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132 SMME Business Ideas - off the top of my head!

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132 SMME Business Ideas - off the top of my head!

by Kurt Carstens
20 Apr 2007

132 examples of small business ideas that may (or may not) work. An article which clearly shows that possibilities for SMME businesses are endless.

1 Start a mobile snack bar.

Various types of food trailers are available, suitable for selling all kinds of edible goodies. Whether it's hamburgers, beefburgers, chips, sandwiches or ice-cream, there's plenty to choose from. A medium-size investment is required, particularly when buying new. But if you can purchase a used trailer in good condition, then you could probably save a fair bit of money. You will need to learn all the regulations related to hygiene, safety and the selling of food in public. But if you find a good location, this type of catering can be very profitable indeed.

2 Design and make a puppet theatre.

Hire out your services as a childrens' entertainer for birthday and Xmas parties etc. Put on a show that children love to watch. Advertise your services in the Business Directory and Yellow Pages, but word-of-mouth is the best way to gain more business.

3 Organise antique fairs.

An interest in antiques is desirable, but not essential. Hire a suitable hall and rent out stalls to sellers of antiques. Arrange to advertise the fair through local newspapers and posters. Place a large noticeboard outside the hall to catch peoples' attention and charge a small admission fee.

4 Open a bed and breakfast house.

This is an ideal opportunity for people living in a poular tourist area. If you have two or three spare rooms or more then you're halfway there. Visitors will require an efficient breakfast service, along with easy access to the bathroom, and a comfortable and clean bedroom. Preferably with extra facilities such as a tv, telephone and wash basin. Also provide tourist information literature for good measure. Advertise in various B&B guides, as well as placing a suitable sign outside, or in your front window.

5 Design and bake unusual party cakes based upon the interests of the person whose party it is.

For example, cakes made up in the form of sports equipment, musical instruments, or modes of transport. Cakes of unusual design can also be used for special functions and events where food and drink is being served.

6 Sell a selection of plants at regular car boot sales or flea markets.

Alternatively, sell them from a roadside stall. Place signs 100 metres from the stall in either direction to inform approaching motorists,

7 Invent a cartoon character which appeals to people of all ages.

Produce a regular short comic strip in a format designed to suit newspapers and general publications. Successful cartoons can sometimes make a lot of money for the inventor. What also appeals to many families with young children are artists who can draw directly on to a childs bedroom wall or help create a fantasy birthday party by designing characters on styrofoam cutouts.

8 If you have a large van or Closed Bakkie, Transport the week-end dee-jays or up and coming bands for a fee, and collect them and their equipment the day after or the same night for a fee.

There are always plenty of young people who are in the process of forming a band and just starting out on the road to hopeful success. Some of these bands are getting bookings and need reliable transport and help to carry their equipment to gigs. There are disk jockeys who would also find this service useful. If you're interested in the entertainment business, this idea could be right up your street. Contact bands direct, or contact agents who deal with bands to inform them of your service. You might also consider advertising in selected music magazines.

9 Start a business that specialises in organising trips abroad or in other towns for sports fans.

These excursions could, for instance, be to football matches, motor-racing events, tennis tournaments etc. Advertise your service through local newpapers.

10 Buy and sell old telephones.

People still have fond memories of the old style phones. They also make a nice change from the modern bland phones in use today. But if a sense of nostalgia isn't your cup of tea, you could always deal in novelty phones. i.e. Mickey Mouse etc.

11 Start a mailing service for direct mail advertisers.

This would involve combining a selection of leaflets or cards advertising various products and services that might appeal to the general public, or names from a specified mailing list. After placing the advertising material together in one professionally designed envelope, the mailing is sent to prospective customers. The fee for this service would be approximately half the cost incurred to advertisers preparing and sending out their own mailshot.

12 Start a business that removes graffiti.

Find out your nearest supplier of industrial cleaning materials and equipment. Advertise your service to local businesses, government bodies and community organisations.

13 Start your own picture framing business.

With practice and the right tools, professional results can be achieved quickly. To get started you'll need a mitre cutter, a pin hammer, pliers, clamps, a mount cutter, a glass cutter, staple gun and a supply of mounting boards, picture mouldings, glass and hardboard for backing the pictures. Eventually you would need to invest in professional picture framing equipment for fast and accurate mitring and mount cutting. You can advertise your services in the local newspaper.

14 Open up a collectors museum.

The museum would be dedicated to a collection of old items that are fondly remembered and popular with visitors. Themes such as toy trains, vintage toy cars, dolls houses, photographic equipment, film memorablia etc., could be easily displayed in a large house or rented premises. Choose a suitable location within easy reach of a popular tourist spot or large populated area. Charge a small admission fee or apply for government funding.

15 Start a business organising 'Adventure Days Out'.

These could include exciting activities such as ballooning, rally driving, off-road driving, abseiling etc. Target business executive types with a direct mail brochure. Activities like these attract a fairly high fee due to their nature. Hire experts with suitable expertise and training ability where required.

16 Buy and sell used garden furniture thats in good condition.

Items might include tables and chairs, picnic benches, garden seats, hammocks etc. Further items could be added later such as overlap fencing panels, garden sheds and if you're handy at carpentry you could also stock self-made, wooden plant containers and window boxes.

17 Set up a cleaning service for businesses.

Companies with shops, offices, warehouses are all potential customers. The usual simple cleaning materials can be used along with industrial vacuum cleaners and floor polishers. Start small, but think big. Expand your business by employing others as more work comes in. It's a competitive business, but there's always room for another reliable and professional service who can deliver the goods at the right price.

18 Start a walking tourguide service.

Research the local history of popular historical tourist spots. Plan a historical tour around places of interest within reasonable walking distance. Inform the local tourist information centre, and leave leaflets for tourists to let them know where to find you. Three or four tours a day, reasonably priced, to guide around a dozen people or more, can be well worth the effort.

19 Train to be a website designer.

If you're a computer buff with an eye for good design, the internet has opened up a huge opportunity for competent web designers to make a good living, designing websites for businesses. A good grasp of html, java and cgi scripting is essential. An understanding of ecommerce is also obligatory.

20 Buy and sell secondhand photographic equipment.

Either set up a shop or sell via the internet. Used equipment can be advertised as wanted through classified advertising or bought from auction. Check the online auctions also. Research the going rates for particular models and try to buy lower. Keep in mind that some equipment may be collectors items. You could also sell goods on commission. Advertise in photography magazines and local press.

21 Start a party plan business specialising in sexy lingerie.

Ideal for the ladies, this business can be very profitable and fun to run. Send for a number of catalogues and price lists from varoius suppliers to compare products and prices. Compile a list of the best items and purchase a small stock of each one, using one of each for demonstration purposes. Hand out brochures and order forms at the party and use an attractive friend to demonstrate the goods.

22 Party plan sales are also ideal for selling a range of products such as perfumes, cosmetics, jewellery and gift items.

Good organisational skills and a good sense of humour go a long way to making this type of business a success. Apart from these basic qualities, all you need is a good selection of products to sell at the right price.

23 Specialise in fitting close-circuit security cameras in private homes and commercial outlets.

Security cameras are everywhere these days, but there's still a lot of businesses who don't have them yet. Plus, the market for home security is huge. Now that video cameras are much more compact and easily fitted, while crime and vandalism continues unabated, there's great potential for an energetic person to make this business an instant hit.

24 Start a walk-in solarium business.

As an alternative to buying or hiring a sunbed, which takes up a lot of space in the home, a service like this is ideal for everyone seeking a golden tan in double quick time. A capital investment is required for equipment and premises to run the business. The environment should be clean and modern with suitable changing room facilities. Advertise your service in the local press.

25 Buy and sell keep-fit equipment in good condition.

Many people often buy equipment such as exercise bikes, rowing machines, multi-gyms etc., while going through a phase of trying to get fit and healthy. Although some take the alternative route of joining a health club, there are still people who prefer to work out in the privacy of their own homes. If you cater for the latter, you could sell or hire out good quality used equipment at an easily affordable price. This is a business best operated in highly populated areas.

26 Start a home security firm.

This would involve keeping watch on houses and commercial premises on housing estates. An ideal business to run in areas where crime and vandalism are a common problem. For a small monthly fee, individual residents and shop owners would pay you for regularly driving around the area, keeping an eye on their property while they are at work or away in the evenings. As your client list grows so do your profits, while the realatively small overheads involved will diminish. Basically, all you need to get started is a small car or van with security signs printed on, a base to work from, a mobile radio and phone, and a suitable security guard outfit. As the business grows, extra staff can be taken on as required. Obtain work by canvassing door-to-door with suitable ID and credentials. Check with your local policy station, Police Community Forum, Neighbourhood watch an dother policing bodies for the neccessary registration and licencing if neccessary for your area.

27 Set up and run a mobile discotheque.

Your business would cater mainly for organisers of private functions, such as engagement parties, wedding reception parties, anniversary parties, 18th birthday parties and so on. If you fancy yourself as a Deejay, that's fine, if not you can hire someone who does. All you need to get started is a twin record console with amplifier, a set of flashing disco lights, a tape/cd player and a big collection of popular records. Have some well designed business cards printed, and a few small leaflets and posters. Advertise in the local press, business directories and the Yellow Pages.

28 An alternative to running a mobile disco is to hire out the equipment to others.

You could also offer a range of equipment that caters for musicians who need replacement gear in an emergency. This could include keyboards, microphones, guitars and drums, plus special effects equipment such as fog machines etc. A fairly heavy investment is required to get up and running, plus it's a risky business, but looking on the bright side, there isn't a great deal of competition. Suitable insurance will be required of course, to cover loss or damage, and public liability. This can be a major expense. But if that doesn't put you off, get your business off the ground advertising in music mags local press, and target potential customers with a well designed brochure.

29 Arrange day trips to racecourses and other special events.

These could include events such as music festivals, major exhibitions or theatrical productions. A regular service could be set up for regular customers, depending on the popularity and nature of the service offered. Racing enthusiasts and football fans might use your services repeatedly. Travel arrangements might include travelling by coach or train, possibly overnight accomodation, and obviously, entry tickets would be included in the overall price. Whatever discounts you can obtain, will of course, become part of your profits. Good organisational skills are a must. Advertise your service in the local press and the appropriate magazines.

30 Sell antiques from a market stall.

Antiques and bric-a-brac can be picked up cheap from auctions, car boot sales and jumble sales, then resold on for a profit. Pay particular attention to collector's items. A good knowledge of antiques is required, but beginners can also learn as they go along. Having an eye for a bargain when scouring the car boot sales can bring surprisingly good results. Sometimes exceptional profits can be achieved if you spot the right item. Research the subject thoroughly. Some excellent books can be found at your local library. They may not be a substitute for years of experience, but everyone has to start somewhere.

31 Offer a service to transfer cine film on to videotape or CD.

This isn't as difficult as it sounds. Once you have the right equipment there are very few overheads in running this type of business, and profits can be good. Please be aware of Copyright Laws where applicable, and adhere to them.

32 Design and produce crossword puzzles for magazines.

There's a lot of newspapers and magazines which print crosswords for their readers. Some puzzle magazines are filled with them. If you like the idea of creating your own crosswords, and you're clever enough to do it, you can sell your creations to make it worthwhile. There's even computer software available which can help you along the way, Check the internet for sources.

33 Start a business organising boat trips at a popular seaside resort or lakeside tourist area.

A suitable used boat could be bought, or hired from a local boat owner. If you lack boating experience, hire someone who does. If the person you hire owns the boat, then arrange to split the profits. Sell tickets from a nearby booth in a prominent position to attract passing tourists and promote your business through local shops and tourist information centres.

34 Make up a number of attractive hanging baskets

Each containing a colourful floral arrangment. Sell them by calling on residents who live in upmarket residential areas. Carry them around in a brightly painted handcart or a suitable small van.

35 Buy and sell, or hire out, good quality tents and camping equipment.

There's lots of people who have bought tents and only used them once or twice. Thinking they might use it again sometime, they store the tent away. Eventually they realise they will probably never use it again. Like many things, tents and camping equipment are often just bought on a whim. By taking advantage of this fact, you can often pick up some real good bargains and resell or hire them out for profit. Advertise in the classified wanted ads so you can pick and choose the best from what you see. Buy at the end of the summer months to get the best deals. Ideally, a small shop or unit would be used to set up the business. To start with though, you could work from home using a large garage for storage.

36 Are you good with figures? Train to become a book-keeper.

There are lots of small businesses who need the services of a good book-keeper. Chartered accountants charge a steep hourly fee for their book-keeping services. Which means you will have no trouble finding work, if your rates are more reasonable. After training, you should be able to keep simple records, balance the books and fill in tax returns for any small business. Check your local futher education centres, advertises of correspondence courses and information on the internet for courses available in book-keeping.

37 Start a business which designs and makes lucky charm key rings and bracelets.

These could include items such as a lucky horseshoe, rabbit's foot, or four-leaf clover made in a plastic, silver, gold or enamelled design. The best ideas can be sold through gift and souvenir shops. Another possibility is to produce personalised key rings or bracelets with peoples names on them.

38 Buy and sell cherished number plates

Private number plates are hugely popular in the UK. Start by buying plates at auction and resell while advertising for more plates to buy. Check the transfer regulations and become familiar with the documentation required. You'll need to become familiar with plate values, what sells well and what doesn't. Some plates can be worth a small fortune.

39 Sell music cassettes, cd's and videos from a market stall.

New and used products can be sold together. For used items, advertise in the wanted section of local newspapers, and national magazines. Offer the best going rate for good quality merchandise. Add approximately thirty percent profit on goods resold. You could also sell by mail order once a large stock has been built up. Again, note the laws in your area regarding the sale of music,movies. etc.

40 Buy and sell toy train sets and accessories for enthusiasts and collectors.

Although electronic toys have become the main attraction for young children, there is still a market for toy trains, not only for children, but a generation of adult enthusiasts who still enjoy it as a hobby. Advertise in the wanted column of your local paper. Sell through train magazines by mail order and collectors fairs.

41 Organise secondhand book sale events.

Hire a small hall, set up some stalls and invite people to sell their old book collections. Charge a small entrance fee and a basic charge to stallholders. Where possible, organise a place for visitors to sit down and provide suitable refreshments.

42 Start a walking menu board service.

Not as popular as it used to be, but still a useful service. Ideal for students who need a bit of pocket money. If you make the right contacts through canvassing and supply the advertising boards, you could pay other students to work for you, while you take some commission for yourself. A dozen small contracts should make it worthwhile.

43 Start a business organising city tours by bus, or coach excursions to historical sites of interest.

An open top double decker bus would be ideal for city tours, or a single decker for out-of-town trips. Arrangements could be made to hire these vehicles if purchase is out of the question. Advertise the tours in busy tourist areas and through tourist information centres.

44 Specialise in selling sports trainers.

Buy from wholesale sources and sell from home. Alternatively, sell by party plan or set up a market stall. Sell locally at below shop prices and build up your sales through word of mouth.

45 Produce and sell a range of wooden floor sculptures.

These for example, could be based on wild animals such as bears, wolves or african animals i.e. giraffes, tigers, lions etc. They can be made to stand on a wooden or stone base, or as a freestanding ornament. Sell through upmarket furniture stores.

46 Start a sandwhich round catering for local businesses.

Many businesses, particularly firms which are situated out of town and on industrial estates, often don't have the luxury of a works canteen, or even have the good fortune of having a local shop nearby. This would serve as a good opportunity to set up a mobile sandwhich delivery service providing an assortment of different kinds of sandwhiches and drinks. You will of course need to comply with certain food hygiene laws and provide a way for customers to order and receive their orders within a reasonable time. For instance, orders placed before 10 a.m. will be received by 12 noon. To get started, canvas firms that aren't already being catered for, leaving a suitably impressive menu and pice list. Gradually, as your business builds up, take on extra staff to meet demand.

47 Grow and sell your own houseplants.

If you have a keen interest in houseplants, and you like growing them in multiple quantities from cuttings taken from mature plants, here is a way you can make extra cash. Start by selling them at car boot sales and outdoor markets. Have a good selection to choose from and sell them at prices that are at least 30% below shop prices. Once a regular site is established, increase sales by finding other sites and build up your stock.

48 Make your own jewellery and sell by mail order.

Alternatively, you could sell your work from a market stall. If you're really ambitious and have an impressive collection worth putting into a catalogue, consider selling your products on the internet. An online shop and catalogue could be created using suitable e-commerce software and a merchant account.

49 Start your own used car parts business.

Secondhand car parts can be taken from old and late model cars bought from salvage auctions. Thousands of 'write-offs' are sold weekly throughout the country, and can be grabbed for amazingly low prices. Good parts can be stripped and sold on to local and mail order customers. When starting out, specialise in one particular make of vehicles, such as Ford or one of the other major manufacturers. You will need a place to store one or two cars at a time and storage for spare parts. You will also need a car transporter trailer, or have contact with someone who can lend or hire you one for transporting cars from auction. Advertise your spare parts business in Classified Adverts or the Yellow pages.

50 Sell a range of catalogue goods for firms such as Kleeneeze, Amway or Betterware.

These are well established companies with excellent products and a good commission rate for sales. Build up a round of regular customers by leaving a catalogue with people every few weeks. You then call back to collect any orders and deliver the goods as soon as you receive them. You can also build up your own business through introducing and helping new agents from which you will gain an extra small commission on orders taken through them. To begin with, contact the firms mentioned for all the literature which explains the business in full. A small investment is normally required to get started.

51 Start a greenhouse sales business.

Find a supplier or manufacturer of greenhouses who can supply you at trade prices on credit. Advertise your service through canvassing and professionally designed door-to-door leaflets. When established, if business is good, you could employ people on a part-time basis to do the canvassing work for you, while you concentrate on the running of the business, including installation and the satisfaction of your customers.

52 Buy secondhand student desks, refurbish and sell as computer desks.

More and more students and young people are getting there own computer these days, for help with their homework and studies. Many of whom don't have a proper place to keep their equipment. Usually they get around to buying a computer desk, but new ones can be expensive. Student desks can be purchased cheaply and refurbished, if required, for re-selling. Advertise them as computer desks to get a better response. Local classified advertising in the free advertising publications are as good a place as any to place your ads.

53 Obtain screws and fixings in large quantities.

Package and card them and sell them through hardware shops under your own brand name. Alternatively, sell them by mail order, or at car boot sales along with other inexpensive tools which can be bought at wholesale prices.

54 Buy and hire out trailers for motor vehicles.

There are various types of trailers that people sometimes need to hire. These include box trailers for carrying commercial goods or moving house contents, open trailers for carrying rubbish and equipment or machinery, car transporters for carrying cars, horse boxes for horses and trailer tents for camping. Secondhand trailers can usually be picked up for a reasonable price, as opposed to new ones which are rather expensive. Ensure you have proper insurance cover and a place to store them when not in use. Advertise in the local press and Yellow Pages.

55 Buy mountain bikes from auctions which deal in unclaimed goods recovered by the police.

These bikes usually sell at very low prices. You can refurbish them, if necessary, and resell them. Alternatively, hire them out in busy tourist areas. Ensure all bikes are well maintained and proper insurance is arranged.

56 Supply and fit replacement kitchen unit doors.

This is an excellent way to save money on re-modelling peoples' kitchens, rather than the expensive alternative of purchasing a brand new one. There are a number of firms who can supply these doors at trade prices, allowing you to charge for your fitting service on top of the price of the doors you supply at retail cost. If you're a dab hand at do-it-yourself, this is a business you could try out with minimum investment.

57 Start a business buying and selling used sports equipment.

All kinds of items could be sold, saving customers plenty of money on new expensive gear. These might include items such as trampolines, pool tables, archery equipment, table tennis tables, badminton nets and rackets, bodybuilding equipment etc. Smaller items are unlikely to be very profitable, so stick to the larger sports goods, for which you'll need a fairly large van and storage space. Advertise to buy and sell through local and regional newspapers.

58 Buy and rent out holiday caravans.

If you have some money to invest, here is a way you could see good returns on your investment. Thousands of people each year book holidays in caravans. It makes a cheaper alternative for families who can't afford to go abroad with their children, and for elderly couples who like a quieter holiday near the sea or countryside. There are always well furnished caravans for sale on established popular sites, which is ideal if you want to make them pay. A site fee will need to be paid, which is usually quite reasonable, considering the profit you should make on hiring the caravan out. Always check the costs involved however, and weigh up the likely profits you could make, through the busy and quiet seasons.

59 Buy and renovate old country cottages in need of repair.

On completion, rent them out during the holiday season. Obviously, a fairly large investment is involved in starting and running this kind of business. But property rarely drops in value, providing it's maintained in a good state of repair. Property auctions are a good place to look for likely bargains, but bear in mind that the type of property you're looking for needs to be in a suitable location and large enough to accommodate at least five or six people. This will allow you to get the best deal when hiring out.

60 Start your own mobile welding service.

If you have any experience using industrial welding equipment, you should find a reasonable demand for your services. Particularly where motorists are concerned. There are aleays a fair number of people who need welding repairs carried out on their car or van. With suitable portable equipment and a large enough van to contain it, this is a business which has no shortage of customers for those with the necessary skills.

61 Set up and run a contract painting company.

Commercial and industrial premises, more so than private households, need regular maintenance and cleaning. As a contract painter your goal would be to gain work through contracts for keeping business premises, including shops, industrial units and warehouses, regularly spruced up by painting them when required. This will likely involve interior as well as exterior painting, possibly using special paints in some cases, such as vandal-proof and slip-free paints for floors. Supplies are readily obtainable from trade outlets. All you need is suitable scaffolding platforms, the right type of brushes and spray equipment, plus a good head for heights.

62 Service and repair gardening equipment.

Mowers, rotovators and hedge trimmers occasionaly need replacement parts and their blades often need sharpening, as well as other handheld impliments such as garden shears and edging shears. If this sounds like a service you could provide, all you need to get started are a few basic tools plus a grinder for sharpening. Either work from home or a small business unit, using advertising to attract customers, or start a mobile service with a small van, canvassing homes with gardens.

63 Breed earthworms for profit.

Here is a business that involves very little in the way of expense or any special skills. The main thing required is some unused space in a garden shed or garage. Using propagation boxes, available from gardening centres, plus the right combination of manure, peat and topsoil, earthworms can be bred in copious quantities. There are certain types which are regular fast breeders, and thousands of them can be bred in a relatively short space of time. So who needs earthworms? Well, gardeners and fishermen actually. And they're quite prepared to pay for them too. For more detailed advice check the internet or your local library for information.

64 Start a childrens' fancy dress party service.

This would involve you supplying a range of party games and costumes for childrens' birthday and christmas parties. The costumes could range from cavemen outfits to spacemen, and designed to fit a variety of different ages between 3 and 12 years. Have the costumes made up by someone reliable and professional. Advertise your service through the local newspapers and Yellow Pages.

65 Buy and sell pop and rock music memorabilia.

Any type of music collectors' items, including records, signed autographs, concert posters etc., that might prove popular through mail order advertising. Specialise in the nostalgia periods of the 50's, 60's and 70's for best results. Advertise in music magazines.

66 Buy and sell secondhand fantasy role-playing games.

There are thousands of these type of games available now. By placing an advert in suitable publications, you could find a number of sources from where you can obtain used games. Sellers will often have a collection of games that they may wish to sell. These can then either be resold or rented out through means of an organised club. Profits would be made through mail order sales, or an annual subscription to the club and it's newsletter.

67 Learn to become a landscape gardener.

Anyone with a good knowlege of plants, lawncare and a flair for creating an attractively laid out garden might consider this as an ideal business to operate part-time, or even full-time, if so inclined. Once your knowledge is sufficient, start your business by advertising in the local and regional press. An assortment of tools will be required, plus transport, plus any artistic materials you need to promote your designs, or to get your clients ideas down on to paper. More detailed planning can be done carried out at home if necessary.

68 Run an accommodation address service.

If you live in a large city you could charge individuals and businesses for the use of your address as a mailing address. This is useful to small mail order businesses who require a more prestigeous address appearing in their advertising. Your involvement in this type of business simply involves you re-mailing letters back to the clients own address, For this you would charge a monthly fee and any postal costs incurred.

69 Start a signwriting service for business vehicles and shops.

If have a good steady hand and an eye for detail, this type of business might interest you. You do need to be fairly artistic though, and a knowledge of various typestyles is almost essential. This can be learned through practice, however, and studying reference material on the subject. If you're keen to give it a try, start by practicing on painted harboard sheets, using methods outlined in books obtained from your local library or bookstore. When confident, take on a few small jobs to begin with, then advertise in the Business Directory and Yellow Pages.

70 Buy and sell bankrupt stock or job lots of ex-catalogue goods.

Frequently, companies go bust leaving unused remaining stock left to be disposed of. Auction houses are often used as a means of selling off this stock. If you're a factory worker, party plan agent or a natural salesperson, selling job lots of liquidated or ex-catalogue stock can provide a way to deal in good quality goods at very low prices, and still make a very good profit.

71 Start and run a mobile entertainment service for children.

Parents who need to keep their children occupied during out-of-school hours and school holidays, or when they are sick, should find this service useful. Music cd's, videos, computer games, and even young childrens toys are all suitable items for renting out to keep the kids amused. Build up a regular round through a childrens' club membership scheme, and charge a weekly fee when items are hired for the week. Advertise your service with leaflets and door-to-door canvassing.

72 Set up a driving school teaching advanced driving techniques.

You should consider the possibility of starting a business that runs advanced driving courses to help inexperienced drivers, or those who wish to improve their driving skills. These courses might, for example, include techniques for coping with skidding, driving in adverse conditions, learning to read the road and recognise potential hazards sooner, and even dealing with road rage situations. Sharpen your own driving skills first and test your teaching ability.

73 Start a mobile laundry service.

This would involve building up a regular round of customers who would require their laundry to be collected, cleaned and delivered, preferably the same day. A useful service for busy people, who don't have the time to do this chore themselves, and also the elderly or disabled who need a helping hand.

74 Open a conference room centre.

Not as difficult as it sounds actually. If you own a large home in a major city, with equally large rooms, some of these rooms could be converted into small conference rooms, or training rooms for area managers and visiting reps. Standard fixtures might include a desk, a number of chairs, a flipchart or wipeable board and stand, a coffee vending machine, and perhaps a photocopier machine, which would also bring in extra revenue. Some rooms could also be made available for overnight stays. Charges would be based on daily or weekend usage.

75 Set up and run a rubbish removal service.

This could be started using a large pick-up vehicle. Eventually, if business picks up well, you could expand in other directions, either starting a haulage tipper hire service or moving into skip hire. To begin with, advertise your service in the local newspapers and through shop window and leaflet advertising.

76 A demolition service can also be started on a small scale using a pick-up truck and suitable tools.

This might include the deconstruction of small outbuildings or sheds which are no longer needed. Your service would also involve taking the rubbish away. Another possibility is to specialise in removing asbestos buildings and roofs, which requires a degree of expert knowledge and protective clothing. For further advice in this matter, seek expert help and guidance before attempting any form of asbestos removal, which can seriously harm your health if not carried out properly.

77 Start a business teaching other people how to set up and run a party plan business.

If you have any experience in this field of selling, this could be a good opportunity to help others, who have little or no experience in this area, succeed in their new venture. Offer a one day course for people to develop their skills in the various stages of party planning, from arranging the party, through to presention, entertaining guests, getting the orders and obtaining more bookings.

78 Start a loft insulation service.

There are definite advantages in having a loft properly insulated, apart from the obvious one of keeping in the heat. This will lead to noticeable savings on the heating bills. Loft insulation materials are readily available and simple to install. The only disadvantage is that the materials used can be very irritating to the skin if protective gloves are not used. But, although this is not a major problem, most people would rather pay a firm to do the work for them. If you think you could offer this type of service, by all means, give it a try.

79 Set up and run a roof repair service.

For most homeowners, roof repairs are inevitable when strong winds take there toll. Whether it's simply a loose or broken tile, rotten wood eaves, loose cement or a leaking flat roof, repairs are going to need doing eventually. For someone in the roofing business, there's always another job just around the corner. If you don't mind working up ladders and on sloping roofs, the opportunity is there to offer a useful service. Fixing tiles is a fairly simple job in most cases, but eventually you may also wish to repair or replace flat roofs which requires a lot more skill. You could learn this process the hard way from books and trial and error, but working for someone else to gain the experience first will be a much more sensible route. When you do decide to start your own business, you can get more work through canvassing and advertising.

80 Supply and fit fascia boards and soffits.

This is a business similar to the one previously described, except you're not repairing roofs, you'll be enhancing there appearance by fitting new, more up-to-date materials. The latest products are more durable and easier to maintain than the old wood fascia boards. Materials can often be supplied direct from the manufacturers. All you need to do is learn how to measure and fit them, and hey presto! you're in business.

81 Fitting double glazing can be a hugely profitable business when run efficiently.

Experience of fitting pvc windows and doors is obviously a distinct advantage, though a well qualified handyman could soon learn the methods involved. Someone who is good at selling could also set up their own double-glazing firm and employ experienced fitters to do the nitty gritty work. Accurate measuring, a knowledge of materials available, and the ability to close a sale, is just as important to the success of the business as the fitting side. There are numerous firms who manufacture there own double glazing units, as well as fitting the windows themselves, and many of them supply individual fitters at trade prices.

82 Supply and fit custom car products.

If you're mad about cars, this could be a very interesting venture. Lot's of drivers, especially young males, love to give their cars some individuality. The supply and fitting of car body kits, custom graphics, big bore silencers, alloy wheels and wide tyres could be right up your street. Ideally, a small shop would be a good place to base your business, but you could start building up business through word-of-mouth until established.

83 Start a mobile karaoke business.

Like mobile discos, the karaoke machine has found popularity as a means of spicing up private parties and regular weekly pub night entertainment. With a mobile karaoke machine plus a good selection of music, there should be no shortage of bookings if you have the energy and determination to make this business work. It's not only profitable, it's great fun too.

84 Buy and sell microscopes, telescopes and binoculars.

Here is a specialised opportunity to start a small business in a market with relatively little competition. Buying and selling optical equipment of various types through classified advertising. First study the market and what kind of equipment is currently available, as well as researching the value of older equipment through old magazines and other sellers. Advertise in the wanted columns of free ad papers, and re-sell through the same, as well as specialist magazines related to the item you're selling. Another option is to set up a website on the internet dealing in used optical equipment.

85 Record and sell your own songs over the internet.

Many new bands are taking this route to establish themselves with a wide audience. Some of them are sending their demo CD's to major music sites where they are being converted to MP3 and played on demand. A lucky few are likely to gain major recognition as professional recording artists.

86 Buy and sell washing machines.

Here is a business that is best run by someone with good mechanical and electrical knowledge of how washing machines work. If you're experienced in this area you could also run a call out and repair service. Start by buying through classified ads to find the best deals and re-sell for a reasonable profit. When established, consider opening a small shop.

87 Start a tree and shrub pruning service.

Many people with shrubs and trees in their garden don't have sufficient knowledge of how or when to cut them back to keep them in tip top condition. This knowledge is easily obtained however, through study and research of the appropriate books in your local library. With the right tools a determined person can quickly build up a round of regular customers for whom they can offer this service.

88 Frame and sell collections for display.

These might include specialised items that appeal to particular groups of people. For example, sets of coins for coin collectors, stamps for stamp collectors, autographed photographs of celebrities, medals, maps, replica guns, stuffed fish, butterflies, insects and numerous other things. Advertise in suitable magazines.

89 Supply and fit replacement plastic guttering.

Here's another business that can be started by a handyman who doesn't mind climbing and working up ladders. No special skills are involved, just a basic knowledge of how to remove old guttering and replace it with new parts. Many older houses still have the old style guttering which often needs replacing, but the newer plastic guttering is also prone to cracking sometimes, and the sections affected will need renewing. To find work, canvass homes and advertise your service in the local press.

90 Supply and fit carpet tiles or laminated wood flooring.

These are ideal materials for places like the kitchen, utility rooms, porches, playrooms and spare rooms. or any other room where the customer would rather not have a carpet fitted. They are usually very hard wearing and easy to keep clean. Materials are easy to obtain, with good discounts if you find the right source. Fitting is fairly straightforward in most cases, but can be difficult in awkward shaped rooms. Which is one of the reasons why someone with enough practice and experience should find plenty of work to keep them happy.

91 Start a mobile nappy delivery service.

Babies go through an amazing amount of nappies each day. For mothers in urgent need of a fresh supply, but can't get to the shops for some reason, or the shops are too far away, a mobile nappy delivery service can be a godsend. The bigger the discount you can obtain when buying your stock in bulk, the more successful you're likely to be, as mothers who normally buy from the shops might use your service too. But only if your prices are much more favourable. This is an ideal business for a mobile lady with a van or large estate car. Advertising can be done through local newspapers and some well placed posters and leaflets in suitable places.

92 Breed and sell pedigree pups.

If you love dogs and have suitable kennels, breeding certain types of dogs with good pedigrees can be a profitable, as well as very enjoyable, way to make an occasional spare-time income. Certain breeds sell for hundred of Rands . However, there are costs to consider, including feeding and vet fees, and the well being of the dogs is of paramount importance. So it's not a business to be taken lightly, with little or no notion of what is involved.

93 Start a flowers and chocolates delivery service.

Everyone loves a nice surprise, and they don't come much nicer than this. For people romantically attached, or celebrating an anniversary, birthday or engagement, this is an ideal service that gives people a chance to show how much they care. Supplies can be obtained from stock, or through a special arrangement with chosen suppliers. Advertise your service in the local press.

94 Start a business that organises a regular 'almost new' clothing sales event.

Similar to a car boot sale, this would involve hiring a hall, renting stalls to people with clothes to sell, charging a small admission fee and running a small food and drink facility. Advertise each event in the local press.

95 Buy and sell secondhand cookers and fridge freezers.

Refurbish where necessary using new parts if needed. Use cleaning materials to spruce them up, and a spray gun and compressor for re-spraying scratched goods with new enamel paint. You could also sell microwaves, chest freezers and dishwashers. A small shop or factory unit will be needed once business takes off. Until then, you could test your business aptitude by buying and selling from home. Advertise in the local papers' classified sections.

96 Start a keycutting service using a key duplicating machine.

Everyone needs extra keys cut at some time or other. Whether it's extra house keys or a spare set of keys for the car, in case your main keys get lost, a keycutting service will always find customers. Particularly if your prices are competitive. Ideally, you should provide your service in a busy central location. Perhaps from a small booth in a department store or shopping centre. Even a fast turnaround mail order service is a possibility, in which case you could work from home, but success would depend on the amount of business you receive in relation to advertising costs. Check the internet and trade directories for suppliers of equipment.

97 Become a promotions and competition organiser.

Here's something that people with very good organisational skills might consider. It's a business with very big potential and big profits when run successfully.

98 Breed and sell tropical fish.

If you're an expert in tropical fish you've probably already tried this idea, but for a newcomer who may be interested, there's lots of information available on how to look after, and breed various types of fish for profit. Before considering this as a way to make extra money however, there's plenty to learn and you would be well advised to gain as much experience as you can to make it a worthwhile proposition. It's not as easy as it sounds, certain types are harder to breed than others. Equipment can be a little expensive to begin with, but not prohibitive. Some types of tropical fish can bring good profits . You can sell them through various pet stores or directly to the public through classified advertising.

99 Start your own dog grooming service.

If you're good with dogs, this could be just the job for you. Though, you will need to be fairly proficient at using a pair of scissors and hair clippers. Some dogs, such as poodles, need expert handling. It takes practice to be very good at this game. Learn as much as you can before setting up on your own. As an additional service you could also offer to do nail clipping. In either case, you can run it as a mobile service, or run the business from home.

100 Set up a photocopying service for small businesses.

Good quality new and reconditioned photocopying machines can be purchased or rented at very reasonable prices from specialist firms who deal in photocopying machines. It's just a case of phoning around to see who can give you the best deal. A service contract can be taken out at the same time to keep your machine in good working order. After that, it's just a case of making suitable contacts and offering a pick-up and delivery service to meet your customers needs.

101 Supply and fit roller blinds.

There's a number of firms who offer this kind of business as a franchise, which may be worth considering unless you prefer to go it alone. If so, you'll either need to learn to make the blinds yourself, which is not too difficult when using the right materials, or find a supplier who can make the blinds up to your own specifications. All you need to do then is get the orders through advertising and home visits to show what you can offer, and take your customer's measurements to have them made and fitted.

102 Start a rotovating and lawn turfing service.

People with gardens and allotments often need to turnover their soil before re-planting fresh seed to grow new plants or new grass. With a rotovator, an expensive tool which not many people buy or use frequently, you could offer a service which helps them complete this task, by doing the work for them. To begin with, to save money, you could purchase your own rotovator secondhand from an auction or through the classifieds. New homebuyers are a good source of potential customers, because the gardens which come with their new home are not always grassed over. With a suitable contact and source of supply, you could offer a turf laying service as well. Neither of these tasks needs a great amount of skill, just the right equipment and plenty of energy. To advertise, place leaflets through the letterboxes of suitable prospects and advertise in the local press.

103 Start a travelling theatre group.

This would involve producing and putting on plays at selected locations around the country. Places such as colleges and small theatres, plus clubs which arrange pantomines around christmas time are all potential venues. Your job might also include finding suitable actors, arranging publicity and selling the tickets. If you lack the experience in stage management, find a suitable partner who can direct the actors and share some of the responsibilities for running the group.

104 Buy and sell golf equipment.

Heres a business idea that you could start from home, and eventually, with shrewd investments, open your own specialist shop. Lot's of people are taking up golf for the first time as a new leisure pursuit. Other people are giving it up because they find they don't have the time or inclination to continue with their game. Yet others, wish to continue and improve their game by upgrading their equipment. Whatever the reason, there are always people wanting to sell their old clubs, golf bags, carts and accessories. Providing their equipment is in first class condition, and available at the right price, there's no reason why someone who can strike a good bargain, couldn't buy and re-sell these type of goods for a profit. Start by using 'goods wanted' and 'goods for sale' classified adverts in your local or regional newspapers.

105 Invest in a horse and carriage and offer sightseeing tours in a popular tourist location.

You could also hire out your services for weddings. The drawback is that you will need somewhere to keep your horse and carriage. Check to see where you can hire a stable and storage for the carriage locally. As close to the tour route as possible.

106 Grow and sell your own vegetables and herbs.

There are lots of gardening books which tell you how to grow your own food successfully. If you have a large area of garden or an allotment which you can use, this should be sufficient to start with. Particularly if you concentrate on growing small products such as herbs, tomatoes. cucumbers, horseradish etc. You will also require a number of greenhouses of adequate size to hold your plants and cultivating equipment. Even then, you will be severely limited in your output until you can invest in more land and equipment. However, if this is something that really interests you, then by all means start small but think big. Using suitable packaging, products can be sold direct to general grocers or in larger quantities to wholesale distributors.

107 Start a business selling and distributing facial cosmetics, hand creams and body lotions.

Produce your own brand name. Obtain supplies direct from selected manufacturers, preferably in bulk, and package them under your own label. Sell by party plan, mail order or through factory agents.

108 Buy and sell childrens books.

Advertise for unwanted books and resell them from a childrens bookstall at car boot fairs. By specialising in secondhand childrens books you can often pick up popular titles at bargain prices. Seek out fiction and non-fiction books which have been read and discarded, or put away in a collection which is no longer needed. You could also buy and sell computer games and childrens videos as well. If you attend the same car boot fairs regularly you will gradually become well known and people are likely to approach you to sell their unwanted books and games for cash.

109 Produce a range of audio cassettes based on Bible stories for children.

The bible is packed full of fascinating stories that can be adapted to suit the imagination of young children. They make ideal bedtime stories and can teach children the importance of what is right and what is wrong in many different ways. The stories can be narrated by a single person with a good speaking voice, or enacted as a play using a cast of suitable actors. A local drama group may be happy to oblige. Have the scripts typeset and hire an inexpensive recording studio to record the dialogue. Some music and sound fx tapes may also come in useful. Once the master tape or CD has been produced, copies can be made quite easily using good quality hi-fi equipment. Have duplicates packaged and sold by mail order and through christian bookshops. This idea could be used for any religious teachings or story telling from your own childrens stories which you may have written. Works equally well as motivational tapes or learning a new skill by audio cassette !

110 Start and run a regular arts and crafts fair.

Ideally, this should be somewhere in a busy location where there's plenty of people who may call in out of curiosity. Press advertising will also bring a number of visitors with more serious intentions to buy. To get started, find a suitable building that can be hired and fitted out with temporary stalls. Charge a set fee for craftspeople to display and sell their wares, and offer free admission to attract potential customers. The more people that come, the more successful the event is likely to be. This way, more sellers will become interested and higher rents can be charged.

111 Buy and sell metal detectors.

Start a mail order business for new and used equipment. Set up a monthly newsletter for enthusiasts, including articles about valuable finds and suggested locations for treasure seeking. Include a column of items for sale and items wanted. A newsletter would also be a good way to get likeminded people together by arranging trips to sites of interest.

112 Supply and fit car alarms and car radio cassette / cd players.

If you have a good knowledge of car electrics, this could be a good way to make money and work for yourself. Find a reputable supplier of car alarms and in-car entertainment systems and advertise your services in the local press. A mobile sevice would be the easiest way to start, perhaps with the aim of eventually opening your own specialist shop.

113 Supply and fit outdoor garden lighting systems.

In fact anything that's electrically powered in the garden such as fountains and miniature water falls which require electrical pumps, could be supplied and fitted by you, if you have some experience in electrical wiring. Most people would prefer an expert to fit these type of features in their garden. Your service might also include simple landscaping features, such as rockeries and ponds, that can be incorporated as a special feature of your lighting and water systems. Find out which firms can supply you with the basic equipment and materials. Compile your own catalogue or leaflet and price list, and advertise your business in the local press, the Yellow Pages and through door-to-door leaflet drops.

114 Start your own fence erection business.

Wood fencing doesn't last forever. It often gets damaged in strong winds, or simply rots away. People with garden fences occasionally need to have them replaced, and new fences are sometimes being put up for the first time. If you have some basic knowledge or experience of erecting posts and sections of lap fencing then all you need to get started in business is a reliable supplier with whom you can set up a trade account. Advertise your service in the local and regional newspapers.

115 Buy and sell old record collections.

Trade in various collections of music including rock, pop, jazz, classical, rythm and blues etc. There's still a demand by collectors for old LPs and singles, particularly original recordings, plus various audio tapes and cd's. Advertise in the local newspapers and selected music magazines. Also trade at car boot sales and collectors fairs.

116 Supply and fit telephone extension leads and sockets.

This would be a simple service offering people a way to add an additional phone to their existing phone line. For example, an extra phone in the bedroom or study. You might also consider supplying new phones of various types to expand your business. Canvas door-to-door and advertise in the local press.

117 Buy and sell reproduction furniture.

You'll need a large van and plenty of storage space, but there's a good demand for this type of used furniture. Whether it's a sideboard, a TV or hi-fi cabinet, bookshelves or a set of dining room table and chairs, good profits can be made if you buy and sell wisely. Keep a lookout for bargains in the classified ad sections of the free papers and local newspapers. Place your own items wanted ads in regional papers and sell locally. Build up your knowledge of antique furniture, as this can also be a lucrative field. Attend auctions until you become familiar with prices. Eventually, you might like to consider opening a shop if your business brings in a steady income.

118 Buy and sell musical instruments.

There's a whole wide range of instruments you can deal in. The most popular being guitars and keyboards. You can start by buying and selling secondhand until you establish yourself as a reputable dealer. An alternative route, if you would like to specialise and run a small business fom home, is to import folk instruments from other countries and sell by mail order. Advertise your stock in selected music magazines and local newspapers.

119 Purchase a badge machine and make badges for clubs.

Badges are ideal for fundraising, promotions and special events. Badge machines are relatively cheap to buy. Firms who supply them can usually supply the blank badges and designs you require as well. Check out the business opportunity magazines where these firms normally advertise.

120 Start a telephone answering service for small local businesses.

There are some business people who are often out on a job and cannot always answer their phone, which could very easily mean losing out on gaining new customers. Although mobile phones have alleviated part of this problem, it can still be inconvenient to answer the phone while busy at work on a job. Rather than employ a full-time office assistant, a small business could easily benefit from using an affordable telephone answering service that specialises in helping small businesses. Your job would involve tasks like taking simple enquiries, booking appointments and taking orders for firms who sell by phone. To get started, contact suitable businesses which may be interested in your service. One man firms such as plumbers, electricians, driving instructors etc. Arrange to meet them to discuss their requirements and what rate of fees you charge.

121 Set up a business that erects car ports and pre-fabricated garages.

Here's a business for the experienced handyman.There's a number of manufacturing firms who could supply you with materials at trade prices. Write to them using a printed business letterhead to find out what their prices are, as well as terms and conditions of supply. When you find a suitable supplier, canvass for jobs in your local area until you get enough work. Eventually, to expand your business, you might prefer to advertise in local and national publications if you're willing to travel further afield.

122 Start a business that builds conservatories.

As an alternative to the previous idea, you might consider building conservatories instead. They do however, require a more skillful approach. Having experience in bricklaying and carpentry or fitting double glazing is practically essential. Though a business-minded person could very easily contract this work out to a third party and still make a reasonable profit if organised properly. Once again, do your homework. Check on available materials, compare prices and work out the best deals to make it a worthwhile proposition. Get orders and enquiries through advertising and leaflet distribution.

123 Run a business doing watch and jewellerey repairs.

Specialised courses are available to teach you how to repair jewellerey and watches. Your service could be tailored to suit independant jewellers who farm out repair work rather than employ someone full-time to do it for them. You could also offer a mail order repair service direct to customers throughout the country.

124 Produce and sell a range of personalised embroided handkerchiefs.

Package and sell ready-made designs through menswear shops, as well as offering a custom-made service for their customers.

125 Start a video rental service that specialises in the top ten or top twenty new videos on release.

Run the business as a mobile delivery service. Set up a limited club membership with an annual subscription for video renters who will be willing to hire videos on a regular basis at a special reduced rate. Dealing in the best of the new releases should guarantee a steady stream of customers. Obtain at least ten copies of the most popular videos to ensure customers have the best chance to get the title they want. Sell the videos off at half-price as soon as their popularity begins to wane. You make want to check with the local video and film agenicies in your area first to find out about the applicable legislation regarding this type of business.

126 Start a business organising and promoting music concerts.

Someone with a flair for organising people would find this a very exciting business. Whether it's rock, pop or classical music, there are thousands of people in every major town and city who would show an interest in these type of events. How many tickets you sell will depend on how popular the performers are, how much you charge for the show, and how successful your publicity is. Get the mix right, and you could easily find a rewarding and lucrative career ahead.

127 Supply and install small timber constructions.

Specialise in one type of installation. Perhaps various types of garden sheds or timber-framed saunas. To get your business off the ground, try contacting one of the specialist firms who manufacture their own. Tell them you would like to act as an agent and become an approved installer. Alternatively, you could run the business as a general construction firm that supplies and installs a variety of timber products such as summer houses, chalets, garden sheds, saunas or timber-framed conservatories. Provide your own labour or employ other people to do it for you. For the biggest profits run it as a high quality service providing top quality products, and target up-market homes with customers who can afford the very best.

128 Supply and fit high quality spiral staircases.

As with home saunas and summer houses, these are products which can be squarely aimed at wealthy homeowners looking to add unusual features to their home. You could also provide cheaper alternatives for people carrying out loft conversions. These can be either straight or spiral staircases, but available at lower prices. Contact manufacturers for details of trade prices and terms of supply. Use only experienced fitters for carrying out the work to guarantee a first class job. For getting the orders and overseeing the work, incorporate your own profits in with the final price.

129 Buy and sell army surplus supplies.

Start your own mail order business, sell at car boot fairs or open a small shop. A number of dealers can supply at trade prices.

130 Start your own gumball or vending machine business.

A number of companies offer this type of business opportunity, whereby you purchase their machines and products, find suitable locations, and regularly service the machines to keep them filled up. There's very little else involved, apart from counting your profits. Check the pages of business opportunity mags for firms who supply these products. Before entering any type of agreement however, always check the details and fine print.

131 Start a business designing and selling personalised wine labels on bottles of wine.

This type of service can provide a gift that is different and out of the ordinary. Customers would send you details of the persons name and date of birth, along with any other relevant details, to be included on the lablel. You would then, using a home computer, design the label to make it look authentic, print it out and stick it to a bottle of wine, white or red whichever preferred, that's been supplied without a label. The bottle, or crate of wine is then sent to the customer by special delivery. Arrangements could also be made to deliver the goods to a third party as a surprise gift, if required. Advertise your service by mail order through various magazines.

132 Start a faxback service supplying printed information.

Certain types of useful information that can be sold to businesses, can also be profitable to promote. For example, market research information, mailing lists, company directories etc., can be promoted through a faxback service which is run using a premium rate phone line. Companies willing to respond to your fax promotions are charged at the usual premium rate. If you have information to sell, consider using this technique as a way to make more profits.

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