decide what you're going to provide for monthly members; it could be meal plans, a newsletter , templates, job leads, training in a subject like freelance writing, music, and on and on. Once you decided on what you'll deliver each month, choose a platform to deliver your content and set up your payment options. Then get the word out about your business on sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and more. 

Carol Tice, the brains behind the Freelance Writers Den, offers a monthly membership to freelance writers. With this $40-a-month membership, members get 300+ hours of training, a forum, live Q&A sessions, and more. Talk about a lucrative business; the last time I spoke to Carol, she was making $300K a year just from her membership income.

Go to this post , for more tips, on starting a membership business.

23. Online Tutoring Business

If you have expertise in a subject like math or you're bilingual, you can make good money as an online tutor . With this small business idea, you can reach out to neighbors, friends, and family letting them know about your online tutoring services. You can also get the word out on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Nextdoor. Having a website is a good option for showcasing your credentials and listing your hours, prices, and policies. 

Adrianne Meldrum left her full-time job as a teacher to become a stay-at-home mom. But after a year of full-time mom duty, she felt the need to exercise her brain. With a suggestion from her sister, she launched a small home tutoring business. Today, she runs a tutoring agency from home called Made for Math. If you'd like to learn more about starting a tutoring business from home, check out her interview , it has lots of great tips.

24. Personal Concierge

Would you enjoy managing a client's personal affairs? As a personal concierge , sometimes called a personal assistant, you'll help people tackle their personal to-do lists. Some common tasks may include running errands, making appointments, paying bills, booking travel, and picking out gifts.

According to Forbes , a personal concierge can expect to make $40,000-$60,000 annually, depending on the number of clients and the types of services you offer. The great thing about this small business idea is that it doesn't require any special knowledge or skills to get started.

25. Personal Trainer

Becoming a fitness instructor is an easy way to share your love of fitness with others while making an income from home. If you don't have a college degree in kinesiology or exercise science, you can train online to become a personal trainer in almost any discipline.

I recently did a 200-hour yoga teacher training online, and it only took four months to complete. Once you have the proper skills, start getting more comfortable as an instructor by offering free classes to your friends and family. Once you've built up your confidence, you can teach group classes online via Zoom; you can sub for other instructors and even teach private lessons.

26. Photographer

Do you have an eye for lighting and composition? Do you enjoy snapping photos of the world around you? If so, you can start a photography business from home! Depending on your interests, you can specialize in various niches such as drone photos , pets, nature, flat lays, feet , family, newborns, fashion bloggers, and stock photos; the opportunities are endless!

One photographer I know purchased a $5 ad on Craigslist and landed $2,700 in business in just one month! You can read the exact steps she took here to achieve this success level using Craigslist.

27. Professional Organizer

If you get a sense of accomplishment from organizing, decluttering, and tidying, becoming a professional organizer may be your calling. You may already possess natural organizing skills, but if you need some help in turning this passion into a business, some professional training from the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals ( NAPO ) or Marie Kondo can quickly get you up to speed. According to this Forbes article , professional organizers can earn around $30-$130 per hour!

28. Proofreader

Do spelling and grammar errors drive you bonkers? Then perhaps starting a proofreading business from home is your calling. As a proofreader, you can help authors, bloggers, writers, and small business owners proof their documents and articles for critical errors. Having an English or journalism degree can help establish you as an expert, or you can take a proofreading course like Proofread Anywhere , which will teach you proofreading and business-building skills.

29. Publishing Business

If starting a blog from scratch sounds daunting, consider joining one of the many local publishing companies that offer a blog-in-a-box business opportunity. With these companies, you'll purchase the rights to a specific geographical area, and you'll get a website and training on how to run your publishing business. Some companies split advertising commission 50/50, and with others, you get 100% of the advertising commission, but you have recurring fees.

If this sounds appealing, here are some companies to check out:

  • City Mom Collective
  • Living on the Cheap
  • Macaroni Kid

30. Purchase an Existing Business

Not sure which type of business to start, but you like the idea of a turn-key-ready operation? Perhaps purchasing an established business is your path to entrepreneurship. Take a look at online business marketplaces like Flippa , Niche Investor , and Digital Exits . On these sites, you can view the cost of the business, how much revenue it generates, and other pertinent factors. For some great tips on buying an established business, check out this interview with Lisa Stein .

31. Resume Writer

Have you worked in HR or been a recruiter? Do you know what makes a resume stand out from the crowd? And, of course, do you enjoy writing? If so, use your passion and inside knowledge and spin it into a home-based resume-writing business! According to this post , resume writers can earn an average of $62,170 per year. You can also offer career and interview coaching, cover, and thank you letter services to expand your offerings and increase your earnings.

32. Sell Printables

Are you a pen-and-paper fanatic? Do you love to create invitations, daily schedules, or custom gift tags? If so, turn your passion into a profit by creating and selling printables from home ! Two people who've found success in this arena are Julie Berninger and Cody Berman of Gold City Ventures. Julie has made thousands of dollars selling bachelorette party printables on Etsy, and Cody has created a successful side hustle selling kitchen jar labels, coloring pages, and cleaning binders!

33. Social Media Manager

Do you know how to create social media posts that generate a lot of views and likes? If so, starting a social media business from home could be your calling. The types of services you offer and the platforms you manage will depend on your expertise. Whether it's setting up new accounts, creating videos for TikTok or YouTube, or managing advertising campaigns on Facebook or Pinterest. While you can work as a generalist, I highly suggest choosing a niche. One course that can help you launch a Pinterest social media business is Become Pinterest VA Today. In this course, you'll learn both Pinterest skills and business-building skills so that you can help clients manage their Pinterest accounts.

34. T-Shirt Seller

Another great business idea is designing and selling T-shirts , coffee mugs, tote bags, sweatshirts, and hoodies online. With the print-on-demand (POD) economy, it's never been easier or more affordable to start this kind of online business. 

To begin, choose which POD platform you'd like to use ( Spring , Spreadshirt , and Redbubble are good for beginners), and start adding your designs, logos, or catchy phrases to items. Next, you'll price your items and then promote the listings online.

A few nice things about POD companies are most are free to get started, and you don't have to worry about inventory or fulfillment, as they print the item on demand and ship it directly to your customer. The company will then take its cut of the profit and cost of supplies, and what's left is yours to keep.

35. Translator 

Are you fluent in more than one language? If so, take your bilingual skills and open a freelance translation service business! With this small business idea, you can apply for freelance translation gigs, or you can build your website and find your own clients, taking 100% of the profits from your work. Or maybe you want to think bigger and build your own translation agency, hiring other bilingual individuals to do the translation work. Of course, you have other options to explore as well, such as language tutoring, offering interpreter services, or even captioning services.

36. Travel Agent

Do you love searching the web for the best travel deals and unique places to visit? If this is your idea of fun, starting a home-based travel business may be your calling. According to this post , travel agents can earn $50K-$100K per year on the low end, and on the high end, $250K-$500K per year!

Pick a traveling niche that you're passionate about, such as Disney , cruises , family, adventure, or luxury travel, and either start an agency from scratch or find a hosting company or franchise to join.

37. UGC Creator

If you enjoy creating videos and filming unboxings, reviews, and other forms of user-generated content, you can make good money with this new type of business venture.

The nice thing about being a UGC creator is that you don't need a large following on your social media accounts. This is because the companies you work with will take your content and license it for their social media platforms. Essentially, you are creating content and ads for companies and not trying to influence your audience to take an action or make a purchase. 

To get started as a UGC creator, launch your social media accounts (TikTok, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and Facebook) and start creating content. Your content should reflect your video and editing abilities, the types of products and brands you'd like to work with, and the style of your work. Once you have some content on your platforms to showcase your skills, you can either begin pitching brands or sign up with companies that match brands and UGC creators. This post has a list of companies you can sign up with and more details on launching this small business idea from home.

38. Vending Machine Business

This next business idea is going to take a little capital upfront, but it can be an excellent way to earn passive income. Starting a vending machine business will require you to purchase the machine and snacks or drinks, but once it's all set up, you'll watch the money roll in without doing much work. According to  this article , one machine can generate $75-$650 a month. To make this a truly profitable business idea, most vending machine owners purchase multiple machines increasing their monthly earnings. 

While a new vending machine will likely cost you $3,000 or more, you can find used machines for $200 on up. Of course, this business idea will require you to leave the house to fill your machines and shop for bulk supplies. But if that doesn't bother you, this might be an excellent home-based business to start.

39. Virtual Assistant

If you're detail-oriented and organized and enjoy working on a variety of professional tasks, this next small business idea might be your calling. Many small business owners, including real estate agents, bloggers, influencers, legal firms, and authors, need extra hands to help them with administrative tasks .

The jobs you'll perform will be based on your experience, skills, and expertise but could include editing, writing, research, design, data entry, or managing calendars and email. The more complex the tasks, the more money you can charge. Be sure to check out this post , where nine virtual assistants share their highest-earning services.

40. Voice Actor

Do people tell you that you have a great voice? If so, you can make good money as a voice actor ! One woman that has found success in narrating audiobooks from home is Julie Eickhoff. She started in 2011, and since then, she's recorded over 100 audiobooks, and she's an Audible-approved producer. Go here to learn more about recording audiobooks for cash .

Launch Your Small Business Idea

Out of this list of home-based business ideas, did you find one that suits your personality? Great, here are some common next steps to starting your small business.

1. Get the Proper Training

If you don't already possess the skills needed to perform the task at hand, you'll need to educate yourself on both skill-building and business-building skills. If you're taking a course , ensure that it covers both of these aspects so that once you master the skill, you can get your business up and running quickly.

2. Write a Business Plan

Every business, no matter how big or how small, should start by writing a business plan. Writing a business plan will help ensure that you have all of your bases covered, and it will help you think through all the next logical steps to take. Not sure how to get started? No problem! Grab our free business plan template here .

3. Get the Right Tools

As a new business owner, you'll need to invest in the right tools to get the job done. At a bare minimum. you'll need a computer, a high-speed internet connection, a way to accept payments, and, more than likely, a website. 

A website allows you to showcase your expertise, your service offerings, rates, testimonials, and more. 

Here are some pages you'll need to include: 

  • Contact information
  • Services or products
  • Testimonials
  • Privacy policy

There are so many easy-to-use and affordable options for building your website, and  this post  can help you determine which platform or online marketplace s right for you.

4. Market Your Small Business

I don't know who said,  build it, and they'll come , but I doubt that they ever started a business. 

Once your business is up and running, you'll need to get the word about it, meaning you'll need to choose 2-3 marketing methods and block out time in your schedule each day for promoting your business. You can choose to get the word out by: 

  • Attend networking events
  • Bid on freelance gigs
  • Cold calling
  • Email marketing
  • Pitching clients via email
  • Social media
  • Use Facebook groups

Be Your Own Boss With These Small Business Ideas

Sometimes, the most challenging part about starting a business is figuring out which type of business to start. But with some exploration of your skills, passions, personality type, and familial obligations, this list of best business ideas should spark some ideas that will be perfect for your situation.

Looking for more profitable business ideas? Here is a list of service-based ideas and creative business ideas !

Holly Reisem Hanna is the Founder and Publisher of the award-winning career website  The Work at Home Woman.

Women working on her laptop in a cafe

BUSINESS STRATEGIES

Professional email name ideas for your business

  • Ophyr Hanan

Email name ideas

When you're networking, job hunting or reaching out to potential clients, a professional email name is  key to establishing trust and credibility when  starting a business . Just like your website or your  business name , your email lays the groundwork for your online reputation. Opting for a custom email domain is about more than just communication—it's a vital part of building your brand's identity.

In this article, we'll explore why choosing the right email name idea  is important and how it can impact your business's success.

Key components of a professional email name idea

When it comes to choosing an email name idea to form the basic of your business or personal email you’ll want to consider the following important points: 

Start with a recognizable username, incorporating your first name, middle name, initials or business position like " [email protected] ". This personal touch makes your email memorable and easily identifiable, ensuring contacts can easily find and remember you.

Choose a custom domain that follows the ‘@’ symbol like "@ yourbusiness.com ".  A personalized domain is crucial for establishing your business credibility, setting you apart from those using generic ‘@ gmail.com ’ domains.

Domain names - email name ideas

Top-level domain (TLD)

Top-level domains are typically used to convey authority. Therefore, when deciding on your domain name and corresponding business email, select a TLD that aligns with your business values, such as .com , .net , or more niche options like .info  or .email  to indicate your business’s scope and reach.

Clarity and relevance

Ensure your email address is clear, straightforward and relevant to your business or profession. It should reflect the brand identity you're building and be memorable and recognizable. 

Pro tip: Use a  domain name search tool when searching for an available and suitable domain name for your business.

domain name generator - email name ideas

Email name ideas and formats for business domains

When brainstorming email name ideas for your business, consider the following recommended structures:

Using your name 

Using your name in the email address adds a personal touch and authenticity. By adding your name, you provide users with a direct point of contact, creating a more personal connection right from the start. This practice is particularly beneficial when you're aiming to establish yourself as an individual professional brand. Moreover, having a personalized email address makes it easier for people to remember and reach out to you on other digital assets like Linkedin. This small yet significant detail can greatly impact your professional image and networking efforts.

Example : [email protected]

Using your business name 

Using the business name enhances brand identity and recognition, making it a favored approach among businesses looking to strengthen their branding strategies as it ensures consistency across different platforms and touchpoints with consumers. By consistently presenting your business name, you can build stronger brand recognition and improve online visibility.

Example : [email protected]

Using a name and location

Including a location can personalize the email address and establish a local presence, making it an ideal option for  small businesses  targeting specific regions. By including a specific location, the email address becomes personalized and tailored to a particular geographic area, fostering a sense of familiarity and trust amongst target customers in the targeted region. This localization strategy also reinforces your business's connection to a specific community, enhancing brand recognition and credibility while focusing on serving local clientele. 

Example : [email protected]

Position name + business name

Adding a position name adds clarity about the role or department associated with the email address, fostering transparency by providing users with a clear understanding of whom they are communicating with. By incorporating a specific job title or department designation, the email address instantly conveys clarity regarding the role or responsibilities of the individual or team handling the correspondence. This transparency not only facilitates efficient communication but also ensures that your clients can easily direct their inquiries to the relevant staff member, leading to quicker responses and smoother interactions. Choosing to add your position name as an email name idea showcases a structured and organized business environment, reinforcing credibility and demonstrating a commitment to efficient customer service.

Example: [email protected]  or [email protected]

Looking for inspiration for your business name? Check out the Wix business name generator . 

Wix business name generator - email name ideas

Tips for creating email name ideas

Keep it consistent : It's essential to maintain consistency in your professional email address, avoiding frequent changes that may confuse recipients.

Avoid using nicknames : Your email name should leave a good first impression but for a business email name try to use variations of your real name instead of nicknames to maintain a professional tone.

Steer clear of numbers and special characters : Try to avoid including numbers and special characters in your email name idea as they can complicate readability and make it harder for people to remember how to reach you.

Make it easily pronounceable : Keep your email name short where possible. Ensure that it’s easy to read and spell out to avoid mistakes when clients wish to send you emails.

Consider future scalability : Your email name should be relevant and  flexible as your business grows and evolves.

Do’s and don’ts for email name ideas

Do : Keep it memorable, professional and relevant to your brand or industry.

Do : Ensure it aligns with your brand image and values.

Don't : Use complex or hard-to-spell words in your email name.

Don't : Include special characters or excessive numbers that may confuse clients.

email name ideas - adjectives for lamp business

Examples of email name ideas 

[email protected] : Start with the first letter of your first name followed by your last name.

[email protected] : Use general terms like "info" with your company's domain for an easy-to-remember email.

[email protected] : Use an email name related to your department or position, making it easier for clients to reach out with specific questions. 

[email protected] : A timeless choice is to use your first name followed by your last name, separated by a period.

[email protected] : Merge your first and last name into one for a straightforward email address.

[email protected] : Use the first initial of your first name plus your entire last name to keep your email concise yet professional.

[email protected] : A warm and inviting email address like "welcome" combined with your domain name can create a great first impression.

Connecting your email name to your domain name

Linking your email to your domain is key for a solid brand image and domain management . A matching email and domain name also helps make it easier for customers to find and reach you. So when thinking of email name ideas, be sure to align it with your domain for consistent branding. Don’t have a domain name? Try the the Wix domain name generator  to generate a free domain name. 

Related Posts

What is email marketing? A beginner’s guide

Your ultimate business startup checklist

Small business name ideas to consider

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COMMENTS

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    An easy way to make money is to invest in online business ideas that are already profitable. Buy an existing website, hold onto it for a bit to build it up, and sell it for a profit once it has increased in value. Flippa is a leading marketplace to connect buyers and sellers. 34. Domain Flipper.

  25. Want to Test Your Business Idea Without Spending Much Money? Use the

    There is a common misconception that entrepreneurs should build products and then sell them, but there is a different order of operations that can increase odds of success.

  26. 40 Small Business Ideas You Can Do From Home

    With this small business idea, you can reach out to neighbors, friends, and family letting them know about your online tutoring services. You can also get the word out on sites like Facebook ...

  27. Evaluating Small Business Ideas

    The new twelfth edition of How to Organise and Operate a Small Business in Australia features a series of reflective exercises that are used to evaluate the commercial feasibility of a business idea. It is a structured methodology consisting of standardised assessment criteria. It is aimed at early assessment when there is little data available.

  28. Professional email name ideas for your business

    Examples of email name ideas. [email protected]: Start with the first letter of your first name followed by your last name. [email protected]: Use general terms like "info" with your company's domain for an easy-to-remember email. [email protected]: Use an email name related to your department or position, making it easier for ...

  29. Why 'dynamic' pricing feels like such a scam

    Your Uber costs more at 5 pm on a Tuesday than it does at 8 pm. Buying a plane ticket the day before you fly is more expensive than buying it six months early. These are surge pricing tactics so ...

  30. How To Start Writing A Business Plan That Works

    1. Regular reviews and updates. Markets shift, consumer behavior changes, and your business will grow. Your plan must evolve with these factors, which makes regular reviews and updates a must-do ...