Been dreaming about starting a new business? There’s not time like the present. The first step to starting a business is coming up with the perfect business idea for you. Here are 11 business ideas to inspire you.
Energy Efficiency Consultant
Cold winters, hot summer and high fuel and electricity costs all combine to create an opportunity for anyone with the experience and know how to help create more energy efficient homes and businesses. From providing advice on how to do it to actually performing that labor there are all sorts of opportunities for businesses that can help consumers save money by becoming more energy efficient.
The real estate market has been in the toilet for three-and-a-half years now. It's hard to sell a house and if you can't sell, you can't buy. Furthermore, a lot of people just can't get a mortgage. That's good news for anyone in the renovation business. People are being forced to stay in their homes and many are getting anxious for a little sprucing up. While general contractors suffered the most during the recession, specialized home-renovation companies are again thriving. From flooring to roofing, homeowners are looking to do a little repair and updating. Anyone starting a home-renovation business should be warned, however, to start small and grow as you go. One nonpaying customer could be the end of an overextended business in this touch-and-go economy.
If you've tried to call a tree service lately, you probably already know there's a big gap between supply and demand. Increasingly severe weather in all parts of the country is causing tree damage that only professionals can repair. It's not a business for the timid, but if you can find some experienced employees, you'll probably have all the work you can handle.
Cars are expensive. Car insurance is expensive. Gas is expensive. And there are a lot of people without a steady income. The result is that more people are looking for less-expensive ways to get where they need to go. In suburbs with limited mass transit, taxis are just about the only alternative. But many towns don't have taxi services. If you can afford to buy or lease a roomy car, do a little advertising and provide reliable service, you may be in business.
People are increasingly conscious about eating healthy and eating local. For many, however, locally grown produce, meat, milk and eggs are hard to find. Urban and suburban backyard farming has already staged a comeback. Now, it's time for the small time commercial farmer. Farming is never going to be easy. But a combination of sophisticated marketing skills and modern farming techniques could position you – even if you only lease the land – to ride the local- and organic-eating wave.
Car pooling saves money on gas and tolls and, in many places, gives commuters access to high-occupancy-vehicle lanes, saving lots of time on commuting. The problem is that organizing your own car pool can be very difficult. A car-pool service that provides commuters with easy access to a low-cost ride stands a great chance of making it for the long haul (so to speak).
Find your business idea
Ready to figure out what business idea is best for you? Try our Business Idea Generator. Answer 21 "yes" or "no" questions and we'll tell you the top five business ideas that might work for you. Click here to get started. Don't worry, it will open in a new window and you won't lose your place in this countdown.
Residential environmental-assessment service
People are increasingly aware of and concerned about indoor pollution. Fumes from paint, carpets, kitchen cabinets and furniture are of concern. Radon, electro-magnetic fields, lead toys and wireless and cell phone radiation are all concerns, too. The problem is, it's very hard for your average homeowner to figure out how to test for each of these concerns. Local health, children's, baby and environmental fairs would provide ample marketing opportunities for a business that offered a reasonably priced home-health assessment.
Small-biz social media
By now, small business owners know that they need social media to promote their businesses. However, few have time to figure out exactly what to do and how to do it. Most social-media consultancies have "expensive" written all over them. A social-media consultant who could offer an a la carte menu of reasonably priced services to local mom-and-pop businesses that have yet to embrace Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn would be the toast of their virtual town.
If you can't move, redecorate! That's what a lot of people are thinking right about now. After nearly four years of sitting around on the same Cheetos-stained sofa, lots of people are antsy for a new look. Traditional decorators, however, are still the domain of the rich and chandeliered. For the rest of the HGTV-watching world, a decorator who can achieve Trump style on a Target budget stands a chance at making it big.
College isn't as simple as it used to be. Now, parents and prospective students must wade through a long list of academic choices including four-year colleges, two-year colleges, online courses, for-profit colleges and trade schools. It's hard to know which education choice is best and what you can afford. As education offerings keep expanding and changing, busy parents need some help figuring out how to navigate the higher-education waters. A consultant with a background in education who can simplify the process will be at the head of the class.
Kids consignment shop
Everyone's looking for a way to save money and what better way than to buy your kids' clothes for less and sell their old clothes back. Kids consignment shops can include baby equipment, clothes, furniture and books. Best of all, the inventory is cheap and, in most cases, you don't have to pay for it until the items have sold. For the cost of the monthly rent and a marketing plan you could be in business in no time.