To help aspiring entrepreneurs find profitable and sustainable business ideas, we asked fourteen founders, CEOs, and owners for their best advice. From embracing low-overhead business models to adapting to customer feedback for sustainability, these industry leaders share their top tips for long-term business success. Dive into their insights to find the right business idea for you.

  • Network With Experienced Entrepreneurs
  • Fill Gaps in Existing Market Offerings
  • Test Demand With a Minimum Viable Product
  • Consider Online Coaching for Low Startup Costs
  • Build a Complementary Team
  • Repurpose Existing Business Ideas
  • Create Meaningful Business Partnerships
  • Solve a Real, Persistent Problem
  • Validate Your Idea With Potential Customers
  • Identify High-Demand Products in Your Industry
  • Find a Consistent and Profitable Need
  • Start a Business in Skilled Trades
  • Adapt to Customer Feedback for Sustainability

Embrace Low Overhead Business Models

The more overhead a business has, the more variables you have that may affect the cost of doing business. Take retail, for instance. During the pandemic, certain goods became scarce, leading to price hikes and eroding profit margins. 

Merchants struggled to stock their shelves, leading to extended profit loss, backorders, and dissatisfied customers. Additional overheads like utilities, equipment, and employees can compound problems that make a business less profitable and sustainable.

As a digital creator, very low overhead is needed: all that is required is a workspace (usually a personal home) and some technology. This allows for reaping more profit from services since there’s no selling of tangible products and no reliance on employees to power the business. 

This allows for more profitability right out of the gate, so when revenue slows and times are tight, it’s still possible to be in an excellent position to sustain the business because most of the revenue isn’t being spent on overhead.

Alli Hill, Founder and Director, Fleurish Freelance

Network With Experienced Entrepreneurs

In my early years as a businessman, I remember pitching a variety of business concepts to my networks and my expert business mentors. Many of these ideas seemed valid to me, but they would shake their heads and tell me to come back with a more focused, long-term business model. 

From this, I can tell you that speaking with other business owners in the same industry can be a useful way to learn about business, besides reading business literature. Talking with entrepreneurs who have been in the industry for a while is a very important step. 

Therefore, it’s very important for entrepreneurs and future business owners to build their networks far and wide. Your connections and people with experience may give you a lot of advice on how to prepare, what challenges you might encounter, and how to solve them. This is especially true when you’re just starting your entrepreneurial journey.

Jonathan Merry, Founder, Moneyzine

Fill Gaps in Existing Market Offerings

When I first became interested in productivity as a concept, I tried a lot of different options on offer to help people improve it, including productivity and accountability apps. However, nothing seemed the right fit—no single app seemed to have all the features I was seeking. 

So, I built the platform I wanted with Boss as a Service, where technology, strategy, and the human touch come together. Therefore, my advice to those looking to build their own business would be the same—look at what’s out there, find what’s missing, and work on that.

Manasvini Krishna, Founder, Boss as a Service

Test Demand With a Minimum Viable Product

When I talk to my mentees, they tell me about their new idea and how they are going to spend tens of thousands of dollars to turn it into a profitable business.

My response is always the same: “Do you have data that shows there’s demand for your product?”

There’s no point in spending tens of thousands of dollars on an idea that might not work. You want to conduct market research and find out if your idea is profitable.

This is where an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) comes in. You can build a bare-bones MVP for less than $1,000, launch it, and learn what your audience thinks about it. If there is a genuine need for it, ‌spend more money on a fully functional product.

Scott Lieberman, Owner, Touchdown Money

Consider Online Coaching for Low Startup Costs

If your goal is to start a company while minimizing overhead and maximizing profits, an online business model is the way to go. Specifically, I recommend coaching. Why? 

Because you can have a tremendous impact, start-up costs are low, and you can build while still working your day job. That way, you’ll have less pressure to cover your living expenses with your business income immediately. 

Plus, from nutrition to branding, there are a lot of niches you could get into based on your interests and experience. 

Ultimately, the right business idea for you will be something you can see yourself doing for a long time and something people need or want.

Luisa Zhou, Founder,

Build a Complementary Team

I’ve always been a person who likes to explore new ideas. However, I have also learned that it’s important to have a sense of self-knowledge about your own strengths and weaknesses. For example, I love coming up with ideas for businesses, but I’m not always good at executing them—that’s where my team comes in! 

If you are someone who loves coming up with ideas but isn’t great at following through, then working with a team will help you be successful. The key is finding people who complement your skill set, while also having complementary strengths themselves—and then getting them all on board with your vision.

Jaanus Põder, Founder and CEO, Envoice

Repurpose Existing Business Ideas

One tip that I have discovered during my journey is that the key to a profitable and long-term business idea often lies not in completely novel concepts, but in repurposing existing ideas. 

Once, while pondering our next move at my web scraping firm, I realized there was an untapped market for making complex data more digestible for businesses. Instead of inventing something new, we focused on refining and repackaging our scraping results, ultimately creating more value for our clients. 

The tip is to not always seek the undiscovered. Sometimes, the most fruitful ventures are right under your nose, just waiting to be repurposed.

Daniel Pfeffer, CEO, Scrape Network

Create Meaningful Business Partnerships

The key to finding a sustainable, profitable business idea is to discover areas where collaboration opportunities are. Take this experience, for example. When starting a digital marketing agency, it wasn’t just about choosing an industry because it looked lucrative. 

It was about picking an area where meaningful partnerships could be created. By collaborating with tech firms and content creators, a niche in lead generation and ROI improvement was carved. 

This synergy enhanced the value proposition and ensured longevity in the market. Sustainable success is often about the alliances formed and the mutual benefits brought to the table.

Ryan Steinolfson, Founder, Accelerate Marketing

Solve a Real, Persistent Problem

Identifying a viable business idea is related to being a solution-seeker. There’s profitability and sustainability where there’s a solution to a real, persistent problem. For instance, the escalating housing prices, coupled with an increasing desire for minimalistic living and a personal yearning for creative architectural solutions, led to the realization that affordable, efficient housing was in short supply. 

The solution seemed to be tiny homes. The success of our tiny home business hinges on the fact that we are solving a tangible problem. This problem-solving approach can guide anyone to a prosperous, enduring venture.

M. Rizwan, Business Manager, Great Lakes Tiny Homes

Validate Your Idea With Potential Customers

Discovering a profitable, sustainable business idea often hinges on customer validation, a principle I’ve embraced firsthand. When we first started our digital marketing agency, we didn’t plunge in blindly. Instead, we invested time in talking to potential clients about their needs and desires in SMS and growth marketing. 

We used their feedback to shape our business model. An aspiring entrepreneur shared an idea about an online fitness platform during a casual chat. We suggested he first conduct a survey or create a minimally viable product to gauge interest. 

Months later, he was successfully running his online fitness venture, all because he took the time to validate his idea with potential customers. Therefore, I firmly believe in customer validation as a crucial first step in finding a successful business venture.

Josh “Snow” Elizetxe, Founder, Customer Feedback

Identify High-Demand Products in Your Industry

In the healthcare industry, anything works, from selling medicines to health kits to braces. People are always getting treated and would want to have help of all sorts. To find the best business idea, extensive research was conducted on what to sell and what would be the most sustainable and profitable. 

After the research, it was found that there is a high demand for cheap and sustainable orthodontic braces. Sourcing the best braces for clients began, and now, after a successful startup phase, the braces are manufactured as well. This is not only the most profitable business in the healthcare industry, but it is also very well known and in demand.

Dr. Thanu Jey, Medical Director and Founder, MediBrace

Find a Consistent and Profitable Need

Finding the right business idea that will be profitable and sustainable in the long term often comes down to identifying a need that you know people will spend money on.

In my case, the inspiration for FlyNumber came from observing my uncle’s habit of using local Israeli phone numbers when traveling abroad. 

It was something he consistently spent money on, and it sparked an idea. I realized that there was a broader need for this service, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Nader Jaber, Founder, FlyNumber

Start a Business in Skilled Trades

Creating a very secure business can be achieved through construction, home services, or any skilled trade. There has been a significant shortage of skilled tradespeople for many years. The world will continue to need carpenters, plumbers, and similar professionals for a long time. 

Even with a 3D-printed house, someone is needed to build out the interior. Therefore, for the most secure job or business, a skilled trade is a good choice. 

The potential for growth is immense when continually reinvesting in the business. It’s possible to send hundreds of teams out to build and repair every day in multiple cities.

Rick Berres, Owner, Honey-Doers

Adapt to Customer Feedback for Sustainability

My tip isn’t for finding the suitable business model or industry, but for choosing the right strategies to make your business sustainable and growth-focused. Choose a product that fills a timeless need that isn’t going away to start. The more basic the product is, the higher the competition will be.

Ideally, you can identify a niche in the market you want to innovate. Your product must stand out from competitors, whether by quality of ingredients, sourcing, price, or even customer service. Once you have the basic setup down, start collecting feedback and reporting on the most popular trends in that data.

Companies that stick around should collect feedback and make changes. No matter what you’re selling, it must be a customer-value-centered product or service, and there’s always room for improvement in curating customers’ experiences. 

If you can adapt continuously and authentically to your audience, you will make more loyal customers.

Kevin Miller, Founder,

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