Businesses You Can Start With $10K or Less

starting a business
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When it comes to starting a business, you don't always need a big bank account; it is possible to start a business with virtually no money. But even though it's possible, that doesn't mean it's easy. You need to be willing to bootstrap, put in the physical labor yourself, invest a great deal of your time and commit to moving very slowly to start a business with $100 or less. It can take a long time, but it is one way to get into the world of business ownership without risking a lot of capital.

Now, let's say you have some money that you want to invest in a business, and you don't have to do it on the cheap. Perhaps you have a little nest egg saved up, received an inheritance or are the lucky recipient of modest lottery winnings, and now have about $10,000 sitting around. This amount of money certainly changes your prospects and gives your business a much better chance to succeed. Review these businesses that you can start with $10K or less and see if any might be a good fit for you.

1. Landscape Business

Landscaping can be a very lucrative business in many locations, especially when you are bringing experience and capital to the table. If you start by offering limited services and purchasing lightly used equipment, you can hit the ground running fairly quickly. Look for established landscape companies who are going out of business or others that are upgrading their own equipment to get what you need at a discount.

Since this can be a competitive industry, you will also want to invest some of your $10K into marketing and promotion. Focus on leveraging tried and true local marketing tactics to get your business in front of the right people. And don't ignore the power of word of mouth. With a local business like landscaping, you can turn one or two happy customers into a thriving client base with a little proactive word of mouth marketing.

If you're concerned about the seasonality of this type of business, spend some time thinking about ways you can continue to service your customers in the off-season. What about snow removal, outdoor holiday decorating (and take down) services, and cutting and delivering firewood? With a little creativity, you can make your landscape business year-round.

Once you have steady customers and start to make a profit, you can expand your services, upgrade your equipment and bring in a team to help you grow your business at a much quicker pace.

2. Handmade Craft Business

There are many reasons why handmade crafts sell and the market for such items is growing at a fast pace. The total size of the U.S. creative industry is $43.9 billion, and it's estimated that about one-third of the population are crafters. So many of us love to create handmade items and a lot more like to buy them. This means that although the competitive may be stiff with some handmade products, there is a tremendous opportunity to become profitable, especially when you have a healthy wallet with $10,000 to get your business fast-tracked.

The first thing you need to decide is what you want to create and sell. The options are virtually endless: candles, soap, custom paper, quilts, knitted products, jewelry, painting, custom designed t-shirts, hats, handbags, accessories, wood crafts, handmade cards, etc.

This part should be easy, though, since it makes the most sense to leverage a skill you already have and sell items you already know how to create. If you need to fine-tune your skills, you can use some of that $10K to take classes and up your game.

When it comes to selling your products, you have a lot of options there, too. You can sell online on sites like Etsy, Shopify, iCraft, DaWanda and Handmade at Amazon. But don't forget about local craft fairs and other local stores that may want to carry your products, too. Creating a plan that incorporates several different sales paths will help get your products in front of more eyes. When you have your sales plan in place, keep in mind that you can supplement your income in other ways when it comes to crafting. You can create and sell patterns or design instructions in a digital format, or offer classes that leverage your expertise online or in person.

As you get started with your business, your investment capital should go to purchasing the supplies you need to make your products, possibly bringing in help to create an inventory of your products, and stocking up on packaging materials. The rest should go to marketing, digital marketing in particular: creating your brand, getting your online stores set up and using social media.

3. Some Franchises

Aside from starting a business from the ground up, you can also buy into a franchise; there are some that let you in the door for $10K or less. There are a lot of benefits that come with franchising over direct business ownership. Franchises generally have a higher success rate because the franchise owner is invested in your success and will provide assistance with setup, operations, marketing and more. Plus, a lot of the heavy lifting is done for you, provided you follow the steps for success that are outlined by the owner.

Cruise Planners Franchise is one franchise opportunity that you can get started with for right around $10K. Cruise Planners is a home-based travel agent network that sells full-service travel packages, including cruises, land-based vacations, travel insurance, car rentals and more. Cruise Planners has been around for more than 20 years, and being affiliated with American Express Travel lends instant credibility which will help you on your way to success.

What about Jazzercize? Yes, it's back and starting to revive its name in the growing dance fitness industry. Jazzercise has been franchising since 1982, and for about $9,000 you can own a center. For a lot less (about $2,500), you can own classes and solely focus on teaching Jazzercise. The franchise provides all of the training and coaching you need to be successful in this fitness franchise.

Mattress By Appointment is another franchise that costs under $10K to own. In fact, you can get started with about $7,500. Mattress By Appointment has only been around since 2012, but already operates 133 retail locations in 44 states that extends from coast to coast, allowing mattress buyers to set their own appointment and find the perfect mattress. The franchise has both part- and full-time options and provides the training and ongoing support to get your business started.

As you can see, there is a lot you can do with $10,000 when it comes to starting a business. Whatever business path you take, make sure you follow these startup tips that outline the most important steps you need to take on the road to small business ownership.