Most articles you read about business ideas have been written by freelance writers who have no business experience and have no idea what they are talking about. And they certainly don’t know what makes for a good business idea.
This list of 300 business ideas is based upon my vast business experience. My name is Bob Adams. I have started dozens of businesses and made millions of dollars. I also have an MBA from Harvard Business School. I have run not just lots of businesses, but also many types of businesses, including a number of very small businesses that I started before going to business school.
I learned what works in business. And I learned what doesn’t. I learned what are good business ideas and what are not. I learned that choosing a good Business Intelligence idea is critical to succeeding in business. It could be one of the most important decisions you ever make.
Unfortunately, many people go about choosing a business idea the wrong way. They more or less stumble upon it. Maybe they overhead a hot tip about a particular business or they happened to read about it and it sounded like fun. This casual approach to finding your business idea is risky. Maybe you end up with a good idea. And maybe you don’t. I see a lot of people who use this approach ending up wasting a lot of time and money on a bad business idea.
The secret to finding a great business idea
Here’s the secret to finding an awesome business idea. You need to be systematic and you need to be thorough. You need to put together a solid list of proven and practical business ideas. Then you need to carefully evaluate which ones would be most likely to work for you.
About this list of 300 business ideas
While this is a long list of ideas-I have carefully edited it for you. I started with a much larger list and ruthlessly chopped off the weaker business ideas that I didn’t want you to consider. If you really want to be your own boss, I am sure you will find an idea that you really like on this extensive list.
To learn more about how to start your own business explore my course, Start-a-Business 101. In just 10 minutes a day, this course will quickly teach you how to start a business. You’ll learn how to choose the best business idea, how to write a business plan, how to find customers and everything else you need to know.
Really Fun Business Ideas
Why not have a business you really love? These ideas are so much fun they won’t even seem like work.
You can start this business in your garage with just one item!
Start part-time and build this business carefully! Only buy items you are confident that you can sell relatively quickly for a good mark-up, and avoid getting stuck with slow moving inventory. To really succeed, develop deep expertise in a specialty and build a loyal customer base.
I see two routes to success in this business: 1) Focus on artists with well- established followings that you are comfortable with that you can sell or 2) Take on less well-known artists on a consignment basis, meaning you don’t actually buy the painting from the artist until the day you sell it. This can be a finicky business–people’s tastes can change and a gallery that is successful one year can find itself struggling enough. So, keep your overhead manageable and watch for changing trends.
Sign up for a bar-tending course at the local community college or adult education center, get a safety certificate if your state requires it, and then you’re ready to start serving. Usually, the client will provide the booze and the glasses, you might bring a few mixing tools or even a service cart if you want to get fancy. Demand for this service will run strongest on the weekends, making it a great part-time gig!
You don’t need to own a big boat to take people on evening boat tours! You can lease the boat, market the tours, and build a business without the overhead.
To make it more fun, you can buy a few small drive-it-yourself speed boats and lead your customers around the local harbor. What could be more fun than that!
I can barely “cook” a frozen dinner, but you may have the cooking skills that I lack! People will pay good money for a really awesome cake for special occasions. Get some great cake pictures up on your website, promote your skills to event planners, and build your clientele!
My kids did an upscale sneaker and related goods boutique. This can be a lot of fun but it may be harder than you think to make money. First make absolutely sure your location has great foot traffic—stand there and count heads before you sign a lease! Then develop a distinctive plan for merchandising, and don’t be afraid to mark down what isn’t moving.
Yes, you can start your own clothing line with just a few items, be successful, and have a lot of fun along the way! Look at Ralph Lauren who started by selling a couple of neck ties and then built that into a multi-billion-dollar empire. Contract out the manufacturing which is the really hard part of the work. Then focus on developing eye-stopping designs and talking it up with potential re-sellers, or sell the items yourself online!
Wouldn’t you enjoy making kids smile and laugh? What a great way to earn some good money, especially at kids’ birthdays and Bar and Bat mitzvahs! Business will be heavily focused on weekends, so you can hold onto your day job as you build your clientele. I met a professional clown who told me that he charged $200 an hour…for that price I’ll put the clown suit on right now!
Coin or Stamp Dealer
I loved to collect stamps and coins when I was a kid. In Boston, the dealers’ stores were all side by side on Bromfield street. Today some coin and stamp dealers still have retail locations but many others work primarily online. This is a great Custom Boxes to start part-time and then consider going full-time later on. Or is it just a hobby with the potential for making a lot of money? American President Franklin D Roosevelt would spend many enjoyable hours alone with his stamp collection.
Coffee Bar/Tea Salon
Yes, you can compete with the Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts of the world! However, these chains have raised the bar, so your coffee or tea must be not just good, but awesome! Your ambiance better be good too. Your location needs to be good as well. Plus, you need to be distinctive. One way to stand out is to compliment your world-class beverages with some fabulous foods. So yes, you can compete, but you’ve gotta be firing on all cylinders in this competitive space!
I met Wally Amos who made a blockbuster success out of famous Amos cookies, which he launched after a career as a Hollywood talent agent. Wally eventually lost control of his company to outside investors. However, he came back again with still another cookie line. Everyone loves a fancy cookie and it’s an easy food to both differentiate and to charge a premium for.
Craft Beer Pub
A few years ago, I overheard a conversation in a gym about a fellow who was planning on starting an Irish pub, of which there are close to million (well almost a million) in Boston, but then changed his mind and opened a pub focusing on craft beers. It was wildly successful! In addition to being a unique idea at the time, he also chose an excellent location and developed a solid food menu. Unless your overhead is extremely low, you are probably going to need to serve food to make a go of this business, so yes you can be extremely successful–but it is no small undertaking.
Creative Arts Day Camp
You could run this as a seasonal camp during the summer. But I find it’s tougher to make lots of money at seasonal businesses, so instead I would first consider offering a creative arts day camp after school or on weekends. I suggest doing surveys to find out what age groups of kids and what specific art activities have the most appeal.
There’s something magical about a cupcake that says fun and silliness and makes you feel good! You can cash in on that feeling and make others happy. But if you are specializing in cupcakes, people expect them to be excellent! And if you want to be remembered, they should be world class awesome!
Gardening is big and growing. And it is a business that is less likely to move totally online than many other businesses. You could start out with a supply center, expanding over time to add some plants to sell, and then, eventually vertically integrate with your own plant nursery. You could also expand into providing onsite services.
Wouldn’t it be fun to make a gift-basket overflowing with a bunch of carefully selected and really attractive items? Of course, it would! You could have a lot of satisfaction putting together distinctive gift baskets that will delight your customers and bring in sales!