Starting your own business has become increasingly popular in recent years. According to the National Federation of Independent Business, 41% of small businesses are self-employed. This represents a huge opportunity for those who are looking to make an impact on their career and lives. Here are ten unique business ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
1. COOKIE DOUGH CAFE
Professional bakers or baking enthusiasts with a good sense of business may consider selling edible cookie dough. While this business can certainly remain small, the growth potential is huge. You may expand locally, regionally, and even nationally while still keeping costs low since the product can easily be shipped.
The earning potential of this business is great, considering the high markup potential of this specialty product. While costs will increase if you decide to open a brick-and-mortar shop, with enough business savvy and sales, profits can grow quite high.
2. OLIVE OIL STORE
If you have retail experience and a love for fine, specialty foods, an olive oil store may be a good fit for you. In addition to experience managing a retail operation, you’ll need be able to speak with customers about olive oil with some degree of expertise. While not necessary, cooking and teaching experience can be very helpful as hosting cooking classes and workshops can boost interest and profits.
Opening an olive oil store requires a fairly large investment to ensure your storefront is located in an area with significant foot traffic from high-end customers. The growth potential for this business is somewhat uncertain, but with more and more customers seeking premium, artisan products, the right business plan can lead to profits of 10% to 15% on sales and even more on classes, workshops, and other special events.
3. GOURMET POPCORN SHOP
If you love popcorn and are creative in the kitchen, a gourmet popcorn business may be a good fit for you. This is another great business idea that gives you the flexibility to stay small or expand. You may sell from home, open a store, or get your products on the shelves of food stores across the country. There are also a considerable number of resources available for those looking to learn the ropes of the gourmet popcorn business before opening.
Startup costs vary considerably, depending on whether you start by operating out of your home, renting a storefront, or even buying a franchise. However, because of the significant price markup, selling gourmet popcorn can potentially be quite profitable, with some national brands worth millions of dollars.
4. SEA SALT BUSINESS
Anyone who is self-motivated, likes working with their hands, and has access to seawater may consider starting a sea salt business. Owners will need some level of expertise to recognize the best locations, seasons, and times to source the salt. This requires at least basic knowledge of tides, currents, and sea levels.
Once you’ve pinpointed the best source for your sea salt, the startup costs for your business are very low. You can get started with a few buckets and jars, a food processor, and a means of evaporating the sea water you collect. The low costs, virtually unlimited supply of free raw materials, and high markup potential mean a sea salt business can be extremely profitable.
5. AXE-THROWING PARTY BUSINESS
Axe-throwing parties are one of the many unique niche entertainment options popping up across the country. Anyone who enjoys games and entertainment may enjoy running this exciting business. Experience with axe throwing is useful, but not required.
Insuring an axe-throwing business can be expensive due to the inherent risks involved and the novel nature of the business. If you put in the time and money, though, there is a good deal of growth and profit potential. A successful axe-throwing party business has the potential to make six figures, with larger businesses realizing revenue beyond $1 million annually.
6. ESCAPE ROOM BUSINESS
Creative individuals who love playing games and have a keen attention to detail may be good candidates to start an escape room business. While formal education and experience aren’t required, a background in design or other creative fields can be very helpful.
Escape rooms are a new and growing niche entertainment business that has blossomed over the past decade. While it’s hard to say how far this industry may grow, it continues to be a popular choice for a variety of people from small groups and parties to corporations looking for team building activities. Startup costs are moderate, as you will have to rent a location and design and furnish the room. However, a successful escape room business can bring in considerable profits, well into six figures.
7. CHALLENGE COURSE
Skilled marketers and salespeople who have an interest in outdoor activities and experience in military or police training, summer camps, or corporate training are uniquely qualified to run a challenge course business.
Whether it is an obstacle course, high-ropes course, zip-line, or other adventurous activity, startup costs are significant and include land, insurance, and quality staff members. However, these businesses continue to grow in popularity, attracting individuals, families, parties, and corporate clients. With the right marketing and business plan, even small challenge course businesses can bring in six figures. Larger businesses can make millions of dollars annually.
8. BOARD GAME CAFE
People passionate about board games who enjoy interacting with others and have some strong general business knowledge may consider opening a board game cafe. This is a great business model that can appeal to both families with children and adults looking for a unique night out. Many business owners note that families often frequent their establishments during the day, with the vibe changing to adults-only at night.
In an increasingly nostalgic culture, this business plays on many people’s desire to get back to simpler, unplugged forms of entertainment. As such, the popularity of board game cafes is increasing. Startup costs vary and depend largely on the size of the cafe and whether or not it will sell food. However, a successful board game cafe can bring in six figures annually.
9. WHIRLYBALL ARENA
As an unfamiliar activity to many people, whirlyball arena operators should above all be passionate about the activity so they can better draw in new customers. Strong business and marketing skills will also be necessary to turn a profit since this activity is not yet well known.
Whirlyball is a team activity that can be attractive to people of all ages and backgrounds. It can be a fun party activity or a unique team building exercise, so no matter where you’re located there is great potential for growth. Startup costs are significant, as the activity requires a fairly large and specialized space, along with equipment. If you’re able to effectively draw customers, your whirlyball business can net up to a million dollars annually, enough to cover your expenses and employee salaries and leave you a profit.
10. BONSAI TREE BUSINESS
Selling bonsai trees can be a good option for gardeners and stay-at-home workers looking for both a satisfying hobby and a business venture. While no formal education is required, owners should familiarize themselves with the various types of bonsai trees, best growing conditions, and basic techniques for raising the trees and helping them thrive.
Startup costs for seeds and other materials are relatively low, and you can turn a good profit once the trees are grown, provided you can wait 3–5 years. Bonsai are considered “high-value” trees that increase in popularity each year, especially with urban customers who lack the space to grow full sized trees. While profit margins are high, earning potential is limited by how many trees you’re able to cultivate and sell.