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From Affiliate Marketing to Franchises: A Guide to Types of Businesses


From Affiliate Marketing to Franchises: A Guide to Types of Businesses
Photo by Flickr user BKLN Guy

You're raring to start your own business. But have you considered the full range of business opportunities that are available to you? Here are a few ideas:

Online vs. Bricks and Mortar

A gym. A bookstore. A restaurant. These are all examples of traditional, bricks and mortar small businesses. You might presume that all of these tried-and-true businesses normally begin with a conventional business plan, loan application and more. Not always.

Though a business plan is a solid place to start any kind of business (if for no other reason than to find out about your market and business opportunities), a number of small bricks and mortar businesses are trying new strategies such as getting funding through Kickstarter or Indiegogo, or rolling out at a smaller scale at markets like Brooklyn Flea.

Virtual businesses can be profitable and inexpensive to start up. With these, you use the web to either sell a real product or a wholly digital one (like an informational product or course).

Low-cost web technology like WordPress has made it extremely easy for anyone to set up a website that can attract leads and convert customers, thus the proliferation of "online marketers" selling everything from home decorating advice to exercise routines to writing workshops. The upside of online businesses is that they take very few resources to set up, allowing you to test (and learn from) a business idea on the fly.

Products Vs. Services

Before you start a business, you'll need to hone in on whether you are in the products or services arena. Products are things, with a specific cost and value. Products can be a great business because they are so fixed, allowing you to concentrate on keeping your cost low and profits high. Services can have a specific price attached to them but have a tendency to be more fluid. Some entrepreneurs "productize" their expertised through turning them into ebook or webinars.

"Muse" Businesses

In his book, "The Four Hour Work Week," Tim Ferriss popularized the idea of the "muse business." The idea is to create a revenue generating side business that can operate on auto-pilot and allow you the free time to concentrate on other pursuits. Whether you resell, license or create your own product, "muse businesses" work best when they are aimed a niche market, focused on a clear benefit, and offer products that are positioned at the mid-range ($50-$200).

Informational or Educational Products Businesses

Information products are products drawn out of an individual or organization's expertise. A dog trainer might create a line of dog training videos that an average consumer might use to train Fido, or a marketer might create an ebook that explains how to write excellent sales copy. While the web is filled with free information, consumers will pay a premium for those sites that can break down complex information quickly.

Using software such as Camtasia, WordPress and Paypal, you can easily DIY your own informational or educational product and put it up for sale. If you are interested in using the resources of a larger company, new educational startups like Udemy and Skillshare allow anyone to create and sell classes through their platform. Though they take a small percentage of your profits, you can take advantage of their built-in communities and marketing lists.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing can be as simple as listing your favorite Amazon products on your site for sale, and become more complex as you ad different types of products. Many people are surprised to hear how many of their favorite brands, from credit cards to apparel, offer affiliate programs. The key to being successful as an affiliate marketer is finding a niche and building an audience.

Buying a business

Buying an existing business can mitigate risk, as you know what you are getting into before you take the plunge. However, the process of buying a business comes with its own set of complexities. Read more about them here:


What if you'd like to start a business from scratch, but operate within a proven business model with a well-established support system in place? A franchise might be perfect for you. Find out why here:


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