1. Money

Business Opportunities with the Most Profit Potential in 2012

Best Business Opportunities and Ideas with Lower Investments for 2012

By

Here is the new list of the best business opportunities with the most profit potential for 2013!

Here are ten of the best business opportunities with profit-making potential in 2012. We are at the end of a recession and in a slow recovery. The 2011 holiday season was hopeful although not great. So what are the best business opportunities for 2012, with lower initial investments, that will make a profit? People are starting to buy again, but cautiously, frugally, and slowly. There is a whole new clientele out there with baby boomers retiring, but theirs is a different kind of retirement where many still work. People who are still working are spending cautiously. Then, we have technology, which is king.

Here are some business opportunities that show promise in 2012 to make a profit. Some are the same as in 2011. Some are new and different:

1. Eldercare Services

from the heart elder care

Starting your own eldercare giving business is a no-fail proposition. The elderly population in the U.S. is booming. The "oldest old," or those 85 years old or older, are on track to grow by 2.8% between 2010 - 2030. Because of declining fertility and mortality rates, our median age has rising and the percentage of the population over 65 has gone up substantially. In 2011, 13% of the U.S. population (the oldest baby boomers), will reach 65 years old.

With the baby boom generation having access to good medical care, and all of them approaching 60 years old, the need for elder care services in the next 20 years is going to do nothing but increase.

Eldercare giving can be a lucrative business because of this increase in the elderly population. It is here to stay. You can start your own elder care business as people are always looking for someone to take care of their elderly parents. You should have some experience or education in the area, but oftentimes, taking care of your own elderly parents is enough. If you have nursing experience or education in the field of gerontology or social work, that helps as well.

Eldercare giving services is, in some ways, recession proof. People will always need help caring for elderly loved ones. Salaries depend on a number of factors including experience and education. A nurse is going to be paid more by a household than is an individual with little experience in the field. That said, people will pay a lot for good care of their elderly loved ones. Salaries can range from somewhere around $18,000 per year all the way up to $60,000. If you want to earn near the top of the wage scale, take some classes in gerontology or nursing.

The start-up costs for offering eldercare giving services are very low. You will need a supply of business cards, a supply of brochures delineating your services, standard office supplies including a book of standard invoices, a timekeeping ledger, and, if you want, a supply of surgical scrubs. Get a list of very good character references together along with any elder care references you might have. Eldercare references are not absolutely necessary; character references are most important. Distribute your business cards and brochures to local senior centers, churches, retirement centers, women's and men's clubs, and occasionally run a small ad in a local newspaper. You are in business!

2. Open a Consignment Shop

pictures by Enclore Clothing
Enclore Clothing

Opening a consignment shop was on our list of more profitable businesses to start in 2011 and here it is again. If anything, starting a consignment business is even hotter for 2012!

The unemployment rate is still over 8% with the real unemployment rate in the teens. Even those of us with jobs, don't have much money to spend on things that consignment shops sell - baby clothes and toys, designer clothes, gently used furniture, antiques, and more. However, we still have to dress our children, ourselves, furnish our homes....well, you get the picture. We find ourselves looking for gently used items in consignment shops. The fact is that consignment shops save us money. Why not start one yourself?

You can start a consignment shop out of your garage. Children outgrow their clothes so fast. Gather together your children's clothes that they have outgrown along with gently used toys. Get a bunch of clothes racks and tables. Make sure the toys and clothes are spotlessly clean. You only have to make a few decisions. What cut are your going to keep when consigned clothes are sold? How long will you keep the consigned items before giving them back to the customer? What are your standards when the customer brings you items? As you plan your consignment store and want to grow, there will be more questions to ask and answer.

Here are some examples of consignment shops in Memphis, TN that you might enjoy looking at. They sell baby clothes, maternity clothes, and other items. These might give you some ideas on how to start your own. Here are other examples of shops in Raleigh-Durham, NC that sell gently used upscale items.

If you start your consignment shop out of your garage or a low-rent store front, and most commercial real estate like store fronts are low rent these days, your initial investment in the business will be small. You will have rent if you have rented a space. Then, you have clothing racks, tables, or shelves. You need a computer and a point-of-sale terminal to serve as a cash register. Add some office suppliers and you are ready to go!

How much money can you make? It depends on how much you want your business to grow - unlimited.

3. Tutoring Services

@Lansing

Setting up a business to offer some sort of tutoring service is a hot idea in 2012. There is a segment of the population under 18 years of age that need tutoring in elementary school, middle school, and high school subjects. Parents are willing to hire qualified tutors to work with their children in order to help their grades and learning in school.

Your qualifications are simple for offering this type of tutoring service. You would have to be at least a high school graduate, with a transcript showing good grades. Preferably, you would be a college graduate. If you have any experience working with children who are ADD, ADHD, or have some other learning disability, so much the better.

There are other types of tutoring services you can offer. Everyone wants to be online but some people have a computer but have no idea of the resources they can find online or even how to use their computer to get online. Offer an Internet tutoring service where you teach people how to get online and what they can find once they are online. You would be surprised at how many people need this service, particularly older people who aren't experienced with computers.

Your initial investment in a tutoring business is quite small. You need to advertise your business through business cards, brochures, and an ad in the local newspaper. Business cards and brochures can be posted on school bulletin boards. Be sure your literature looks professional and spells out exactly what tutoring services you offer. If you are offering computer tutoring to older people, for example, you can visit senior centers and leave brochures and business cards.

You could also set up an online tutoring business. Just like for a local tutoring service, you need to write a business plan determining what subjects you want to tutor and who your clients should be. Then, advertise. You might advertise for clients on Craigslist or other online educational bulletin boards or you might sign up with some of the online tutor referral agencies.

How much can you expect to earn from a tutoring business? Hourly rates may start as low as $20/hour in small, rural areas, but the hourly rate is much higher in cities. Higher hourly rates can be earned if you are teaching AP courses than basic courses. If you teach math or technology (computers), you will command a higher hourly rate. Your qualifications will also have an effect on your hourly rate.

4. Music Teacher

@KimManleyOrt

Are you very proficient at playing a musical instrument such as piano, guitar, violin, or some other popular instrument? Have you had music lessons yourself, maybe in school or private lessons? Set up a business as a music teacher. Music and arts programs at public schools have been cut at an alarming rate and many children have little exposure to learning to play an instrument these days. Savvy parents tend to want to supplement their childrens' school curriculum with private music lessons.

If you want to start a business as a music teacher, you have to be proficient in whatever instrument you are going to teach. You have to decide what level you are going to teach. Beginners only? Or more advanced students as well? You have to have a plan regarding your location for the business. Will you rent a storefront? Some music stores might be glad to have your business occupy a corner of their shop. Then again, you might want to teach at home. The cost of lessons vary, depending on the age of the student and the level of proficiency. You can make a good living if you are teaching a number of students and have a good reputation.

Where do you get your music students? Word of mouth is one way. You want to start out by talking to music teachers at local schools and local music shops. Have business cards and brochures made. Put an ad in the newspaper. As you gain experience and teach more advanced students, your salary will climb. If you are in a rural area, your income will be lower. If you are in an urban location, you can eventually make up to $100 per hour as a studio music teacher.

5. Mobile App Developer

@acuras

Computerworld surveyed 353 IT executives and 61% planned to hire mobile app developers in 2012. That said, you don't have to work for a company if you have the skills to develop mobile applications. You can start your own business and develop your own apps. There has never been a time when these skills have been in such great demand.

The training for mobile application developers can be surprisingly short. Most mobile app developers are self-trained. Others have taken short courses, perhaps as long as one year. There are college degree programs for mobile app developers that you can usually take online.

The reason that mobile app developers are in such hot demand is because businesses are going to want mobile applications for their own businesses. Salaries for mobile app developers are high and depend on the platform for which they are developing the application. If you start your own mobile app business rather than signing on with a particular company, you can freelance and develop mobile apps for all platforms and all companies giving you an opportunity to really learn your trade and make big money.

In order to sell yourself as a freelancer in the mobile app development business, you must have already developed mobile applications that you can show in presentations to companies that need mobile apps.

6. Flexible Staffing Services

@dcmarch

Look around your community. What businesses aren't offered that you think are needed? There is the niche in which you can start a profitable business. Businesses still aren't hiring a lot of permanent workers but they are hiring temporary workers. If you live in a small community, rent a vacant storefront (and there are lots of those) and start a temporary staffing agency. You will find that many, many out of work individuals will sign up with you. First, however, some market research is in order to find out if there is a market for this type of service in your community.

Here is an example of a large temporary staffing service, Flexible Staffing Services, Inc.. You can view their PowerPoint presentation and possibly get some ideas for your own business. You have to have an application form for the people who come to apply for the temporary jobs. You have to have ideas about what type of temporary jobs might be available in your community. You have to contact the employers in your community through a nice brochure and some networking. A temporary service agency is possibly an excellent business to start, particularly in times of a down economy when employers are trying to downsize and save money.

7. Open a Pet Business

@benedettabiencardi

It really is unbelievable how lucrative a pet business can be. I am not just talking about a pet sitting business. There are so many business opportunities associated with pets. According to the American Pet Products Association's survey information in 2011, we owned 78 million dogs and 86 million cats. In addition, we owned birds, reptiles, and fish in record numbers.

Even in a recession and a slow recovery, we were willing to spend big bucks on our beloved animals. In 2011, it was estimated in the survey that we spent $50.84 billion on our pets. In 2010, for example, we spent $3.51 billion on just pet grooming and boarding and much more on other pet services.

There are certainly opportunities for businesses here. Here are some of them: Doggie Day Care, Dog and Cat Luxury Hotels for Boarding, dog and cat grooming, mobile dog and cat grooming, dog obedience classes, dog agility training, dog bakery, dog walking, pet sitting, special needs pets, pet food distributor, and pet supply store. Obviously, some of these business opportunities have a lower initial investment than others. However, the opportunities abound. If you are an "animal person," some of these business ideas might be for you.

One caveat. One pet business that you should not open is a pet breeding business. Too many people try breeding operations in their home or backyard without sufficient knowledge. It takes training and years of study to understand dog and cat breeding. Leave pet breeding to the professionals.

Here's an example of a successful pet business.

8. Baker

DCoyle

Becoming a baker isn't just opening a cupcake business, although cupcake businesses are still hot. Look around the small town, rural area, or neighborhood where you live for business opportunities. I know of a small town where, a few years ago, an individual opened a bakery and specialized in cakes, pies, and other sweets, but not bread. This business turned into one of the best and most profitable businesses in the area because folks in this town like to celebrate holidays. The baker tapped into that market and has special cakes and pies for all the major holidays. In between, her cookies and brownies are great, along with bread pudding.

The bakery, Root-A Bakers, also serves breakfast and lunch and has delicious food, a service you could add to your business if you desired.

Obviously, you have to have some baking skill to start this business. If your business grows, you will have to hire other skilled bakers to help along with front office folks. However, you can keep the business as large or small as you like. It helps to be creative as you will see if you go to Root-A-Baker's Facebook Page.

As far as initial investment goes, you can rent a store front and start small. You can even start out of your own kitchen. If you want to start a big bigger than that, there may be a restaurant in your area that will allow you to use their equipment and ovens after hours. Run ads in your local paper about your service. Print up business cards. Use word of mouth. Volunteer to do some catering of parties or events until you get established. Your reputation will be as good as your food.

9. Start an eCommerce Website

12leaves

If you have always wanted to open your own business, the Internet gives you the perfect opportunity and the perfect time to do it. The U.S. economy needs entrepreneurs to start businesses and hire workers. What type of business would you like to open on the internet? Would you like to sell products? What about services? Where does your expertise lie? What about services needed by people who already have eCommerce businesses? They need people to build websites, provide SEO experience, and so many other web services. If you have Web experience, that might be for you. There are definite advantages to having an eCommerce business over a brick and mortar business.

First and foremost, you need a business plan. What do you want to sell? How do you want to sell it? Read, read, read about the features a website can contain. What do you think you will need?

For your ecommerce website, it is my experience that one of the startup costs is to hire someone to build your website. Maybe you could do it yourself. However, it will be done much more professionally if a professional does it and you can dedicate yourself to other things an entrepreneur should be doing. Your website design should be based on your business plan.

Ask many questions of possible website designers. Ask to see websites they have designed. Ask how much they have cost the client. Get estimates concerning the different features of the website you want designed. Having a website built could cost between $100 - $750 depending on what you want. Then, there is the cost of hosting and maintaining the site. There are free or very cheap sites for hosting your sites. There are more expensive sites that offer you more services like your own domain name.

How are you going to make money with your eCommerce site? Clearly, you are going to be selling something. However, you can also sell ads Google will provide for you. You can join affiliate advertising programs. As your website becomes more well-known and traffic to it increases, ad revenue could become significant for you. You also may be able to pick up ads yourself with the proper networking.

Those are just some of the basics of starting an eCommerce site. Here are some tips you will find helpful in starting an eCommerce business. It's hard work but rewarding and perhaps lucrative. Lots of people have made lots of money on the Internet. You could be one of them.

10. Build a Handyman Connection Service

@7dayhandyman

When I look around at the number of elderly people in most communities and neighborhoods, along with the number of women living alone, it strikes me that one of the most valuable businesses that one could open in these places is a handyman connection service. I have a husband who knows how to do absolutely everything, but most people aren't that lucky. Elderly folks are stuck, sometimes alone and sometimes disabled, not being able to take care of the small stuff around their house. You can see the statistics on the aging of the U.S. population if you have any doubts. People who live alone, of all ages, may just not know how to do things. A handyman may be the service person that they need the most.

On the flip side, there are a lot of men out of work. Men who used to work in manufacturing, in construction. They will surely not make the kind of money they are used to being a handyman, but it will give them something to do and feel useful while they apply for jobs. Open up a staffing service for handymen. Take applications for people who know how to fix things. Require references. Set up a fee schedule. Make it reasonable. Seniors, especially, don't have much money and you don't want to start your business looking like you are ripping people off.

You have a very low initial investment for this business. Start advertising your service after you have some handymen on staff. Run an ad in a local paper and some church bulletins. Put flyers on cars. Even go door-to-door with brochures. You are going to get business. Be sure and let your clientele know that your rates are reasonable and your handymen come with references so there is no "stranger danger." Make sure your handymen have badges to wear when they go to a client's home.

There are even handyman franchises you can consider. You may find this business to be profitable and rewarding as well!

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.