These 10 low-cost small company ideas are ideal for novices, bootstrappers, or anyone with a hectic schedule, as they allow you to start a side business without having to drop everything else.
Contrary to popular assumption, there are various ways to establish a business that allow you to focus on your ideas rather than the logistics and initial costs. You still need to come up with a strong idea, build a brand, market your company, and provide excellent customer service. Many traditional beginning expenditures, such as initial inventory, warehousing, and retail space, can be avoided. Here are some ideas for low cost business
Small business ideas that cost little or nothing
1. Start a dropshipping company
Inventory must be purchased, stored, selected, packed, and sent. When you’re running a business, managing inventory is a major commitment.
The first of our good business ideas is dropshipping, which is straightforward and inexpensive to start. Dropshipping is a fulfilment method in which a third-party provider stores and sends merchandise for you. It’s one of the best businesses to start because it’s low-cost, hands-off, and scalable.
You will not be handling any products; all you will be doing is generating sales and forwarding orders to your supplier. It’s one of the easiest and least expensive businesses to establish.
You can create your own online store by combining products from one or more vendors into a theme that focuses on a specific niche, such as yoga gear or dog water bowls. When a customer places an order with you, the order is sent to your supplier, who fills it on your behalf. You remain in responsibility of your own marketing and customer service, though.
You can work with both local and international suppliers as long as you can build a trusting relationship with them—an unreliable supplier will reflect poorly on your business.
Dropshipping is a low-cost method of determining product-market fit and launching a company before investing in your own original products. Always order a sample to ensure that your supplier is trustworthy and that the products are of sufficient quality to offer to your consumers.
2. Design and sell t-shirts printed on demand
Print on demand, another dropshipping model, entrusts inventory, shipping, and fulfilment to a third-party vendor. However, unlike the last dropshipping business concept, the emphasis here is on modifying things with your own designs to create something unique.
T-shirts, hats, phone cases, hoodies, skirts, tote bags, and other items serve as blank canvases for your imagination. You can come up with clever phrases for developers or references that appeal to cat owners—if a community has passion and pride, you can launch a t-shirt business.
Even if you’re not a designer, freelance services like Fiverr, Upwork, Dribbble, and 99Designs can help you locate one.
Because many print-on-demand services charge per product, the base pricing per item will be more than if you ordered in bulk. The advantage is that you haven’t paid for the item yet if a certain t-shirt design doesn’t sell (only the design, if you outsourcedit).
You can also use t-shirt mockup templates to avoid having to pay for a full photoshoot for each new design.
You can work with a variety of print-on-demand solutions, many of which can be seamlessly linked with your Shopify store for order fulfilment. However, to ensure that your personalised products look decent, always order a sample of your product (sometimes at a discount).
3. Create your own book
When you think about it, a book is just another form of merchandise. As a result, you can make one to meet a specific market need.
If you have the knowledge or creativity, you can create a range of creative books, including cookbooks, picture books, comic books, poetry books, photo books, coffee table books, and novels. It’s one of the best company ideas to start because the possibilities are unlimited.
Print-on-demand is a reasonably risk-free way to get your feet wet in the self-publishing world. It also allows you to manage the quality and appearance of your book.
4. Create online courses or digital items
On this list of low-cost small company ideas, digital products such as music, courses, podcasts, and templates are unique. They aren’t tangible like the others. Because you won’t have to worry about ongoing production or shipping costs, your profit margins will stay high, making it one of the greatest businesses to start.
The problem is figuring out what constitutes a good digital product.What is so valuable that people will pay money to download it?
Original musical beats, stock photographs that can be licenced to other artists, and information goods and templates that help people improve their skill sets in a specific industry are among the answers.
5. Sell posters, greeting cards, and prints printed on demand
You may dropship using a print-on-demand business model to allow others tangibly possess a piece of your work if you’re artistically inclined or know your way around a camera. Simply be sure you have permission to print the information or that you’re using free public domain sources.
If you already have a large online following—for example, if you’re a cartoonist or an urban photographer—you’re in a great position to test out this small business concept.
You can turn your work into posters, framed wall art, or even greeting cards, depending on the printer you deal with. You may use Placeit and other low-cost digital templates and mockup generators to show off your products without having to print them out and perform your own photo shoots.
6. Create a charitable organisation
You don’t have to start a non-profit organisation to make a difference in the world.
Having a mission to go along with a business and allocating a portion of profits to a cause allows social entrepreneurs a unique approach to position their company in the market while solving the issues that matter to them.
While many social businesses create their own products, you can take any of the low-cost small company ideas above and collaborate with a non-profit or carry out the social good yourself, as long as you’re open about how it works.
You can use a blog post on your community activities or a real-time impact calculator on your website to share the influence that your customers are making by supporting your business as part of your marketing.
7. Promote a service
Offering services isn’t passive, but it can be a successful method to work for yourself with little to no money out of pocket. “Time” is your inventory and your biggest investment when it comes to service-based small company ideas. The day is limited to a set amount of hours.However, if you have in-demand abilities, this makes it easier to get up and going.
Writers, graphic designers, virtual assistants, SEO specialists, cleaning service providers, dog walkers, real estate agents, and others can all generate money using their skills. You might provide these services on an ongoing basis or launch a consulting firm that provides project advice.
It’s one of the best business ideas since it can be combined with any of the other suggestions above to generate additional revenue streams by “productizing” services as real or digital items.
A photographer, for example, may cover a local event while also selling photos on Instagram. A freelance writer can sell a copywriting swipe file with high-converting sales content.Combining your service-based business with tangible products can provide you with an additional source of income that is not dependent on your time.
8. Make an online fashion store
If you enjoy fashion and want to share your sense of style with the world, you might want to explore starting your own online fashion business. You don’t have to be a fashion designer to start your own internet store; simply choose things from other suppliers (using the dropshipping model we discussed earlier).
Dresses, shoes, swimsuits, accessories, and more—with one of the many product sourcing applications for Shopify, you can create your own fashion brand, model it in your own product images and social media postings, and gain an online following as a trendsetter. You can import multiple styles into your Shopify store using apps like MyOnlineFashionStore.
9. Offer handcrafted and homemade items for sale
If you manufacture soap, candles, sauces, or pottery, you’re in a great position to find an internet company idea because product development and sourcing are essentially in your hands.
Unlike many of the other ideas on this list, you will need to think about shipping and inventory management, but you may start small on a per-order basis or with a small batch until you start making consistent sales.
Many Shopify producers began with a home business idea, selling on Etsy or eBay or through word of mouth to friends and family, and eventually turned into full-time small-business owners after establishing demand for their products.
Simply follow any regulations that apply to your product category, particularly for anything that buyers will eat, inhale, or apply to their skin.
10. Create a monetizable audience
The capacity to grab and maintain the attention of others is a valuable tool in today’s connected society. Many companies are willing to pay for it, and many producers can convert it into a multi-revenue-streaming business.
Whether you want to grow your audience on YouTube, Instagram, or a blog (ideally a combination of channels), you have various possibilities for monetizing your audience:
- Branded content sponsored by brands
- Developing your influence
- Selling both tangible and digital goods (via any of the ideas on this list)
- A mix of the above (they aren’t mutually exclusive)
The key to making this a successful company idea is to provide the appropriate things in the appropriate area. Conduct research to identify high-trafficked areas and determine who is passing by and what they might require at the time. Vending machines can be a profitable business concept with a modest investment if approached strategically.