The best business to go into is one that solves a problem that your customers are having and are willing to pay to have solved.
This could be anything from walking their dog while they are away at work, to electronics repairs, all the way up to a business owner needing someone to develop and maintain their website/social media platforms. The possibilities are endless. You could even start a business to either raise awareness about a social issue (i.e. children not having access to fresh food/water) or to help solve a problem in your community (i.e. helping out your elderly neighbours so that they can stay in their homes longer). It needs to be something that is also within your abilities and skill set to do.
How do I know what problems people are having?
Just listen and ask! Maybe you have observed some problems in your community that you think need solving. Ask a trusted friend or family member if they see have any insights on how an issue/problem can be solved, and who you could possibly work with. You never know!
That’s all well and good, but I asked/observed and I’m still stuck!
Here are 5 ideas to help you get started down your entrepreneurial path:
- I’m really dating myself here, but take a look at the book series “The Babysitters Club”. It’s about a group of babysitting teens who run a babysitting service for the parents in their town.
- Social Media Consultant.
- You grew up with the Internet and social media as part of your everyday life! Older adults did not. You also know the words and approaches that will attract teens and young adults like yourself to a company. Companies are willing to pay young people with expertise in social media and website development to create, manage, and monitor these platforms. The best way to start is by talking to small local businesses and showing them what you can do.
- Computer/Social Media Tutor.
- Same as above- you grew up with computers, the Internet and social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest intertwined into your every day life. You also know how to do repairs, troubleshoot, organize and compose documents of different complexities, use Google, and how to talk to someone over Skype/email. The older generation (think 40 and over) did not.
- Errand Runner.
- People these days are incredibly pressed for time and struggle with finding a balance between work, errands, and having a home life. Everyone needs a hand to get all of this done, and most would be willing to pay someone (especially busy families, busy professionals, and senior citizens). Tasks can include: getting groceries, washing their car(s), lawn mowing, picking up an animal from the vet, organizing, etc. You can also be a jack-of-all-trades and help them out with whatever they need help with at a certain time. Just don’t forget to help out around your own house!
- Internal and External Cleaning Service
- This is a big thing that a lot of people need help with and never seem to have the time for! It can be as simple as doing the dishes, sweeping and vacuuming, all the way up to clearing out and repainting areas of their house. You can also offer outdoor cleaning services, such as pool cleaning, yard clean-up, house painting, and clearing out the eavestroughs. Again, just don’t forget to help out around your own house!
I can’t stress these points enough:
- When you’re planning out what your first business will be, make sure you think long and hard.
- Make sure that you are good at what it is that you will be doing and that you enjoy it. If it takes off, this could be something you do for the next 5-10 years (or more).
- Write your business plan so you have a guideline from which to start, even if it’s a 1-pager. Don’t think you need to stick with exactly what is written, business plans are meant to be fluid.
- More importantly, make sure that your product/service offering uniquely helps to solve a problem that your customers are having! I implore you to not launch until you’ve done these things. If not, it will cost you.