Unpacking Small Business Ideas:
Which One Works?

There are countless small business ideas floating around out there, but how do you know which one will work for you? How can you figure out if all those great small business ideas you have will actually be profitable to you? Here’s how.

Look Around for Small Business Opportunities


Your head may already be crammed full of ideas for running a business, but not all of those ideas are profitable. Your initial strategy in narrowing down your list of ideas for a small business should be to look around you. What service or product could you provide in your neighborhood that would fill a need? How can you profit by providing something your neighbors don’t already have? This is where you begin building a list of small business ideas.

Here are some possibilities:

  • Home-based childcare
  • Errand runner
  • Event planner
  • Accounting
  • Computer repair
  • Cleaning service

Narrow Your List of Small Business Ideas


Now you can start narrowing down your list. Cross off all the ideas that simply don’t interest you or that you can’t pull off on your own. Be realistic in making your selections. You’ll easily spot the ideas that just won’t work, for one reason or another.

For example, you may not have the skill or the money required in order to start a particular type of business. Both of these problems have potential solutions.

Honing Your Self-Employment Skills


If you look around and see a need that’s not being filled but you lack the skill necessary to fill that need, you could always seek to expand your education. Self-employment requires a wide variety of skills, from the skill necessary to provide the service to other skills associated with running a business, like accounting, marketing, or customer service.

Consider taking classes in any area you are lacking in skill. You might also consider outsourcing (not necessarily offshoring) some of the tasks of your business, where you lack expertise, or just don’t have the time to do. This could be done with very minimal cost, and it must be considered at different stages of building and running your business.

Funding Your Small Business


Perhaps you don’t have the capital needed in order to start a certain type of business. If this is the case, then you might want to cross it off the list. However, you should consider other funding options before doing this. The Small Business Administration could be a good source for funding in some cases.

You’ll need to show that your small business startup will be profitable so that you can pay off the loan. If you are not comfortable getting a loan or you simply can’t secure funding, then there are plenty of other opportunities that do not require working capital up front.

Starting a Small Business


Your mind is probably already racing with all of the small home business ideas you’re thinking of right now, but slow down for a moment and really think about what you want to do.

Running a business can be difficult, especially if you don’t have a passion for what you’re doing. However, self-employment can also be very rewarding if the product or service you select is something you can get behind personally. Take some time and sort through your small business ideas carefully so that you can choose the right business.


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