Starting a Business: Finding Business Ideas

Small Business and Home Based Business Ideas to Get You Started

••• (c) Dave McLeod/Susan Ward

Sometimes the hardest part of starting a business is coming up with a business idea. Follow the links on this page to find small and home-based business ideas that will help you decide what kind of business you want to start.

Small Business Ideas

Browse these collections of small business ideas and see what strikes your fancy. Based on current trends these are businesses that have good or better potential for profit over a period of time - an important consideration when you're starting a business.

Home-based Business Ideas

Many of the ideas presented in the articles above will work as home-based businesses. But if you're specifically looking for a business you can start and run at home, try one of the home businesses presented in these articles:

And How to Start a Home-Based Business That Will Succeed is a must-read if you want to work out of your home.

The Most Profitable Small Businesses

The business ideas listed in the above articles have the potential to be profitable now and in future and do not require significant startup capital or decades of education or experience. If, however, you are prepared to invest the time and money required to become a professional in fields such as medicine, dentistry, accounting, etc. these are (statistically) the small businesses with the highest average profitability:

How to come up with your own business ideas

The hamburger. The personal computer. The hula hoop. Every successful business started with someone coming up with the right idea at the right time. How do you do it? It doesn't really take any huge feats of mental gymnastics; you just have to be alert to the business ideas that are all around you. Learn how with 7 Ways to Come Up With a Winning Business Idea.

One way of coming up with your own idea for a business is to examine current business trends. These articles discuss trends and associated business needs to get you going:

Franchising Businesses

Franchises are a common choice for new businesses.

When you buy a franchise, you're buying someone else's business idea, in effect. That can put you on the fast track to business success and big profits if you've chosen wisely.

But there are both advantages and disadvantages to going the franchise route. Read more about these in Should You Buy a Franchise?

Narrowing your business options

If you've followed even a few of the links on this page, your head is probably buzzing now with all kinds of ideas for small businesses.

If you're having trouble deciding which small business ideas to follow up on and investigate further, read What Type of Business Should You Start? My theory is that the best business idea is one that's best suited to you and this article will lead you through the process of figuring out what type of business idea you should be looking for.

Testing your business idea

Once you've settled on what you think is suitable business, it's a good idea to test your idea before you waste time and money working through the steps necessary to start a business.

One way to do this if your new business involves products is to put some of your products on eBay and see how well they sell and what profit you make. Selling on eBay is an example of this kind of product testing.

No matter what business you've chosen, running through a condensed version of a business plan is an excellent way to test your business idea. Use this Quick-Start Business Plan to find out if your small business idea is worth developing.

And, of course, writing a complete business plan is a fine test of your ideas' feasibility as a business. If, for instance, your idea was to provide computer services and you discovered that there were already eight such businesses in a town with less than 50,000 people as you were working through your plan, you would know that this business idea was a poor choice.

(Still having cold feet about actually plunging in and starting a business of your own? This article, Why Are You Putting Off Starting Your Own Business? will help you get past your excuses and on with what you want to do.)