Businesses You Can Start With $10K or Less

starting a business
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When it comes to starting a business, you can do it on less than you might think. If you have just $10,000 to invest, that's enough money to get you going in a variety of entrepreneurial ventures. Consider these businesses you can start with $10K or less to see if one might be a good fit for you. Or use them to inspire a business that taps your unique strengths.

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 should 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, or 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 competition 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, and more. 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 including sites like Etsy, Shopify, iCraft, and Amazon Handmade. 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, and 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; some let you in the door for $10K or less. A lot of benefits 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 a franchise opportunity you can get started with for just about $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 its affiliation with American Express Travel lends instant credibility to help you on your way to success.

Jazzercize is 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 the training and coaching you need to succeed in this fitness franchise.

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 sound startup tips for small business ownership.