Don?t Forget the Small Businesses Basics

Running a small business allows you an impressive amount of flexibility. You can move with speed and dexterity if an opportunity arises and a trend proves popular – and profitable. Compared to the stately ocean liners of big business, small businesses are speed boats with good steering, which comes in handy if land is sighted unexpectedly.

One of the main trends of the last few years has been the rise of organic produce. The most obvious examples are the ones sitting on supermarket shelves, labelled as organic and costing more than the equivalent non-organic foodstuff. In this way, small farmers can make a virtue of quality over quantity and not lose out too much because of economies of scale. However, there have been all kinds of niche markets into which have fitted opportunist small businesses. Organic chicken farmers may not have wished to use antibiotics in their poultry farming, but there was a need to find an alternative that would help prevent disease. One such equivalent was duly retailed: Herban is an essential oil based on oregano oil that can be added to the birds’ feed or drinking water.

Although the concept of the Internet revolution is beginning to feel like old hat, the opportunities it offers are still spectacular. The current success stories, like Facebook, are splashed across the media business pages, and occasionally disappear very fast. But behind every major success are thousands of steady small businesses that are doing just fine. CPD (Continuing Professional Development) has been a mainstay of professions like healthcare and law for many years, but some small businesses are realising that they can offer an online CPD service – the technology is there and people’s minds are open to the possibility. Profits are not currently enormous, but certainly decent.

Other opportunities have sprung up from what initially seemed to be ‘amateur’ or ‘socialising’ websites. If you think eBay is only for comic-book collecting geeks then think again. With millions of users worldwide it attracts many small businessmen and women who use it as their main sales channel. Some home-based operators have been able to turn hobbies into viable businesses, selling anything from chairs to bikes to rare Roman coins. Now, third parties are jumping onboard, offering to streamline listings or sell software to optimise listings.

But a word of caution is needed. Although it is great to realise that you have spotted a niche and have the flexibility to go for it, it is always important to look at the bottom line – your business’s finances. This is an area where experience and a steady attitude is invaluable. Small business advice is available from a number of organisations, including government bodies and banks. Banks tend to define a small business as one with a turnover of less than one million.

So if you can combine opportunism, professional advice, and a great deal of perseverance you might yet hit those business pages.


This article has been written for information and interest purposes only. The information contained within this article is the opinion of the author only, and should not be construed as advice or used to make financial decisions. Expert financial advice should always be sought and any links contained within this article are included for information purposes only.

Andrew Regan is an online, freelance author from Scotland. He is a keen rugby player and enjoys travelling.

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