Brainstorming ideas for a small business can be a fun yet frustrating experience. It requires a serious analysis of areas of expertise and interests, and consideration of where those areas intersect in such a way that can make a business viable.
For women interested in startups, there’s plenty of advice from experienced authors and business experts. Here are some ideas for women looking to run their own small business:
1. Business Consulting
Consulting may seem like a vague area for a small business, but if the prospective owner has the right background, numerous opportunities and possibilities can open up. This can also be a positive way for a successful businessperson to be her own boss. Sara Angeles talks about this in a story on businesses for women in Business News Daily.
“Don’t think your professional background is limited to helping you land a well-paying job,” she explains. “It can help you start a profitable business, too. If you have extensive experience in a particular field or industry, position yourself as an expert and start a consulting service to help businesses, entrepreneurs, nonprofits and other organizations be better at what they do. As a business consultant, your job will include solving issues, spotting problem areas before they materialize, and providing sound advice to help decision-makers make wise business choices.”
Those in the accounting field may desire to break free of the corporate structure in order to blaze their own trail. Author Cheryl Kimball recommends accounting as a small business idea on Entrepreneur.com, noting that doing so requires including a clear definition of the types of services provided.
“Do you want to simply do bookkeeping for a small business? A more involved level of accounting would be to actually work up balance sheets, income statements and other financial reports on a monthly, quarterly, and/or annual basis, depending on the needs of the business. Other specializations can include tax accounting, a huge area of potential work. Many business owners don’t mind keeping their own day-to-day bookkeeping records but would rather get professional help with their taxes.”
3. IT Consulting
The skills and knowledge gained from working in the information technology sector can also be used in a consulting capacity. As Angeles writes in Business News Daily, “everyone needs IT help at some point, but not everyone has the budget to hire a big firm.”
“If you have a tech background and can help people set up networks, troubleshoot and perform other tasks, you can start a one-woman IT consulting service from home and even take on a few employees as you expand your clientele,” she writes. “IT consulting also includes helping other business owners adopt new software and hardware for their organization, making this an excellent opportunity for those who love tech products and seeing them in action.”
4. Editorial Services
Writers may find small business success through the pursuit of different freelance projects. Freelancing can be a slow and difficult process in the beginning, but experience and tenacity can really pay off in the end. Angeles notes that writing, editing, and book publishing can all be parts of a successful small business.
“Writers have plenty of opportunities, from copywriting for businesses, producing Web content (yes, blogging counts!) and even writing for magazines and news outlets,” she explains. “…Editors can choose from a number of paths, such as editing manuscripts, websites, periodicals, books and more. …Digital books, known as eBooks, are all the rage today. You can publish your own books (whether written by you or a ghostwriter), or you can start a boutique digital publishing house to help undiscovered authors get their work out.”
5. Technical Writing
This is a different brand of writing, and one that requires a significant background in some specialized field. A technical writer may create content solely for a company’s internal use, or they may take highly technical information and write it so that the general public easily understands it. A story on Buzzle.com goes on to explain:
“The best examples of technical writing are the various instruction manuals and user guides that you get with every product you buy. Technical writers also help to design various brochures, pamphlets and even important financial statements for various financial institutions.”
6. Event Planner
Here’s one that may not instantly come to front of mind as a potential business idea, but could be lucrative if run by the right person — someone with a flair for throwing large parties, weddings or other events. A story on Entrepreneur.com explains that this includes “everything from bar mitzvahs to new-product unveilings, company picnics to murder mystery dinners, sales meetings to Valentine’s balls.”
“Event planning is a field with room for growth. While it used to be that a company could impress clients or sales teams with a tray of donuts or cold cuts and a slide show, in today’s sophisticated world it takes a splashy event to do the trick. And on the personal front, few people today have the time — or the energy — to plan and organize anything. The advantages to the event-planning business are that it’s creative, challenging, and if you specialize in corporate events, you’ll probably have your weekends free for yourself. If you’re a people person, what could be better?”
7. Transportation and Warehousing
Although those two words might not be first on a list of small-business interests for most, Kiplinger.com notes that there’s been a growth of women-owned firms in this industry. The story features a California-based company owned by Tracy Thomas and her husband.
“The company transports liquid sweeteners such as fructose and sucrose to large food processors. Its fleet of tankers has grown by over 30 percent since opening its doors, and Thomas is busy with expansion plans that include new software and other improvements to expedite deliveries. She’s also looking to expand into delivering goods besides sweeteners. Preparing to assume her role as chief executive officer took a lot of work, Thomas notes. ‘I played out all of the possible scenarios — what could or might happen — and knew what I would do or where I would go,’ she says, adding that, after all, ‘you control the destiny of your company.’”
8. Develop an App
The emergence of the smartphone and tablet created a huge demand for apps in a variety of genres. Those that have a developer’s eye and background can spin this into a viable business, Angeles writes in her Business News Daily story.
“Start a revolution and launch an app startup,” she says. “You can either build apps for others or create your own. If you have a great idea for an app, you can hire developers to build it for you or build it yourself. No tech background? App development courses are available online and offline, but you can also learn by doing via development sources provided by Apple, Google, and other app platforms.”
9. Educational Services
Kiplinger.com reports that women run nearly half of the private tutoring and test prep companies in the country. This combination of business and education experience can make it a worthwhile endeavor, they report, as was the case with Cathy Hull, owner of several Sylvan Learning Centers in New York.
“Regardless of what industry you go into, it is important to have a handle on what it means to own a business,” Hull says in the story. “It is different than knowing you will have a paycheck. You are personally responsible for making it work.”
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