999 Great Business Ideas

  1. Produce booklets or audio cassettes which contain gay short stories. sell by mail order or have them stocked in shops which are used by the gay community.
  2. Set up a home-based computer service which maintains the mailing lists of local businesses. Also supply local businesses with mailing lists bought or rented from other firms in this country and abroad.
  3. Open a computerized marketplace for cars and motorbikes. On computer list the sellers and what they have to sell. Charge the sellers a fee for this service. Place ads which invite people who want to buy a car or bike to telephone you to see if you have what they want.
  4. Begin a business which makes money from souvenir cosmetics. Bring out lipstick, for example, or hand cream which has a local theme or name. Buy from established cosmetics manufacturers and package under your own label.
  5. If you have the necessary knowledge and skill earn money from teaching home computing in your own home or the home of clients. Prepare lessons on a variety of popular software applications and general computer operation. Give classes and teach to solo students.
  6. Begin a business which produces correspondence courses about home computing. Base each course on a popular software application and have a general course on general computer operation. The lessons in your course might be modelled on what already exists in textbooks. Sell from ads in computer magazines.
  7. Organize tours of well-known sights or areas of outstanding natural beauty. Buy or rent an open topped bus for the tours. Also use this bus for weddings, work excursions and school trips.
  8. Design and produce mugs or posters which predict a person’s future. These might be called fortune mugs (or posters). For example, a mug or poster might be printed with either a reference guide to what patterns of tea leaves mean or an astrological prediction for each star sign.
  9. Start a newsletter for people who want to make money from their home computer. In each issue provide subscribers with ideas for adventure games, educational or quiz programs, and business programs. Also print news, tips and case studies about starting a computing business.
  10. Begin a computing lesson of the month club. Each month send a home computing enthusiast a cassette which gives instructions about how to use a popular application or how to improve their programming skills. Advertise in home computing magazines.
  11. Start a mail order business which sells mosaic making supplies. Also sell a guide about getting started in this hobby. Produce a simple catalogue about your products and advertise in crafts magazines.
  12. Learn the art of tap dancing and put together your own song and dance act. Find an agent and perform at clubs, pubs and private functions.
  13. Design and manufacture kits for making paper at home. Sell the kits to craft workers from ads in crafts magazines and get them stocked in hobby and crafts shops.
  14. Design and make a range of fishing lures at home. Sell these by getting them stocked at fishing tackle shops, starting a monthly club which sends anglers one of the latest fishing lures and giving the lures an appealing name like ‘lucky charm lures’.
  15. Produce a rhyming dictionary on audio cassettes. A spoken word dictionary can illustrate the rhyming qualities of words far better than any printed dictionary. Get these stocked at bookshops or sell from adverts in literary magazines.
  16. Start a mail order company which sells business equipment and accessories for left-handed people. Bring out a catalogue and send it to large and medium-sized businesses.
  17. Publish a craftworkers’ equivalent to the ‘Yellow Pages’. In the directory include the addresses of sources for a wide range of products. List the addresses under a heading for each craft. Also sell advertising space to suppliers, crafts schools, craftworkers, etc.
  18. Set up a service which rents out model trains, boats and planes to businesses with reception areas. These models are supposed to create goodwill because most people will look at and appreciate a good model. Your clients will include restaurants and office-based businesses and particularly travel agents.
  19. Canvass shops for older, soiled or other unwanted stock and offer to buy it at a nominal sum. No one else is likely to buy the stock so this is probably the only opportunity the owner has to sell it. Hire a hall and sell the stock at low prices to the public. Or sell at a car boot sale or from a market stall.
  20. Reprint old geographical maps. Use the reprints to decorate unfinished stock bought from manufacturers. For example: desk sets, book ends, memo pads, letter racks, lamp holders, book ends, coasters, dinner mats, etc. Alternatively frame the maps in a stylish frame and sell as wall decorations.
  21. Package low value foreign coins in cellophane envelopes. Distribute these coins to newsagents for selling to children in the way small packets of stamps are sold.
  22. Start a firm which manufacturers kits for making etchings. Design the kits so that a complete beginners can make attractive etchings. Sell by mail order or through shops which sell artists’ materials.
  23. Produce and distribute souvenir boxes of matches. Each matchbox is painted with a picture postcard scene of a tourist area. Also produce a souvenir pack which contains a selection of different boxes. This pack can be bought by people as a gift or taken home for personal use.
  24. Set up a bead craftwork business. Use beads to make a selection of jewellery such as necklaces, pendants, bracelets and earrings. Sell from a market stall or mount on display racks and get shops to stock them.
  25. Start a business which makes a range of souvenir or commemorative wall plaques. They might have a feature such as: town crests, tourist maps, commemorative statements or logos, etc. Sell your wall plaques through gift shops and hotels.
  26. Rent out scaffolding for exterior home decorating and maintenance. Advertise in local newspapers and newsagents windows. Provide a free delivery service.
  27. Bring out an audio cassette course about advanced driving. Sell by mail order or get it stocked in bookshops. Or produce videos about improving driving skills and hire or sell by post. Each video might feature filmed examples of good or bad driving.
  28. Set up a business which produces X-rated jigsaw puzzles. These might be sold either by mail order or, to wholesalers of X-rated products.
  29. Design and manufacture kits for making string puppets. produce a selection of kits which are complementary to each other and can be used in the same puppet show.
  30. Learn how to make china dolls and once your work reaches a high standard make an income from teaching others. Hold classes in your own area or devise a postal course.
  31. Make peg calendars. A peg calendar consists of a block of wood with a line of 31 holes for days, 12 holes for months, and 10 holes for years. Three tiny pegs indicate the date and are moved each day accordingly. The calendar can hang from a wall like a thermometer or sit on a desk.
  32. If you can draw amusing caricatures call door-to-door to show people samples of your work and offer to draw one on the spot.
  33. Arrange for a set of pictures to be printed to look like old cigarette cards. Turn out hundreds of framed sets and sell to wholesalers and gift shops.
  34. If you have the skill, work as a charcoal artist in a thoroughfare of a shopping or tourist area.
  35. Found a year-book for people who do creative things with their hands, such as painters, drawers, sculptors, cartoonists, illustrators, cartoonists, engravers, etc. Also list buyers of art, art schools, art fairs, etc. Have the year-book stocked at bookshops, artists supplies shops, craft shops and sell by mail.
  36. Start a training school which specializes in teaching the art of sketching. Use sketch artists to do the teaching. Your job is to find students and organize the premises and management. Also put together a postal course which teaches sketching to beginners.
  37. Draw amusing cartoons of personal names at any location where there are crowds, for example: fairs, trade shows, shopping areas and tourist sites.
  38. Design and manufacture finger painting kits for children and adults. Get these stocked at shops which sell toys (for children’s kits) and artists materials (for adult’s kits).
  39. Invent a cartoon character which captures the spirit of your town or region. Pick a name which matches the name of the town or region. E.g. Billy Brighton, Mickey Middlesex, etc. Use this character on: T-shirts, posters, postcards, stationery, etc.
  40. Make money from wines by taking an empty van to a wine growing region and bringing it back full. Sell the wine directly to restaurants, off-licences, and free houses. Build up a list of business who will buy wine from you on a regular basis.
  41. Publish a newsletter about cocktail drinks. In each issue include: information about new and classic cocktail drinker tips, the best way to make drinks, new cocktails which you devise yourself, etc. Your market includes all businesses licensed to sell drinks.
  42. Specialize in organizing trips to vineyards and beer festivals. Issue an annual or quarterly brochure which gives full details of all the holidays you are planning. Advertise in beer and wine publications.
  43. Sell by post plans for hobby electronic construction projects. Buy plans from established electronics hobbyists and compile a catalogue of plans for sale. Find and sell plans through adverts in electronic hobby magazines.
  44. Begin a party plan business which sells self-instruction and ‘how to’ books, cassettes and courses. Add a competitive edge to the business by producing many of the products yourself.
  45. Write and publish a series of booklets on how to turn various hobbies into businesses, for example, ‘How to start an electronics business’. Other hobbies might include: stamp or book collecting, photography, angling, and video making. Sell through ads in hobby and business opportunity magazines.
  46. Produce a questionnaire which is designed to find out if one person really loves another. Place classified ads in magazines for teenagers or women which read : ‘Does he really love you?’. Send respondents a questionnaire and process it for a charge. Or design a questionnaire which can be assessed by the client.
  47. Learn the art of I Ching. Then, earn a sideline income by persuading party hosts to pay you to give readings to guests.
  48. Produce and sell from national publications a home study course about how to play the piano. Pay an expert pianist to devise and write the course.
  49. Make a series of cookery instruction videos. These should teach people how to make all kinds of dishes and foods. Start a postal business to rent or sell these videos.
  50. At a seaside resort set up a seasonal business which organizes boat trips and day-long coach excursions for holiday-makers. The boat and coaches will be hired from local operatives and you can sell tickets from camping site shops, newsagents and tourist information centers.

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