What is the best business to start with the lowest overhead if I don’t have a lot of money and no real skills?


Thanks for the answer request.

What you’ve got:

  • Not much money
  • No real skills

What you want:

  • To start a business

I’m taking a wild guess on this one that you either had a bad experience working for someone else, are looking for more of a lifestyle business or love Shark Tank… or all three 🙂

My advice on this one would be to take a job at a local business and spend your whole day working hard whilst also looking for problems that they have that aren’t currently being solved. An example would be if you worked at a café. Sounds like the potential for zero innovation, right? You’re there to make coffees, serve semi-disgruntled customers and get lousy tips – no way!

Let’s look at some opportunities that may or may not have been taken:

  • You walk in the first day and notice a stack of disposable cups. Hmmm, you wonder why they don’t sell reusable cups. Maybe you could speak to a supplier and sell these cups to the café and other cafés.
  • You place the first order and see that they’re using a loyalty card with customers. Hmmm, you speak to the owner to find out how useful these are. Do they want to go digital? If you’ve got some computer skills, this conversation could lead to helping with their website, social media and marketing outside work hours.
  • You walk down the street at lunch and see a sign in a shop window saying to buy a gift voucher for a friend. Hmmm, you go back to work and ask if you can set up a gift voucher system for them outside work hours. If not them, maybe you can offer it to other stores on your days off.
  • You ask about your shifts and you’re told to check the roster hanging in the lunch room. The roster comes out each Thursday and each employee drops in to the café to check it each week. Anyone who needs to change shifts needs to text the manager and then the manager finds another person by ringing around. Hmmm, you do some research and find that there is an excellent employee scheduling app that they can use to input their staff and all staff have instant access to their calendar. Shifts can easily be swapped and details are sent automatically by text. You offer this service to your boss and to the other store owners on the weekend.
  • You see that their website is horrendous. Simple but terrible to navigate. You speak to the boss and find out that they pay $100 per month for the site. Hmmm, you ask the boss if you can check out if there is a better option. After some research, you find a single-page website builder where you pay $99 per annum to host unlimited sites + it’s easy to use. You ask your boss if they want to pay $20 per month for you to build and maintain their site. You ask the other stores down the street on your day’s off.

I could keep going on but you get the idea that you don’t always need a geeky degree to know how to solve problems. Degrees help solve some problems but empathy and a willingness to step out will take you a long way towards a small, growing business that you’ll get enjoyment and income from.

About the author

Rich Peterson

I've spent the last 10 years planning, mapping & reimagining the processes of hundreds of SMBs. Whether the goal is more money, more time, more clarity or more customer smiles, my insightful process is worth every minute for my successful clients.
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