Business opportunities are everywhere, and it’s the truly successful among us that recognize them and seize the opening. Finding an affordable opportunity? Well, that might prove a bit more difficult. For starters, what’s your definition of affordable? How hard are you willing to work?
The United States has a reputation (whether it’s deserved is open to debate) for providing ample opportunity and chance of success to virtually anyone willing to put in the effort. It’s the American Dream. Whether you buy into that or not, because of its size (both geography and population) and relative wealth, the odds are at least decent.
But where to look?
Existing Franchises and Businesses
For some, the idea of launching a new business from scratch is too intimidating. For those people, buying a franchise or other existing business may be the best choice, and it could still be considered “affordable” by most definitions. By the time you consider start-up costs, and the time you spend building a new business (its reputation and customer base), the cost of buying an established business might be cheap by comparison.
Entrepreneur’s Top Ten Franchises for 2014 range from $37,000 at the very low end, to $13.5 million at the very top (for a Hampton Hotel). Five of the top ten have a (low end) start-up cost below $150,000, and that buys you an established and successful brand from the get-go. Read How to Buy an Existing Franchise for more information.
Buying an existing business gets you the same thing - an established brand with existing customers and revenue. Check business directories, Craigslist, and local business brokers for opportunities in your area, and read How to Acquire an Existing Business for more details.
Make It Easier For Someone
If you’re not afraid of a little hard work (and let’s be honest, launching a business is a LOT of hard work), then you can consider starting your own new business. And if the main criteria up front is “affordable”, then your options are a bit more limited.
Launching a business that requires specialized skills that you don’t have (and would require going back to school to get), or ridiculously high start-up costs for facilities and/or production, can immediately be eliminated. So, what does that leave us with?
Making lives easier.
The most affordable business opportunities these days include ideas and services that make lives easier. Think about things that people don’t like to do, or feel they can’t do, or just don’t want to do. Make a list. Include the things that you yourself can’t, don’t like, or don’t want to do on a separate list (things appearing on both lists are fine...in fact, that’s the whole point. If you hate it, you’ll probably not want to launch a business doing it, so you can scratch off the things appearing on both lists).
A few examples:
· Lawn care/Snow Removal
· Virtual and Online Assistant
· Shopping - groceries, clothes, gifts
· Running Errands
· Pet grooming and walking
· Writing and Editing
· Small Home Repairs
These examples could all be turned into simple and affordable businesses. Provide a service that reduces or eliminates the things that many people can’t or don’t want to do, and you’ve got a successful business. Mow the lawn, rake the leaves, and shovel the driveways of elderly clients in your town or city (or younger ones that just don’t want to do it). Offer your services as a “personal shopper”, picking up and delivering groceries, gifts, clothes, or whatever. Set up a driving service for people without a car, without a license, or simply unable to drive themselves anymore. A cleaning service is one of the cheapest to set up, but always in demand (most people hate cleaning). Dog walking, pet sitting, and pet grooming are also in demand (and getting bigger every year), and you can do it all from your home. Have good writing and/or editing skills? Company websites and blogs constantly need new material to post. Pretty good with your hands? Become your neighbourhood handyman using tools and skills you already possess.
The list is endless. People are willing to pay to get out of doing something they can’t or simply don’t want to do. Fill that void, provide that service, and you’re earning money quickly. Identify the need, advertise your service, and get to work.
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