While having a great product or service is require, without buyers, you still don't have a business. Knowing your market, what it wants and needs, and what inspires it to buy, are crucial to your success. This means discovering your target market and determining your unique selling proposition, the thing about your product or service that sets apart from others that are similar. Here are a few things to consider:
If you’re a top-notch editor with a deep understanding of how college admissions works—including standardized test preparation, personal statement requirements, supplemental essay requirements, applicant statistics, and even financial aid—then you might be able to snag a rather well-paying job as a college consultant. Some families are willing and able to pay, and pay well, to make sure their kids submit the best possible applications to their dream schools.
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Financial projections are estimates of how much money the business will earn and spend over the first three years in business. It’s important that you have these in your business plan if you want to receive funding from a bank or investor, because they usually require it. In addition, establishing solid financial projections is essential even after you start the business. Successful companies usually produce month-by-month projections and evaluate how close they come to actuals to gain insight into how the business is really doing.
While most entrepreneurs rely on their personal savings to start a business, others seek funding from banks or family and friends. In fact, 75% of small businesses used their personal finances to fund their business, while 16% went to banks, and 6% solicited the help of family and friends. Let’s look at several funding options and see which one’s the best for your home business.
Here’s a unique spin: Twitch isn’t limited to just gaming anymore, and Maxx Burman and Banks Boutté used the platform to launch an online festival where they featured 12 top video game art directors. They repurposed this content for other digital channels like Instagram and YouTube. After building a loyal audience, the two launched KitBash3d, where they sell 3D assets for video games and movies.
If so, then consider putting your knack for arts, crafts, and design to use as the manager of an online store. So long as you believe your creations can find a market and sell at a profitable price, there’s very little stopping you from signing up as a seller on a site like Etsy and carving out your niche. While it might be a tough business, there’s plenty of wisdom out there to learn from—and it certainly fits on our list of home business ideas, especially while you’re small!
There’s no need to be an artist, just an expert in some form of art. Visit galleries. Get on their email lists, and go to their parties. Get to know their clients. Gallery owners will love you, even recommend your services, because you’ll be telling people to buy art from them. You don’t have to own any inventory. It’s pure consulting. There is almost no overhead cost for a business like this. It’s really about having a passion for art and a knack for earning people’s trust. And it’s fun!
Blake Stockton is a staff writer at Fit Small Business focusing on how to start brick-and-mortar and online businesses. He is a frequent guest lecturer at several undergraduate business and MBA classes at University of North Florida. Prior to joining Fit Small Business, Blake consulted with over 700 small biz owners and assisted with starting and growing their businesses.
But be wary. Food service—even a delivery service, which is the most likely scenario for home bakers, as opposed to setting up a storefront—comes with built-in risks. Prepare yourself, and read up on your local insurance requirements. And don’t be afraid to start out by making just one or two really great treats. Consistency is more important than variety in the baking business.
But if you get the green light to do it, starting a catering service is a relatively low-overhead way to create a new business. It’s a lot of work, but if you enjoy cooking, it could turn into a lucrative and fulfilling career. To get started with minimal investment, you could first cook in your customers’ homes and use their dishes. Also, a narrow specialization on a particular type of cuisine or event may help you attract clientele as you work develop a strong customer base.
Figure out if you can make this business profitable. How much will people pay for your services? Can you make a good income off this? Many people see astronomical numbers in their future until they take the time to determine their profits. Be sure to consider how much time you can reasonably commit to your business and how much profit you can get back for your time and investment money. In some cases, a great business idea in theory can in reality be unprofitable. Account for every cost associated with your business instead of just the upfront costs such as inventory and advertising. Remember to calculate the easily overlooked overhead and expenses such as travel, legal fees and accounting.
Starting a business in this field will require some experience, but as long as there is anxiety, there will be a market for coaching people to create and deliver presentations. Invest in video equipment or use a smartphone to record students as part of the coaching process. If you have a background in radio or TV or specific experience in high-profile public speaking, all the better.
A Rollover for Business Startups (ROBS) lets you invest retirement funds in a new business without paying taxes or early withdrawal penalties. A ROBS is not a loan or withdrawal; instead, it allows you to tap into your retirement funds early. A ROBS is a great way to use your 401(k) to start a new business, particularly if you have more than $50,000 in qualifying retirement savings. There are no monthly payments and repayment is not required.