tastes, and has consumer appeal, can be a daunting task. Here are a few tips to help you choose one that’s right for you:
Make a list of your likes. Start by identifying the things you enjoy doing: your hobbies, extracurricular activities and any particular skills or work experience you may have acquired. For example, if you are good with flowers and plants, and have a greenhouse that the whole neighborhood admires, bear this in mind. A landscaping business could be the right outlet for you. Match your list against a list of the types of businesses that can utilize your skills and talents. This is not a foolproof system for choosing a business that’s right for you, but it’s a good start. As an entrepreneur, you will be living, sleeping and breathing your business. It’s important that you enjoy what you’re doing and have a passion for your product or service.
Look for low start-up fees. Chances are, as a new business owner, you will have limited funds. If this is the case, you may want to choose a business that requires a minimal amount of start-up capital and brings you up-front payment. For example, suppose you love to write and would like to start a magazine. You would need to purchase several computers, hire reporters, contract with a printer and rent office space, at the very least. The up-front cost can be tens of thousands of dollars (depending on the size and type of magazine you launch), and you may not see any profit for years. But if you hire yourself out as a freelance writer, prepare articles for several different publications and operate from your home, you can save lots of money and get paid immediately for your work.
Stay away from seasonal businesses. Unless you can and are willing to ride out the slow sales periods of businesses such as Christmas decoration stores, ski shops, and beachwear boutiques, do not start a seasonal business. However, if you are capable of weathering the off-season financial drought, operating a seasonal shop will afford you a lot of time off. This is a plus factor if you are raising a family and could use some downtime in a business venture.
Consider service-oriented rather than product-oriented businesses. Service businesses are often easier and cheaper to launch than those that offer a product. Service businesses don’t require the purchase of much equipment, nor do they demand that you hire employees immediately. For example, if you operate a home cleaning service, you need only a few bottles of household cleaner; a broom, a mop, and a bucket; and one employee-you.
Avoid stiff competition. We appear to be living in an age of factory outlet stores and discount warehouses. When choosing a business, consider whether your product or service will be in direct competition with these sources. For example, you may want to start a small neighborhood stationery store, and you have all the skills required to do so. But major competition from large discount providers such