Stories about college students starting businesses in their dorm rooms and turning them into multibillion-dollar give entrepreneurship a certain mystique. That might help explain why nearly 70% of American men and almost 60% of American women aspire to own their own businesses.
Financing is one core challenge facing any aspiring entrepreneur. You can find yourself overextended if you underestimate your needs or overestimate the market. That’s why it’s often practical for first-time entrepreneurs to try to their hand at a small-scale business idea before launching you expect will grow rapidly.
If you want a crack at self-employment or small business ownership, keep reading for some small-scale business you can cut your teeth on.
If you prefer the outdoors and physical labor to the fluorescent confines of offices, then lawn care offers possibilities. It’s the kind of business you can start without hiring employees, which eliminates a lot of trying paperwork.
If you own a truck or van and focus on small residential lawns, you can get by with minimal upfront investment. You generally only need a decent push mower, a trimmer/edger, and some basic hand tools.
One word of caution. If you move beyond casual, part-time lawn care, you’ll probably need to register the business. You’ll also want some kind of business liability insurance in case you damage a customer’s property in some way.
Do you think about travel all the time, when you aren’t traveling yourself? Do you figure out exactly what you should do in cities you may or may not visit? Then, you should give serious thought to becoming a travel planner.
For infrequent travelers, planning a trip often becomes a stressful task that soaks up hours of their lives. They don’t where they should look for the best flight or hotel deals. They lack the experience to know a good tour package from a bad one.
You can take most of those tasks off their hands. Just make sure you get a clear picture of what they want from the trip before you start planning.
If you can write, freelance writing offers one of the most inexpensive small-scale businesses you can start. All you really need is a notebook computer or Chromebook and reliable Internet access.
You can store and share files from no-cost cloud services. You can even write and save files from free, cloud-based word processing programs.
Want a website? You can get free hosting and domains and run the site off a content management system like WordPress or Joomla.
Just as importantly, businesses need lots of content for blogs, social media profiles, and content marketing. You can find clients by reaching out to businesses local to you, blogging job boards, and eventually by referral from happy clients.
Vending Machine Franchise
Walk into almost any office building, onto any college campus, and even in lots of retail outlets and you’ll see vending machines. Here’s the thing. The businesses, colleges, and office buildings don’t maintain those machines.
In fact, many big brands don’t manage their vending machines either. Rather than handling the vending machines themselves, companies provide licenses to third-parties to do that work for them.
These third-parties or franchisees take responsibility for stocking and maintaining those machines. If you can come up with the franchise fee, you can get in on the vending machine gig.
If you don’t love the idea of providing candy and chips, you can even pick a healthy snacks franchise, like Healthy You Vending. Sound like your kind of thing? You can go here to learn more about Healthy You Vending.
For many people, planning an event piles on a lot of unwanted stress. Why? Events often coincide with major personal milestones or professional stumbling blocks. Event planners solve that stress problem.
A good event planner has a keen eye for detail, like pairing the right centerpiece with the tone of the event. They also handle logistical details, such as:
- selecting venue options
- picking vendors or caterers
- securing entertainment
- confirming reservations
- managing decorators/setup
If you possess mind for details with a splash of creativity thrown in, event planning may prove the right small business for you.
Do you have a degree in something? Odds are good that someone out there struggles with that subject material. You can offer tutoring services in-person at the local level or provide remote tutoring services online via video chat.
In fact, you don’t even need a specific degree for some tutoring jobs, just a bachelors degree in something. Several companies out there will pay native English speakers with such a degree to tutor students in foreign countries in English.
The caveat is that you must often keep strange hours so you’ll be awake at the same time as students overseas.
If you possess basic coding skills or you’re willing to learn, you can move into app development. Much like writing, you generally only a need a computer and Internet access.
You can focus on whimsical apps, such as simple games. On the other hand, you can also work on apps that provide something more valuable, such as health or money tracking and productivity improvement.
Most apps work on either the iOS or Android operating system. Both operating systems apply some development rules and guidelines. If you’re just getting started, master one or the other platform before worrying about cross-platform compatibility.
Parting Thoughts on Small-Scale Business Ideas
Aspiring entrepreneurs often think big, but it’s not necessarily the best place for you to start. Cutting your teeth with small-scale business ideas let you learn the ropes of business building with lower stakes. It also exposes you to far less financial risk than a bigger business with more employees.
Still ready to jump into small business ownership? Check out our post on the secrets to successful startups.