Small Business Ideas


Business plan with  money, calculator and pen.

If you are aspiring to start a small business, one of the first things that would come to your mind is what business to do, how much investment will be required and what would be the skills that should be learnt. In these uncertain days of layoffs and panic, it is good to have a backup plan in life, so that one can remain unaffected. Taking the first two points into consideration, I have put together a collection of small business ideas, some of which can be started from home and most requiring low investment. This list also makes sure that one need not have a formal degree or education to get started; most of these skills can be learnt quickly. Thus everyone can use their capability & talent to start one, without worrying about having to spend a couple of years of their life in college and spending the next decade paying education loans.

Senior care services;

In many countries the concept of joint families still exists. Sons usually stay with their parents after getting married. Sometimes such a situation arises where they would need to stay in a different country or state for working and might not be able to take their parent along with them because of factors like availability of passport, cost factor and climate. While some of them turn to relatives to take care of their parents and other elderly persons in the house, not everyone has that luxury. Hence the senior care services come as a boon to the travelling employee. It involves setting up a homely atmosphere for elderly people, having all the amenities from medicine to food to entertainment. If one has a spacious house or apartment, they might want to start such a center. The charges can be collected on a monthly basis from the customer (either the senior persons themselves or their sons or daughters). One also needs a couple of employees for managing the house, taking care of the senior people, giving them medicines if required and keep them happy. This business also gives repeat income every month and can also be expanded to other parts of the city if the demand is more. Since the absolute investment required can vary depending on the country, only a list of things to be bought and list of expenditure is given below. Using this list you can arrive at an approximate start-up capital required and the monthly list of expenditures.

  • House or flat or apartment (can be rented)
  • Beds, cots, furnishing
  • Kitchen items required for cooking for many people
  • Money for advertising in newspapers and on the internet
  • A cook or chef
  • A few employees for cleaning the house, running errands etc.

Mobile farm fresh grocery delivery;

In the fast paced lifestyle of today’s world, more and more people prefer to stay at home and order items over the phone or do shopping on the internet, rather than travelling through the heavy traffic and then wait for fifteen minutes in the supermarket cash counter. However grocery is one item which might not be exactly the best option to buy online or over the phone because one would rather prefer cherry picking the best of the available vegetables or fruits. In some countries, there are street vendors who bring vegetables and fruits for sale in a small cart, pushing it street to street and hawking them. One different concept will be to sell farm fresh grocery near huge apartments, housing colonies and posh residences and get a premium price for them. Instead of people travelling to the supermarket to buy the week’s or day’s vegetables, they can now just step outside their door or near the apartment’s main gate and buy fresh grocery. This idea involves purchasing grocery directly from distributors or farmers early in the morning and taking the grocery in a van or similar vehicle near by the bigger apartments, at a fixed time every day. Big apartments and housing colonies, especially in densely populated countries can have many hundreds to thousands of people living. Because you are saving their time (removing their travel needs to the super market or the local grocery store) and also giving them farm fresh grocery, you can charge premium rates. Remember to come to the apartment gates at a fixed time every day or alternative day, so that people know when to expect you. Once you have stayed in the place for an hour or two, you can move to the next neighborhood or apartment. Investment required;

  • A van or similar vehicle (can be rented)
  • An assistant to help you
  • Contact of grocery distributors or farmers from nearby villages
  • Storage containers, weighing machine and other necessary items.

Hospital patient care service;

This is similar to the senior care services business but instead of running a home, you have assistants take care of people when they are in hospital or in their own house. Who are your target customers? Take this example; a senior person in a working couple’s house (could be a dependent) falls sick and because of the nature of their day job, they might not be able to take leave from office to attend to the sick person. Or if the person got admitted to a hospital, it becomes even more difficult to manage, juggling between office and home life. It would be a boon for them if anyone can take care of the patient whilst they are away at work or travelling outside the city. Your job, as the service provider will be to hire a couple of assistants who are trained to take care of patients. They need not have official training as a nurse (though it is an added advantage) but rather just enough manners, communication and skills to take care of the basic needs of the patient such as buying medicines, getting food, helping them around (say if they have a bandage on their foot) etc. What is required to get started?

  1. Hire a couple of assistants (both male and female) and train them (preferably have a professional nurse give the training).
  2. Advertise your services locally using newspapers and also using contacts in popular hospitals.
  3. Charge based on the number of days of service rendered.

This business has the potential to grow by word of mouth.

Custom recipe maker service;

This is a simple business idea which can be run from home, along with the help of an assistant for delivering the food. Say someone feels like eating a specific dish, something which is homemade and might not be available during the time of the year or in the local fast food shops. They call you to have this dish made and you can take an hour or two to cook the specific food and deliver it. Another version of involves the customer actually sending the steps for the recipe and you just making the dish based on the recipe and delivering it. An assistant is required to buy the raw food materials on demand and deliver the cooked food. A premium price can be charged because you are providing a unique service, something which a local hotel or fast food joint cannot replicate.

Tourist guide;

Tourist guide businesses continue to flourish worldwide. Nowadays people use the internet to search for tourist spots around the world, book hotels from their home and then proceed to travel. There are two ways to go about; one is a niche local guide who will escort the tourists, taking them around the various spots in the city and helping them understand the culture and traditions of the place. The other is an agency which is a network of such local contacts, managing each and every aspect of the tour end to end, starting from hotel booking, travel tickets to actually taking them around. You can choose the model which best fits within the money you have for investment. One needs to have an USP (unique selling point) to be successful, especially if you are operating in a city or place which is a very popular tourist spot and there will be lots of competition. One idea for this will be to include lesser known locations within the place in the package, so as to give an idea of having a more variety to the tourist.

We have seen a bunch of small business ideas in this article, each requiring a different amount of investment and targeting different customer demographics. There are many hundreds of such business ideas; what one needs to succeed is to first analyze the local market & competition thoroughly. There are many more things than just analyzing the market; one also needs to take in to account stuff like trademark registration, tax, local laws, legal paperwork etc. before venturing. Once started, make sure that you execute the plan efficiently. Hard & clever work coupled with honesty will lead to success eventually.


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