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Monthly Archives: December 2016

7 Unique Business Ideas to Inspire You

Odor-free sponges

Stinky sponges are disgusting. Folcroft, Pennsylvania-based Scrub Daddy solves this problem with a scratch-free, non-smelling sponge. This company had a rocky start when it was formed in 2012, but since their 2014 Shark Tank appearance and the assistance of Lori Griener the business has really taken off. Now you can find Scrub Daddy’s products in big box stores such as Bed, Bath and Beyond, Lowes and Walmart.

four-course daily special

Located in the heart of the Napa Valley, Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc offers a unique, four-course daily menu of comfort food dishes, such as spicy fried game hen, pot roast and coconut pudding. Each for-today-only menu is handwritten and posted in the restaurant and online.

Shareable office space

Every day, technology makes it more and more possible for employees and entrepreneurs to do their jobs and run their businesses from anywhere, which means businesses don’t necessarily have to invest in their own office space. WeWork provides office space for the office-less, with flexible month-to-month membership options for everyone from individual freelancers to large companies. Freelancers who prefer to work outside of their homes can have a more reliable work space than a local coffee shop, and companies and other teams can have a place to collaborate and hold meetings and events, for example. WeWork, which was founded in 2010, has locations in more than a dozen cities across the United States as well as locations in Israel, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

Tinder for dogs

Borrowing a page from popular dating app Tinder, BarkBuddy makes it easy to find and adopt the perfect dog for you. Users tell BarkBuddy what they’re looking for in the perfect pup, and then swipe yes or no on different profiles of dogs in their area. Once you’ve found the right dog, you can set up a meet and greet through the app.  The company ensures that everyone using the app is qualified to adopt, too. You have to fill out an adopter profile to be approved first; otherwise, you won’t be eligible to adopt.

Bedside service

Being pregnant can be a physically and mentally exhausting nine months for many women. Hoping to make pregnancy a little easier, Stephanie D. Johnson founded Bed Rest Concierge. The business provides a wide variety of pre- and post-delivery services, including creating and managing a baby registry, birth announcement creating and distribution, nursery design, diaper delivery service, laundry service and hospital preparation. In addition, Bed Rest Concierge offers a number of “pampering services,” such as manicures, pedicures and facials.

Individually packaged small items

While bigger might be better for some, Minimustakes a different approach. In operation for nearly a decade, the online company offers more than 2,500 different individually packaged products, including travel-size toiletries and individual servings of various food items — everything from chips to Tabasco sauce. When it was founded, Minimus did not have any employees and was housed in 500-square-foot space. Today, the company takes up two large Los Angeles warehouses and employs dozens of workers.

Serious sailing

While chartered boat cruises are not unique, the opportunity to rent out a world-class racing sailboat for your own use is. Based in Rhode Island, America’s Cup Charters rents out some of the country’s most prestigious racing sailboats for company outings, team-building events and family gatherings. During the outings, guests experience what it’s like to be an America’s Cup sailor by learning tasks like how to jockey for position at the start and sail upwind and downwind. Included in the fleet of ships are the 1962 America’s Cup winner US-17 Weatherly, two-time America’s Cup winner US-22 Intrepid and the 1980 America’s Cup winner US-30 Freedom.

7 Great Home-Based Business Ideas

Transcriptionist

If you’re a fast typer with an ear for dictation, than transcription might be right for you. A lot of different businesses require transcription, from medical practices to attorney’s offices, and will pay handsomely for quality work. Why not be the service to meet their needs? All you need to start is a computer, an internet connection, and the will to build a network of professionals and gain their referrals.

Business plan service

If you’ve got business expertise already, you can help other entrepreneurs launch and maintain their own businesses by offering your services as a business plan consultant and writer. Help your clients figure out their ideas, goals and finances for their businesses and put them all in one organized business roadmap. You can also help conduct market research for your clients, so they can determine how successful their businesses can really be, or if they need to make changes or go in another direction before wrapping up their business plans.

Electronics recycling

Even though consumers are constantly upgrading their phones, tablets, laptops and other electronic devices, a lot of people still don’t understand how important it is to recycle their old electronics. According toDoSomething.org, 20 million to 50 million metric tons of e-waste are disposed of worldwide each year, and only 12.5 percent of e-waste is recycled. Allow people to drop off their unwanted electronics at your home, or go mobile and offer a pickup service. In addition, you could help your customers back up their files and clear sensitive information from their devices as well.

Interior designer

If you understand design and have a passion for décor, a career in interior design could be a great path for you. While you may not technically need a formal education to be an interior designer, having a bachelor’s degree in interior design will definitely give you a huge leg up in the field. But if working for a design firm doesn’t feel right to you, try running your own interior design business from your home.

Translator

If you’re fluent in multiple languages, you can turn it into a business as a translator. Businesses that work with international partners need to make sure their documents are accurate and in order, so offer up your linguistic skills to translate their documents for them, and you can do so from the comfort of your home.

Web/graphic designer

Have you ever been turned off by a business’s generic-looking website layout or logo? If you have a good eye for design, you can launch a service to create attractive, easy-to-use websites for small businesses. You can put your skills to good use for business owners who want to take their online presence to the next level. Build up a portfolio of work with smaller freelance jobs, then create your own website to show it off and bring in a steady stream of clients.

Online course instructor

You don’t need a degree in education to teach people how to do something you know inside and out. According to Fox, online courseenrollment on the rise, you can help others enrich their lives by offering classes in an area you’re passionate about, like yoga or baking. Create instructional packets and videos for download from a website, or schedule real-time Skype lessons with clients.

7 Holiday-Themed Business Ideas

Ornaments and decorations

Small décor items, like Christmas tree ornaments and tabletop decorations, are big sellers at mallkiosks, so why not create your own and sell them on sites like Etsy? Holiday decorations are relatively inexpensive and easy to make, and people are often willing to pay extra for personalized ornaments with photos and text.

Wreaths and floral arrangements

Another great business idea for crafters is to make and sell holiday wreaths and floral arrangements. Purchase artificial branches, pinecones, flowers and ribbons from your local craft store, and turn them into dazzling home decorations.

Baked goods

Pies, cookies, fruitcakes and gingerbread are all staples of the holiday season. If your kitchen is constantly filled with the smell of freshly baked desserts during the holidays, why not get paid for it by packaging and selling them? People love giving and receiving candies and baked goods during the holidays, so you’re sure to have a huge demand.

Santa Claus appearances

Taking children to the mall to see Santa may be free, but parents will pay big bucks for a home visit from Kris Kringle (or perhaps Mrs. Claus, if you’re a woman). If you don’t mind sacrificing a bit of time on Christmas Eve — or buying/renting a Santa suit — you could make arrangements to drop by the homes of friends and neighbors with young children and personally deliver a few gifts.

Gift wrapping

Are you an expert at creasing paper and curling ribbons? Does the sight of a gift bag stuffed with poorly arranged tissue paper make you cringe? Help people wow their gift recipients with beautifully wrapped presents. Charge by the hour or by the gift, depending on how complicated the packages are.

Knitted winter items

Knitting might seem like an activity reserved for grandmothers, but handmade scarves, hats and sweaters are popular during the holidays. Wholesale yarn is relatively inexpensive, and depending on how quickly you can knit, you’ll be able to build up your inventory and spend more time marketing your store.

Gift baskets

Themed baskets are a popular gift choice for the holidays, but many ready-made baskets from retailers are expensive, and people don’t often have the time to purchase individual items and create their own baskets. If you have some great ideas for a basket — cooking products, desserts, movies, bath products, etc. — you can make and sell them as holiday gifts. Arrange items in a decorative basket, wrap it in plastic and put a festive holiday bow on it.

 

5 Business Fads That Are on Their Way Out

Owning of a fad business could diminish your entrepreneurial spirit, but there are ways of bouncing back. Here are the business trends that entrepreneurs think will die off in the coming years, and how they can be adapted to fit the changing market.

Subscription services are all the rage right now, but Jeff Neal, creator of a mud-run series turned project manager and estimator, said box subscriptions — a business where a company sends subscribers a curated box of items every month — will taper off because they are more interesting than practical. Over time, he said, you will end up with way more of a certain product — like coffee, wine or cleaning products — than one person could possibly need or use.

If you run a box-subscription company, you might want to consider finding a “common denominator” with another type of business and adapting, said Neal. For example, you could branch out into retail sales: Subscription services like Julep (cosmetics) and Blue Apron (meal ingredients) allow subscribers to skip their monthly deliveries and instead purchase related products individually from the service’s websites.

The trend of e-commerce “daily deal” websites hit complete market saturation in 2014, said Mike Catania, co-founder and CTO of savings communityPromotion Code. However, with so many ties to small business communities, daily deals sites could easily morph into location-based apps that curate retail deals nearby, he said.

“Entrepreneurs in the field could also diversify by moving into the popular rebates arena, as they likely have significant amounts of purchase data from their existing daily deal customers,” Catania added.

The emerging information about the dangers of UV tanning has decreased the demand for traditional tanning beds. However, it is possible to stick with the tanning business and remain profitable, said Eric Anderson, CEO of Unlimited Tan. Switching the focus to spray tanning can increase business and even bring in a whole new clientele that would normally not visit a tanning salon.

“Adding a spray booth or custom spray tanning is a must to adapt to the changing needs of your customer base,” Anderson said. He added that creative marketing and partnerships will keep customers engaged.

Although the teeth-whitening market has been alive and well since the days of the ancient Egyptians and Romans, today’s health-conscious consumers are wary of modern methods like bleaching and laser treatments. Max Robinson, owner of Teeth Whitening Belfast, said he does far less traditional laser teeth whitening than he used to do, because most of his customers are now looking for natural treatments. As a result, he has had to diversify his business, he said.

“We use a lot of coconut oil, charcoal and baking soda, and provide different [whitening] treatments,” Robinson said.

Pokémon Go was without a question the most popular new app this summer. But how many people do you know who still play the game regularly? AJ Saleem, academy director of Suprex Learning Houston, said he expects gaming apps capitalizing on nostalgia to die off in the coming year, if not sooner, because the games eventually lose their popularity (again).

“There are definitely ways to prolong its popularity, such as adding new additions and updating, but eventually the game will die out,” said Saleem. “Those popular games aren’t meant to last forever.”