An Idea for a Small Business You Can Start

Start-up costs range $50 to $500,000+, earnings $5,000 to $2,000,000++, skills from knowing nothing to running an airline. Bon appetit!


Start-up cost: $500 - $1,000

Potential earnings: $250 - $400 per event

Advertising: Ads on community bulletin boards, business cards attached to balloon arrangements, flyers, local newspaper business directories, a signboard outside events, word-of-mouth referrals, direct mailings to newly engaged couples and school districts that hold formal dances, a portfolio or photo album of your work to show to potential customers.

Equipment needed: Balloons, mylars (foil-like balloons), curling iron to seal the mylars, netting, assorted marbles (to anchor balloons), helium tanks, air and gas fillers, miscellaneous supplies (scissors, string, ribbon, tape, balloon sticks, etc.). Optional: forms for arches and trellises.

This service business provides balloons to decorate clients' homes or offices for special occasions such as birthdays, theme parties, and company parties; or celebrations for newborns, anniversaries, graduations, retirements, and so forth. Other services may include creating special table centerpieces and balloon deliveries in clown or character outfits.

You meet with clients in your home or theirs and fill out a planning sheet to agree on the kind and placement of balloons (sketches by clients are helpful). Then, you give a cost estimate, and take a nonrefundable deposit that will at least cover your initial costs if the customer should cancel.

Excerpted with permission from "101 Best Home-Based Businesses for Women" by Priscilla Y. Huff. Published by Prima Publishing. For more on this and 100 other great businesses you can start, Buy the book now or ask for it at your favorite bookstore. You can also call (800) 632-8676

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