Maybe this is an obvious choice for a small town business opportunity, but sometimes the obvious answers are the most overlooked. Though a grocery store might not sound like the sexiest business choice, it is one of our most practical recommendations and one that your whole town is guaranteed to need. Like many small town business ideas, there are many directions you can take this business in. Perhaps your town already has a local grocery store, in that case, opening a specialty food shop might be the right call. If your town already has that as well, what about a wine or cheese shop? Though you might be thinking, “how much wine or cheese can one small town consume?” Remember, when serving a small community, options are limited, which can open up an opportunity for you to serve residents in more ways than one. Consider opening a wine and cheese shop combination. Just make sure not to bite off more than you can chew. Being a few things to a few people is ok, but don’t try to be everything to everyone.
In the past, I’ve discussed how it’s a good idea to spend your spare time dabbling in entrepreneurship: It fills your time with something that you choose (and thus you enjoy) and sets up a potential long-term revenue stream. I also discussed how I got a side business going myself.
#24 – Magoosh – If you are good at GMAT, GRE, TOEFL, SAT, and ACT, and tests, Magoosh is looking to hire online test prep experts to help students prepare for these papers. As a requirement, you must be an experienced BA or BS holder with high scores in GRE, SAT, GMAT. The standard pay for weekdays is $20 an hour and shoots up to $25 an hour over the weekends.
There is a huge market and a big opportunity selling promotional material. Your best market will be mid to larger sized businesses, who are willing to spend some money to both promote their business to their customers or to use promotional items as incentives and rewards for their employees. Basically, you are reselling the product lines for other companies. I would suggest you have a good diversity of lines to increase your chances of getting your foot in the door, to increase your chances of holding your prospects’ attention and to increase your income. T-shirts, pens, hats, jackets: there are all kinds of promotional items you can sell.
On the other hand, if you want to market your own t-shirts you might have more upside potential but the downside is greater too! The brothers who started “Life is Good” t-shirt business for example, lived out of their van for several years until their business finally gained momentum.
Go on a shopping spree and get paid for it! Now that could be fun! But this work will also take some patience, such as getting to know your customers’ preferences and returning merchandise that your customer didn’t like as much as you did. However, if your clients like your work, they could retain you forever…and talk up your services with their friends!
As part of your marketing, you can share the impact that your customers are having by supporting your business, such as a blog post covering your work in the community or a real-time impact calculator on your website.
The key to get going with this business is to build relationships with schools and school music directors, who can recommend your services. Chances are a larger school isn’t going to recommend you unless you have a track record, so you will probably have to start with some very small schools. Musical instruments, especially those that are rented out, are highly financeable for low rates, so this is a business you can get into with very little money, and expand aggressively.
Yes, there might be fewer people in a small town, or fewer stores and shops, but that doesn’t mean that babies don’t grow out of their onesies, people don’t buy new furniture and kids don’t move off to college. In our capitalist society, fewer people doesn’t always mean less stuff. So opening a second-hand store or thrift shop is a great way to help the people of your town recycle unwanted items while giving those that might not have as much a less expensive shopping option. One reason why opening a thrift store in a small town is a great idea, is that much of the merchandise you sell you will receive via donations. This does present logistics to think about regarding how to regulate and keep track of inventory, but it also means that even though you sell items for less than a traditional store, you’ll never owe money to a middleman or manufacturer. Cha-ching!
LiveWorld – Read Review – Open worldwide. Most people start out making between $8 and $10 hourly. The exact amount is dependent on your location. Get paid every two weeks with either a mailed check or direct deposit. Note the job is not always posted on their website.
If you’ve developed valuable skill sets or certifications within your industry over the years, consider putting your skills to use in your free time by offering your consulting services to local business owners as a potentially lucrative side business idea. Whether you’re an expert marketer, business strategist, or manufacturing aficionado, there’s likely a local business owner who’s willing to pay you to help them solve an issue with their company—if you can craft an effective cold email that convinces them to hire you. Start with this 18-step checklist to becoming a local business consultant as a side business idea, from Karyn Greenstreet. When you’re ready to get serious about becoming a consultant, check out all of my picks for the best online business courses to keep building your skills and learning how to land your first consulting clients. Personally, I think this is one of the best business ideas you can get started with today.
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Start doing your research on various business bank accounts. Local options, like Banc of California, and national banks, like Capital One, both have their perks. Read some reviews, make some calls, and figure out which one is right for you. Feel free to start off your research with our favorite business bank accounts.
If your business provides a service, you may also want to consider professional liability insurance. It covers you if you do something wrong or neglect to do something you should have done while operating your business. Learn more about the types of insurance policies your business might need here.
You will, of course, need to spend extra hours and work harder. But the transition from being an employee to a business owner will be far smoother as you won’t have additional expenses to worry about.
There are several loan programs aimed at helping first-time entrepreneurs set up their business. The Small Business Administration (SBA) operates the loan programs offered by the U.S. government. To qualify for the loan, your business must meet some criteria such as your business must operate in the United States, your business must qualify as a small business according to SBA guidelines, you must operate for profit and you should have a good credit score.
I also recommend FlexJobs. The company has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, along with a money-back policy if you are unhappy with the website. FlexJobs guarantees that every single job is 100% legitimate.
I can barely “cook” a frozen dinner, but you may have the cooking skills that I lack! People will pay good money for a really awesome cake for special occasions. Get some great cake pictures up on your website, promote your skills to event planners and build your clientele!
Framing services are everywhere and often they are franchised operations with prime retail locations. But you don’t have to be. You could try this service online. Or you could try this service on a mobile basis, going to your customers’ homes. Or you could get that storefront.
Hold a party and invite people who can spread the word for you. It doesn’t need to be pricey––purchase the food and drink from bulk discount stores and get family and friends to help with catering (you can give them a product or service in return).
Even after you create your company’s name, do not omit these identifying letters on marketing materials, advertisements, or business transactions. Doing so may lead to unintended consequences. For example, if you leave “LLC” out of your name while doing business, a judge may find that you entered into a business deal as an individual, and not as an LLC. If this happens, you may be found personally liable and may not receive the limited liability shield you anticipated.
People who own fish, lizards, snakes or any other animals that live in tanks or aquariums are likely to need some maintenance services at some point. If that’s the type of work you enjoy, you can provide those services in people’s homes or place of business.
Fusion Cash is an online platform that allows you to make money from taking surveys, watching videos, shopping, completing short tasks, and much more. Sign up and immediately earn $5.00 just for joining. Most offers pay between .25 to $30 per offer, and payments are made via PayPal, check, or direct deposit once your account reaches a $25 threshold. Some offers do require a credit card number, so if you don’t feel comfortable giving out that information, just stick to the offers which display the No CC icon. Fusion Cash is a member of the Better Business Bureau.
The traditional 9-5 job in an office is becoming increasingly obsolete, Fast Company reports. Not only are more people in the corporate world doing more from home, thanks to the internet, but side gigs are on the rise. More than a third of us — nearly 54 million people did some freelance work in the past year. That represents a growth of 700,000 more freelancers than the previous year. According to FlexJobs, there are more opportunities opening for full-time remote work, even for those at the executive level. Brie Reynolds, director of online content at FlexJobs, told the magazine: “Professionals who’ve spent years honing their skills and experience don’t need to sacrifice their hard work in order to find better work-life balance.” Analyzing listings from more than 40,000 companies in the FlexJobs database indicates that companies ranging from Dell and UnitedHealth Group to Xerox, SAP, and Salesforce were among the top 25 employers with the most available remote jobs. Although health care, technology, and education are the most well-represented industries, there are also openings in finance, hospitality, and research.
If you have ever lived in a small town and entertained houseguests, you’ve probably often wished that your town had a bed and breakfast. Though small towns with a tourism industry will often have historical inns or at least a motel or two, towns that aren’t exactly Plymouth, MA or Williamsburg, VA often go without. That means no place for the in-laws to stay or guests for a family reunion or wedding. Opening a small inn or bed and breakfast can help fill a need in your area. If you’re worried about being able to keep your rooms booked, go small. Bed and breakfast owners tend to live in the same homes they manage, often converting their larger homes into B&Bs. This is a great idea for those who have recently become empty nesters with too many rooms to fill. If you’re later in life and looking for business ideas for small towns, this concept is a great one to explore.
9. Practice win-win negotiation strategy. Familiarize yourself with basic clauses and what to expect first. Remember: You’re forging a partnership. Focus on getting to a term sheet first. Don’t bring your attorney in too soon. Be a team player. More here.
Each of these ideas is very simple to start, and most can be done as a sole proprietorship at first (meaning you don’t have to file any legal documents to get started, though you will want to do that if it starts to take off). Most of these can be done at home in your spare time, and in your spare space, too.
Your marketing plan. What’s your marketing budget? Where will you focus your efforts? Social media, email campaigns, online ads? If you’ve done enough research on your target market, you’ll know where to find them. Just like your milestones, your marketing efforts are bound to evolve — but you still need to establish an initial strategy.
Now that you’ve officially formed your business, it’s time to take all the necessary precautions to make sure you’re fully compliant with the federal, state and local government. Here are the best places to find out about each:
You can power wash houses, commercial buildings, driveways, patios, motor vehicles and more. You will need to be registered, probably have to post a bond, and there may be environmental issues because of the water usage. This is a business you will want to learn carefully. But the upside is that there are many potential markets for your services.
One of my friend’s mothers offered art lessons in her home after school. She had a steady clientele and they made some really cool art! You may already have an art specialty that you want to teach to others. Or you may find that you are better off learning the basics of a new art skill and teaching that, or offering a survey course covering a number of art skills—most of the market will likely be beginners anyway.
People have discovered that they can make so much money at yard sales that they turn it into a regular business, including buying additional merchandise such as at flea markets or online specifically to sell at their yard sales. One town that I vacation in decided that too many people were turning yard sales into a business, and passed an ordinance limiting how many yard sales you were legally allowed to conduct. This is of course another indicator that yard sales can be highly lucrative!
#37 – Humana – This well-known company hires Customer Service Specialists by responding to questions and providing guidance to internal and external customers. You can make anywhere from $15-$18 per hour.
I’ve owned a lot of boats (and even built a couple) and I’ll tell you most boat owners want their boats totally ship-shape! And yet boats tend to get dirty easily! Which leads to a great demand for boat maintenance and cleaning. To make a go of this, you want to have a good concentration of boats in one town, at one harbor or ideally on one dock. So, do a great job (this is a finicky crowd), don’t sell on price, be dependable and you will build word of mouth. I would also do as much work as possible wearing my company T-shirt, when boat owners are around cleaning their own boats…such as on Saturday mornings.
Successfully starting a small business requires answering as many questions as possible before you open your doors rather than tackling problems after you’ve already launched. Researching the marketplace, writing a business plan and securing adequate capital are the basic steps to take when you start any small business.
The benefits of practicing open innovation are many and have been written about at length. Over the years, I’ve sung its praises. Of course, many industries have been putting the principles of open innovation into practice for a long time, like the toy industry. That’s where the concept of licensing as a business model — which is predicated on open innovation — first sparked my interest.
All of these are excellent ideas, and really go to show that you don’t need some groundbreaking new idea to start a business. Just pick one of these ideas that appeals to you and put yourself out there, and you’re already ahead of all the other people who are still in the “thinking about starting a business” phase (a phase that never ends for most people).
This is a great part time business that can pay very good money. For my kids, I hired coaches who were usually still students themselves, and had very little paid test prep experience. But I did make sure to hire test prep coaches who had scored exceedingly well themselves on the exams being targeted. You don’t have to be good at every subject. Just find one exam that you can study up on and excel at, and that’s all you need to become a great test prep coach!
As with any business, marketing is what unlocks your success. It’s not enough to know that there’s demand for your products—you need to figure out ways to reach the people that are most likely to buy them. You need to get the right visitors to discover your products.
Are you the one all your friends call when their sink is clogged or their roof is leaking? Are you looking to start your own business but not thrilled about having a brick-and-mortar location? A home improvement business might be just the small town business idea you’re looking for. When small towns lack a basic handyman, residents must book appointments days, if not weeks in advance to have a larger service visit their home. That’s not so convenient if your toilet has been clogged for three days. As long as you are qualified, have the experience, and know your way around a tool shed, starting a handyman business is fairly straightforward and requires little overhead.
Kids are your future customers, so gaining their loyalty now isn’t a bad idea. According to Common Sense Media, three-quarters of kids have access to a mobile device. This spells a big business opportunity for anyone who can create products or design apps just for kids. And, if they also happen to be educational or promote good health, you’ll win their parents over, too.