original entrepreneur ideas

Two great startup ideas for entrepreneurs

Disclosure: Just so you know, we may sometimes earn a small commission from affiliate links on this site.

"Are you looking for a great entrepreneurial idea to start your new business?" If you are an entrepreneur looking to start a small or home based business then the following ideas might be just the inspiration you need.

Over the years I have toyed with many entrepreneurial ideas. Some have worked, and some haven't.

This article will list two of the most interesting entrepreneurial ideas that I came up with (some of these businesses have been done with success in other parts of the world).

Here are my two favorite ideas for small business startups, that I think have real potential to grow. If you haven't seen these ideas being done in your town, county or country then why not start 'em up?

Feel free to pass on a 15% "finder's fee" if you succeed :)

1. Silent barmen

The idea for silent barmen came to me while sitting with some friends at a popular, but crowded, bar in Cape Town.

My idea was to "get served" instantly without having to wait in a queue. Queues are inefficient for the establishment because patrons are being kept waiting to spend their money - what kind of business makes people wait to spend their money?

The problem

A round at our table consisted of four beers, which took all of a minute for the barmen to complete the transaction.

The problem was that the bar was crowded with people ordering cocktails, which slowed things down to a snail's pace.

The solution

I decided that it would be far more efficient to place beer vending machines at strategic places around the bar so that people ordering beers could purchase them quickly without having to wait for people ordering cocktails.

I would get beer companies to brand the vending machines and make them pay for advertising and having a dedicated point of sale within every nightclub or bar. The bar owner would then get the vending machines free of charge, but would be able to make far more revenue at busy times.

Why the idea is a winner

This idea has several huge benefits, many of which only become obvious as I pursued the idea further:

  1. Additional points of sale: Having beer vending machines increases points of sale, leading to higher turn over at busy times
  2. Reduces waiting time: For people ordering beers, there is no need to queue. This cuts down on waiting time at the bar leading to quicker service for those that do.
  3. Provides dedicated points of sales for brands: Beer companies could pay to brand vending machines that would only be stocked with their products.
  4. Everyone wins: Turnover at the bar is higher because waiting time is reduced and points of sale are increased. Beer companies are happy because they have dedicated, branded points of sale. Customers are happy because they get served quicker.

Obstacles to overcome

I experienced several main problems when first looking to set this business up:

  1. Unmanned liquor vending: You might encounter legal issues because vending machines are unmanned and sell closed alcoholic beverages.
  2. Vending machines are notoriously unreliable: Many bar owners were reluctant to re-introduce vending machines because almost all of them had proven unreliable and difficult to maintain in the past.
  3. High capital outlay: Our first client was interested in a trial run of 80 machines. These had to be purchased outright from the manufacturer.

2. Round-it-up

I hate getting small change. It piles up and piles up until you have a big pile that has to be used on some unfortunate pizza delivery guy, who can barely drive away because his car is so laden with small change.

The biggest small change culprits are grocery stores, or high transaction retailers and fast food outlets.

The problem

Convenience store bills often come to ridiculous tallies, like $36.29 or $15.67. No one carries these amounts with them. Inevitably, you end up breaking a $20, or a $50 and get back... small change.

Stores try resolve this problem by allowing charities to place small change donation boxes that allow patrons to quickly get rid of unwanted small change, and do some good in the process.

The problem is that this is a terribly inefficient way to collect money for charity. The vast majority of what is donated goes towards paying off collecting, collating and dispersing the donations. Only a small percent of that money gets to the charity in question.

The solution

My idea was to get retailers to add a "round-it-up" button to their checkout tills. When a customer checks out and their total is something like $23.73, the cashier asks round it up? and the customer can say yes or no depending on whether they want small change.

This allows all bills to be easily rounded to the nearest dollar or fifty cents, cutting out all that tiresome handling of small change. This is also a cost saver for retailers who would not have to manage all that small change.

Why the idea is a winner

The money collected could be used for a charity of the store's choice. All the funds could be transferred electronically after accounting had been done at the end of each month. This would vastly decrease the amount of money wasted on managing the small change from the traditional charity boxes.

The net effect is that stores get a great marketing, feel good angle to sell to their customers, because they are doing something great for a local charity. Stores also save on having to deal with mountains of small change.

Customers have a quicker checkout process and can completely cut out the need to deal with small change, while efficiently help a charity at the same time.

Charities benefit because far more people would donate this way because it saves them time and money. Also, a far greater percentage of the funds would get to them.

Obstacles to overcome

Unfortunately, I came across some real resistance to this idea from the retailers I approached. I suspect that the vast majority of their unwillingness flowed from two things:

  1. Being unknown: Almost all of the top, corporate leadership people for major retail chains that I spoke with asked me who I was and what my experience in retail was. My reply was that who I was was irrelevant and that they should base their decision to go ahead on the merits of the idea, which were abundant and self evident.
  2. Required leadership and effort: In order to implement the round-it-up idea, it would be necessary to retrain checkout clerks, reprogram the till systems and generally put a bit of effort into making the change.

Subsequent to all of this, a friend forwarded an article to me that highlighted how the British government praised a pizza chain in the UK for implementing exactly this process. The government added that they hoped all businesses would follow their lead.

I do too.

What entrepreneurial ideas have you tried? Have you had success in starting a new and unique business? Share your startup ideas and experiences in the comments or join me on Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+ to chat more about entrepreneurship and startup business ideas.

Create a website Google loves. Pic by eflon

Everyone creating a website, regardless of whether it is a blog, professional site, or shopping cart, should keep Google and SEO in mind right from the start

How to start a business. Pic by Bárbara Fonseca

Starting any new business (big, small, home based, whatever) can exciting and fun; but it does require research, structure, discipline and persisten

Great ideas to help entrepreneurs bootstrap their business

Having a great business idea is only the beginning of the creative journey every entrepreneur goes on when starting a new venture using their own capital (

Getting great PR for your startup in the media, on social media websites and blogs is crucial to driving enough business to keep you afloat.

There are a range of skills and techniques you must learn in order to use your marketing and PR resources with maximum efficiency.

Small business owners and entrepreneurs tend to have limited budgets to spend on marketing campaigns, so it's important to identify those areas that are most likely to bear fruit early on.

In particular, efforts that create lasting and cumulative benefits such as blogging (for on-site SEO, organic search traffic, authority and PageRank) and building up social contacts (off-site SEO, marketing, business contacts) are important.

Great YouTube vids for entrepreneurs

There's a stack of really mediocre instructional clips on everything from writing a business plan, understanding the science of marketing, or improving SEO and ranking higher in Google.

You could probably spend weeks combing through everything, but like most entrepreneurs you probably don't have the time.

That's why I've collected five of the most useful and important YouTube clips to help you get the basics right - especially when it comes to ensuring your business and website get the most from the Internet.

New business ideas that are already making people millions

Coming up with innovative new ideas can be a frustrating ordeal unless you know where to look for inspiration.

Side hustle ideas and how to find them

Side hustles are part of life these days as people supplement their full-time incomes by making money (anything from a few dollars to thousands) and

home business ideas

Home based & small business ideas provide genuine opportunities to create a sustainable, profitable income for entrepreneurs looking to work from home or

How Google hurt our startup launch with a mistaken phishing warning

You spend years building up an online business, working hard to provide a service that gives paying customers great value.

After a while, your company starts attracting corporate clients who need a bit more than what is available on your traditional offering. And, despite limited resources, you have no choice but to expand the service to enterprise level customers.

But this means a lot of work, and it takes months to properly plan, design and implement the new changes. It's infuriating that Google can mistakenly ruin this.

Fun ideas to make money

Making money online with a fun sidehustle is a dream for a lot of people even if it isn't as easy to achieve as most of them would like.

home business ideas to make money fast

Finding a way to make money quickly is really not as good as finding a way to earn a stable income in the long term - get rich quick schemes tend to be a was

drop shipping introduction

Looking for a great home based startup idea to provide a secondary income (or primary, if it goes well)? Combine an eCommerce website with drop shipping facilities to lower costs and start earning from day one.

Drop shipping is a technique used by many home based and small business owners to fulfil orders and deliver products without having to handle warehousing, packaging and transport.

Instead, a drop shipping company takes care of this aspect of the business (often delivering directly from the factory), allowing you to focus on marketing and growing the store.