999 Great Business Ideas

  1. Begin a business which deals in old and new American and British comics. This business might: 1) Sell comics by post from a catalogue. 2) Operate a comics of the month club for specialized collectors and 3) Run a comics stall at fairs and markets.
  2. Write to overseas publishers of English language newsletters and offer to act as the distributor for their newsletter in this country. In your letter to the publishers outline the benefits they will gain if they let you distribute their newsletter.
  3. Start a service which cleans wire baskets and supermarket trolleys. Baskets and trolleys often spend most of the day on a dusty floor or outside, open to the elements.
  4. Use wooden jigsaw pieces to make earrings and necklaces. Add a hand painted design to the side of the jigsaw piece not covered by a part of the picture. Call your goods jigsaw puzzle jewellery. Sell from a stall at fairs, car boot sales or get it stocked at trendy shops.
  5. Take metal rods and tubes of different diameters and cut into slices. Arrange the slices to make pictures and patterns. Mount these pictures and sell as craftwork. Or produce kits for making pictures with slices of rods and tubes. Use mail order to sell these kits to craftworkers.
  6. Write and sell articles or books about starting a business and making money. Sell the manuscripts to publishers of business opportunity books, newsletters, magazines and newspapers. For a start, Jon Murray Information Services, 114 Duke Street, Edinburgh, EH6 8HR will welcome any manuscripts for approval and possible purchase.
  7. Set up a business which produces a quality audio cassette library of nursery rhymes. Alternatively, produce a series of cassettes which feature X-rated nursery rhymes for adults. Sell these by either getting them stocked in bookshops or by starting a monthly club.
  8. Compile and publish a monthly bulletin which informs subscribers of poetry competitions they are eligible to enter at home and abroad. Target your recruitment campaign for subscribers at practicing poets.
  9. Bring out a series of plans for woodworkers, soft toy makers, leather workers and other craftworkers. Either sell printed copies of these plans at wholesale prices or sell the reproduction rights. Then any craftworker or hobbyist can start a mail order business selling the plans.
  10. Publish a “Which?” newsletter about newsletters. As the number of newsletters and subscribers is ever increasing, there is a gap in the market for a newsletter which comments on and judges the value of the others.
  11. Begin an enterprise which makes model paper products for dolls and dolls’ houses. These might include: Newspapers, money, stationery, napkins, paper hats, Christmas cards, etc. Sell these products by mail order to doll makers and collectors.
  12. Write a non-fiction book which may, for example, be about a hobby. Enlist a book printer to produce copies of the book. Sell these to the market that would be interested in the contents. You might, for example, place ads in hobby magazines.
  13. Give personal tuition in your own home on how to write good English. Advertise your service by placing cards in windows of local newsagents. Point out the advantages of taking the course, such as getting a better job and helping the children with their homework.
  14. Start a singles contact magazine or newsletter, each issue might include both small ads from people looking for partners and editorials of interest to single people. Use press and magazine advertising to build up a list of subscribers.
  15. Set up a holiday companion introduction service. Your service matches and introduces single people who do not have anyone to go on holiday with. Place classified ads in numerous publications to attract clients. Or produce a publication which lists people who are looking for holiday companions.
  16. Write and publish a newsletter for those who want to start a successful business. The newsletter might, for example, discuss effective ways of: Selling, managing, generating ideas, locating suppliers and finding customers. Use your local library service to research these topics.
  17. Begin a crafts enterprise which turns out wire craft ornaments. These ornaments are free-standing, 3-D objects which consist entirely of wire: the wire makes the outlines. The ornaments might be in the shape of: aeroplanes, helicopters, people, animals, boats or bicycles.
  18. Start a mail order business which promotes the craft of making ornaments and models from shaping wire. Design and make up a complete kit for beginners. Include this kit in your catalogue, as well as tools, design ideas and raw materials for wire craftworkers.
  19. Make football rosettes and get them stocked at newsagents and sports shops. Each one might be placed in a cellophane packet or polythene bag
  20. Produce a series of storytelling videos. An actor or actress reads classic novels directly to the camera. Hire out these videos by post. You can use whole or part of classic stories for which the copyright has expired. This is the case for any work where the writer has been dead for 50 or more years.
  21. Start a venture which organizes river or coastal boat trips for: Business parties, wedding receptions, anniversaries, birthday parties, etc. Your service would do things like: organize transport to the boat, booking catering services, hiring entertainers and hosts or hostesses.
  22. If you can play a musical instrument, earn money by providing background music at: Restaurants, pubs, wine bars, tea-rooms, hotel breakfasts, amusement arcades, or ice skating rinks. Also play during the interval at theatres and/or cinemas.
  23. Sell copies of theatrical plays by post. Put together a wide range of new and second-hand publications and produce a catalogue. Advertise your catalogue in both the theatre press and theatre programs.
  24. Buy and sell second-hand compact disks. Buy collections of disks by post and use local ads to find sellers in your area. The disks you acquire can be sold: by post, from a market stall, or get them stocked at local shops.
  25. Have a stall which sells fashionable clothes. Your stall might be a full-time business, working at street markets or it may be part-time and appear at craft and antique fairs.
  26. Set up a sheet music of the month club. Each month send members a selection of sheets to include the latest popular songs. Club members will include: Musicians, who play at clubs and pubs, record companies and keen amateur musicians.
  27. Sell Beatles or Elvis memorabilia by mail order. Conduct your own research to discover what memorabilia you can produce yourself, for example, reprint photographs and duplicate press cuttings. Also buy goods from collectors and trade sources at home and abroad.
  28. Put together a mail order catalogue of children’s educational audio cassettes. These might cover subjects such as spelling, reading and grammar rules, geography, history, etc. Produce some of the cassettes  yourself and buy others from audio publishers.
  29. Do your own research to discover the secrets of conjuring. Write a manuscript about your findings and publish it yourself. The novel and sensational nature of this book will ensure that it sells well from ads in newspapers and magazines.
  30. Write and record personalized songs. Produce songs for all occasions, such as engagements, weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, births, homecomings and congratulations. Use classified ads in the personal columns to attract orders.
  31. Start a crafts business which produces gift tags decorated with pressed flowers. Also do similar products like pressed flowers bookmarks. To make a bookmarker tape take two strips of clear 35mm film, place pressed flowers between the strips and tie the sprocket holes together with cotton.
  32. Bring out an educational newsletter about ‘How to Improve Your Written English’. Each monthly newsletter might be like a lesson. There are only a limited number of lessons, so you can send the same series to different subscribers for many years.
  33. Open a school of rock music. Provide classes about different aspects of rock, such as singing, playing electric guitars, writing music and songs, designing stage presentations, etc. Add credibility to the school by paying established rock musicians to give many of the lessons.
  34. Devise and produce an audio cassette course about how to play the drums. Use ads in the music press to sell this course. And/or get the course stocked at music shops.
  35. Produce kits for schoolgirls to make bead necklaces. Package each kit in a small polythene bag and staple on a printed card. Mount these kits on a rack and get them displayed at newsagents.
  36. Design your own brand of baby sling. Buy one of each of the baby slings currently on sale. Study them and develop one which is a composite of the best features. Manufacture and package them. Find appropriate retailers and wholesalers to stock them.
  37. Make charming and attractive quilts for babies and children. Make the kind of quilts you would like a baby or child to have. Give your imagination free reign to see what ideas and designs you come up with. When you have finalized a design, go into business for yourself.
  38. Turn out knitwear garments for children. Sell the garments from your own stall or through retailers.
  39. Embroider attractive designs on ladies gloves and scarves. Call on up-market retailers to persuade them to stock your products.
  40. Bring out your own range of shawls. Increase the value of your shawls by giving each design a catchy name. Sell the shawls by mail order or get them stocked at retailers.
  41. Make charming soft toy ladybirds and other insects/animals which can be attached to curtains for decoration.
  42. Bring out a selection of souvenir ties. The ties might feature the name or emblem of a holiday resort. Mount the ties on racks and get them displayed in shops which sell souvenirs.
  43. Start a mail order business which sells books, booklets and audio cassettes about how to deal with nasty experiences. Topics covered might include: Violence in the home, break up of a marriage, death of a partner, being sacked or failing exams.
  44. Use ribbon to make souvenir pictures, for example: yellow ribbon can be used as the beach, blue as the sea, brown and green for palm trees, etc. Or design and produce kits for hobbyists. Sell by mail order or through craft shops.
  45. Make a selection of balaclava helmets in the colors of popular football teams or the national flag. Sell from roadside stall on route to football ground, or through supporters clubs.
  46. Produce a series of videos which have titles such as: ‘How to give up smoking’, ‘How to relax’, ‘How to lose weight’ and ‘How to sleep soundly’. Sell these by direct mail to business people. Or try to get a leading chain store to distribute them on a national basis.
  47. Have your own fabrics market stall and sell ordinary fabrics, rolls of discontinued lines and remnants.
  48. Do alterations and repairs for dry cleaning services, menswear shops, factories and offices. Visit these places and inform them of your services. Offer, for example, to collect the goods once or twice a week.
  49. Produce cardboard, sightseeing periscopes and sell them at public events. Make them yourself. Arrange for the card to be printed and shaped. Assemble the periscopes and add two small mirrors. Recruit sales people to sell these periscopes along the route of the event.
  50. Start a knitting patterns of the month club. Each month, members of your club automatically receive a selection of the latest knitting patterns. Members select the patterns they want and return the rest. Or compile a top 30 of patterns and send new entries to club members.

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