1. Begin an enterprise which deals in new and old comics. This business might:
1) sell comics by post from a catalogue;
2) operate a comics of the month club for specialized collectors; and
3) run a comics stall at fairs and antique markets.
Comics are cheap to post so consider your own web site to match sellers to buyers, maybe start a special comic web site auction similar to Ebay.
2. Write to overseas publishers of English language newsletters and offer to act as the distributor for their newsletter in this country. In your letter to the publishers outline the benefits they will gain if they let you distribute their newsletter.
3. Start a service which cleans wire baskets and supermarket trolleys. Wire baskets and trolleys often spend most of the day on a dusty floor or outside in a street open to the elements. This combined with the net-like quality of the wire encourage the accumulation of dust and germs.
4. Use wooden jigsaw pieces to make earrings and necklaces. Add a hand painted design to the side of the jigsaw not covered by a part of the picture. Call your goods jigsaw puzzle jewelry. Sell this jewelry from a stall at fairs or get it stocked at trendy shops.
5. Take metal rods and tubes of different diameters and cut into slices. Arrange the slices to make pictures and patterns. Mount these pictures and sell as craft work. Or produce kits for making pictures with slices of rods and tubes. Use mail order to sell these kits to craft workers.
6. Earn an income from writing articles or books about starting a small business and making money. Sell the manuscripts to publishers of small business opportunity books, newsletters, magazines and newspapers. Hmmm maybe I could do that?
7. Set up a small business which produces a quality audio cassette library of nursery rhymes. Alternatively, produce a series of cassettes which feature X-rated versions of nursery rhymes. Sell these cassettes by either getting them stocked at book shops, or starting a monthly club.
8. Compile and publish a monthly bulletin which informs subscribers of poetry competitions they are eligible to enter at home and abroad. Target your campaign at practicing poets for recruiting subscribers to this bulletin.
9. Bring out a series of plans for woodworkers, soft toy makers, leather workers and other craft workers. Either sell printed copies of these plans at wholesale prices, or sell the reproduction rights. So now any craft worker or hobbyist can start a mail order business selling plans.
10. Publish a 'Which?'-type of newsletter about newsletters. As the number of newsletters and subscribers is ever increasing, there is a gap in the market for a newsletter which comments on and judges the value of other newsletters. Perfect small business idea for a web site.
11. Begin an enterprise which makes model paper products for dolls and dolls' houses. The model products might include: newspapers, money, stationery, serviettes, paper hats, Christmas cards, etc. Sell these products by mail order or web site to doll makers and collectors.
12. Write a non-fiction book which may, for example, be about a hobby. Pay a book printer to produce copies of the book. Sell these books to the people who would be interested in the contents. You might, for example, place ads in hobby magazines, or sell it as an ebook, online.
13. Give personal tuition in your own home on how to write good English. Advertise your teaching service by placing cards in the windows of local newsagents. In your advertising, point out the advantages of taking your course, such as getting a better job and helping children with homework.
14. Start a singles contact magazine or newsletter. Each issue might include both small ads from people looking for partners and editorial to interest single people. Use press and magazine advertising to build up a list of subscribers.
15. Set up a holiday companion introduction service. Your service matches and introduces single people who do not have anyone to go on holiday with. Place classified ads in numerous publications to attract clients. Or produce a publication which lists people looking for holiday companions.
16. Write and publish a newsletter for those who want to start a successful small business. The newsletter might, for example, discuss effective ways of: selling, managing, generating ideas, locating suppliers and finding customers. Use your local library service to research these topics.
17. Begin a craft enterprise which turns out wire craft ornaments. These ornaments are free-standing, 3-D objects which consist entirely of wire: the wire makes the outlines. These ornaments might look like airplanes, helicopters, men, animals, boats, bicycles or people's first names.
18. Start a mail order business which promotes the craft of making ornaments and models from shaping wire. Design and make up a complete introductory kit for beginners. Include this kit in your catalogue as well as tools, design ideas and raw materials for wire craft workers.
19. Make football rosettes and get them stocked at newsagents and sports shops. Each rosette might be placed in a cellophane packet or polythene bag.
20. Produce a series of storytelling tapes, cds or videos. An actor or actress reads classic novels directly to the camera or microphone. Hire these out by post. For example, a person might borrow videos of an actor reading 'War and Peace', 'Wuthering Heights' or 'Treasure Island'.
21. Start a venture which organizes river or coastal boat trips for: small business parties, wedding receptions, anniversaries, birthday parties, etc. Your service does things like: organizes transport to the boat; books the caterer; hires entertainers and waiting staff, etc.
22. If you can play a musical instrument, earn money from providing background music at: restaurants, pubs, wine bars, tea rooms, hotel breakfasts, amusement arcades or ice skating rinks. Also play during the intervals at theatres or cinemas.
23. Sell copies of theatrical plays by post. Put together a wide range of new and second hand publications and produce a catalogue. Advertise your catalogue in both the theatre press and theatre programs.
24. Buy and sell second hand compact discs. Buy collections of discs by post and use local ads to find sellers in your area. The discs you acquire can be sold: by post, from market stall, or get them stocked at local shops. Brilliant small business idea if you buy and sell the cds from your own web site. Perhaps a cd auction site?
25. Have a stall which sells fashionable clothes. Your staff might be a full time small business working at street markets, or it might be a part time venture which appears at craft and antique fairs.
26. Set up a sheet music of the month club. Each month send club members a selection of sheets of the latest popular songs. Club members will include: musicians who play at clubs and pubs, record companies and keen amateur musicians.
27. Sell by mail order Beatles or Elvis memorabilia. Conduct your own research to discover what memorabilia you can produce yourself For example, reprint photographs and duplicate press cuttings. Also buy goods from collectors and trade sources at home and abroad.
28. Put together a mail order catalogue of children's educational audio cassettes. The cassettes might cover subjects such as spelling, reading, rules of English, grammar, geography, history, etc. Produce some of the cassettes yourself and buy others from cassette publishers.
29. Do your own research to discover the secrets of conjuring. Write a manuscript about your findings and publish it yourself. The novel and sensational nature of this book means you can sell it from ads in magazines and newspapers.
30. Write and record personalized songs. Produce songs for all occasions such as engagements, weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, new births, homecomings and congratulations. Use classified ads in the personal columns to attract orders.
31. Start a craft business which produces gift tags decorated with pressed flowers. Also do similar products like pressed flower bookmarkers. To make a bookmarker take two strips of clear 35 mm film. Place pressed flowers between the strips and tie the sprocket holes together with cotton.
32. Bring out an educational newsletter about 'How to Improve Your Written English'. Each monthly newsletter might be like a lesson. There are only a limited number of lessons, so you can send the same series to different subscribers for many years.
33. Open a school of rock music. Provide classes about different aspects of rock music such as singing, playing electric guitars, writing music and songs, designing stage presentations, etc. Add credibility to the school by paying practicing rock musicians to give many of the lessons.
34. Devise and produce an audio cassette course about how to play the drums. Use ads in the music press to sell this course. Or get the course stocked at music shops.
35. Produce kits for schoolgirls to make bead necklaces. Package each kit in a small polythene bag and staple on a printed card. Mount these kits on a rack and get them displayed at newsagents.
36. Design your own brand of baby sling. Buy one of each of the baby slings currently on sale. Study the slings and develop one which is a composite of the best features. Manufacture and package the baby slings. Find appropriate retailers and wholesalers to stock them.
37. Make charming and attractive quilts for babies and children. Make the kind of quilts you would like a baby or child to have. Give your imagination free reign to see what ideas and designs you come up with. When you have finalized a design, go into business for yourself.
38. Turn out knitwear garments for children. Sell the garments from your own stall or through retailers.
39. Embroider attractive designs on ladies' gloves and scarves. Call on up-market retailers and persuade them to stock your embroidered products.
40. Bring out your own range of shawls. Increase the value of your shawls by giving each design a catchy name. Sell the shawls by mail order or get them stocked at retailers.
41. Make charming soft toy ladybirds or butterflies which can be attached to curtains for decoration.
42. Bring out a selection of souvenir ties. The ties might feature the name or emblem of a holiday resort. Mount the ties on racks and get them stocked at shops which sell souvenirs.
43. Start a mail order business which sells books, booklets and audio cassettes about how to deal with nasty experiences. The nasty experiences covered might include: violence in the home; break up of a marriage; death of a partner; being sacked or failing exams. Why not sell them from your own web site, perhaps as ebooks?
44. Use ribbon to make souvenir pictures, for example: yellow ribbon can be used as the beach; blue as the sea; brown and green for palm trees, etc. Or design and produce kits for hobbyists to make pictures with ribbons. Sell the kits by mail order or through craft shops.
45. Make a selection of Balaclava helmets in the colors of popular football teams or the national flag.
46. Produce a series of videos which have titles like 'How to Give Up Smoking', 'How to Relax', 'How to Lose Weight' or 'How to Sleep Soundly'. Sell these videos by direct mail to business people. Or, try to get a leading chain store to distribute them on a national basis.
47. Have your own fabrics market stall and sell ordinary fabrics, rolls of discounted lines and remnants.
48. Earn money from doing alterations and repairs for local dry cleaning services, menswear shops, factories and offices. Visit these places and inform them of your service. Offer, for example, to collect the goods once or twice a week.
49. Produce cardboard, sightseeing, periscopes and sell them at public events. Make the periscopes yourself. Arrange for the card to be printed and shaped. Assemble the periscopes and add two mirrors. Recruit sales people so you can sell these periscopes along the route of the event.
50. Start a knitting patterns of the month club. Each month members of your club automatically receive a selection of the latest knitting patterns. Members select the patterns they want and return the rest. Or compile a top 30 of patterns and send new entries to club members.
I hope that these small business ideas have inspired you to consider starting a small business of your own.