If you have specialist knowledge, there are people out there who are willing to pay for it. This is a business with sustainability written all over it.
Whether you’re thinking of becoming an IT consultant or manning a business consultancy, your job will be to act as guide to your clients. You fix problems, both minor and large scale. As you can imagine, during a downturn there’ll be lots of demand.
But if you’re good, you have a guaranteed client base, downturn or none.
The great thing about becoming a consultant is the low entry cost: it needn’t involve an outlay of precious savings or expensive borrowings, which makes the risk much more manageable.
If you have the knowledge, the motivation and the interpersonal skills, why not break out of the box and set up on your own?
9. Money lending
An unpopular one, this. After all, bad debt is what got us into trouble in the first place.
But if you have money, you can make money: and the rates of interest on small sums lent, and hence the return you can expect, are generally high.
Low set-up costs and minimal running costs make this business relatively stable and sustainable. Especially if your enterprise is based online.
High street banks take up the greater portion of the money lending market, but there are opportunities for smaller businesses offering on-the-spot cheque cashing and payday loans, as well as home credit and sums as small as £100.
But beware: operating without a credit licence makes you a loan shark. Sharks are deservedly unpopular, bringing disrepute to legitimate lenders by targeting vulnerable borrowers.
If you go down the money lending route, just make sure you operate within the law.
10. Debt collection
And you thought money lending was unsavoury. But, with the fervent hope that collectors aren’t all bad, we offer you debt collection as a prime example of sustainable business.
These are tough times, and as customer debt grows, the demand for non-court action debt collection increases.
Debt collectors chase so-called ‘delinquent debts’, through snail mail, telephone and email, for businesses. The older the debt, the higher the commission you can collect: rates run as high as 60%.
Minimal overheads and low start-up costs are in debt collection’s favour. Many debt agencies operate from a home base, and if you network well, and establish good word-of-mouth, you can quickly build up a client base.
But remember, Shylock is a fictional character: if you’re doing it right, you will not need to go ‘heavy’.