So you want to own your own business, but you don't have much startup financing. Don't worry; there are lots of great business ideas that don't require significant startup financing.
BusinessNewsDaily has identified four smart business ideas that you can use as a springboard to starting your own business.
Business Opportunity: Personal ConciergeWhat this means for entrepreneurs:
Regardless of the hours in a day, it seems that for many people there’s simply not enough time to get everything done.
The need to get more accomplished has fueled the demand for personal concierge services. The role of a personal concierge is simple: to assist busy clients in getting things done — whether it's paying bills, picking up the kids or doing the grocery shopping.
A recent study by the International Concierge and Lifestyle Management Association shows that new low-cost startup concierge businesses are turning profits at a quick rate.
Fifty-one percent of the survey’s respondents said they invested $5,000 or less to start, and nearly a quarter of them realized a profit in the first year.
Katherine Giovanni, founder of the International Concierge and Lifestyle Management Association, said she expects the industry to continue growing, regardless of the economy.
"People are trying to squeeze 36 hours into a 24-hour day, and when you do that you inevitably don’t do it very well," Giovanni said. "Although the concierge industry is fairly new, the number of companies that are catering to time-starved people is skyrocketing, as is the customer demand for such businesses."
There is money to be made in running other people's errands. The concierge study shows the average hourly rates of personal concierge services range from $30 to $55 per hour. You already run your own errands; think how nice it would be to get paid for doing it.
Business Opportunity: Senior Care ServicesWhat this means for entrepreneurs:
This year, the first of some 78 million Baby Boomers will officially take on the additional title of senior citizens. Born between 1946 and 1964, this group will lead an extensive increase in the senior citizen population.
While some will require advanced medical care, many will just need help with day-to-day activities — or just a little companionship.
According to research from Home Instead, a senior care franchise, the nation’s senior population will have increased by almost 3 million by year’s end, to nearly 49 million; by 2025 that number will grow to 72 million — more than double the 35 million seniors America had at the turn of the new century.
The numbers are creating an immediate need for those with patience and compassion to brighten the day of those in their twilight years.
And Steve Everhart, founder of The Senior's Choice, a network of independent senior care companies, said it’s not just the aging Baby Boomers that are increasing the demand for senior care services.
"It’s the parents of Baby Boomers that are living a whole lot longer than they used to because of medical breakthroughs," Everhart told BusinessNewsDaily. "This continued moderated demand in our in-home assisted living services for the next five to 10 years bodes well for our industry."
While opening your own care facility may be out of your immediate reach, there are other opportunities to specialize in senior care with your own business. Whether it's cleaning, retrofitting houses to be more accessible or offering some kind of paid companionship, the opportunities to dive into this market are limitless and can be inexpensive.
Business Opportunity: Specialty Foods ProviderWhat this means for entrepreneurs:
Americans are dealing with more dietary restrictions than ever. These special dietary needs are driving the growth of the specialty foods industry, which includes gluten-free, organic, low sodium and lactose-free products.
New research released by the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade reported more than $70 billion in sales of specialty foods in 2010, up nearly 8 percent from the previous year.
In addition, specialty foods represent 13 percent of all retail food sales, with the number of gluten-free products increasing the most over the last year.
The rise in demand for specialty foods has been profitable for its manufacturers. More than three-quarters of specialty food manufacturers reported sales growth for 2010, with more than a third up by at least 20 percent.
After seeing a decline in sales during the recession, the renewed economy will only serve to strengthen the specialty foods industry, according to Ron Tanner, vice president of communications and education for the NASFT.
"The rebound is impressive," Tanner said in a prepared statement.
"As consumers feel more confident about the economy, they are coming back to specialty foods."
Maybe you don't have the cash for a commercial kitchen, but specialty foods can be made in small batches and sold at local farmers markets and restaurants. Once your secret recipe catches on, you'll have the cash to expand.
Business Opportunity: Resale RetailWhat this means for entrepreneurs:
The recent recession taught Americans a lot of lessons, including how to cut back on their spending. That cost-cutting led to a rise in the popularity of resale shops for those on the hunt for everything from clothes and house wares to sporting goods and antiques — a trend that remains even as the economy starts to improve.
Resale is a multibillion-dollar industry and, according to the National Association of Resale Professionals, one that has grown by 7 percent in the last two years.
America’s Research Group says 18 percent of Americans will shop at a thrift store during a given year — about on par with the 21 percent who will shop in major department stores.
Nicole Poole, a secondhand shopping expert and founder of Thrift Store Confidential, an online site for resale lovers, said sites like Craigslist and eBay also make resale shopping more mainstream, erasing the negative stigma. She expects the industry to continue expanding.
"I do believe that the popularity of secondhand shopping will continue to grow," Poole said. "For the environment, the economy and the consumer, secondhand shopping is still the wisest choice out there."
The potential for selling second hand is enormous and the startup costs can be as little as the cost of a table at a local flea market or the listing fee on eBay. The best way to start is to find something you love and know well and begin there.Top Business Ideas for Entrepreneurs in 2011