10 Businesses You Can Start With Little Capital
by smallbiztrends, Guest Blogger
- Created: August 26, 2010, 11:33 am
- Updated: June 13, 2011, 5:00 pm
A recent study by the SBA found that when unemployment is high, the number of sole proprietorships goes up. Some people who are laid off from their jobs decide to start small businesses.
If you find yourself in such circumstances -- out of a job and thinking about starting a business -- chances are you won't have much money to start up with.
So here are 10 businesses with potential for growth in 2010 and beyond that require little startup capital. In many cases they can be run out of a home office. Most require minimal equipment beyond a computer, phone, printer, a few tools, and perhaps your car or truck. You won't need advanced degrees or highly specialized training beyond what you may already have or can learn on the job.
- Consulting for your former employer or in your old industry - Just because your former employer downsized doesn't mean all the work you used to do disappeared miraculously. Stories are legion about employers rehiring as consultants the very people who used to work for them as employees. Don't underestimate the value of your skills on the open market. Use your industry contacts, online networking and freelance marketplaces like Elance* to find opportunities.
- Web businesses - Publishing ad-supported content websites; affiliate marketing; SEO consulting; ecommerce sites; and eBay sales are just some examples of Web-based businesses that growing numbers of entrepreneurs thrive at.
- Virtual assistant - With so many people working virtually, and the volume of email and other correspondence growing, the need for virtual assistants will grow.
- Online social media consulting; online content production - To say that social media has exploded in the past year is an understatement. But social media, and the content that goes along with it, is time-consuming for many businesses -- they will need help.
- Convenience services for consumers - As we come out of the recession and pocketbooks open up again, the little conveniences (think 'dog walking' or 'house cleaning' or 'gourmet coffee') are affordable luxuries that consumers look for.
- Pet businesses -- Americans spend $10 billion a year on pet supplies and over $3 billion on pet services* -- and those numbers are projected to grow in 2010.
- Kids products or services - Today you can find kids' online communities; spas just for kids; even entrepreneurial support programs for children and teenagers.
- Mobile apps development and mobile consulting - There are four times the number of cellphones* in the world versus computer (4 Billion vs.. 1 Billion) and 20% of all U.S.. households are now 'mobile-only'. Businesses are jumping on the mobile marketing bandwagon and will need help to navigate the road and reach their target customers.
- Specialty foods - Consumers are more health and wellness conscious today, driving demand for specialty foods (example: gluten-free baked goods). Do check into FDA and state inspection/licensing requirements for food businesses. Business.gov's 'Permit Me' tool is another good resource as is this article with tips on starting a home-based food production business.
- Landscaping and handyman services - Homeowners and businesses seem to always need help keeping up their premises. Handyman and landscaping businesses are relatively easy to start. Now (before the weather breaks) is the time to get started marketing through flyers and door to door visits.
As always when starting any business, do your due diligence. Research the business and your market to make sure there is demand. Write a business plan. There's nothing like putting a business plan down on paper to force you to think of issues you might have overlooked. Business.gov offers business planning guidelines here.
Also, if you are receiving unemployment benefits, first check with your local unemployment bureau. When you start earning money from your new business, it could make you ineligible to continue receiving unemployment assistance. Check into any state or local business licenses required, too, for a business.
But assuming you've done your homework, the above list can trigger ideas for what could become the next stage of your career - your own business.
*Note: Hyperlink directs reader to non-government Web site.
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Anita Campbell is the Founder of Small Business Trends, an online publication and community serving small businesses.
About the Author
My name is Anita Campbell. I run online communities and information websites reaching over 4 million small business owners, stakeholders and entrepreneurs annually, including Small Business Trends, a daily publication about small business issues, and BizSugar.com, a small business social media site.
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