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ModernEpicurian's avatar

If you were to start your own small business, what would it be?

Asked by ModernEpicurian (1630 points ) December 7th, 2012

I was thinking about starting my own small business, I have a few possible directions that I was considering going in, however I was hoping to reap the knowledge of the collective on the topic.

What type of business would you start up? Taking into account the current financial climate?

Do you own a small business that you have recently set up? What do you do? What issues have you encountered? Would you do anything differently?

Any help, advice and pearls of wisdom would be much appreciated!

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11 Answers

Judi's avatar

If I were young and energetic and really liked details I would get on the alternative energy bandwagon. We tried to start a solar business but decided we were just to old and really didn’t want to hustle the way you have to to be competitive. You also have to be willing to keep up with government rebates, tax credits and be willing to jump through hoops.

When we were younger, my husband and I asked about 20 of the most successful people we knew (all men back then) What they would do if they were our age and just starting out.
The prevailing answer was real estate.
The wisest answer was from my father in law. He said, “Do what you know.”
It just so happened that what we knew was real estate and construction so we have done pretty good for ourselves in those combined fields. We now have what we like to call “Mail Box Money.” The real estate investments produce enough cash flow that if we never worked another day we would still get a check in the mail that is plenty to survive on.
My father in law manufactured a product that he knew well. He knew that industry and it put him in the 1%. He did way better than us.
My advice would be to follow your passion. Something that you love so much that you will be willing to push through climb over and dig under the inevitable barriers. That thing that makes your heart beat a little faster is where your fortune is.

CWOTUS's avatar

My daughter owns a small business, which she has operated now for three summer seasons: a food cart in Madison, Wisconsin, where these are a big deal. (She has since expanded into catering and rental of her excess / off-hours kitchen space.) I helped her finance the startup (less than six figures), but since the initial capital expense, she has paid everything else in operating costs, wages for several employees (as well as her own living expenses and “salary”), taxes and all legally required “contributions”, fees and licenses. I believe that she also has a health plan, finally (a big deal for a two-to-four person operation). This year she appears to have made a gross profit of about the same as my current salary.

But she works a whole lot harder than I do!

I wouldn’t try to run that business on a bet, not even for a day! But she’s loving it.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I currently work for a small business specialising in animal behaviour. I work as a dog trainer and carer, sometimes I work with other animals (I can add cats and chickens to my list!!). If I was to start my own business it would be something very similar but, at the moment, I am more than happy working for my boss who is a great support and mentor.

Shippy's avatar

I am starting mine! I am looking into healing, mostly by massage and other. I also fancy Tantric for sexual healing. I think the market is starved for love, compassion and touch. Thanks to the internet.

wildpotato's avatar

Medical marijuana. Seems like a growing business.

TheProfoundPorcupine's avatar

@Shippy I agree with what you said there and I am sure that if you have an absolute passion for it, then that will come through in your healing and that will make it a real success :)

wundayatta's avatar

I would provide advice. I see my coffee seller sells advice at a dollar a pop. Not a lot.

I think you need to go into business in something you know well. Ithink you have to stick to it, and just make it work. I’d be a horrible businessman. I mean, no one would want my advice, much less pay for it. Not in the real world, anyway. Although it seems to me that getting multiple people’s advice is better than getting one person’s. Could there be a version of fluther that people would actually pay for? LOL! LOLOL!

JenniferP's avatar

Maybe a shop, like antiques or crafts.

Shippy's avatar

@wundayatta I think you’d do a great job too.

geeky_mama's avatar

I’ve often thought I’d like to start a business that cares for Seniors in their home.
I know this isn’t a unique idea (as businesses’ of this sort already exist) but I have some unique ideas in mind—like trying to match the ideal caregiver with the interests of the senior, having them cook & share meals together and having the care giver present for all doctors’ visits, etc – sort of a surrogate family member to be a patient advocate, chef, chauffeur and companion (with some light cleaning & laundry duties) all wrapped into one.
If the placement is ideal (if they are truly compatible) I think it would evolve into a relationship that would add to BOTH of their lives.

YARNLADY's avatar

I have three ideas I would love to work out.

1. An employment agency that specializes in placing ex-convicts.
2. A drop in play place for children.
3. A homeless shelter that makes use of trailer homes instead of a large dormitory.

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