The Best Small Business to Start?

Ideas and Inspiration from Ezra Consulting

This is yet another of the questions that members of our newsletter seem to keep asking. The truth is that there is really no "one size fits all" answer to this question. Just as each and every one of us is different, we're bound to have very different opinions on what we think is the best small business to start.

To give you an example, we know of a certain entrepreneur who makes a killing selling juggling balls. Yep, that's right. He sells juggling balls for a living (and quite a nice one too!). So, while we can't give you a definitive list of business ideas that will work for YOU, we can certainly point you in the right direction with some handy tips to get those creative and entrepreneurial juices flowing.

But before even deciding on the type of business you want to go into, there are some fundamental questions you need to ask of yourself. The following checklist is designed to help you narrow down your shortlist of potential business ideas. Remember, making money is just one part (albeit a very rewarding one!) of having a successful business... passion, energy and motivation go a long way in determining what works for you.

So, What is The Best Small Business?
Some Points to Consider:

How Will You Do Business?

  • Online, Offline, or a Combination of Both?: This very much depends on your personal interests... some people like the comfort and security of the traditional "bricks and mortar" type business such as opening a shop, a hairdressing salon or even a lawn-care business. Others are excited by the fantastic opportunities available on the internet by being able to sell goods and services online from the comfort of their homes. Most small businesses usually opt for a combination of both - e.g a local takeaway that also maintains a website and takes online orders.
  • Hard Goods, Soft Goods or Services?: Does the idea of selling hard goods appeal to you or do you want to sell services such as typing, massage therapy, counselling or mentoring to name a few. There service sector has been growing steadily for years and shows little signs of slowing down. The demand for "soft goods" such as eBooks and software is another market that has grown exponentially and is set to grow even further as consumer electronics like Sony eBook readers become more popular.
  • Face-to-Face or Not?: Some people take naturally to meeting new people, conducting business and selling goods and services to complete strangers. Salesmanship is a great skill and if you've got it, then definitely consider putting it to use! You can sell everything from double-glazing to entire fitted kitchens if you've got the knack for it. Some people, though, don't like the idea of meeting people face to face and so online business tends to be ideal for them.

Just What is Your Passion?

It's a well-known and documented fact that the people who are most successful in small business are those who do something that they can be totally involved with and feel passionate about. Remember that guy who sells juggling balls for a living? A surefire recipe for success is to do something that you enjoy doing anyway - be it collecting stamps or recipes or making arts and crafts.

What makes you get out of bed in the morning? What thing would you continue to do even if you didn't get paid for it? Find the answer to that question and you've struck gold! You only have to look around you to see how true this is - for example, some of the best Forex Traiding sites on the internet are run by avid traders themselves, some of the best Dog Care sites are run by breeders, some of the best Angling sites are run by keen anglers who live and breathe angling... the list goes on. What it boils down to is: find your passion and your chances of success are multiplied a thousand-fold.

Make my Own or Resell Others?

For businesses selling both hard and soft goods, another thing to consider is whether you want to sell your own products or sell products made by other people either for a commission or a profit. E.g. consider a software company that develops it's own programs and sells on to customers against another company that makes its profits by reselling software developed by others. The huge advantage of the first option is that your profits are much, much better if you sell your own products rather than sell for others. The downside is that you need considerable skill and investment up-front. If you're on a budget, then consider the second option as a starting point.