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Shoestring Startups

[ 0 ] Apr. 1, 2009 | SBO Editor

You don’t need big bucks to bankroll your startup. We’ve rounded up 20 businesses you can start for $100 or less. With a home-based launch, you’ll save on overhead. We present these small business concepts as food for thought. Conduct your own due diligence research to determine if the enterprise could work in your region. Charge what your market will bear.

Errand Service–If you’re organized and detail oriented, start an errand service helping small businesses, biz owners, harried single parents and just about anyone else get things done.

Pet Walker–All you need is a love of animals and a good reputation to start this business. Charge by the visit. Print up a flyer and start distributing.

Lawns and Landscapes–Start your own lawn cutting, weed cleanup, plant service. Call other businesses in your area that offer these services and see what they charge. Develop your plan of action.

Garage Cleaning & Organizing–Clean a few garages in your area and positive word-of-mouth will carry you all the way to the bank.

Sell Goods Online–Don’t think you can’t make a mint doing this. You just need to follow through. Be a good seller, develop great feedback and ship right away. Look around you. There are great things to sell. Visit eBay.com and start doing research.

Concierge Service–Contact local businesses, community groups and other organizations. Ask if they could benefit from hiring you as their “sometimes” concierge. You’d help the senior citizens group get a bus and tickets to a play; you’d book airline trips and vacations for busy executives; you’d help the local literary club plan an outing to a historic site.

Sell Something–Develop a product that people want and start saturating the marketplace–or the local flea market–with it. Go online and do a search for products you can buy at wholesale prices and sell at a nice profit.

Mail Order–You can start your own mail order business. Find a product and start selling. Place ads.

Junk Removal–A lot of people have junk and “stuff” in their homes and yards but can’t cart it away. They don’t have a pickup or the discipline to get the job done. You can do it for them. Call the local dump/recycling center and set up a schedule for pickups, etc.

Parking Lot Pickup–You contact local businesses and offer to clean their parking lots at night/weekends. Charge for the lot or by the hour. All you need is a broom and some garbage bags.

Start A Website Biz–Go online and start learning how to develop your own website. Once you have it, you can sell things from it or just run interesting information and carry ads from others. If you can build a great audience, businesses will want to advertise on your site.

Apartment/House Cleaning–O.K. it doesn’t sound new or very different, but it works. It seems that no matter how many cleaning services pop up, there are always customers to jump on your bandwagon. Once you develop good word of mouth, customers will be calling you.

Holiday Decorating–If you’re handy with decorations, arrange some setups and take photos. Start a website promoting your holiday service to commercial and residential customers or make appointments to show them your photo portfolio.

Move-In Service–If you’ve ever moved, you know how tough it is to move in and clean up in just a couple of days. You can start a business offering to do the cleaning before folks move in; see if you can tie in with a couple of moving companies that would help you promote this business.

Assembly Service–Many people love to shop but hate to cart things home that aren’t already assembled. You start the business and ask local businesses to distribute your business cards.

Delivery Service–There are many stores ranging from supermarkets to nurseries that don’t offer delivery service. They are losing customers by not providing this. You come in and offer to do the job with your own delivery service.

Meal Delivery–Plenty of people would pay to have the local fast food place, the local hero place or restaurant deliver a lunch or dinner. You can do it. Investigate food heaters and/or coolers to be state of the art or pack the meals in insulated bags.

Inventory Service–How many times have you or a friend said, “Wow, I have to make a list of what’s in my home/apartment for insurance purposes in case there is ever a fire or robbery.” Who has the time to do it? Start your inventory service and market it to residential and commercial customers. A laptop would be a big help and a digital camera, but start small.

Boat/Car Detailing–Car owners are fanatics about their vehicles and so are boat and plane owners. Investigate the products and start your own detailing biz. Check out Bill Rancic’s book, “You’re Hired” and read how he started his own boat detailing business.

Small Biz Vacation Fill-In Employee–There are so many small business owners who can never take a vacation because there is no one to fill in for them. Many don’t need someone to run the entire venture, just be a body to answer a phone and be available if an emergency comes up. You can be that person and roam from biz to biz.

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Category: Magazine, Start Your Own Business, Start Your Own Business Spring 2009