Small business ideas: The good, the bad & the ugly

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Choosing a bad business idea will produce sales charts like this. Stubbornly sticking with a bad idea will make the descent even steeper and uglier.

By Henry Brown

I often think that small businesses are the staple of our economy. Towns and cities are made a better place because of local entrepreneurs setting up shop.

Today, the focus is firmly on small business ideas. I’m going to walk you through the good, the bad, and the ugly:

The good

There are certain things that make a good small business idea. A low startup cost is one of the main things to look for. Often, new entrepreneurs lack the financing to take on huge startup costs. So, this rules out a few ideas that are way out of your budget.

Secondly, you need to think of an idea that has room for growth. After all, starting a small business is just the beginning of your journey. Every solopreneur has ambitions of growing their company and scaling fast. You can’t do this if your small business idea doesn’t leave you with enough room to expand and grow. So, pick an idea that you can be fairly certain will grow rapidly, like a food-tech business. They’re all the rage these days, and the industry is growing like crazy. In fact, I was reading about what Forbes had to say on the challenges facing a leading food-tech business because they’re scaling too fast! This is exactly the sort of challenge you want to face as a small business owner.

In short, what makes a good small business idea? Something that will sell well, cost very little to start, and grow fast.

The bad

On the flip side of things, it’s easy for someone to come up with a bad small business idea. Many new entrepreneurs have started a business, only for it to fail early on. Usually, this is because their idea wasn’t as good as they thought.

A bad business idea is one that puts a lot of strain on your finances. Something with loads of startup costs that end up putting you in debt. If you’re in large amounts of debt, then you’ll be struggling from the start. Similarly, another example of a bad idea is joining a very competitive market. For example, starting a restaurant business in a town that’s packed full of the same type of restaurant. You’ll have way too much competition, and it will be too hard to survive.

Stay clear of bad ideas that cost too much and stick you in the deep end of a competitive market.

The ugly

A bad business idea is an idea that just doesn’t work. Sometimes, you realize this and get out before things turn sour. Other times, you try and stick it out, and it gets ugly.

I already mentioned how bad business ideas could cause debt, but they can also be even more damaging. When a bad business idea turns ugly, everything goes against you. Eventually, your company may close before it got a chance to blossom. And, this could easily be avoided if you realized your idea was bad and didn’t go through with it.

So, to sum up, the ugly side of business ideas is when you stick with a bad idea because you’re stubborn. Stubbornness can cost you an awful lot of money and credibility, which may put your next venture in doubt even before you get started. Don’t let that happen!

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Henry Brown is an online marketing executive. When he isn’t talking shop he’s roaming the streets of London, uncovering the extra-ordinary in the ordinary.

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