It isn't hard to see in our culture as the digital generation. The desire, or perhaps pressure, to own a business is simple to understand. Whether you're driven by the desire to diversify your income, to be recognized, or to be able to pursue passion projects, you understand this requires freedom from the constraints of standard employment. In this article we cover the best proven and cheap business ideas for startups along with examples.
Looking for Proven and Cheap Business Ideas for Startups? Find your 'Why' First.
If you've spent 10 minutes on social media lately, you are almost guaranteed to have seen a meme, motivational speech, or inspirational quote about entrepreneurship. The goal to found a startup—to launch a new business that will help customers in a meaningful way—is a grand endeavor no doubt. But something about all the hype simply doesn't add up. In fact, the birth-to-death rate of small businesses in metro areas is actually negative, and has been for a decade. Without a strong reason to go into business, you risk disappointment for not only yourself but the customers you will have gained.
The reasoning behind shutting down a business is complicated and analyzing the factors involved quickly expands into a topic worthy of its own post. However, since no one launches a startup with the intention of shutting down we're going to share "known-good" business models for consideration. With a solid 'why' mixed with some wisdom & determination, you'll begin to profit from these proven and cheap business ideas for startups.
Local Service Businesses
Operating a local service business may lack some of the sexiness you pictured in your martini-on-the-beach fantasies. To be brutally honest, making money is seldom sexier than spending it. A local service business is the most practical vehicle for you to earn $100K+ annually with only a few grand for an initial investment. A local service business model absolutely requires a lot of nurturing and will challenge your time management skills (especially with a full-time job).
We recommend first-time founders consider launching a local service business not just because of the cheaper costs involved, but because of the critical experience gained. You will learn first-hand about business filing requirements, day-to-day back office tasks, hiring & team-building, as well as problem-solving skills when issues arise. This business idea is proven effective in helping you earning your stripes before you move on to the bigger and better idea brewing. Here are some low cost startup ideas for new local service businesses:
- Residential house cleaning
- Lawn care and landscaping
- Carpet steam cleaning
- Mobile smartphone or computer repair
- Mobile car wash, waxing, and/or detailing
- Motor home or boat detailing
- Photo booth rentals
- Event planning or experiential services
Are you interested in launching one of these ideas? Cyberia Technologies specializes in web design & development for local service businesses. Be sure to view our website development services and reach out for a quote!
Lead Gen & Referral Agencies
Running a referral agency is still relatively low-cost but has major differences. Running a referral agency requires more ad spending and testing when compared to running a local service business. If you spend your ad budget too quickly or without good A/B testing, you're SOL before getting any traction.
Since this type of business model is essentially a "middle man", your marketing and partnership chops will be tested more than your hiring or supervisory skills. This means you must possess a solid understanding of ads management, social media marketing, and content & email strategy building. Having the technical know-how to maintain a site is a huge plus. This is a fantastic business model if you've ever dreamed of working remotely or working solo. Here are some examples of referral agencies:
- Lead generation for local service businesses
- Reviews site for a chosen niche (e.g. pizza lovers)
- News site for a chosen niche (e.g. cryptocurrency)
- Hobby site or fan community page with affiliate links
- A travel blog with affiliate links
- A YouTube channel with affiliate links
Though the above is a basic list of suggestions, the actual number of possibilities is nearly endless, especially when you niche down. Don't be afraid to pivot or make adjustments to your business model if you see that things aren't sustainable. Also, don't forget to test everything from your messaging to your product pricing. Last but not least, remember that when you're getting ready to launch any business, the first 6-12 months are seldom sexy in any way, shape, or form. The 'why' you chose as a foundation must be enough to motivate you through darker times. The dreams of martinis on the beach won't come true for a while, but they'll never come at all if you don't try.