The bottom line drives any private business.
But in a world where some people are cynical about the real value of endlessly chasing paper, businesses that turn a profit while making life easier can secure a competitive edge.
So if you’re thinking of starting a business that feels fulfilling, here are four business ideas that solve real-world problems.
Selling books to support literacy
Better World Books save used books from the scrapheap and sell them on various online marketplaces.
Books are collected for free from private donors, schools and libraries — any that are in too poor a condition for resale are recycled responsibly.
And the firm goes further with its environmentally-friendly ethos by planting a tree to offset every tonne of carbon emissions that occur from shipping customer orders.
If you’re an eco-conscious entrepreneur looking for a business model that integrates various strands of social responsibility, this isn’t a bad blueprint.
Fintech that helps communities thrive
Zoona was set up in 2009 by two Zambian brothers who wanted to use tech to empower the 80 per cent of African adults with no access to financial services.
The mobile app provides services like accounts, money transfers and payments to 1.5 million users across the continent and has enabled thousands of entrepreneurs to start their own businesses.
Over $1 billion of money transfers have been processed using the app and the social enterprise has raised over $22 million in venture funding from a range of investors.
This type of business should provide inspiration for tech-savvy entrepreneurs who want to help other businesspeople achieve their ambitions.
You’ll find a coffee shop on every corner in most towns and cities.
But few of them are child-friendly — meaning that parents are unable to relax because their kids are running riot and disturbing other customers.
But child-friendly cafes feature playpens full of games and activities to keep children occupied while their mums and dads chill out. And switched-on staff can ensure kids are entertained for the duration.
So if you’re looking through an online property registry and spot shops for sale in an area where this type of business would boom, you might be onto a winner.
And the parents you serve will enjoy the respite you provide just as much as your delicious food and drinks.
Helping men with retail trauma
A shopping centre in Manchester has opened a creche for men as a sanctuary for male visitors who want to offer support for their partner’s shopping expeditions, but find the whole experience draining.
The facility is stocked with male interest magazines and games consoles and even offers professional head and neck massages to provide temporary relief for battle-weary retail veterans.
If there’s a suitable unit available in your local mall this is an excellent business proposition that serves a worthwhile purpose, reduces customer stress levels and helps them have more harmonious relationships.
These four business ideas solve real-world problems on a micro to macro scale.
If you can turn your entrepreneurial talents to similar ventures you might soon be running a profitable business that genuinely makes a difference.
What’s your favourite problem-solving business? Share your thoughts in the comments section.