Based on your experience, what is the best business to start within 12 months and why?

If you could suggest a business to start soon, highly profitable, in a growing market, but with little need of capital, what would be your best guess? What would be the strategic assets needed for success?

Guido Sullam

Business expert

Wow. That’s a pretty open question. A lot would depend on the amount of capital that you have available (“little” is a relative term), your network, your tolerance for risk, your own personal expertise and interest and what you consider to be “a business” (are you trying to build an empire or personal wealth?)

For example; If you’re a skilled technology or business professional with a good network of peers and potential customers, You might want to consider starting a consulting company. The startup costs are minimal, potential profits are high and your knowledge and expertise would be the key assets. It would primarily be a case of marketing your services and lining up customers. (don’t forget that you could also partner with someone who has that network and would be willing to work it for you.)

Franchises are a mixed blessing. You’ll need to do your due diligence to understand the business and the market that you intent to enter. More responsible franchisors will insist that you do this by default. But the less professional ones will just take your cheque and let you deal with it.

MLMs are an easy way to some quick money if you have the hustle and a decent network. However, you’ll burn at least some of your contacts. I would avoid these. I only mention them before someone else does. I know some people that swear by MLMs, but they’ve always rubbed me the wrong way.

Direct services business are hot right now and a good investment. Daycare, medical, store-front retail, food services, cleaning, entertainment, etc.

Real Estate may be a good investment in the longer term, but requires access to capital and a certain amount of expertise to pick the right deals. It’s a buyer’s market right now with a lot of good deals. But there are no gaurantees that there won’t be an additional drop before the rebound. So you would need enough capital to be able to keep your investments afloat.
There are a lot of opportunities for commercial development as well. But, again, you’d need the expertise and network to leverage those oppoprtunities. Don’t ignore the ability to leverage a small amount of capital to control a relatively large investment.

My recommendation to you would be to make a list of your skills, hobbies, interests and assets and then start brainstorming where they might be a good fit. You may find that something jumps out at you.

Once you have a list of potential opportunities, assess the risk, reward, “fun level” and document all of the things that could possibly go wrong and how your would deal with them.

If your interest is simply in the financial transaction, you might want to consider brokering deals for other entrepreneurs or groups. Your profile indicates that you may have the expertise to do this. A bit of focused research and a LOT of networking could provide you with that “low capital/high profit” opportunity.