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8 Min. Read

Most Successful Small Business Ideas: 5 Startup Ideas

The key when looking at small business ideas for yourself is to find something that you will enjoy doing that is also in demand and has the potential for profit. Here’s 5 small business ideas for your consideration:

Open a Scuba Diving School

Start a Wedding Planner Business

Build a Business as a CPA (Certified Public Accountant)

Go into Business as a Doula

Run a Tour Guide Operation

Open a Scuba Diving School

You’ll need to be fit, and get certified, but if you have the initiative (and love water), then you can really make this startup into something as scuba diving is one of those activities on many people’s bucket lists, yet the industry itself is pretty small.

In the United States, you’ll need to get a certification from the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) or through the National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI). How long that will take will be based on your schedule, but the good news is that the certification is for life (although we recommend, based on this industry, that you update your skills often to keep up on the latest technology and safety techniques).

Ask yourself want kind of school you want to open. Is it just for beginners? All levels of experience? How many clients do you want to book at one time? Will you need help? Do you want to be out in the open water or would an indoor pool be more convenient, based on your location?

Perhaps you could affiliate yourself with a hotel and offer lessons in their indoor pool during less busier times? (Maybe offer a discount to guests staying at the hotel so that staff there will help you promote your business). An indoor pool will ensure your bookings proceed, rain or shine, all year round.

Reach out to people on Facebook or LinkedIn who have done it (they don’t have to be competitors from your city) for advice.

The good news is that the water is your office, you don’t need to meet clients anywhere else. Consider the costs for equipment, maintenance, storage, transportation and insurance. Think about how to market this activity online and perhaps through print ads local to where you’ll be running your operation. Then come up with a budget.

You’ll want a proper business plan too for your company. Consider how many hours you’re willing to do in a week to get this up and running, and how much regular income you need to pay back any equipment loans in a reasonable amount of time.

Start a Wedding Planner Business

A wedding can be a couple’s biggest event, perhaps only second to the birth of a child. Yet, it is fraught with stress and indecision. Shall we invite 50 people, or 200? Should we serve lobster or chicken? Do we get married in summer or fall?

What couples often rely on is a wedding planner, someone who will handle all the details, including those last-minute ones, with a smile. A wedding planner with some experience can provide invaluable tips to the bride and groom-to-be, along with:

  • Presenting venue options and coordinating tours with the couple.
  • Compiling the invitation list, and sending out invitations.
  • Finding, recommending, negotiating and booking of all vendors including the:
    – Church
    – Venue
    – Caterer
    – D.J. or Musicians
    – Photographer
    – Security (if necessary)
    – Drivers
  • Planning out full schedule for the day.
  • Planning seating arrangements.
  • Recommending and overseeing decorations.
  • Troubleshooting on the day of.

If you’re interest, no formal training is required, although it might help you to take an event planner program from a recognized college, which will teach you the relevant skills to succeed in this business, such as event decoration or menu planning. Some schools do offer courses in just wedding planning.

You won’t have a lot of startup costs except for marketing yourself. Promoting and selling your service can be done online through your own site and social media, but keep in mind that this industry is all about word of mouth. It will take you a while to get started, to establish yourself, but this can be a full-time job if you’re good at it.

Build a Business as a CPA (Certified Public Accountant)

Accounting is a growing field. The BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) predicts the accounting field to grow 10% from 2016 to 2026. If you enjoy math, and like the potential to make good money, then setting up shop as a Certified Public Accountant may be ideal for you.

A CPA is a level above a regular accountant, acknowledged as an expert in the field of accounting. Although a CPA’s pay is typically much better than that of a regular accountant, there are educational and work requirements you must undertake in order to obtain the certification. These requirements are specific to each state. There is also a four-part exam. To remain certified, you will also have to keep up with continuing education courses every year.

Here are some areas in which you, as a CPA, can specialize:

  • Forensic Accounting
  • IT Auditing
  • Taxation Specialization
  • Non-profit
  • Personal Financial Planning
  • Managerial Accounting

You don’t have to open your own physical office to be a CPA as chances are, you’re going to be on the road a lot visiting clients and going over their numbers in-person. You just need the certification, and of course, a website that markets your services. You’ll want to consider advertising through social media, but be careful just to target your area.

You may already know people with their own small businesses who could use a CPA’s help or guidance, which you could perhaps offer at a reduced rate, just to get you started.

Go into Business as a Doula

A Doula is a caregiver who provides emotional and physical support during labor and childbirth. A doula is also known as a “birth assistant”.

A Doula can:

  • Assist in advance with the development of a mother’s birth plan.
  • Help with pain management including massage and water therapy.
  • Assist in moving the mother-to-be around.
  • Work to ensure a calm birthing environment.
  • Provide continuous encouragement.
  • Serve food and drinks

A doula can be a very rewarding business opportunity, not just from a monetary standpoint. In 2017, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reported that “one-to-one emotional support is associated with improved outcomes for women in labor”. In other words, this can be a satisfying job.

If you’re interested in setting up shop as a doula, there is no legal body, state or federal, that requires a doula to be licensed. This is because a doula is not a medical professional. However, it is recommended that people interested in this type of work attend classes on childbirth, massage, breastfeeding and postpartum depression. The International Doula Institute provides a certification program for Doulas.

Like any small business, the number of clients you take on will really be up to you. Write up a ‘birth package’ – are you offering advance and later home visits (after the child is born), and if so, how many? Or are you strictly limited to labor time and time at the hospital?

You’ll want to get the word out through online and your own website, but you may also want to put up flyers in your local hospital or clinics. Prospective parents will want to interview you first, so be prepared for that meeting by letting them know what you are prepared to do to help them get through this special time.

Run a Tour Guide Operation

This one can be quite easy to do, especially if you’ve been living in the same city your whole life. This means you probably already know the best places to visit, the best times to visit them, how to get around and where to eat. Best part of all is your clients will be picking up the tab as you escort them around.

There’s no official training to be a tour guide, but you want to be good with people, and be able to pivot quickly depending on a client’s request. You’ll also be asked a lot for your recommendations based on the tourist attractions and restaurants in your city, but best to spend a few minutes at the start of each tour to find out your client’s likes and dislikes. Or if they already have something in mind for the day. Then be prepared to offer your unique perspective.

You can promote yourself on your own website, and through social media. If you know another language, promote that skill too. You’ll also want to invite reviews so that potential clients can see that you already do this job well. Make sure to link to those reviews on your website. Next, visit local hotels and talk to the concierges there to let them know you’re not only available, but that you’re offering a referral fee if they get you business.

The price you charge is up to you. Startup costs will be low, especially if you are not offering transportation and are moving around via city transit. Perhaps figure out a couple of different types of packages – half day, full day, full day including evening, and promote them. Determine what success will look like for your tour guide company. If it takes off, you can hire one or two people to help you during the busy summer months.


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