When it comes to building business skills and experience, every entrepreneur has to start somewhere. Most of the entrepreneurs I meet at networking events tend to be new to running a business and are getting their bearings. Today's novice entrepreneurs can draw inspiration from a diverse set of business models.
With all the possibilities, whatever model you choose should be the right one for you. If you're new to starting a business, you should consider a model that gets some of the work done for you ahead of time. Here are five top small-business ideas that do this and can help you start flexing those newly formed entrepreneurial muscles.
Think of a franchise as a "plug and play" small business. For a fee, an entrepreneur receives a fully branded, viable business catering to a certain demographic area.
This is very beneficial for the beginning entrepreneur because they usually don't have experience in marketing, hiring, or ongoing strategic development. All of those things are often included in the purchase. It helps business owners get a running start at success rather than having to build it from scratch.
Consumers are purchasing product and service subscription services in growing numbers. Consider services such as Netflix, Dollar Shave Club, Bark Box, NatureBox, Cat Lady Box, and more. The current popularity of these services make it an excellent business idea for beginning small-business owners. Upfront collection of revenue fuels cash flow.
In a subscription business model, you can work with other brands to curate and use their products or services for your subscription business. Or you can use what you may have already developed as part of a new business idea.
If you want to contract it out, find a product or service that matches your skills and interests that also appeals to a defined audience. Carefully curate items and services based on market research. You'll need to negotiate with the manufacturer or supplier about supply, price, and revenue sharing. However, in return, you'll keep your overhead low and won't be spending time or money developing the products or services.
If your customers are subscribing directly for items you created, then you'll need to figure out the best price point yourself. You'll also want to determine the amount of product to include, as well as subscription level plans.
3. Drop ship
Running a small business can be difficult at first, including the process of determining what type of products to offer. And overhead can get expensive. But by operating a drop ship business, a new entrepreneur can tap into the resources of other businesses to produce revenue, all while keeping the budget lean.
A drop ship business involves selling other manufacturers' products on sites that offer an online location for a personal storefront, like Amazon or eBay. This type of business is advantageous for beginning entrepreneurs because they don't have to do the hard work of building product reputation and trust.
With this model there's also no need to store the products in-house. Instead, they ship directly from the manufacturer with a set revenue amount for each unit sold. People often find your products through third-party marketplaces like Alibaba.
4. Mobile businesses
Simpler operations and low overhead make a mobile business an ideal solution for building a following, especially for the newer entrepreneur. Mobile businesses include opportunities such as mobile day spas and salons, catering, and pet grooming. I know a couple of entrepreneurs who left the more traditional business world to start their own food trucks.
Should your mobile business become successful, you can eventually expand by moving into a physical space or acquiring additional vehicles.
Before launching a mobile business, make sure city regulations and ordinances allow for this kind of model. You may also need to obtain specific licenses or certifications before beginning to offer your services or sell your products.
5. Online course instructor/developer
This opportunity capitalizes on an entrepreneur's unique knowledge and skills to generate revenue. This online business idea could involve creating a video tutorial series on YouTube, for example. Or it could mean leveraging a podcast for thought leadership or adding and managing online courses through marketplaces like Udemy or Skillshare. E-learning opportunities can also include content for trade schools, colleges, and universities.
The online instruction business model can provide a foundation for your personal brand, which you can leverage for future startup ventures. It also connects you with a wide range of people whom you can help guide toward using their knowledge as a springboard for their own business opportunities.