guest post | 4 Time-Tested (but Trendy) Business Ideas

today we have a guest post from Anita Campbell of BizSugar, which is a fantastic place to find and share small business news and tips. whether you are just getting started with your little biz, or you want to find ways to stand out in your niche, these time-tested ideas will definitely help you out!

Ever wonder why some businesses stand the test of time while others fizzle away in the night? If you’ve ever started your own business or even pondered it, I’m guessing the answer is yes.  As always-aspiring entrepreneurs, we want to be in the habit of creating business that are going to last. We want to build brands that will resonate, be relatable, and that are just trendy enough to garner attention without being written off as a fad.

But how do you do that? How do you build something that’s time-tested, but audience-approved?

Below are four trustworthy techniques to consider when marketing your next business idea.  They’re four small things that have proven to work time after time after time.

Idea 1: The Time Saver

We’re all busy. And you know what? That’s not changing. With more things grabbing at our attention, we have even less time today than we did a year ago.  Focusing your business idea around being a “time saver” for your customers is going to help you stand out from the masses.  We all want more time – time that we can spend with our families, having a life, etc.

How can you take advantage of this customer want?

If you’re a local market, maybe it means you begin offering a delivery service so that busy moms and dads can have their groceries delivered to their door. If you’re a local florist, maybe you can promise a faster turnaround time than your competitors. Or you allow customers to schedule a year’s worth of flower deliveries in one shot online. “Never miss a holiday again!”

Figuring out how your product can save someone time is a great way to ensure your name is one they never forget.

Idea 2: The Easy Button

There’s a reason Staples clings so tightly so it’s “that was easy” slogan.  Because we’re so busy and pressed for time, we’re looking for more streamlined, more efficient ways of accomplishing our everyday tasks. Sure, fancy features may be nice to look at, but they’re not what we’re really after. What we want is more things done quicker and with less effort. 

Life is hectic enough, base your product around solving an everyday frustration that your customers face.

The good news is as a small business owner, this is where you have a huge leg up over your larger competition because they don’t understand this concept. They’re always trying to be bigger, badder and more confusing.  How many times has your favorite Web site been “redesigned” to be more complicated than ever before?  How many times have you switched away from your once-favorite product because it became harder to use? Too many.

For your product to win fans for the long term, look for ways to streamline an existing process or to simplify an everyday task that your audience faces.  They’ll love you for it.

Idea 3: The Do It Yourselfer

We live in a world of consultants and do-it-yourself enthusiasts. Spend a few minutes searching the Web and you’ll find yourself running across communities passionate about finance, trendy business ideasgetting married or virtually anything else you’d dare to search for.  

And they’re not looking to hire someone to help them with these areas; they want to learn how to do it for themselves. Embrace it.

You may not want to base your entire business on helping others learn what you do for themselves, but find ways to incorporate it into your business model.  Maybe you offer a training class. Or you start a blog. Or you participate in webinars where you talk to people and help solve their issues. 

However it is that you decide to help people learn, you’re giving them added value to keep coming back to your business and your Web site.  We like organizations that help us to accomplish our goals and to allow us to feel smarter while doing it.  It’s not something we forget.

Idea 4: The Do-Gooder

Make it easy for your customers to feel good about doing business with you by doing good for others. 

If you’re a local screen printing shop, let people know that you only use recycled inks and paper.  If you own a retail outlet, maybe you donate 10 percent of your yearly earnings to a charity that is important to your customers.  If you’re a local animal hospital, maybe you volunteer your services at different animal shelters throughout the year.

These are things your customers are looking for. They want to know that you care about things outside of yourself and that you’re a good citizen.  Doing so makes them feel good about doing business with you and it makes them feel better about themselves, simply by supporting you.

Making people feel good about giving you money? What’s a better way to stand the test of time than that?

Above are just four ways to help aspiring small businesses create time-tested, but also trendy, business ideas using proven themes. By incorporating these elements into the products you offer, your mission statements, your ad campaigns and even the technologies that you use, you can position your company in new and more-lasting ways.

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Anita Campbell is the Founder of the Small Business Trends website and CEO of BizSugar, an online community of small business owners.