Top 20 Business Ideas to Start in 2013

In 2013, we need to start strong, at least for one, good reason: We need to carry on in our entrepreneurial journey. Entrepreneurship is all about progress, whether your business is thriving or dying. You need to do something, and there’s no better way to do so early than starting out a business!

top business ideas

Now, before you kick off, you need a proper plan (I am a big believer of planning before you starting out, simply because I have limited resources to play around with!) And no plan is going to work without a good idea.

Okay – I have mentioned in my previous blog post that ideas are just ideas until you really turn one of them into a real business. 2013 is your chance to turn one, lucrative idea into real business with real potential.

By any means, most – if not all – of these ideas are not cutting-edge. But fear not, they are time-tested and proven.

1. Mystery Shoppers

“Get paid to shop” is one job description that many people seek and with mystery shopping as your venture you can in fact get paid to shop. Mystery shoppers are people with an eye for fashion and detail, aware of what makes or breaks a good buying experience and able to give good, honest feedback on stores, products and services. If you fit the bill then it pays well and you can even hire other people to work with you.

2. Pop Up Retail

Pop up retail stores have been around forever, well at least from the times of village fairs and weekly markets. Running a business venture in pop up retail involves good networking skills, a flair for finance and working with tight budgets and great ideas on promotion. Organising a flea market or a sale on your terrace or yard is a great way to test the waters and make a beginning towards providing small sellers with a platform to vend products.

3. The Business of Grooming and Personal Care

Everyone wants to look good and that’s why the business of helping people look good is always “in”. Running a salon, a nail spa, tattoo den….you have many options to choose from. Working as stylist or consultant to individuals and corporate is also another option worth considering.

4. Virtual Assistants

If there’s anything people are short on these days, its time. That’s where you can step in as a virtual assistant or a virtual assistant service provider who employs several virtual assistants. Be it dating or paying bills and running errands, people are looking for aid in all these areas, particularly if they lead very busy lives. All you have to do is find your niche and work around it.

5. Consultancy

Consultancy is a very broad arena offering a wide range of options for you to work with. Depending on your expertise and experience you could be a consultant on virtually anything…finance, IT, SEO, social media, branding, weight loss, fitness, alternative healing, the options are endless. The perks of freelancing and working for yourself as a consultant are many.

6. Blogging

Setting up and running a blog in a niche area is one option definitely worth trying especially if you have domain knowledge and a flair for writing. Buying a domain name and web hosting doesn’t cost a lot but the success as a blogger doesn’t come overnight. Choose a great topic like weight loss, health, fitness, travel, parenting, produce good quality content and watch your blog grow. Passive income through advertising is another way your blog will pay for itself and more!

7. Providing Solutions

People are constantly looking for solutions and finding a problem that is being experienced by a number of people is a great way to start a venture of this type. Preparing PowerPoint Presentations, undertaking project work, running a creche, supplying cut vegetables or home cooked meals, running a library or hiring service are some ideas you can work with.

8. A Hole in the Wall Shop

Who says you need to invest heavily in real estate to do business? You can run a hole in the wall shop selling foodstuffs; simple fare like breakfast, pancakes, cup cakes, bread are easy to go with. Alternatively adding wheels to your brand or product to deliver your offerings at your client’s doorstep takes convenience shopping to another level altogether.

9. Instructors

Turning teacher is easy and instructors who use their skills in dancing, music, cooking, yoga, tai chi etc are getting paid to help other people sharpen their skills or learn something new. Recently came across a baking venture that takes ingredients, oven and instructors to homes of people who are looking to learn baking. A great idea that can be replicated in any form of teaching and instructing! Using YouTube or Skype to deliver lessons is another option you can try.

10. Handmade Products

This applies if you have a skill and are capable of creating handmade products crafted from thread, wool, clay and the like. Handicrafts and customized goods hold immense attraction for people who want to buy a unique and high quality product. One look at websites like Etsy will help you understand how people are creating beautiful and functional handmade products to market them across the globe. No dearth of inspiration there.

11. Recycling

The business of recycling is one which offers you great opportunities for innovation, creativity and using waste products to create functional and beautiful products. All this while changing lives and the environment for the better. Partnering with local communities like waste pickers and marginalized groups of women and children to recycle waste will help you make a difference and build a socially responsible brand.

Look for ideas that help make good use of waste cloth, plastic and the like. An interesting venture that sources scraps of cloth from tailoring stores to create baby quilts and dresses which are sold by visiting hospitals and clinics is one such venture that comes to mind.

Look around you…there is lots that can be done and where you can step in and make a difference.

12. Wedding Planners

If you have an eye for detail, willingness to network and scour the market for deals and bargains on hotels, resorts, food, flowers and are blessed with a creative bent of mind then making a career out of wedding planning might be a good idea. With theme based weddings and destination weddings taking wedding celebrations to an altogether new level avenues and opportunities in this field abound.

Of course, becoming a wedding planner does not happen overnight and you will need excellent public relations skills, oodles of patience, flexibility and the drive to meet client needs and specifications among other qualities.

13. Reviewers and Critics

Reviewers and critics make a lot of money and the perks of doing reviews involve trying out new products and services, restaurants, hotels, reading books and watching movies and a lot more (depending on what you are reviewing). The good part is that you as the reviewer don’t have to pay for anything. In fact you consume and experience the product or service and tell the world about it.

Building a reputation as a reviewer calls for honestly, no bias and good writing skills.

14. Writing

If you have a way with words then writing throws up numerous career options…from script writing to writing books, articles, magazines, essays, critiques, blog posts, academic papers and thesis writing, your options are many.

What you need is a flair for writing, a laptop, PC or notepad and a willingness to work with and understand the needs and expectations of your target audience.

15. Reskilling

One of the biggest opportunities that recession threw up was “reskilling”. Many people lost their jobs and quite a few of them used the time between jobs to hone their skills or learn new stuff. If you have a skill that you can teach people then training is one area you should get in to.

Communication, conflict resolution, creative thinking, working with finance, presentation skills, writing are just some things you could teach people.

16. Gardening and Gardening Supplies

Urban gardening and organic farms are all the rage now and people are ready to try their hands at growing flowers, fruits and vegetables on their own terraces, window sills and in their gardens. This is why teaching people how to and providing them with gardening supplies is a great idea. If food prices in your city are climbing this is one idea that you can cash in on. Teach a person to grow his fruits and vegetables and help him save money while he does it.

17. Hiring

The business of hiring works well too. Be it books, bags, clothes, cars, toys…there are always things people need and would not like to buy. This is where you could step in with your offerings.

18. The Business of Gifts

As time becomes a scarce resource and distance separates people, a gifting service that provides creative gift ideas for everyone is something that definitely has good business potential. Funky, mushy, sweet or professional your gift service could be all or just one of these at a time depending on whether you want a specialist or generalist approach.

19. Green Foods

The food business always has great potential but the new business idea in the food industry is “green foods”. Organic, healthy and wholesome foods that are freshly delivered to your customers while helping them lead a better quality of life, tackle health issues and eat well is an idea definitely worth trying out.

20. Scrapbooking

If you are good with pictures, drawing, creatively using images and handwriting then helping people preserve memories with scrapbooks is something you can try your hand at. Making books to commemorate weddings, anniversaries and birthdays is how you could start out.


So, there you go – 20 startup ideas to inspire you in 2013. Remember, you need to take action before you find any success. If any of the ideas I suggest here interest you in one way or another, be sure you start taking notes a couple of them and start exploring deeper and see whether you have a good chance to build a successful startup based on one or more ideas.

Good luck and Godspeed!