Start small to go big: here are 35 profitable businesses you can start in India within Rs 10,000Sanjana Ray
The hunt for funding has been the bane of an entrepreneur’s existence from times of yore. Many abandon their dream to build, create, and innovate in the face of this difficult struggle without realising that a good business idea will eventually pool in the bounty-full once it has secured a place in the market.
Your idea will bring you your company, your company will bring you the people, and the people will bring you the market. And as we all know, a good idea has no monetary value, just a whole lot of bursting potential. Today, the world’s most successful entrepreneurs like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Elon Musk may hold the possibility of building pyramids out of notes, but none of them started at the top of the ladder. Facebook was created out of a Harvard dorm room at minimal cost and Microsoft was formed two years after Gates decided to drop out of college.
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The reason to stress on these remarkable entrepreneurial stories is because they provide an important lesson for all those wishing to embark on a similar journey – that a single great idea is the most important step to creating a game-changing business. And sometimes, if you plan it well, these ideas can build you a company at the lowest initial-costs while getting you the highest possible returns.
Tracing the business history of our country, it has been noted that the market is ripe for the ambitious entrepreneur to dominate it today. Some individuals may have the business acumen to influence the market but have not yet managed to narrow down on a single idea to begin with.
But as Walt Disney said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” On that positive note, here are a few business ideas that we believe can be launched within an initial cost of Rs 10,000:
The travel industry in India has witnessed a boom in the past decade. Keeping to people’s changing habits and their desire for the ultimate ‘wanderlust’, the time is ripe for aspiring entrepreneurs to put their money where the map is. The most cost-effective measure to open up a home-based travel agency is by tying up with a host-agency. By doing so, you will receive the benefits of pace (helping you get your ARC, CLIA, or IATA number faster), convenience (they perform all the ‘back-end functions’), and help you earn higher commissions and keep your costs low. While the rates differ according to the host agencies, your main initial costs that will fall within Rs 10,000.
Mobile recharge shop
Even with online recharge, in India most mobile-users prefer visiting a recharge shop to fill their balance. So those looking to practise this business can start by renting a space in a small local shop. This rent will be the primary (monthly) expenditure. You also need to form ties with the network providers of the area, such as Airtel, Vodafone, Idea etc., and pen down their commission rates, where they will receive a cut of your profits from the sale of the commodities taken from them. Assuming that you aren’t looking to rent out a shop-space in any expensive real-estate property, your overall costs will definitely feature below the Rs. 10,000 scale.
You must have noticed how those little breakfast and tea stores across your city are almost always filled with customers. This is because food as a commodity will always do well in a competitive market. To open up your own breakfast joint, you need to invest money in renting a space for it, after having received a permit for it from the respective authorities. If your rent is within Rs 5000 a month, you can dedicate the rest of your budget on buying groceries and other raw materials as well as second-hand tables and chairs.
This is possibly one of the most cost-effective businesses to launch, due to its near zero starting cost requirement. Most tuition-teachers take classes in their own homes, thus eliminating any expenditure on rent and supplies. The only effort you need to put in as a tuition teacher is to take to advertise yourself on social media or go the old school way with flyers and ‘word-of-mouth’ recommendations.
Fruit juice kiosk
Who doesn’t appreciate fresh fruit-juice on a sweltering day? To tap into this lucrative business, you have to start by requesting for a permit to open a kiosk in a chosen locality, preferably one that is hard to miss. Following this, you will need to pay rent for shop-space. Other than this, the only other investment you need to put your money up for is for the purchase of the raw materials, supplies like machines for making the juice, and the salaries of the employee(s) making the juice.
In cities like Kolkata, Mumbai, and Delhi, the demand for good tailors has increased tenfold due to the increasing popularity of self-made designs. Other than a small rented space, you only need to invest in powerful sewing and stitching machines, and of course electricity.
While names like ‘Ovenfresh’ have taken years of hard-work, recruitment, and funding to reach where they are today, it only goes to show that the market is ripe for online food-based services, especially in the realm of baked foods. Single-handedly run online baking companies are popular, too, like Confectioner’s Touch by 23-year-old Charulata Ghosh from Kolkata, which has been turning heads and raising numbers since its inception in 2013.
“I started off with very little. Like Rs 2,000. But as my business proceeded, I was able to invest in other things like Zomato, custom boxes, and cake boards,” says Charulata, who is up to her elbows in cake considering the non-stop online orders coming her way.
This is possibly one of the most lucrative fields to tap into in the digital age. Professional blogging requires only a minimal start-up cost. You only have to invest in a domain name and hosting space –initially at least – which in its ‘unlimited’ capacity costs a maximum of roughly Rs 3600. As for promoting your blogs through the right channels, the cost-free and limitless expanse of the internet is all you need.
YouTube is a hotspot for creative and talented individuals looking for great returns with little monetary investment. YouTube allows its users to create independent channels and upload their videos for free. In fact, it even pays some YouTubers whose channels are popular. To know more about how to make money out of your YouTube channel, click here.
Event managers barely spend any time in office. They are best at networking and managing, checking out the hundreds of venues, meeting sponsors, scheduling performances, and basically being on the field 24/7. On that basis, their demand revolves around their brand image and popularity, which can be built with a good online marketing strategy. However, the overall startup cost for building this brand is minimal, if at all priced.
The term ‘big fat Indian wedding’ exists for a reason. This is because weddings are taken very seriously by almost all cultures making up our diversified society. Today, even multinational corporations like Uber are tapping into this lucrative industry and centring their campaign on it. The most important investment you need to make to launch a wedding consultancy is in maintaining a popular website for it. The best way to reach out to potential clients in this field is online. Thus, ensure that your website has the requisite base of followers and is detailed, accessible, and colourful.
While any form of education is priceless in its ideal, it can still be priced for a good value. Developing and running an online course for students interested in learning a subject is a profitable feat. While some online-course providers may offer the course for free on their own personalised websites, most usually tie up with other digital content companies, which provide them with the tools to carry out their lessons. In this too, the maximum cost you will incurred would be the minimum amount you pay for your domain name and hosting space, or to the digital content company in question for them to feature your course on their platform.
Assuming that you intend to take up professional photography, you may already are in possession of a high-definition camera. Without taking the latter’s cost into consideration, as an aspiring photographer looking to take on independent projects, the only investment you need to make is your time in building your profile online.
Street-side book stall
If you’ve ever crossed by the Flora Fountain area of Mumbai or College Street in Kolkata, you’ve probably encountered scores of little second-hand book stalls thronged by avid readers and flustered students. The first thing to do is set up a stall with a permit, which needs the right local contacts, following which your only investment is purchasing a dozen or so books from other sellers to start the business of second-hand book exchanging.
Ghost writing may not be recommended as a primary profession, but it definitely ranks as high as any of its counterparts, considering the standard amount that a prospective client is willing to pay for a story to be written anonymously. Here too, the best way to make clients reach out to you is through recommendations, be it online or in person, and your only investment, after accepting the project, is your time. This is extremely lucrative, since clients usually offer exorbitant amounts as compensation for writing their story for them.
If jewellery made from real silver, gold, and diamond were all we had as options today, we’d possibly be roaming around empty-pocketed for most of our lives. However, custom jewellery has been part of our ancient tradition and is still one of the most profitable markets today. To look into that business, you should be prepared to get into well-placed bargaining deals with the manufacturers of these customised pieces, either offering them a good cut from your sales or buying their products in a bulk, for a cheaper price. Either way, the trick is to sell it at a higher price than it was bought at, in a shop or stall (in a popular place), for which you need to pay for rented space. Despite this, your overall collective cost will possibly be covered in within Rs 7000-8000.
Advertising campaign developer
A profession that is almost exclusively online, the idea of running this kind of a business stems from the fact that most corporate advertising firms have taken to outsourcing their campaign developments, as an attempt to break the standard patterns and reduce the pressure. As a result, stand-alone advisors on a company’s advertising campaigns are in high demand in the market today. Hence, as someone looking to build a business along these lines, you should be prepared to invest your time and money in running an active website (with a domain name, hosting services, and perhaps SEOs), offering your services to potential clients.
Can you imagine a world without tea? What would we do with our evenings? While the tea-industry as a whole has done exceptionally well over the decades, the smaller tea stall owners have definitely been reaping the benefits of their overall success. Besides a basic budget for renting a small room or stall for space, the only other investment you need to make is on buying tea from the manufacturers and purchasing makeshift benches and tables.
Social media strategist
Social media has become the way of the world. Corporates, startups, and personal channels have all realised this and work to increase their presence on it. While most of the bigger companies (especially in the media) now have a social media team to handle this aspect, the smaller ones reach out to stand-alone social media strategists. The only investment that you, as someone looking to build a brand in this line, should be making is improving your online presence by advertising on platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn and spending a basic amount on maintain your website, to ensure that it ranks higher in the search engine pages.
Meghna Nayak, Founder of LataSita, a fashion brand that up-cycles old saris into beautiful unique and ethnic pieces, states, “I felt inspired and confident enough to start LataSita in India where we already have a long history of upcycling and jugaad woven into the culture-I wanted to update it and infuse it with some style and snazz!” (As stated by Vagabomb). While most of her fixed budget was spent on material for her designs, the concept of recycling saris helped defeat that splurge. Her primary investment went into maintaining a studio space and paying her two tailors.
Online fitness instructors
The world is looking to get fit. While not everyone has the time or inclination to visit the gym or join any fitness classes, the idea of a fitness instructor visiting their houses and helping them get in shape is definitely more appealing to them. So those looking to launch a business in online fitness should spend their money on maintaining a strong online presence through their website and social media pages, considering that they do not have to rent a studio space or equipment.
There’s a popular conception that graphic designers often earn more by sitting at home than by being employed full-time. Although this may sound like an oversimplification, the truth is that graphic designers are the highest in demand when they work independently and are ready to take on projects from clients outside their prescribed work. Assuming the fact that they already have the necessary equipment to execute their projects (computers, software, etc.), all they need to do is make sure that their work is goes viral, so that potential clients can come across it and reach out to them for a new project.
The only investment that those looking to run dance or music schools have to carry out is in rental space. Besides this, the business runs on their skill as an instructor as well as their active presence in respected circuits. As the business grows, they may need to set aside an amount for the salary of an assistant or associate as well, but in the initial stages, the trick is to make sure that enough people are recommending your school to its potential students.
Cities like Mumbai are famous for independent scriptwriters, who work on a project-basis from anywhere and at any time. While these individuals work on deadlines and are affiliated with a production house through a contract, they do not need to spend on any initial costs to set up their brand, since they can work in the confines of their home and are negating rental space expenses. Their only investment is time allotted to each project, so that they can be recommended to others through the same.
As mentioned earlier, venturing into the food industry is almost always a profitable move. Scores of working professionals today prefer to ‘eat in’ but do not have the time to make and carry home-cooked food to work. This is where you could come in. Since the cooking will probably be cooked in your own kitchen, there is no need to pay for extra space. Thus, the only big investment you’ll need to make at this stage is in a middle-man to deliver these services.
This includes all the unsung heroes- the electrician, the plumber, the home-staff and others without whom we wouldn’t be able to get through a single day. These handymen and women usually choose not to be affiliated with any organisation and instead take on work at homes independently at a nominal charge. Hence, their only primary initial cost will be spent in purchasing the necessary tools that befits their respective professions.
Wouldn’t you feel so much better knowing that while you were slaving away at work, there was someone taking proper care of your pet – feeding it on time, playing with it, and making sure that it isn’t lonely? Especially when you have to go for a work-trip or a vacation. This an extremely lucrative and to an extent, still largely unexplored field in our country and holds great promises for those wishing to build a brand around it. The main costs for this would be in creating and maintaining a website.
While most corporate companies have their own research teams, a score of newly launched startups and smaller companies tend to outsource their research work to independent researchers in the same field, on a contractual basis. As a result, you could set up a business around independent research yourself or with another person, where, unless you wish to opt for rental space, your only investment will be your time. If you’re working with another person or with someone junior to you however, then you may have to set aside an amount for their salaries as well.
Prem Ganapathy, one of India’s richest entrepreneurs, had begun his business by selling idlis and dosas from a hand-cart opposite Vashi station, which he rented for Rs 150 a month. And while the hand-cart has been replaced by a chain of luxury restaurants across the world, it was the reason for his eminent success today. Food trucks offer the same kind of potential to those looking to get into low-cost-high-returns business, considering their growing appeal among the urban masses today. Bengaluru even had an all-women food-truck company, 7 Sin, which has been doing exceedingly well since. As for the initial costs, the only thing that those looking into this have to wager on, is to rent a sturdy food-truck for a nominal fee and to pay the salary of a driver, who is required to drive it through all the popular hot-spots in the respective cities.
While we all applauded the efforts of Mahavir Singh Phogat in Dangal, not everyone can receive critical acclaim as a coach by training members of their own families. To this end, people with a history in a particular sport, who have both worked in it, around it, and understand it to the bone, should look to coaching amateurs in the same. Their experience and expertise at a sport will help build their brand value and catch the attention of the various sports academies looking to hire independent coaches for particular seasons. They should even look to cater towards aspiring sportsmen who wish to receive professional training from an independent coach instead of enrolling themselves in an academy.
In India, the average salary for a Translator is Rs 416,093 per year. In light of globalisation, the influx of overseas business deals have risen fourfold, and in many cases, it is difficult to orchestrate the meetings, considering the lack of a common language (English isn’t applicable in all cases). Thus, translators are high in demand, and those looking to go into the business would be happy to know that the costs for setting it up are based at a bare minimum. The only real thing they need to spend their money on is to attend classes on the particular foreign language to become fluent enough to practise it.
Home-based consultancy services have become quite popular in the past few years. While many still run a one-man show, many have recruited to delegate the onslaught of clients that come through for queries around the particular field. While it is important that those heading these services have a background in the field they are adhering to, the minimum cost to start this home-based business is till considerably low.
Are you the control freak when it comes to travel planning? Do you love planning out an itinerary, scouting the internet for hours for the cheapest and most effective ticket combinations and have the history of a heritage site mugged up? If yes, then you should look into opening up a tour-guide business, where groups of travellers (school-trips, college-trips, tourist-travels) can ask you to not only make all the arrangements for the trip but also guide them through it, as the leader of the pack. Since the entire business can be carried through the internet, there is no other starting cost that you need to worry about, other than perhaps maintaining a travel-guide website for your potential clients.
There’s a reason we haven’t really been noting the Archies cards making the rounds anymore. It is because card-making businesses have begun to spring up all over the country, with manufacturers taking custom-made orders for nominal prices. For this too, the key factor lies in using the internet and the appropriate software and tools, for which you have to pay a standard price to enjoy unlimited usage. However, the main investment will be in maintaining an attractive website and making it a powerful presence on social media, so that enough people begin to talk it up and recommend it.
Cooking classes are a hit among the urban masses because food is something that appeals to everyone. As a professional cook, you can conduct cooking classes both online and offline. For the former, you can either use a platform like YouTube and Facebook or launch your own website to serve the same purpose. For either way, the cost is a bare minimum. For the latter, you can book a studio on the days you wish to conduct the classes, which again works out to be fairly cost-effective, taking the selected number of hours and days into account.
While each of these businesses do contain its fair share of risks and surmountable barriers, they also hold the potential to become great success stories. On a closing note, here’s a quote from the legendary Henry Ford who said, “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.”
Just like the bow stretches the arrow back before it is released to its target, you need to arch back and let loose. The target? The whole world.