999 Great Business Ideas

  1. Produce Christmas cards which are printed on the front with, for example, “Happy Christmas from the Smith Family”. Or, instead of the name ‘Smith’, pick one of the dozens of other popular surnames. Sell packs of these cards by direct mail to people listed in telephone directories.
  2. Make money from renting out expensive children’s toys. The toys you rent out will include remote controlled models and computerized games. Use a little van to deliver the toys to customers. Paint in toy town color scheme. Call the van a toy mobile or similar suitable name.
  3. Introduce to your region a service which mounts maps for businesses. Keep a stock of local, national and international maps. Mount these maps in a professional manner to suit the wall space available at offices. Send out leaflets about your services to office managers.
  4. Bring out a regular publication for ambitious amateur musicians. This publication might include ads from : 1) Employers seeking musicians. 2) Retailers selling equipment accessories and supplies. 3) People selling used equipment. 4) Musicians seeking to make contact with other musicians. Also publish interesting editorials and letters.
  5. Design and manufacture kits for making models with cocktail sticks, for example: model churches, castles, windmills, houses, etc. Buy the cocktail sticks in their unpacked state from the manufacturer. Sell your kits by mail order from ads in craft magazines or distribute to model shops.
  6. Establish a directory of products no longer made. This directory might include sections on toys, novelties and household goods. Design the directory for business people and inventors who want to know both what has been made before and what ideas might be revived and/or modified.
  7. Make cotton gloves especially designed for coin collectors. The gloves prevent the grease and moisture from fingers getting onto coins. Package the gloves and sell them from ads in coin collecting magazines or distribute to shops which sell collectible coins.
  8. Bring out a correspondence course about how to write cookery books. The course might include information about: How to devise recipes, how to present them in written form and what makes a successful cookery book. Produce a prospectus and advertise in women’s magazines.
  9. Begin a business which rents out large and expensive astronomical telescopes to householders who want to develop their interest in astronomy. Publicize your service at the local astronomy society and use local advertising to attract clients.
  10. Set up a company which produces a compendium of strip games, for example: Strip poker, strip snakes and ladders, strip lotto, strip snap, and strip ludo. Sell by mail order from adverts in X-rated magazines.
  11. Paint attractive art on rocks to make souvenir paperweights and doorstops. The art might take the form of abstract pattern, traditional pictures or tourist scenery. Call your rocks “designer rocks”. Add a rubber base to paperweights and a rubber edge to doorstops.
  12. Create a mail order business which specializes in selling products which help people sleep. Products might include: Sleep inducing cassettes, special bedtime clothing, herbal pillows, books and guides on how to sleep better.
  13. Paint on wood stylistic house numbers and names. These painted numbers and names will be an attractive alternative to the traditional names burned into sliced logs. Get your work stocked at shops which sell garden products or household goods.
  14. Start a venture which promotes the art and hobby of window painting. On colored acetate paper have outlines printed for painting pictures by numbers. These acetate sheets are stuck to one side of a window and anyone can paint a picture on the other side of the glass.
  15. Select one sea-shell which would be suitable for an ashtray, another for a pip tray and another for a paper clip tray. Put these shells into a single packet and sell as a set of useful sea-shell-trays. Sell from souvenir and novelty gift shops.
  16. Devise and produce a board game which simulates the experience of starting a mail order business. The usual problem of bringing out a board game is the difficulty of getting it stocked in shops. However, a game about mail order can be sold by mail order to business opportunity seekers.
  17. Make an income by selling lucky charms at car boot sales or door-to-door. Sell, for example: Rabbits feet, horseshoes and four-leaf clovers. Start by tracking down trade sources of lucky charms.
  18. Buy and sell oil paintings. Buy new paintings from artists and old paintings from collectors and householders. Sell the paintings from: home, a roadside site, a stall at crafts fairs or hire stalls for exhibiting all the paintings you have for sale.
  19. Start a manufacturing business which is devoted to making doorstops. These doorstops might range from the humble wooden wedge to the more exotic and unusual. Package them in polythene bags, staple on a printed card and get them stocked at gift shops.
  20. Decorate everyday objects with pressed flowers. Add an inlaid design of pressed flowers to trays, coasters, jewellery boxes, paperweights, picture frames, wall-hangings, desk sets and tabletops.
  21. Set up a home-improvement business which modifies the exterior of houses to give them a Tudor appearance. Your service will include the fitting of ornamental oak beams, giving exterior walls a white covering and adding metal grids to windows.
  22. Make wooden noughts and crosses games. Drill nine holes in a small square block and paint on a grid. Next make ten pegs and pint on each peg an ‘O’ or an ‘X’. Place the grid and pegs into a clear bag and staple on a product card.
  23. Bring together a range of brassware ornaments so you can have a stall at crafts fairs, antique markets and car boot sales.
  24. Publish a newsletter which has the title “Ambitious Persons Way to Wealth” or “Clever People Don’t Work Hard”. The contents of your newsletter might be in a vein similar to Joe Karbo’s “The Lazy Man’s Way to Riches”.
  25. Set up and run a school of window dressing. Organize one-day or two-day seminars for established shopkeepers who want to learn more about this aspect of their business. Also provide courses for those who would like to take up a career as a window dresser.
  26. Write and publish a manual about how to make money from property. In the manual include chapters on: Buying and selling land, buying properties for conversions and renovations, investing in property, etc. Use direct mail and press advertising to sell by mail order to business opportunity seekers.
  27. Found and run a school of investment. Give tuition to solo students and to groups about different types of investments such as shares, gilt-edged securities, unit trusts, USM, antiques, stamps, arts, etc. For each area covered, prepare lesson plans and follow these closely.
  28. Make a selection of children’s prayer plaques: Wooden wall plates which feature popular prayers. The prayers might be painted onto or burned into the wood.
  29. Start a crafts business which uses interesting foreign coins to make jewellery. Incorporate coins into pendant bracelet, brooches, necklaces and earrings. Alternatively, make jewellery which features reproduction coins from the ancient world.
  30. Use small sea-shells strung together to make necklaces. Find a trade source of small sea-shells and either set up your own production line or employ homeworkers.
  31. Produce ‘Add-One’ drama video cassettes. Professional actors and actresses perform a play on video. However, there is one character missing from the video. This character is played by a viewer of the video. The viewer learns his or her part and becomes part of the play at home.
  32. Create a folder of sample sales letters for all occasions. The letters might sell: advice, maintenance, products, a service which gives free quotes, etc. Sell these folders by direct mail to small businesses.
  33. Earn money by selling gold chain by the inch at public events such as fairs, markets and exhibitions.
  34. Put together your own catalogue of jewellery making supplies. Locate the sources of products by doing the routine work of the mail order trader: write to potential suppliers. Throughout the country there are thousands of craftworkers who would welcome a new catalogue.
  35. Earn a living by buying gold and silver jewellery from people who need instant cash. Because their need for cash is greater than their desire to get a high price, your mark-up can be good. Only buy jewellery which you know you can re-sell quickly for a profit.
  36. Use fabrics to make soft cases for pencils, spectacles, scissors, bibles, money and other small items which are either potentially dangerous or need protection. At first, make a diversity of products until you discover which are the most popular and profitable, then specialize.
  37. Buy old bibles and hymn books from churches and education authorities. Have the pages shredded and use as stuffing material for ‘bible’ or ‘hymn’ pillows, teddy bear and other soft products. Also do ‘bible’ confetti and stuff bottles to make bottled bibles.
  38. Cut out prints and illustrations from old books. Frame them and sell to a wide range of shops and from a stall at a market fairs and car boot sales.
  39. Make leather and wooden souvenir luggage tags. These tags might feature the name of a holiday town and a popular scene. Get your tags stocked at shops visited by tourists.
  40. Prepare a mixture of dried herbs for adding to bathwater. Invent a brand name for your product like “(your surname) Original Bath Herbs”. Package each mixture of herbs and get them stocked at various retailers.
  41. Start a service which arranges for people to have their original pop lyrics set to music. This service is to satisfy the vanity of lyricists. Offer clients a complete, low cost package. Attract custom by placing ads in the music press.
  42. Devise quizzes which test a person’s vocabulary. Sell these to a magazine or newspaper on a regular basis. Alternatively, you might do quizzes which test a person’s knowledge of a regional dialect. Sell these to regional papers or magazines.
  43. Call door-to-door and offer to buy unwanted furniture. Or use local media to advertise your interest in buying second-hand furniture. Sell what you buy from free ads in local papers, or start your own second- hand furniture shop.
  44. Set up a mail order business which sells motorcycle memorabilia. Put together a catalogue which includes: videos, films, posters, photographs, books, instruction booklets, old magazines and newspapers, etc. Advertise your catalogue in motorcycle magazines.
  45. Start an enterprise which reproduces classic poems on postcards and posters. Also do framed prints of classic poems. Sell these from a stall in an antiques or crafts market or get them stocked at souvenir or gift shops.
  46. Produce a cataloguing system for record collectors. This system might consist of a card index box with pre-printed index cards. Each card has a printed section for the name of the artist, record and record label. Sell this cataloguing system through record shops or by mail-order.
  47. Publish a monthly audio cassette for one trade, such as newsagents, grocers, hair salons, booksellers, etc. Each cassette should give: Trade news, management tips, suggestions for improving sales, etc. Organize a direct mail campaign to recruit subscribers.
  48. Start a newspaper and magazine roadside stand. Ask established newspaper vendors how they got started.
  49. Bring out a correspondence course about how to write short stories for profit. Sell from newspaper and magazine ads and charge anything up to the average weekly wage (paid in installments) depending on the contents of the course.
  50. Produce a correspondence course about how to write good poetry. If most poets received a small amount of tuition about how to compose poems, their work would improve dramatically. Sell the course by advertising in literary and women’s magazines.

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