small business owner | step by step guide to starting a business

Know your competition. If you plan on working from home locally, look around town for other businesses offering the same services or products. You’ll have to figure out if there is enough business left for you in your area. If you plan to work online, you’re dealing with a very crowded market in most cases, so you’ll have to find a way to differentiate yourself from the competition.
Next it’s time to choose a structure for your business and get it registered in California. This is a huge step and it’s important to understand the implications of each business structure before settling on one, so we’ll take a brief look at each.
Investment: It requires a low upfront investment — if you don’t require training. You’ll likely only need to purchase some parts and tools to get started and you can operate the business from your home.
Having a mission to go along with a business, and setting aside some profit for a cause, gives social entrepreneurs a unique way to position their company in the market while addressing the issues they care about most.
Launching a business website is another huge step for your brand, and we think the best way to go about it is by using a website builder. Working on an existing platform like Wix or StudioPress is a much easier and cheaper way to create a professional-looking website than hiring an expert to build one from scratch.
There are many ways to gain a competitive edge over other businesses in your industry: you could have a better product, a more efficient manufacturing or distribution process, a more convenient location, better customer service, or a better understanding of the changing marketplace.
Potential challenges: Insurance is a must with this business, given the risks of injury to yourself or employees, or the possibility of damaging appliances. You might also face competition from established appliance repair businesses.
Reynolds & Reynolds – Read Review – This is another company with occasional call analyst positions open. US only. Low pay — starting at around $7 or $8 hourly. You can get paid bi-weekly via direct deposit to your bank account.
There are at least three teenage entrepreneurs who’ve already earned astonishing amounts of money by launching hand-made jewelry business ideas: M3 Girl Designs’ Maddie Bradshaw, Bella Weems of Origami Owl, and the girl behind DesignedByLei. With the industry set to shine in the near term via a brisk annual growth rate of 5-6%, the market is ripe for new entrants to this business idea who can offer sparkling new takes on how to craft appealing handmade goods.
Like birthdays, marriages happen all the time. Which means you can treat weddings as a recurring fountain of business opportunities: wedding dresses and coats, jewelers, food caterers, venue providers, photographers and videographers, performers, flower shops, travel agencies, souvenir crafts, and a host of other ventures. Now imagine if you can form a network of these service providers so you can offer engaged couples a range of hassle-free wedding packages as a turnkey business idea. The process is certainly fun (and time-consuming), but as a side business idea, the pay can be pretty great.
If you have a knack for connecting with people and the willingness to take on some risk, a commission-based freelance sales role could be a great side business idea for you. Many startups seek part-time and commission-only salespeople, especially when they’re just getting started, which means you’ll often be able to make this a home based business idea. Develop your sales strategies, become an inside sales rep and perfect your cold calling skills on the side in your free time for nothing but commission, negotiate a little equity and you could profit big time if you’re pitching a solid product and the startup succeeds. Start your sales education with the acclaimed books, Secrets of a Master Closer and To Sell is Human by famed bestselling author Daniel Pink and you’ll be well on your way to getting this side business idea off the ground.
Parents and grandparents are only willing to buy their kids so many computer games! What they would really prefer to be buying are beautifully hand crafted vintage toys that the kids can use their own imaginations to play with! Hand crafting takes time, so carefully figure out what interesting toys you can bring to market at a reasonable price.
But you aren’t driving to your potential new employer and going in for a traditional interview. You’ve applied for a virtual position and thus will be participating in a virtual interview. Well, this presents an entirely different scenario now, doesn’t it? How do you make a great impression virtually? Read these tips to ace your virtual interview.
Anyone can sell goods on Amazon, provided you have products to sell (or buy low, then resell). If you’re the type to hit all the local garage sales each weekend, there’s all sorts of valuable things that can be resold online as a side business idea. If you want to step your Amazon selling game up, check out this detailed guide to Amazon and eBay retail arbitrage on Entrepreneur featuring an interview with Julie Becker and several drop-shippers who’ve grown this home based business idea from side business idea into a lucrative money-maker.
Do I need workers’ compensation insurance? Oregon requires almost all employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance on their employees. If you employ workers in Oregon you probably need coverage. The Small Business Ombudsman also provides information and assistance to small businesses regarding workers’ compensation insurance.
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.
These low-investment, no-inventory online businesses make a great entry point for beginners or anyone with a busy schedule, giving you a hands-on education in entrepreneurship at a fraction of the cost.
Set up a dedicated phone line and internet service. Almost all businesses will require contact with customers over the phone. In order to ensure that your line will be free when customers call, you’ll have to get a dedicated phone line for business use. You should also sign up for voicemail rather than using an answering machine. This sounds more professional to customers.[7] You should also add an internet connection that is fast enough for your business purposes while still remaining affordable.
This is a specialized niche of the fencing business, but so differentiated that it is basically a totally separate, non-competitive business—and that’s the best kind of niche to find! Your market is dog owners, and probably the owners of some types or dogs, or maybe multiple dogs, are much more likely to be customers than others, which means that you can really target your marketing!
You can provide full service grooming without any overhead by visiting pets at their homes. Or you can have a store front with full service grooming. Or you can provide a do-it-yourself pet grooming facility. Location matters. One do-it-yourself pet grooming facility was highly successful with a location on a busy road, but another location they had on a secondary road, just off the center of town, did not work out.

Whether a small town is in North Dakota, Upstate New York, or South Florida, one thing is for sure: people prefer shiny modes of transportation to muddy, rusty wrecks. It’s just how human nature works. You pay your car payment every month, so your vehicle might as well shine! If there isn’t a car wash in your town already or at least one in the next town over, opening a cash wash might be your perfect small town business opportunity. One thing to think about before getting started: location, location, location. Nail this stage of the planning and you’ll make the rest of your ride significantly easier.
This is one of those businesses that not everyone wants to do, so the profits tend to be above average. Furthermore, you don’t have to collect just by telephone. You can send emails, mail letters and more. Make sure you know all the legal restrictions before you start!
Be sure to contact your local municipality about zoning laws. Some types of small businesses cannot be ran out of a home, and it is important to ensure your business is operating within its proper zone.
While this is a long list of business ideas—I have carefully pruned it for you. I started out with an initial list that was more than twice as long…and ruthlessly chopped off the weaker business ideas that I didn’t want you to consider starting.
This is one of the most-clever businesses I have seen! Here you get to have your own art gallery with no overhead! You arrange with a restaurant or bar to host your pop up art gallery at no expense to you. The venue benefits from selling food or drinks and the publicity your event will bring. The paintings or other art you obtain on consignment so you don’t lay out any cash for that either. Then you arrange the promotion. They key to this business is building your email list and social media contacts so that are able to build up a regular clientele without having to own a storefront or spend money for advertising.
It sounds too good to be true—getting paid to represent your favorite brands at events across the nation. But, if you have a friendly and outgoing personality (a growing social media following helps too), you can forge a potentially paid relationship as a brand ambassador with companies who want to reach other people within your community with this  side business idea. As a Brand Ambassador, you do anything from demoing the latest technology, to passing out free swag at music festivals, to going on nationwide tours, to pumping people up as a mascot, and more. Depending upon the gig, you can expect to earn anywhere from $18-$100/hr. You can get started as early as this weekend by joining the Brand Ambassador Facebook group for your nearest major city (e.g. join the “Brand Ambassadors of Seattle” group if you live in/near Seattle). Once you’ve been approved to the group, you’ll get access to daily job postings from big brands and agencies with opportunities in your area. All you need to do is submit your resume and headshot to apply. For a step-by-step guide on how to get hired for the best gigs and the highest pay rates, I recommend checking out The Brand Ambassador Blueprint.
Got a thing for numbers? Plenty of companies need to hire talented contractors who are good at data analysis, making this a potentially lucrative side business idea if you have the right credentials and experience. Platforms like Upwork and Digiserved are but a two of many websites that are great for freelancers with an analytical prowess, looking for extra work as a side business idea around their full-time jobs.
Price your products too low and shoppers might assume they’re low quality. Price them too high, and you might scare some customers off. In any case, you’ll need to find a sweet spot that also lets you factor in the cost to acquire customers and offer discounts, especially if you plan on paying for ads.
Think about how you can zero in on a specific audience for your products and how the business you build can serve them. If you already have a sizeable audience (a blog, a YouTube channel, or an Instagram account), maybe you can even find a way to base your business off of that existing audience.
Early childhood learning seems to be the rage. Even many games have an educational bent. With such high interest this is a competitive space, so you need to specialize. Perhaps specialize in children with learning disabilities, slow learners, creative play, or “gifted” kids.
Crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter have changed the way entrepreneurs are raising money to fund their new businesses. Whether you want to sell a new software tool or set up an organic noodle bar, you can get people to invest in your business.
People will pay a lot of money to get their dog trained and you can provide the service. To get going you can read a book or take a dog training class yourself. This business would also be a great source of clients for dog walking services, if you want to expand your dog services empire!
Aside from your passport and other legal requirements, a letter is also needed from your sponsor to highlight his or her, or your personal information, the reason for the visa application, and the likes before processing.
There are lots of graphic designers out there but not so many people specializing in logos. Yet in the age of the Internet, a good-looking logo is more important than ever! Most businesses don’t give enough thought to their logo and end up with a weak result. You can help them create a great logo–one that can help define their business and bring them customers!
Banks levy varying charges. For a business startup, these can amount to a substantial sum for a bank-dependent operation. Always confirm the requirements and charges beforehand. Do not choose a bank based on only the reputation.
Let me be clear. This is not my first choice of businesses to go into, even if you are experienced in the food business. Restaurants are very risky. You need a great location, good build-out which can cost a lot of money, great food and a talented and dependable staff. Furthermore, customers can be fickle-they may love your restaurant one day and then tire of it the next. Restaurant staffing is notoriously difficult. So, while the failure rate for restaurants is high, many that survive become highly profitable.
If you have that drive and experience, however, being a restaurateur can be a successful endeavor and a great business for a small town. Just be aware that as glamorous as it might seem from the outside, one-quarter of all restaurants will fail within the first year. We don’t say this to discourage you; it’s just good to know what you’re up against. Doing your market research prior to opening, and investing in technology such as a restaurant POS system, can help you ensure your business stays open and on top.
Though not the cheapest of business ideas on this list, it’s one that can be extremely lucrative as well as appeal to the widest range of patrons in a small town. A successful bowling alley can become the center of a town’s social life. Besides the obvious bowling revenue stream, food and drink (especially alcoholic beverages), can also help you pull in the big bucks. Small town bowling alleys can also be rented out for additional income. Like all businesses, large and small, having a quality business plan for your bowling alley is incredibly important.
Make your pitch to partners, friends and family or silent investors if you are seeking that type of money. Use your business plan to demonstrate that you have done your homework, have objective data that shows your concept is likely to work, and can project your income and expenses with hard numbers. Bankers and investors will often want to see your business plan and budget, according to Inc. magazine.
One of the easiest ways to screw up your business accounting and possibly run afoul of the IRS is to commingle personal and business funds (and transactions). Using a business account for all business transactions eliminates that possibility.
Sseko – Run your own ethical fashion business with Sseko! You’ll fall in love with the amazing handcrafted and on-trend products. Sseko Designs uses fashion to create opportunity for women globally. We provide employment and scholarship opportunities to women in Uganda who are working to pursue their dreams and overcome poverty. We do this through a financially self-sustaining model, one that also enables us to create opportunity for women in the U.S. to earn an income: The Sseko Fellows Program. As a Sseko Fellow, you get to share the Sseko story and sell beautiful products of the highest quality. You’ll become an integral part of making dreams come true for women in Uganda while you simultaneously earn an income for yourself! We’ve got a vibrant community of women ready to welcome and mentor you as you get started… and every step of the way!
If you’re passionate about the business world or able to influence and encourage others in your own unique way, you may want to consider marketing your services as a business or life coach. Use your passion and expertise to give advice and suggest actionable steps people can take to improve their professional and personal lives.
EatWith is a great way to test the waters as a chef for your side business idea, and if you have enough rave reviews you might be able to turn your knife skills into a full-time endeavor where you’re leveraging your network to book catering events. This side business idea is built heavily upon getting happy referrals, so be sure to over-deliver for your first customers, and ask if they know anyone else who could be in need of your catering services.