If you are working to start your own business or looking for new business avenues for your current small business, here are seven low-investment business ideas you can try today.
The below business ideas are a great starting point for beginners or entrepreneurs who’d like to diversify their current product portfolio.
These business ideas are focused on low initial investment. Let’s look at each of them in detail.
Start a dropshipping business
In a nutshell, dropshipping is a retail business model, where you only focus on branding, sales, and customer service. The fulfillment and shipment are outsourced to your suppliers and partners.
The beauty of this small business model is you are free to try multiple products and suppliers, test new products, try new product lines without much investment in inventory.
If you choose to launch into a dropshipping enterprise, monitor the consistency of product quality, packaging, and shipping times with your suppliers.
Create and sell digital assets
Doing photography as a hobby? It’s relatively easy to turn it into a small business. And it is not about setting up a photo studio. It’s about selling your photos online.
Photos are an example. But you can experiment with video clips, music tracks, video elements like overlays, or even presets or templates to use in any creative software, from editors to illustrators.
You can go granular. Ready-to-use Instagram templates or TikTok video export presets for the major editing program may be interesting to add to your digital products.
Setting up an e-commerce site selling digital assets or virtual downloads involves the same steps you’d need for a regular retail e-store. You need an e-commerce platform like Shopify or WordPress or any other e-commerce platform of your choosing.
With digital assets, you need to get storage for the downloads. You can either purchase more hosting space with your site’s hosting company or try cloud services like Amazon or Digital Ocean’s Object Storage.
You may be tempted to send some of your work to stock libraries like Shutterstock or iStock. These and similar libraries pay between 10-25% off each sale of your creative asset (this is mostly about video clips and photos).
If you build templates, check marketplaces like Envato, where you can start selling your work in addition to your e-commerce site.
Write a book
Dreaming of writing a book? You may consider it as a small business idea too.
Before jumping into writing another sci-fi novel, do some research. For example, see the most popular book categories on Amazon to understand demand in the market.
Cookbooks, comic books, photo books and guides are popular categories to start with. If you print your book with services like Blurb, which can also help distribute the book in print and digital format.
Your book can also serve as solid marketing material for your site or brand. Check Close.com – a provider of sales CRM solutions – which distributes several free books about different aspects of the sales process, from setting up successful sales team to sales closing techniques.
Start a training course
With a lot of any industry expertise, you can start a training course and sell it as a separate downloadable product or a subscription.
Your investment may also include some video and audio gear to set up your recording studio. Starting with screen grabs and voice-over baked into videos may also be a good first step.
Getting your video course online is easy with platforms like Wistia. Or you can sell your courses as virtual assets, like the digital asset idea from above.
Same story here. Some research will be needed to understand what will be useful enough for people to want to pay for the training and courses.
Set up a fashion boutique
You always wanted to have a clothing brand? It’s actually a low-investment business idea. You don’t have to be a fashion designer to start a fashion e-commerce boutique.
Start with a select number of clothing brands and become their distributor. Curate your product lines, hire a couple of models that are reflective of your ideal audience, set up the e-store, publish products, and do some advertising.
Look at our SEM/SEO agency. We have over ten years of experience in managing paid and organic search campaigns. We have worked with a lot of Canadian and U.S. businesses from the clothing, food, nutrition, and digital asset industries. We have done SEO and SEM work for several pharma and insurance companies. We also worked on lead generation and customer acquisition campaigns for two SaaS companies. We also worked on several high-traffic blogs and did work for sites with advanced content marketing practices.
We now sell this experience as a service – Search Engine Marketing. If you have an expertise or a lot of experience in a field, you can package it into a set of services and start promoting it to your ideal customers.
Build an audience to monetize
It’s an idea that will require some time, though. But it’s a promising exercise. Building an audience as a Youtuber, or Instagram, or TikTok influencer is a tedious process that requires a lot of patience.
Building an audience involves a lot of focus and consistency about how you interact with your audience. Publishing content at regular intervals, testing new content types, engaging with users are the core activities to do daily.
This persistence pays off once your audience grows. Affiliate deals, sponsorships, donations will be part of your monetization process.
How to choose a small business idea
We will be honest – there is no easy business to start. After picking a business idea, figuring out the products or services to sell, setting up some online presence, your business will need exposure. Marketing efforts will unlock your brand’s success. But before jumping into an online ad spend spree, here are a couple of things to consider.
Pricing the product or service right is not only about immediate profit. Price drives brand perception. Low prices may create a perception of low quality. High prices may put your buyers off as unaffordable.
Spend some time thinking about your pricing strategy. Also, include your future marketing costs into the price. Include your infrastructure costs into the price. We talked about several small business ideas that can either involve shipping costs or virtual cloud costs. These costs should be part of your pricing model.
Test and learn quickly. Don’t dismiss any early feedback from your customers. Take it in, change and move forward fast.
If you start a dropshipping business and you see issues with your supplier, don’t wait. Change the supplier – suppliers should not be blockers.
Monitor the market
Don’t start too wide. A wide range of services and products will overwhelm you. Start narrow – a smaller number of products is easier to manage and test. Working in a niche market is easier to stay focused and experiment.
Exit quickly if needed
Give yourself a deadline. Say, allow a small business idea to prove itself within a finite period. If after 6-9-12 months you are not getting where you wanted to be, it’s probably time to call it quits.
Be aware of the sunken cost fallacy. The more time we spend investing time, money, and effort into an enterprise, the more difficult it is to quit it even if it’s a failure. Don’t throw good time, effort, and money after bad.
Low-investment small business checklist
- Pick a business idea. Summarize it by outlining what it sells and to who.
- Validate the business idea. Consider the financials, effort and time needed to start it. Set a deadline for the idea to prove itself.
- Find a business name. Find a strong and memorable name for your business.
- Create a plan. List all the elements needed: your time, suppliers, infrastructure, maintenance, customer support.
- Set up the financial side. Create business bank accounts, do research about payment processing on your site.
- Pick up a business structure. Decide about the business entity you’d like to adopt at the start. Learn about taxes in your country. In Canada you can start as an individual entrepreneur. But you may need to register to collect sales taxes when you reach specific revenue levels.
- Launch your business.
If you get to the stage when your business needs marketing to get more online exposure, talk to YakMedia.biz. Request a free site audit from us. We can provide free advice about the critical areas to start with and how much budget to allocate to your paid campaigns.