So, you’ve been bitten by the entrepreneurship bug. Maybe you’ve always dreamed of owning your own business. Or perhaps you’ve just gotten sick and tired of the 9-to-5 grind and want to take control of your own future. Starting a business can help, certainly. However, there are a few stumbling blocks that first-time entrepreneurs often encounter along the way.
One of the most common hurdles you’ll need to overcome is finding a unique business idea. Why does uniqueness matter? Actually, it’s one of the most critical considerations you’re going to make beyond starting a business in the first place.
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New and Unique Business Ideas
What Does “Unique” Mean?
Does “uniqueness” mean that you’ll be the only business doing what you do? Probably not. What it means is that you need to find a way to bring something to the table that your competitors do not. Look at Uber’s competitors, for instance. Uber, Lyft, Curb, Sidecar – they all do the same thing. However, Uber’s competitors had to offer something different from what Uber provided.
There are plenty of other examples. Look at Nike and New Balance or Pandora and Spotify. They’re all part of a specific industry with other players, but they all manage to bring their own unique spin to what they do. So, what you need to determine is what will make your business the best at what it does? What makes it stand out from others? Why should your customers choose you?
Of course, the right business idea will help. With a smart choice, you might not be the only option in the industry, but you could be the only game in your area of town, which helps with uniqueness. In that sense, having a unique business idea is also about finding a need in your area and then creating a solution for it.
What business should you start, though? There are thousands of potential small business ideas out there. Below, we’ll walk you through some of the best.
- New and Unique Business Ideas
- What Does “Unique” Mean?
- 11 New and Unique Business Ideas
- Become a Virtual Assistant
- Start an Online Store
- Specialty Food Business
- Specialty Retail Store
- Bike Service and Repair
- Business Plan Service
- Boat Cleaning and Repair
- Editorial Services Provider
- Financial Planning
- Personal Concierge
- Personal Trainer
- Finding the Unique Business Idea That’s Right for You
11 New and Unique Business Ideas
Below, you’ll find plenty of small business ideas. Most of these can be started as a part-time side business and then grown over time into a full-time business. Whether you’re looking for a way to earn a little extra money or you want to create a brand new future, you’ll find a good idea for your needs here.
Become a Virtual Assistant
Virtual assistants, also called VAs, provide a wide range of services to their clients, who are usually busy business owners. While you probably won’t earn a million dollars in your first year, there have been plenty of success stories with business owners starting VA services and then growing them into much larger companies.
So, what does a VA do? Almost anything depending on your focus. For instance, you might answer phone calls, return emails, deal with digital files, and more. Some VAs offer marketing services, while others deliver bookkeeping capabilities, or work with realtors. Becoming a VA is a great option for a home-based business, too, because you’ll be working virtually (it’s right there in the name).
Check out these courses on how to become a VA or start a bookkeeping business.
Start an Online Store
This business model is pretty broad, but with the shift toward e-commerce today, it’s worth taking the 30,000-foot view. An online business offers a lot of earning potential, depending on the niche you choose and your success in building a customer base. It can also be far more affordable than you might think with the wide range of drop-shipping companies and wholesalers who will work with store owners but handle shipping and delivery on their end.
The challenge here is that you’re going to need to find a particular niche and then become the best possible option there. Don’t think about becoming the next Amazon – you can’t be everything to everyone. Instead, choose a niche that you’re passionate about and then find ways to translate that into a business.
Maybe you’re an avid golfer. Perhaps you have a passion for classic Floridian home décor. You could have a desire to help people live a greener, more sustainable life. All of those small business ideas can be turned into successful online stores using the right e-commerce platform (Shopify, BigCommerce, etc.) and using a little creativity.
Specialty Food Business
Everyone has to eat. The thing is that most of us are short on time, which makes cooking for ourselves pretty challenging. A specialty food business could be just the business model you need to see success.
Starting a “food business” doesn’t have to mean buying a physical restaurant. It could be something far simpler – a taco stand or hot dog cart could be your springboard to bigger and better things down the road. If you’ve got the money, you could go with a food truck, or you might want to build a food stand with an outdoor eating area if you have a spot in mind.
The trick with a specialty food business is the “specialty” part. You need a way to stand out. There are probably dozens of burger joints within a 15-minute drive of your home. The same applies to Mexican restaurants, seafood restaurants, and everything else. What will make your food business stand out? Piggyback off the current trend in the food truck industry to help you make a unique mark – think fusion food, unique takes on classics like burgers or waffles, or family favorites like pizza. Find a way to take a specific type of food and make it extraordinary.
Specialty Retail Store
If you can find the right area in town, a specialty retail store might be one of the best small businesses to consider. What sort of store, though? The sky’s the limit. Some options include:
- A comic shop and gaming store
- A specialty collectibles store
- A knickknack shop
- Handmade furniture store
- A flower shop
- A used bookstore
- A coffeeshop
You get the idea. There are lots of directions you can go here, and some of them have very low start-up costs. For instance, with a used bookstore, you might have enough used books of your own to cover your initial inventory, leaving you to focus on finding a store and putting the register system.
Other business options, like the comic and gaming shop, or the coffee shop, will have higher start-up costs. You’ll need to purchase equipment and inventory, hire employees, and more. That doesn’t mean they’re not great business ideas, though, especially if there isn’t such a business in your local area already.
Bike Service and Repair
As we come to realize just how much our habits affect the planet around us, many people are turning to greener, more sustainable forms of travel, like biking to work. Other people buy bikes because they’re a great way to help improve their physical fitness, and yet others do so because they want to compete in a sport like mountain biking or cyclo-cross. What do all of these people have in common? The need to service, maintain, and repair their bikes over time!
Today’s bikes are far more complex than those of the past, and they need more in the way of maintenance. That also means they’re more expensive (and riders want to maximize their investment) and that there are more things to go wrong. A bike service and repair shop could be a brilliant business decision with massive earning potential, particularly if you live in an area where there’s an established customer base.
Business Plan Service
Here’s an interesting idea, particularly if you have spent any amount of time studying what it takes to get a small business off the ground. One of the most challenging parts of the process for any would-be small business owner is creating a business plan. It requires more than just having an idea of what the business will do, where it will be located, and who its main competitors will be.
A business plan is a formal document based on in-depth research and analysis. It is used for many different things, ranging from helping to secure funding through small business loans to keeping the business on track as it grows. If you’ve got the knack, you could help other entrepreneurs bring their dreams to life while earning a full-time living!
Boat Cleaning and Repair
If you live in a coastal area or near a popular lake, then this is a good business idea to consider. Boat cleaning and repair might not be glamorous, but it’s vital and one of the few service-oriented businesses that are largely recession-proof (boats will always need to be cleaned and maintained). Plus, given the millions of miles of coastline around the US, there are immense business opportunities, even in landlocked states.
If you decide to go this route, make sure you have a deep understanding of how a marine environment can damage boats and other watercraft, what steps must be taken to protect various materials, and the needs and expectations of your customer base. For instance, you’ll need to do things differently if you’re working on luxury yachts, as opposed to commercial fishing boats.
Editorial Services Provider
Love words and language? Do you cringe every time you see a split infinitive? Do you look away when you spot an embarrassing typo in a news article? If that’s you, then you could earn a full-time living providing editorial services.
As an editor, you could be a jack-of-all-trades type, or you could specialize. For instance, you might want to be the last line of defense for a news agency, or you might find that your strengths lie more in helping authors refine their life’s work before it goes to the printer.
Up to this point, most of the unique business ideas we’ve discussed have not required anything other than a dream, some courage, and the willingness to start from the bottom. Financial planning is a little different – most states require that you have some form of licensure to offer financial advice to people.
That being said, if you have a financial background or the training needed to obtain your license, it’s possible to earn a very good living with this business. Financial planners and advisors can offer end-to-end services, or they can focus on one specific area of the industry, such as retirement planning or end of life planning.
Are you a people person? Do you make new connections everywhere you go? If so, then becoming a personal concierge might be a great business option for you.
A personal concierge must be confident, efficient, and able to get things done. Your clients will expect you to come through for them with a smile on your face and a dash of personal flair, as well. In most cases, you’ll be dealing with executives and other high-powered clients, most of whom will expect you to be available on their schedule, which might be as early as 7 AM or as late as 9 PM.
What might you do? It could be anything from securing dinner reservations to purchasing airfare, planning an itinerary to arranging for a rental car or limousine.
More and more, Americans are taking their health seriously. If you have a good understanding of fitness and health, you can be the one to help them. As a personal trainer, you can work with your clients to develop proper form while working out, to find the right workout options for them, and might even touch on diet and nutrition.
In most cases, personal trainers don’t require any sort of formal licensure. However, you will need a background in fitness. You’ll also need to be good with people. In addition to teaching people how to become healthier and fitter, you also need to be a cheerleader, a taskmaster, and a supportive friend.
Finding the Unique Business Idea That’s Right for You
Finding a high-quality business idea can be challenging. There are thousands of options out there. Some involve physical products and services, while others can be accomplished virtually. While we’ve explored some of the best unique business ideas out there, understand that there’s no right or wrong choice here. Find something that you’re passionate about and then build a unique business around that.
For more ideas check out 23 Best Virtual Side Hustle Ideas and 17 Best Ways to Diversify Your Income Streams.