Many business opportunities are available that have low start up costs. The term "low cost," however, is relative. For some people, low cost means $500 or less, while others consider $20,000 low cost. Keep your focus on your budget as you explore business ideas.
Look at your skills. Find a low cost business that you can succeed at and enjoy. For example, if you are a compassionate person, start a non-medical home health service where you help elders with personal care and companionship. If you are constantly fixing things for your home or friends, print up some business cards and become a handyman. If you love to organize parties, become an event planner. If you are good with math or science, become a tutor.
Look at what it takes to start the business. When you find an idea that interests you, write up all the costs associated with starting the business and determine if it fits your budget. You can run a tutoring service, or teach English or a foreign language, from your home without hiring any employees. You can start a pet treat business with a few grocery supplies and simple packaging. Many small businesses can also be started part time.
Many franchises have low cost start up costs. The benefit of buying a franchise is that the product or service has already been "test-driven" by others. A franchise typically has many ways to help you succeed. The company may have marketing materials or sales leads, or may provide ongoing coaching.
The costs to purchase an investment franchise can range from several hundred dollars, to several thousands. One example of a low cost franchise is Admats/Admenus, a business that sells ad space on laminated place-mats to businesses. The cost is $750 and you received support and the system to create the mats. You can start a seniors' non-medical startup home care business for a $6,000 investment that includes live training and no ongoing franchise fees. Or, consider Bilingual Tots, a language teaching franchise that costs $250 and provides support, marketing materials and a proven teaching method. Carefully review and research a franchise to ensure there aren't hidden costs and to verify the company's ongoing fees.
Determine Your Business
A new business can start from a passion such as photography, or from a need in your community, such as a tutoring service. There is no shortage of business ideas; however, you have to decide what works for you. My Own Business offers a free 16-course session that teaches evaluating business ideas, marketing and many aspects of business ownership. Also study the U.S. Small Business Administration's website. The organization has many free tools such as a business plan template and a small business planner (see resources). Use these resources to educate and prepare yourself for your own small business.
Debbie McRill went from managing a Texas Department of Criminal Justice office to working for Compaq and Hewlett-Packard as a technical writer and project manager in 1997. Debbie has also owned her own businesses and understands both corporate and small business challenges. Her background includes Six Sigma training, and an Information Development career with journalism and creative writing as her passion.