The best businesses to start, fast!, in a down market, with little or no money, are service-oriented businesses. In many instances, you only need a telephone (which most people have) and a good service business idea. It's best to choose a service you are familiar with, or one that will take minimum preparation to get you up to competitive speed before starting your new business.
Many times, service businesses can be started using existing materials, supplies and equipment you already have around your home, so the cash outlay is little or nothing at all.
An example of one such needed service business, especially in a down market, is a resume writing business. Most people have searched for a job before and have had to prepare a resume to get their foot in the door, so they have some knowledge of how to put together a resume. With a little online research, you can be up to speed preparing entry-level resumes in no time at all.
If you decide to start a resume writing service, start a virtual one: online! You don't need business cards because you will be advertising online. You'll never meet your clients, and you can use your home computer. Niche your resume writing service by offering super low cost resumes because you will not print them out.
Prepare the person's resume using a set of questions devise (a special intake form) to gather information. When the resume is complete, send them the file via email. Tell the client they can either print out their new resume at home, or take it to a Kinko's, library, or business services center for printing on resume weight paper. This way, you won't have mailing costs, won't need expensive, fancy paper, and won't need an expensive printer. You can get started right away with no money and some Internet research.
Another service business that can be started fast, with little cash outlay, especially in this down real estate market, is a foreclosure cleanup business. This is a service business where you target realtors, investors and buyers of foreclosed properties. You can offer to help them either maintain the property until it sells or help get it in shape for the investor or home buyer after it has been purchased.
Foreclosure cleanup, a fast-growing new enterprise, according to Entrepreneur magazine, encompasses so many different types of services. You can offer everything from lawn mowing, to interior cleaning, to debris removal, painting, minor home repairs, and more.
At bare minimum, you can offer simple foreclosure lawn care using the lawn mower and weed eater in your backyard. As your business grows, you can purchase more equipment and offer more services.
In the foreclosure cleanup business, you will need business cards starting out because you will be dealing with professionals face-to-face. But there's no need to speed big money on fancy business cards. Go to websites like Vista Print and get quality free business cards (you only pay for postage!) so you are ready to start your business. Advertise by doing cold calling, stopping by realtor's offices, setting up email campaigns, handing out fliers at realtor events, and the like.
Do plan to do some research online via Internet search engines to learn more about the foreclosure cleanup business opportunity.
Remember, the key to any small business' success is "stick-with-it-ness." You don't need a huge amount of cash to start a service business, and you don't need to take a year to get a new service business up and running. You need perseverance. One mistake new small business owners make is sending out a few mailers and expecting the phone to start ringing off the hook immediately. Be realistic; don't start a business and expect overnight success.
Instead, plan your business, learn the ropes by doing necessary targeted research in your industry, and then start to market, market, market. Consistency in your marketing efforts, winning mind-share within your target market, is key. Tell everyone you meet about your new business, and simply stick with it using consistent marketing tactics. Then, watch your new business blossom into a fruitful, long-lasting enterprise.
If you've never started a business before, perform some basic business research at websites like sba.gov (Small Business Administration) for invaluable start-up advice and shoestring marketing ideas.