Today kicks off National Small Business Week. I’m usually ambivalent about such weeks, because while they all promote good causes, I just don’t know what I can do about them. So it is with Root Canal Awareness Week, World Salt Awareness Week, and National Invasive Species Awareness Week.
This week is different, however. I started off as a small business owner two decades ago, so I know the pleasure and the pain, the dream and the fear, the lean times and the good times. This is an “awareness week” that can really make a difference in the financial lives of Americans who currently own a small business or are thinking about starting one.
Tomorrow, Debt.com will report from the official kickoff of National Small Business Week in sunny South Florida, and we’ll offer some smart tips for startups. Today, I figured we’d have some fun. Here are some small business owners who are serving customers you never knew existed — and what you can learn from them…
Owner Jen Glantz works as a copywriter while she launches this eclectic business on the side — a common tactic for eventually striking out on your own without bleeding your savings dry.
Brides-to-be can pay Glantz to do everything from offering small tips that matter (“Don’t forget to stretch your shoes”) to speechwriting to actually walking down the aisle with them. Prices range from $150 to $1,000.
“One day, after losing one too many socks, it dawned on inventor Edwin Heaven: If tires come with a spare, why not socks?” So says the Throx website, where you can find a list of stores that sell these colorful socks that come in threes.
The company’s owner was a Hollywood screenwriter who wrote what is considered one of the worst movies of all time, and certainly the worst that George Lucas (of Star Wars fame) ever produced: 1986’s Howard the Duck. The lesson here? Just because you don’t succeed in one field doesn’t mean you can’t succeed in another.
3. DNA Products
Despite the company’s name, this has nothing to do with genetics. It has to do with … underwear.
Specifically, DNA Products sells “disposable travel underwear.” It sounds odd, but admit it: When you’ve traveled, haven’t you said to yourself at least once, “I wish I didn’t have to pack up my dirty underwear and take it home, where I’ll be tired but will have to do laundry.”
Is this niche enough to sustain a business? Owner Danita Harris thinks so. While she started the business for “the business and leisure traveler looking to save space in their luggage and time doing laundry,” she’s done something all successful small businesses do: look for natural ways to expand the client base.
So she now markets to “campers, hikers, spa visitors, patients, laundry-phobic college students, military servicemen and women out in the field.”
Bottom line for small businesses
If you’re carrying credit card debt or student loan debt, you’ll find it more difficult to launch a successful small business. I suggest you call Debt.com first for a free debt analysis that may give you some insight into your financial future. Talk to one of our certified counselors at 1-800-810-0989.
Howard Dvorkin is a CPA and chairman of Debt.com, an educational resource for those who want to conquer all forms of debt in their lives.