Setting up your own business requires a lot of passion, hard work, and of course, considerable start-up money. There are many ways to finance your dream venture - there’s self-financing, bank loans, crowdfunding, angel investors, grants, government programs (i.e., Vocational Rehabilitation), and more. Whichever way you take, the tricky part is determining which business will be worth your capital. Funding a business is a risk, you can only hope that whatever amount you shell out will grow at least a hundredfold.
Many are brave enough to empty their pockets to become an entrepreneur, don’t splurge just yet. While many businesses require millions of dollars like gasoline stations, convenience stores and fast food franchises, there are also endeavors that cost much less. Here’s a sample roundup of profitable businesses that you can start for less than $10,000.
While some of these may be intriguing ideas, it's also worth pointing out that passion for the business you want to start plays a big part. Having that passion will help get you up in the morning when you don't quite have the energy.
1. Food Business
If there’s one business that never goes out of season, it’s food. Instead of setting up a full-scale restaurant, you can start with a food cart and set it up in busy, crowded areas. Or you can also start a home-based business where you can cook great food in your own kitchen and deliver it to your increasing client base.
Come up with delicious, unique and affordable food choices. Scratch off the usual hotdog or burger offerings from your menu and create a signature, one-of-a-kind cuisine. Experiment before you roll out, do a taste test and gather feedback. Explore food options and come up with a flagship product that will differentiate you from the rest.
Gain fame in your local community by being present in fairs, festivals, farmers markets, and other events. Utilize social media (Instagram and Facebook) platforms to introduce your mouth-watering menu to the public. Entice them with compelling promos. Build customer loyalty through great food and customer service. Word of mouth remains to be the best means to make your business known.
If you opt to do a home-based food business, you can offer a wide range of products from packed diet meals, baked goodies and more. Have it delivered or ask your customer to pick it up. No need for a physical store to keep your business running.
2. Collection Agency
Many financing companies suffer undue stress because of uncollected debts. Instead of earning from interests and getting their capital back, funds get stuck with delinquent debtors. And it’s not easy to remind people, much more force them, to settle their liabilities. This is where you come in, to do the gritty work.
Acquire the knowledge and skills that will enable you to efficiently collect money in legal and ethical ways. Study the laws that govern debt collection, this way, you can uphold the rights of both your client and their debtees.
Form a collections team and teach them proven collection techniques, harassment the least of them. Create strategies that will encourage people to pay. Send demand letters, make systematic phone calls using proven collection spiels. You can also offer debt restructuring that is mutually beneficial to both parties. While this may not always work (for realistically, there will still be stubborn, irresponsible individuals), remember that laws are in place for when drastic measures need to be carried out.
Big companies usually have their own collections team. So, you may tap local companies first who need an extra hand in getting their money back. Local medical establishments such as rehabilitation offices are a good niche to tap. Places where clients don't necessarily need to pay as they leave because of insurance possibilities are a great place to start. Owed money is not lost money, prove this mantra and you will become one of your client’s most valuable assets.
3. Pet Grooming and Pet Walking
Another business you can consider is pet grooming. You can rent a place so people know where to find you or you can go mobile and do house-to-house with your grooming supplies in tow.
There are many pet owners who don’t have time to do the grooming themselves. You can relieve them from this chore. Aside from genuine love for pets, you have to skilled at this. Grooming pets is a learnable skill. The National Dog Groomers Association of America offers both training and certification.
Increase your customers by advertising your services to your local community. Approach pet owners at the park and hand out flyers, create buzz through social media, create promotions or tie-up with pet shops and pet supply stores. Beyond that, it is excellent service that will make you the favorite pet groomer in town.
4. Events Planning
Sure, events are fun but the preparations can be tedious. Take away this burden from people who have no time, energy or skills to work behind-the-scenes for their special day. Event planning is a business that does not require too much capital, yet it can bring so much joy because it allows you to create lifelong memories.
In this business, a good portfolio is essential and for newbies, this may be a challenge. Offer your services first to people who already trust you, like family and friends. Organize birthday parties for them, weddings, baptisms and other family affairs. You are building your reputation along the way. Document these events and compile them for your portfolio so it would be easier to close a deal with individuals or companies you do not know.
Eventually, you can also venture into floral designing or a party supplies business.
5. Travel Agency
A travel & tours agency is a lucrative source of income. Make traveling hassle-free for people with wanderlust. Book flights and hotel accommodations, offer affordable tour packages and more. Guide people as they explore the world! And get great perks along the way such as free travel, experience work and pleasure at its best.
This kind of business does not demand big capital for your customers can pay at least half of the cost of the trip beforehand. This business requires the innate love for the outdoors, the energy, the drive to explore and convince others to join you in the big adventure.
For the longevity of your business, it is wise to get an insurance in case an emergency happens. Get the necessary license to operate as well as the mandatory permits necessary to explore tourist attractions. Flexibility is also a required skill as mishaps are sometimes unavoidable in the field.
Make your business known by joining travel fairs or posting enviable travel photos on your social media pages. Offer travel packages or even installment options, if you have the means to. Make sure you tap the right target market for your services. Some people are willing to splurge on a holiday and they will need someone like you to make the journey memorable.
6. Portrait/ Events Photography
Photos preserve memories. If you are a photographer, you can expand your reach by creating your own company and managing your own team of photographers. Invest on a studio for portrait shots and have a trained team ready to go out for birthdays, weddings and other occasions.
With this business, you will need to invest on good equipment and you will have to upgrade them as technology evolves. Apart from this, other expenses to operate are manageable. If you are skilled enough to offer photography classes, it can be another avenue to earn.
Build a portfolio of past events to gain the trust of your future clients. Eventually, you can expand to also selling photography supplies and equipment.
7. Commercial Real Estate Broker
There is money in real estate. Admittedly, it is hard to sell a piece of property and it may take a while before you do. But once you close a deal, it is lucrative.
You have to be a licensed real estate broker before you start finding potential customers. And the competition among colleagues is tougher than ever. It takes a lot of experience to be a skilled real estate agent and you must never run out of persistence and patience.
Build a wide network of prospects, join organizations and associations where your target market is. Showcase your properties digitally or create open house events. You can also advertise on the local newspaper. Yes, it can be tough but it can also be very rewarding.
8. Human Resource and Manpower Services
There are companies who prefer to outsource their employees or some just don’t have the capacity to hire a full-time HR personnel. By offering them manpower services, you not only provide them with skilled workers but you also remove the trouble of handling payroll, employee benefits and even complaints. Having an agency allows them to focus more on their products and business processes.
In this type of business, you get a cut from employee salary. The more company deals you close, the higher the income can be.
9. Graphic Designer and Marketer
Another low capital business is graphic designer services. All you would usually need is your skills, a savvy computer and licensed software. Projects can be submitted digitally and the client can send feedback the same way. While face-to-face meetings is sometimes required, this type of business allows you to work at home in your own space, at your own time.
Designs can vary from logos, website content, event and products posters among others.
10. Hauling Services
Moving out of the house and transferring to a new abode can be a nightmare. And for sure, you will need a bigger vehicle to transport all the stuff you have accumulated all this time. Such is the relief offered by hauling services which can also extend to transporting various products, debris and even garbage.
In this type of business, your biggest investment is a hauling truck. The challenge is how to transport them timely and safely.
There are many other low capital businesses you can explore. That includes landscaping, tutoring services (academic subjects, arts and crafts, music), transcription and translation services, child care, clothing alterations, essential oils and soap-making and hair and make-up services.
Make sure you have the right skills and corresponding licenses necessary to operate. Overall, find your passion and start a business you will have fun doing. That alone will take you a long way. If you are interested in any of these ideas, do more research. Often-times YouTube is a great place to explore an idea and how to do something.