Important Considerations when Starting a Business from Home

Home-Based BusinessHow do you start a home-based business? And is there a way to start a business from home that isn’t an online business, but an actual business that deals with customers in real life? You’ll find the answer in this article.

There are many home-based businesses that you can start if you have a bit of space to convert into a shop, and you don’t a lot of start-up capital to do it. If you have more money to invest, this is going to be easier, but you can generally start a home-based business on as little as a four-figure investment. Later on, we’ll get into just a few home business ideas that will help you generate income for your family, allow you to spend more time together, and provide a work/learning opportunity for your children.

What better way to run a business than to get your loved ones to contribute and help out? Family businesses can be fun, because you can spend time together and you can generally trust a family member to handle your money a lot more than an employee. There’s a common misconception that the family should be kept separate from business, and in some families, that might be true. However, if you have a good relationship with your spouse, children, and other family members, a home-based family business can be a great blessing, because it can become a legacy that is passed down to subsequent generations.  

Most large corporations in the U.S. started out as family businesses. One of the best examples of this is Walmart. Even something as simple as a family bakery could turn into a billion-dollar enterprise if you come up with a unique and tasty recipe that everyone loves and you’re able to build a unique brand around your product. Little Caesar’s started as a small family-owned pizzeria in Detroit and is now one of the largest pizza franchises in the country. There is no reason this cannot happen for your family business too.

How Much $ Do I Need to Start a Business from Home?

E2 VisasThis will depend on whether you’re starting a business from scratch or franchising. If you decide to start your own business from scratch, you’ll have to take care of costs such as store/office space rental, bills and materials you need to create the product. If you have a lot of room in your house or you already live in a convenient location, this will instantly reduce the start-up costs required. Real estate is your biggest concern when you’re opening a business that serves the public, so depending on your location and available space in your home, the start-up costs can range from a couple thousand to $20,000 or more if you need to renovate your home or purchase land.

If you choose the franchise route, there will be fees involved to affiliate with an established brand. Franchise fees for home-based businesses can be as little as $10,000 and as high as $50,000 or more. But in return, you are receiving a proven business model, comprehensive business plan, and extensive support. For someone who needs more guidance and direction when they are just starting out, these factors can often be the difference in ensuring that the business is successful.

There are numerous businesses you can start from home. We are going to highlight three home-based businesses that other entrepreneurs have done well with in recent years.

Accommodation Business

Accommodation Business The first two businesses are accommodation/travel related because they require a low level of skill and relatively small investment to get started. On the flip side, there is generally more work required to steer the business to profitability. The first business to look at is a Hostel/Bed and Breakfast. You can charge between $50-100/night for a room, and this doubles or triples if you live in an area with limited accommodation. You can also make more money by renting equipment to visitors or offering specials like excursions, animal-related activities or something like shooting sessions. Even people in rural areas can make money this way because Airbnb makes it easy to popularize your farm or ranch. You no longer have to spend tens of thousands of dollars to start a hotel when you can clean up a few rooms in your house and start renting them out. The only downside is that there might be extra taxes or requirements based on your state laws, but this is still one of the easiest businesses to start from home.

If you have a lot of land, you can build a separate house to accommodate tourists on your property – there are many popular ranches using this model that are booked year-round and offer activities for traveling families. If you can create a unique experience for visitors, they will be willing to pay for it. All you’d have to do for marketing is create a brochure that showcases what you have to offer, get a GoPro/drone to shoot promo videos, and spend a few thousand dollars on YouTube/Facebook advertising to engage people in your state. This is a fairly straightforward business model that requires a minimal investment, and the only work you have to do is replace some sheets/clean up after guests when they leave. It’s also a great family business because it allows you to spend time with the family and you don’t have to create products – you only have to make your mini-hotel popular.

Tour Guide Business

Tour Guide BusinessThis is a unique business for young adults who don’t have their own property/accommodation space but enjoy spending time outdoors and know how to get around their city better than most. If you live in a city like D.C., you literally have access to millions of tourists every year. And if you can only get a few hundred of them to pay for a tour, you can make a full-time living showing people important sights in your city. For marketing, all you need to do is record a segment of your tour and use it as a promo. You can make your tours different by showing unique aspects of everyday life in your city and not just explaining tourist attractions – people are intrigued by details like that.

You can also offer unique tours by showing where the elites live – this is not just for Hollywood. For instance, you could create a tour of areas where the political elites of D.C. live. You could offer unique Wall Street tours in Manhattan or art tours in Williamsburg. Create a unique tour of your area, set up a website where you explain the tour/fees, and start promoting it to travelers. There is a separate section on Facebook advertising that can market to people who recently landed in your city. This is very practical for tour guides or people selling tickets to tourists because you can market to them while they’re traveling.

Handyman Business

Handyman BusinessIf you have a certain skill as a builder or you just enjoy doing home projects and you’re good at it, you can start a business from home as a handyman. For instance, if you’re a certified electrician or plumber who is employed in a full-time job, you could also start your home-based handyman business and service homes in your community.

This is similar to consulting in that you can charge clients by the hour and you have a marketable skill that is always in demand. If you start from scratch, you only have to spend a little bit of money to set up a website and make your business known through sites like Craigslist and Takl. If you have a little more money to invest, you may choose to affiliate with a handyman franchise brand. By going the franchise route, you can accelerate your growth and build a profitable business in a relatively short period of time.

 

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What are the Best Businesses to Start In 2018 from Home?

Best Businesses to Start in 2018 from HomeThe U.S. economy is soaring. The Small Business Optimism Index is at or near an all-time high, and numerous organizations are handing out bonuses, raising their minimum wage, or both since the President signed tax reform into law last month. With the economy taking off, now is a great time to start a business, and one of the most affordable ways to get started is with a business you can operate from a home office. So many entrepreneurs ask “what are some of the best businesses to start in 2018 from home”?

If you’re looking for the best business to start in 2018 from a home office, there are many options to explore. While we cannot tell you about every one of them, we have put together a list of several that have been trending upward and provide a strong opportunity for success in the coming year and beyond. The businesses on the list can all be operated out of a home office with a relatively low investment. If you have more capital to put into it and want a more solid business plan and a company to support you, you may want to consider a franchise business opportunity.

Selling Photography Online

Most photographers work as freelance journalists for news agencies and/or they make their money on wedding/event-based photography. However, there’s an entire niche for photographers who create photos/images that they sell on the internet by licensing them to businesses in need. If you take creative pictures, you own 100% of the copyright, and you can charge a license fee for them online. With millions of websites out there and countless new sites started every day, there will always be a demand for unique images.  

Online photography can be started on a fairly low investment because you will only have to purchase the camera equipment. There are many stock photo libraries online that allow you to sign up for free, upload your images and start licensing them. These libraries receive thousands of visitors each day who are on the lookout for specific types of photos that they later upload on their websites or publish in magazines. If you sell just a couple of photos every day, you could make a nice living even with a basic camera. You could also reinvest some of your profits into your own website and sell directly from there as well.

Design Specialist

Notice how we don’t call this “artist” because design work is so broad that you can specialize in many sub-niches of the art and graphics industry. For instance, you could specialize in creating ad banners for marketers. If you know how to design creative images, your value as an artist will double or quadruple if you specialize. You can start with web page designs, banners, ads of different kinds, logos, etc. Virtually every website image was developed by a designer, so you can see how vast this market is.  

There are many internet marketing forums where you can sell design services to marketers in need and you can also find work on freelance websites. The most important qualifier here is your portfolio – not your education or experience. People want to get the best graphics and they will hire a specialist when they need an image. Specialize in the images that are in high demand, and you will never lack for business.

Ghostwriting Business

If you love to write, there are boundless opportunities to provide content for businesses – both for their online and offline marketing materials. Businesses need content for websites, blogs, direct response sales letters, white papers, email sequences, and countless others. You can also ghostwrite books for professionals who don’t have the time or ability to write a book themselves. With the advent of eBooks and the ability to easily self-publish through Amazon Kindle and its sister company CreateSpace (for paperback books), virtually anybody can become a published author these days. Even me. The opportunity here is to help professionals raise their credibility in their field by authoring a book, or you could choose to become an author yourself. It’s not the easiest path to riches, but lots of self-published authors have developed six and seven-figure incomes through the Amazon Kindle platform.

Selling Art

This is actually a sub-section of graphics design, but it’s large enough that it deserves a separate mention. You’ve probably heard of websites such as DeviantArt, but maybe you never explored them. The difference here is that it’s for artists, while stock photo licensing is for photographers. If you draw a lot and you are comfortable with Photoshop or similar software, you could license your art to people on the internet. This is a very creative field and it can be very lucrative if you find the right clients. Websites such as Art.com and Etsy have large audiences that will give your work plenty of exposure and potential revenue.

Amazon/Ebay/Shopify Merchant

This is one of the best businesses to start from home in 2018, because online retail has been on the rise in recent years, and the growth has been especially strong on platforms like Shopify that provide fast shipping and can support dropshipping platforms. Amazon is the world’s largest retail platform, and you can sell your products on there too – Amazon is not just for large retailers, this is a common misconception people have because they are so big. eBay might be worth exploring if you know how to source physical products for low prices and then re-sell them to the right people.

To give you an idea of what you can sell online, start by looking at Alibaba (the largest manufacturer website) and check out the top sellers there. You can directly contact them to create your own variation of a physical product, and let them ship for you from the plant so you don’t have to store products in a warehouse yourself. This is called dropshipping, and it’s made easy with platforms such as Shopify. The only downside is to Shopify is they make payments and dropshipping difficult for people outside the U.S. and Canada.

Affiliate Marketing Business

If you’re not interested in creating your own products or dropshipping, there are many ready-made product and service providers who will give you a commission for every sale they make (or in some cases, for every lead you provide) from someone you referred to them. This is called affiliate marketing. There are literally millions of products and services both in the digital and offline worlds that have an affiliate program, so the possibilities here are unlimited.  

To get started, check out popular affiliate websites like Clickbank and Maxbounty and apply to become an affiliate. These and similar sites have lots of different merchants whose products or services you can promote. Be sure to do your due diligence before promoting any offer to ensure that it is legitimate. There are a lot of scam offers out there, and you do not want to be associated with any of them, so do your homework, read plenty of reviews, and make sure the product or service is one you will be proud to represent.

Coaching Business

Everyone needs help with something, and this is one part of human nature that is never going to change. Increasingly, people are willing to pay someone to help them start a business, overcome a problem, or just generally improve their life (i.e., “life coaching”). If you have a marketable skill and/or some type of life experience that can help others in a significant way, you can charge by the hour as a coach. The only downside to coaching is that you have to invest a lot of time into setting up your business and marketing your services to prospects. You can start by offering this service to family and friends for a highly discounted rate in exchange for an honest review. This will help you build your experience and testimonials faster, so you can market to prospects outside your circle of influence.

Tutoring Business

Why not earn money by teaching people about something you’re passionate about? This is similar to coaching, except that it is more along the lines of teaching a skill rather than motivating someone to deal with a life challenge. These days, you don’t even have to find students who pay you by the hour, you can simply record tutorials and sell them online through sites like Teachable and Udemy. For instance, if you look at some Apple Swift courses that are offered for app and software developers, you’ll notice most teachers there are regular programmers who record themselves coding with Camtasia studio and charge between $50-$100 for a copy of their course. Some course provides earn in excess of $100K+ per course per year, and all they had to do was spend a few days recording videos. If you can code or have a marketable skill, you can make money not only on your work but also by teaching your skills to others. On-demand tuturing is huge, and it is only going to get bigger in 2018 and beyond.  

Start a Business in 2018These are just a few of the best businesses to start in 2018 from home. Many of those mentioned here require some creative skills and the ability to market your services online. There are countless other lucrative business models out there, both online and offline. The best business for you to start will depend largely on your own passion, skills, budget, other specific factors such as how much time you have to put into it. 2018 is going to be a great year for business. Find your niche, get started, and cash in on the booming economy.

 

 

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Good Business Ideas that Require a Low Investment

Low Cost Business IdeasWhat are some good business ideas with a low investment? Can you really get started in a viable business with a small investment? Most of the Fortune 500 companies today were started on a low investment. In fact, if you start out small, you will be forced to put in the work necessary to build your business, rather than using money to solve your problems. Sometimes, having a lot of startup capital can give you an excuse to spend money on things that will not grow your business. But when you are on a budget, you tend to focus on the tasks that really matter.

I picked out a few good business ideas with a low investment – each is applicable to individuals of all ages, but some will require more specialized skills. The important thing that they have in common, however, is that they require little or no start-up capital.

Vehicle Modifying Shop

Car repair shops are great if you have that skillset, and there are automotive franchises you can get into if you have the money to invest. But if you are on a limited budget, there is money to be made in “pimp my ride” type creative shops that can enhance the appeal of a vehicle. If you like to tinker with cars, this business model could be a good fit. Modifications apply not only to cars, but to smaller vehicles as well, and even non-motorized vehicles such as bikes, rollerblades, skateboards, etc. If you specialize in one of these, you could become the premier modification shop in your community, and this could bring you a lot of revenue to branch out and become bigger.

Internet Retail/E-Commerce

Out of all great business ideas with a low investment, E-commerce is one of the most attractive, because it can be run entirely out of your home office. You will not need much to get started, just enough to set up your online store and run some Facebook promotional campaigns to kick-start your business. You don’t even need to start with paid advertising if you don’t have the capital; there are plenty of ways to promote your E-commerce site for free.

If you have valuables to sell or you have a unique drop-ship method to sell a certain product at a higher markup than the market average, selling your product online can be very lucrative. You could start with a simple eBay or Shopify store and connect it to a payment processor and get paid whenever you make a sale. You can sell items like clothing, pet treats/food, comics, vintage tapes, and sports equipment. There are many “niches” to explore – for instance, rare coins for collectors.

Ice Block Making

Okay, I know what you’re thinking – ice block making? Really? True, this business is seasonal and would definitely work better if you live in a warmer climate such as Florida. That said, this is an interesting small business idea, especially for young adults and teenagers who want to gain business experience with no start-up investment. The only requirement for starting an ice block selling business is to purchase a machine that will make the ice and find a small space to set up shop. Your garage should do just fine, but make sure to check your local laws to ensure you are not in violation of any commercial zoning codes. For the right person in the right climate, this is one of the cheapest and easiest business ideas with a low investment.

Photography

Photography is a great low investment business idea for those with a passion for pictures. All you need to get started is some quality camera equipment, which these days, you can probably obtain for around $1000 or so. If you can niche yourself out and provide services that are not generic – such as wedding photography, you’ll be able to charge higher rates because you specialize in weddings exclusively. You’re also not restricted to working within your community because you could sell your work on photography websites such as iStock and Getty Images where people purchase professional images.

There is also the possibility to offer a range of graphic design services for weddings and other events, such as invitation cards, greeting cards, Christmas cards, etc. These usually thrive during Christmas season, Easter and Valentine’s Day but they’re also in-demand for birthdays year-round. If you can offer special bundle packages and better prices than your competitors, this can be a very profitable business model.

There are countless good business ideas that require a low investment and can produce an extra income fairly quickly. With most of these types of businesses, you will need more hustle in the beginning to make up for the small investment. Once you have cash flow, however, you can reinvest some of it and quickly expand your services.

If you have some cash to start with, or you can obtain cash from a family member, friend, or financier, another potential route is to consider a low-cost franchise opportunity. There are several franchises that require less than $50,000, or even less than $25,000 to get started. This allows you to get the benefits of an established franchise brand and proven business model, without the high costs typically associated with industries such as fast food.

 

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Good Business Ideas for Stay-At-Home Moms

Stay-at-Home Mom Business IdeasIf you’re a stay-at-home mom and want to make some money on the side or start your own business, there are numerous business models out there that can be started with a relatively low investment and can manage on the side while you focus on raising your family. If you can find a way to provide value to your community in even a small way, you might start earning more than you expected and decide to make it a full-time endeavor.

Before we start, we need to point out that it’s important to find your own niche. This will be determined by your individual life experience, certain skills you possess or interests/values you have that others may lack. If you are willing to honestly assess your strengths and weaknesses, this will bring you closer to the business model that best suits your passion, skills, and budget.

There are countless good business ideas for stay-at-home moms, here are just a few to get your creative juices flowing:  

Hair Care Product Business

The market for hair care products is huge – especially among women. A hair care business that is geared towards ladies in which you offer a variety of quality products is flexible and relatively easy to manage. This is a low-stress business because you can obtain the products through a supplier, and all you need to worry about is marketing them to your circle of influence. This is the type of business that can easily be run out of a home office, and Facebook is a great platform to grow your clientele. This can be done for free with a Facebook fan page and regular social activity on the site, or for cheap with Facebook paid advertising. There are other social media platforms such as Pinterest that can also be leveraged to build your business.

Handmade Gifts/Wrapping Business

If you specialize in a craft like knitting and know how to make unique gifts, you can start your own gift business and charge higher rates than factory-made gifts because they’re personalized. This is a great business idea for stay-at-home moms because you can use your passion to make a profit. You can start by selling your products online, and when you have more capital to invest, you may want to open a retail store or just sell products to friends and family out of your home.  

You can also offer gift-wrapping services as a good add-on business.  Gift-wrapping is a skill that cannot be outsourced to someone on the other side of the world – people will always need their gifts wrapped by someone locally. This is a very marketable skill and the demand is year-round because people have birthdays all the time, and sales will spike during the holiday season.

Mom & Pop Groceries Business

If you have extra space in your home or garage and there is a demand for groceries in your neighborhood, you can start your own small grocery store from home. Before going this route, you will need to check out the local zoning regulations and make sure you are on the right side of the law. With this type of business, you are not trying to compete with the large grocery store chains on inventory or even price. Instead, you are offering friends and neighbors a convenient option to pick up things they need on a regular basis without having to make a trip to the big stores. Another possible way to go with this idea is to start a dollar store. If you have some capital to invest, there are dollar store franchising opportunities that can allow you to get into this lucrative niche market.

Freelance Writing Business

Do you love to write but never thought you could make any money doing it? Think again. There is a whole digital world out there that has an insatiable demand for quality content. Freelance writing can be done entirely from your home office, and there are literally millions of potential clients you could write for. Think about all the organizations out there that have websites, blogs, email newsletters, social media posts, and other types of content. Many of these organizations don’t have the time to write all that themselves, and they need someone they can trust to handle it for them.

Freelance writing is a great business idea for a stay-at-home mom because all you really need is a blog or website, a writing portfolio to show clients and an effective marketing strategy. Your initial investment is minimal, and you could be writing for clients within a matter of days or weeks. Getting started as a freelance writer can be a bit of a challenge, and it is wise to invest in some good training to accelerate your success. The course we recommend is called the New Freelance Writer Starter Pack. This course teaches you everything you need to know about not only freelance writing, but how to land clients on Upwork, one of the world’s top freelancing sites. If you are thinking of going this direction, this course is definitely worth checking out.

There are many great business ideas for stay-at-home-moms that you can start from your home or at least allow you to stay close to home. They may not make you rich, but they can provide a steady flow of income to make your family’s financial situation more comfortable.

 

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Good Business Ideas for Young Adults

Young Adult Businesses What are some good business ideas for young adults who have little to no business experience/start-up capital, but wish to try their hand at business? Franchising is probably beyond your reach at the moment. However, there are a number of community-based businesses you could start with a low investment that could give you the capital necessary to branch out and build a bigger business. If you have a few thousand dollars saved up, that should be enough to get started with something that can give you invaluable entrepreneurial experience, and the chance to make a decent income in the process.

Here are five good business ideas for young adults that have a fairly low barrier to entry:

Car Washing/Detailing Business

Car washing is big business, and if you could become the premier car washing business in your community, you could eventually branch out into an automotive franchise or another related business. Cars are an integral component of American society, and everything that has to do with cars can be turned into a profitable business.

People need their cars washed efficiently (and for a low price) and this is one of those services that will always be in demand. If you could start a mobile car washing and/or detailing service or open up your own space where you can wash cars, you could gather enough money in your first several months to start growing and branching out. This is one of the most practical businesses for a young adult because it doesn’t require a lot of expertise – only hard work.

Delivery Business

If you have a driver’s license and a reliable vehicle, you can provide deliveries for everything from ice blocks to newspapers with your own delivery business (based on your community’ individual needs). Local delivery is a thriving business if you know how to take advantage of the unique needs of your community – especially if you know your way around your town and can deliver goods efficiently. You could even start a delivery business on your bicycle until you save enough money for a vehicle.

Computer Repair Business

If you’re a computer science or IT major, or you know a lot about fixing computers, you can start a computer repair service in your community. This is one of those services that is hard to outsource because people want their computers fixed immediately, and they often need someone to look at it in-person.  

The vast majority of American households now own a desktop or laptop computer, and the potential for business is nearly unlimited. You can also expand to retail by refurbishing old computers and reselling them on sites like eBay.

Pet Sitting Business

Pet sitting is a unique business model for young adults who know how to take care of pets and love spending time with animals. This business is popular in upscale communities where people can afford to pay for pet sitting while they’re on vacation. When well-off individuals people travel for business or leave for a vacation, they often hire a pet sitting service to take care of their pets. Services include walking, feeding and watching over animals. This is service is focused on a narrow “niche” market, but if you establish yourself among those you need this service, your business can quickly become profitable.

Tour Guide Business

If you have an extroverted personality and know your way around the historic sites in your city, you could start a tour/city guide business and offer tours to newcomers. Tours don’t have to be conservative, meaning they don’t always have to show the “standard” sites in your city – You could steal ideas from unique touring businesses such as the “Abandoned Warehouse” tours in Berlin, as long as you can find something interesting in your area that tourists would enjoy. City tours can bring in a lot of income, especially if you live in a large metropolitan area that attracts a lot of tourists.

These are just a few good business ideas for young adults to get their feet wet in the entrepreneurial world. If none of these fit your passion, there are countless other business opportunities out there. The important thing is to find something you enjoy doing, then see if there is a way to get other people to pay you to do it. If you have those two ingredients, chances are you have a viable business.

 

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Good Business Ideas for Small Towns

Small Town Business IdeasThere are many opportunities for starting a business in a small town that take advantage of the lack of competition, especially in areas that have to do with property maintenance, pets, and tourism. You can start these businesses with a relatively low investment and branch out when you have more money. There are also many opportunities for franchising in small towns, especially food and beverage-related businesses and businesses in the automotive industry.

Here are four good business ideas that work well in small towns:

Bed & Breakfast/Hostel

If you live in a scenic area with tourist potential, you can open your own “Bed & Breakfast” and offer accommodation to incoming tourists. You can also charge more than the market average if there are fewer accommodation options in the area. The same applies if you can provide guests a unique experience – such as if you live on a ranch where you have extra rooms and can offer options like hiking and horseback riding.  

In many rural areas, you can charge around $80-100 a night, which could significantly improve your financial situation if you have more rooms and charge for extras like horseback riding, renting bikes/cars and shooting ranges. This is also a fairly low-maintenance job that can be managed by someone who is on-site already. If you know how to effectively market your service on websites like Airbnb, this could become a great side business that could provide the capital to open other businesses, such as a hotel or restaurant.

Landscaping Business

Landscaping (e.g., lawn care, tree removal, tree care, plant maintenance, etc.) is always an in-demand business, especially in small towns where landscape maintenance is a necessity. This is also one of those great business ideas for small towns that young adults could start because there is not a lot of start-up capital required to purchase the equipment. This business will require hard work, however, and you will need to pound the pavement in the beginning to build your clientele.

In northern states, there are also seasonal opportunities that can accompany your landscaping business, such as snow plowing. If your area gets a lot of snowfall during the winter season, plowing can provide a great source of income during the cold months. Overall, landscaping/snow removal is one of the most potentially lucrative business models for small towns, because if word goes out that you’ve done a great job, you can quickly grow your accounts and ensure you are busy all the time.

Agricultural Machinery

If you live in a small town that is surrounded by a lot of rural areas where people like to shop for agricultural machinery, you can start your own shop that sells tractors and different kinds of farm implements. There are also many large manufacturers (e.g., John Deere) that you could affiliate with and sell their equipment. If you are in an area where there is a proven demand for agricultural machinery and equipment, you could get approved for a loan to start a large commercial shop where you sell this equipment to local farmers and ranchers.

Dog Breeding

If you enjoy taking care of animals, dog breeding may be an ideal business for you. Dogs are important in small towns because people use them for security and they are also used for hunting purposes. If you live in a rural area where there are a lot of dog owners, then you know they will need to replace those dogs every decade or so. In these types of areas, dog breeding is a lucrative and sustainable business model. A great add-on to a dog breeding business is pet boarding and pet grooming.

You could start this type of business on your own, or if you have more capital to invest, you could start a pet care franchise. Going the franchise route may require a higher initial investment, but this investment also allows you to represent an established brand with a proven business model that provides ongoing support. For some entrepreneurs, these factors are critical in ensuring the success of their startup business.

 

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Five Creative Small Business Ideas with Low Competition

Good Business IdeasWhat are some creative small business ideas that most people would not think of starting and where you won’t face rigid competition? Better yet, which of those small business ideas can you start with a relatively small investment? We have a few interesting ideas that might get you thinking about something you might want to start up in 2018.

Most of these small business ideas can be implemented in small towns – they’re not just for large metropolitan areas. You can implement variations of these business models in your town and see the results you get. Since they take very little capital to get started, they do not carry the same level of risk as many other types of small businesses.

 

  1. Rent A Bicycle Business

Bicycle BusinessThe “rent a bicycle” business model is one of the easiest businesses to start because all you need is a small brick and mortar store where you can display the bicycles and service your customers. If your city is in a fairly warm climate and attracts a lot of tourists, this can generate year-round revenue. If the biking infrastructure is well-developed in your city (most cities in the country are putting in more bike lanes and paths), this model could be especially lucrative. It is also a big plus if you live near hiking trails or similar scenic routes that attract a lot of tourists.

If you invest in mountain bikes, you can charge higher rates and bill customers on an hourly basis. Consider setting up a website and marketing to people in your area to raise awareness (unless your location is already heavily trafficked and you don’t need to do marketing). This is one of the most creative small business ideas and relatively low-risk because your investment can be as low as five figures, and you may be able to recover your initial investment within a matter of months. As soon as you are cash-flow positive, you can start thinking about expanding your services to sell bikes for large manufacturers and/or opening more locations across your state.  

 

  1. Coffee Making Business

Coffee BusinessCoffee is always in demand, and if you’re passionate about brewing coffee, you can start a coffee shop in your town and even offer delivery services similar to a pizza shop. Coffee is always profitable because it’s the most consumed drink in the country. In addition, major chains like Starbucks and Caribou have conditioned consumers to pay very high prices for a cup of coffee. You could start this type of business just doing delivery out of your home, undersell the big players, and still have very profitable margins. Later, when you have the capital to invest, you can rent a small shop with some tables for people to come in and enjoy their coffee. Once you reach this point, you will be well on your way to building a lucrative business.  

 

  1. Cookie Selling Business

Cookie BusinessSimilar to coffee, cookies are loved by almost everyone, and this is one of those businesses that can be started by teenagers/young adults or older adults. If you are interested in baking cookies, you can open your own shop or even start selling cookies out of your home. It is not too hard to bake cookies, and if you have a “secret” family recipe that everybody loves, it might turn out more profitable than you imagine. If you have more capital to invest, there are also some cookie franchises you could become affiliated with.

 

  1. Gift Hamper Business

Gift Hamper BusinessIf you can create a business that specializes in the sale of hampers, you can benefit from a lot of seasonal market uptick because people exchange these all the time during Christmas/New Years and they purchase a lot for their extended families/business partners/customers, etc. There are many periods throughout the year where people purchase gifts (usually in large quantities), and if you can become the premier service in your area during those periods, you’ll make enough money to support yourself for the rest of the year. This is also one of those creative small business ideas that can be started by young adults – as long as they are creative about their packages and know how to source out individual products.

 

  1. Photography Business

Photography BusinessIf you have exceptional photography skills (or you have a friend or family member who does), you can start a profitable photography business. Some shy away from this business model because everyone has a camera in their pocket these days. That is true, but people still want professional photos for events such as weddings, birthday parties, and school pictures. One of the best aspects of this business is that all you need to get started is a camera, laptop, photo editing software and a website to promote your service. Photography businesses can be started by young adults too, and as you grow your business, you can also affiliate with large camera makers such as Canon and Nikon to sell cameras in your area.

 

These are just a handful of small business ideas to get your creative juices flowing. There are numerous additional creative business ideas you could come up with to get into the entrepreneurial game. And if you are in the U.S., experts forecast strong economic growth for 2018, so this may be the ideal time to get into business for yourself.

If you want to be in business for yourself and you’re not necessarily the creative type, a franchise business might be more suitable for you. Franchisors cost more to become affiliated with, but they also allow you to represent an established brand name and give you a proven business model. They also provide strong support, because when you become a franchise owner, their reputation depends on your success, so they have a vested interest in helping you succeed.

 

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Tax Reform and Franchises: How the New Legislation May Impact your Business

Tax ReformLast week, Congress and the President delivered what many view as a Christmas present before leaving town for vacation; the most sweeping tax reform legislation since the Reagan years. The Tax Cut and Jobs Act makes numerous changes to both individual and business tax rates, and restaurants and retail trade groups have hailed the new legislation, saying it will help businesses in their industries.

Not everyone is a fan of the new tax reform bill, however. Democrat politicians and their allies call the bill a huge tax break to the wealthy on the backs of everyone else. The reality is that the tax reform bill lowers taxes on almost everyone, though it is true that corporations are the largest beneficiaries.

So how will tax reform impact franchise businesses? Thus far, there is not a clear answer to this question. This is a complicated piece of legislation, and there are a lot of moving parts. For this reason, it will take several months before we know the full impact it will have on the franchising industry.

Here is a list of some of the major highlights of the tax reform legislation, and what these changes might mean to small businesses:

Reduction in the Corporate Tax Rate

C Corporations are the biggest winners in the tax reform bill. The legislation lowers the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%, making the U.S. corporate rate competitive with most other countries. This rate cut is permanent, giving corporations a predictable tax environment for the foreseeable future. With the corporate rate now lower than tax rates for other types of business entities, you may see more franchises opting to form C Corporations, rather than Limited Liability Companies (LLCs), S Corporations, or partnerships.

Tax Cuts for “Pass Through” Entities

Currently, about 95% of all American businesses, including most franchises, are “Pass Through” entities in which the income of the entity passes through directly to the owners and is taxed at their individual rate. Examples include the entities mentioned above such as Limited Liability Companies (LLCs), S Corporations, partnerships, and sole proprietorships. Though they did not get as big a break as C Corporations, “Pass Through” entities were not left out. These types of entities will have their tax bill lowered by 20%.

Increased Equipment Expensing and Bonus Depreciation

One area of the tax reform bill that directly affects many franchise owners is the ability to expense up to $1 million annually for qualified equipment, up from $500,000, with the phaseout threshold raised from $2 million to $2.5 million. Bonus depreciation is also raised from 50% to 100%, meaning businesses are now able to deduct 100% of the cost of eligible property the year it is placed into service, rather than depreciate it over a period of years. These changes provide incentives for franchisees to upgrade more of their equipment during a time when it is increasingly important to automate their systems.

Overall Economic Impact

Perhaps the most significant potential benefit for franchisees and other business owners provided by tax reform is its impact on the overall economy. In the second and third quarters of 2017, the U.S. economy experienced two consecutive quarters of economic growth in excess of 3% of GDP. This was the first time this occurred since 2014. This level of growth has already created hundreds of thousands of new jobs, providing more disposable income for consumers. If tax reform goes as planned, growth could exceed 4% or even 5% of GDP in 2018 and in subsequent years. If this occurs, franchisees across the board will be boosted, and we could see thousands of new entrepreneurs taking advantage of the favorable conditions and getting into the franchise game.

 

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Buying a Subway Franchise? Why You May Want to Reconsider

SubwayIn 2010, Subway overtook McDonald’s to become the world’s largest fast-food franchise chain. Subway now has around 25,000 locations worldwide, about 10,000 more than its closest competitor McDonald’s. So being the number one fast food chain in the world, and the fact that they are well-branded and make good, healthy food, why wouldn’t you want to buy a Subway franchise?

Here’s the problem. Being number one can be a double-edged sword. Yes, they are the best-known sandwich shop in the world and most locations are busy during a typical day, but to become #1, they have bordered on cannibalizing themselves. Here is an example of what I mean.

In the town close to where I live, there is a population of roughly 25,000 people. In that town, they have four Subways. And in one particular area, there is a Subway inside of a Walmart, and another standalone Subway just down the street. This type of situation is typical – most medium-sized towns have multiple Subway locations, more than is needed to support the demand.

Market Competition Eating Away at Margins

Another problem when you are the world’s #1 fast food chain is everyone is gunning for you. Subway really came into their own in the late 1980s, and from that time until just a few years ago, they had expanded rapidly. However, for the first time in years, the number of Subway locations declined in 2016.

One of the major problems Subway is having is heavy competition from the likes of Jimmy John’s, Jersey Mike’s, Firehouse Subs, and Which Which. Because consumers have so many other choices out there, Subway has seen customer traffic plummet by 25% over the past five years. This, combined with rising minimum wages in many areas of the country has resulted in much slimmer profit margins.

How bad is the problem for Subway? Just the other day, the New York Post reported that Subway is in the midst of a franchisee revolt over their upcoming $5 foot-long promotion. For the past several years, Subway has run their $5 foot-long promotion for the first two months of the year. The company believes they need to keep this promotion going to compete with McDonald’s, which has its own 2-items for $5 menu, and even a 2-items for $3 menu.

Many franchisees, however, do not see it that way. More than 400 Subway franchisees signed a petition protesting the $5 foot-long deal that is scheduled to start in January. They contend that the national promotion has “decimated” franchisees and left many of them “unprofitable and even insolvent.”

So what is the solution to Subway’s woes? Many franchisees say they need to be much bolder with their menu. As a consumer and occasional Subway customer, I tend to agree with this. Subway is way too conservative with its menu offerings, and they haven’t done nearly enough to introduce newer and more exciting food choices in recent years. This, I believe, has earned them a reputation of being kind of bland. Yes, Subway is a “safe” choice for lunch or dinner, but they don’t really have much on the menu that makes people want to come in and give them a try.

Should You Buy a Subway Franchise?

So is it a good idea to get into a Subway franchise? Well, maybe. They are still a very well-established brand, and a lot of their locations are profitable. If you have the capital to invest, they might be worth the risk with the thinking that the company will “right the ship” in the near future and profits will rise again. In fact, if you believe this and you have the money, now might be a great time to grab a franchise or three at a bargain price. There are, however, many potentially better ways to direct your capital.

These days, there are numerous franchise opportunities not just for fast food, but in many other industries as well. And some have great profit potential with much lower barriers to entry. For example, you could start a senior care or cleaning franchise for far less capital than a food franchise, with the same (or better) profit potential.

Which franchise is right for you? The answer to this question is different for everybody. For some, a Subway franchise might be the right fight. Others might want to get into automotive, children’s services, or something else. The important thing is to find out what type of business you think you would like to be in and speak with someone who can help you find what you are looking for.

At National Franchise Business Solutions, we have access to over 600 franchise brands across a wide range of industries. Through a multi-step process, we provide free, unlimited consulting to match candidates with the business model that best suits your passion, skills, and budget. If you are looking for a franchise business to get into in the New Year, we invite you to contact us and let us help you find the business that fits you best.

 

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10 Good Business Ideas to Start from Home

Good Business IdeasThere is nothing like having a successful home-based business. I’ve been working out of my home for years, and you can’t beat the freedom and flexibility this type of lifestyle offers. Another major benefit is the tax write offs. Operating a business from home opens the door to numerous tax deductions you could never take advantage of as a standard employee. Many people find the work-from-home lifestyle attractive, but they have difficulty finding a good business idea they can operate out of a home office.

2018 is shaping up to be a great year for the U.S. economy, and that means more opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs to get into a good home-based business. There are countless good business ideas to start from home. Here are 10 that are easy to get into and can help you make money right away:

Driving for Uber or Lyft

I know what you’re thinking – hauling passengers around town in your car all day is the furthest thing from your dream job. I get it. But consider the benefits of being an Uber or Lyft driver. There is an extremely low barrier to entry (as in, all you need is an acceptable vehicle, insurance, decent driving record, and clean criminal history), there is almost zero cost to get started, you can work whenever you want, and you can earn cash immediately. Though it might not be a good business idea for the long-term, it is a great side business you can start to earn steady income while you are working on your true passion.

Senior Care Provider

As a work-from-home elder care provider, you can make daily house calls to seniors in your community to check up on them, do light housekeeping, cook meals, help them shop for groceries, or just provide general companionship. With the Baby Boomers retiring and 10,000 of them turning 65 every day, the market for clients is virtually limitless. If you are on a limited budget, you can start this as a personal service you provide and charge somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 to $25 per hour, depending on your location. If you have some capital to invest and really want to go big with this, consider partnering with an established and reputable senior care franchise brand.

Home Inspector

The U.S. housing market is heating up again in most areas of the country. And one critical step in the home-buying process is the home inspection. This makes it one of the best business ideas to start from home in 2018. Requirements to become an inspector vary by state, and if you have a background in real estate or construction, this is a major plus. Of course, it is also helpful to know others in the real estate industry as this is where your clients will come from.

Home Stager

Another way to capitalize on the thriving real estate market is as a home stager. If you have an eye for design and enjoy decorating the insides of homes, this could be a great business for you. A background as an interior decorator is extremely helpful, and as with the home inspection business, knowing people in the real estate world will be highly beneficial in building your clientele.

Handyman

Homeowners have continuous needs for small repairs around the house. And since many in the construction industry are too busy these days to take on smaller jobs, this provides a perfect opening for a handyman business. If you are handy around your own house, you may have what it takes to make it with this type of home business. All you need to get started is a good set of tools and perhaps a van or large pickup truck to keep them in. What makes this a really good business idea is the ability to market your services right out of the gate on sites like Craigslist and Takl. There are also handyman franchise opportunities for those who want a complete business plan with comprehensive guidance and support.

Bookkeeper/Tax Preparer

There are millions of small businesses these days, with new ones starting every day. One thing they all need is a bookkeeper. Many try to do this themselves, but they soon find out that this is a task that is far better outsourced to a professional. If you have a background in accounting, becoming a bookkeeper and tax preparer for small businesses is a good home-based business idea that you can quickly build a steady income with. You can use Craigslist to start building your clientele – just email local businesses that are advertising their services there and put your own ad there. This strategy alone should get you some new clients.

Personal Organizer

Are you one of those “Type A” personalities that loves to organize rooms and closets just for fun? If so, why not offer your services to your friends and neighbors and get paid to do what you love? People are overwhelmed these days, and many cannot find time to keep their homes organized. Become a provider by listing your services on Craigslist and Takl and you’ll be in business.

Graphic Designer

Businesses have a constant need for graphic designers to create logos, infographics, and other visual elements for their online and offline marketing campaigns. If you are the creative type, graphic design is a good business idea that you can start from home and market your services through freelance sites such as Upwork.

Web Developer

As of the end of 2017, nearly half of all businesses still don’t have a website. This provides a massive opportunity for someone with the technical skills to capitalize. Keep in mind also that web design is only the beginning of the web development opportunity. Once their site is live, they need content, search engine optimization (SEO), videos, social media pages, and a mobile web presence to truly establish a digital footprint. You can help businesses with these and many other services, and make a very nice living doing so.

Copywriter

Think about all the content that is out there these days – from traditional TV and radio ads to magazine ads to direct response sales letters to countless forms of digital content. Someone has to create all that content, and if a business does not have an in-house writer, then they need to look for a quality copywriter to do the job for them. There are numerous ways you can enter the freelance copywriting world. One course I really like is the New Freelance Writer Starter Pack. For an investment of around $500, you get everything you need to develop the skills and start landing clients with your new home-based writing business. If you have always loved to write but never thought you could get paid to do it, this might be the home-based business idea for you.

Choosing the right franchiseThis is just a sampling of the numerous good business ideas you can start from home. There are countless other business models out there, and there is no “one size fits all” model that suits everyone. The best place to start is by honestly evaluating your own passions, skills, and budget. Once you are clear on what you really want, then you will be ready to start looking at which home-based business ideas might be right for you.

 

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