In search of untapped financial opportunities, we’ve gathered fifteen unique perspectives from business owners to directors, revealing overlooked revenue streams for small businesses. From renting unused office space to offering customized packages, these seasoned professionals shed light on innovative ways to boost your bottom line.
Rent Unused Office Space
One of the best revenue streams for SMBs is rental space. If you have some empty space in your office, consider renting it out. You can lease it to other small businesses and earn monthly rent. This is a good, stable income that will help sustain your business. Consider creating a partition for the empty space and adding some office furniture. You can also create space for corporate events or pop-ups.
Use Affiliate Marketing for Passive Income
When you are running a small business, having more than one revenue stream is good business practice. Many small businesses think that adding a stream of revenue is beyond their reach with their current manpower. What they need is a passive income stream that they can essentially set and forget.
One such revenue stream that is often overlooked by small business owners is incorporating affiliate marketing on their own websites and/or blogs. Affiliate marketing requires some upfront work to set up, but once it’s there, it’s a passive income stream where customers find themselves. Every time a product sells, the affiliated website earns a small commission. But those small commissions add up.
In some cases, a new customer may actually find your business because of a product you have listed as an affiliate. That’s really making that alternative income stream work for your business.
Stefan Campbell, Owner, The Small Business Blog
Earn Through Strategic Partnerships
One revenue stream many businesses, big and small, often overlook is partnership revenue. No matter your type of business, other companies in your industry would like access to your customer base and will pay you for some form of cross-promotion. This can create a few extra dollars or millions, depending on the size of your customer base and the types of customers they are.
License Your Intellectual Property
One often-overlooked revenue stream is licensing your content or expertise. Think about it—you’ve built up a wealth of knowledge, skills, and maybe even created some unique methodologies or content along your journey.
Your intellectual property can be gold. Whether it’s a course, a how-to guide, a software tool you’ve developed, or even a unique process you’ve mastered, there is huge potential to license these to others in your industry or adjacent markets. It’s about leveraging what you already have in new, scalable ways. This approach can open up passive income streams, letting your expertise work for you.
Sell Leads and Audit Assets
A business has many more assets than you might think. All the digital content they create is an asset. Likely, there are other things they can sell that they often overlook.
For example, your email marketing team probably has a list of leads and subscribers. You can sell these leads to other businesses that match your niche. Conduct an audit to identify assets that you can leverage to create a revenue stream.
Launch a Knowledge-Based Subscription
Consider the fact that as an expert in your field, whether you’re a lawyer, baker, or any professional, you possess extremely valuable knowledge. This expertise is already being utilized in your business, but there’s potential for further leverage.
Have you considered starting a Substack or newsletter? Dedicating a small amount of time and effort to a weekly or monthly write-up could benefit others in your industry or those eager to learn from you. While it’s not necessary to divulge industry secrets, you can certainly offer guidance to novices. This could become a consistent revenue stream that grows as more people learn about your valuable subscription model.
Generate Ad Revenue from Blogs
I always recommend that small-business owners consider monetizing their business blog with ads. The most obvious choice when you’re starting out is Google AdSense, but once your blog is generating a few thousand views a month, you can qualify for a premium network with higher RPMs.
I’ve been monetizing my small-business blog with ads for a couple of years now, and it provides a predictable, recurring, and passive source of revenue every month, which helps to offset slower months.
One caveat to keep in mind is that ads look and perform better on blog posts—putting them on product or service pages can confuse your customers, so make sure to exclude them from any pages that don’t make sense.
Create Courses for Passive Earnings
Small business owners should consider creating a course or an online membership community. With an online course, they only have to put in the effort once. After that, it will work as a passive income. They can either sell it with a one-time fee or in installments to keep the income flowing.
On the other hand, an online membership takes a little more effort. However, the return on this model is higher than that of a course. Furthermore, it allows a business to increase retention. The recurring payments of the membership can help increase the potential lifetime value of customers.
Monetize Industry Referrals
In the construction space, people often refer others to customers they talk with or even work alongside. There are so many different niches in the construction industry that there’s always room for referring others.
Is there a way this could be monetized more effectively? I’m interested in finding a way to more effectively monetize referrals and also have others do the same. It benefits all of us in the long run, and it could provide a nice new revenue stream for small-business owners in our space.
Charge Brokerage Fees
One revenue source small businesses might not think about much is brokerage fees. This is when a company receives a fee for connecting people with a service. Think about how real estate agents connect people with houses and receive a fee for it. Other examples include companies like Uber, Booking.com, and Airbnb, which all receive a fee for matching customers with a service.
The good thing about this kind of income is that you don’t have to actually provide the product or service yourself. You just help the customer find the right business or service. However, the downside is that this doesn’t work for every kind of business, and it can take a lot of work to get it going. Any business that acts as a go-between can charge a fee for its help.
Upsell with Premium Features
Offering a basic version of your product or service for free and charging for premium features or enhanced versions encourages user adoption while providing an opportunity for upselling premium offerings. This is a tactic used by many businesses that can provide a service far exceeding what is offered to their users. When they have a chance to see what the basic model is like, it can make it easier to upsell them on enhanced packages.
Adam Petrilli, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, NetReputation.com
Expand Through White Labeling
White labeling products is an effective strategy for small business owners looking to diversify revenue. I experienced this first-hand when helping a friend’s candle company expand by white labeling nature-inspired diffusers from an established supplier and tapping into the home fragrance market without developing new products themselves.
White labeling presents brand consistency challenges; however, there are ways to mitigate risk. My friend made sure their branding matched up perfectly with their new diffuser line, so it felt natural when added to their business portfolio, and they began reaping royalties within months through strategic marketing efforts.
White labeling offers small business owners an opportunity to expand offerings with minimal additional production costs and create revenue streams without incurring extra production expenses. Once you identify products that match your brand vision and find suppliers to manufacture and distribute under it, expanding in this way may bring in new customers.
Turn Waste Into Profit
Consider whether you have any waste products that might be useful to other companies. For example, restaurants can sell their used cooking oil to companies that can convert it into diesel fuel. If you find an opportunity like this, you might not just gain additional revenue; you might also reduce your waste disposal costs.
Build Recurring Revenue with Memberships
If you’re a small-business owner looking to generate more revenue, one overlooked stream to consider is offering memberships. This can be especially effective if you have a physical store or online shop that specializes in certain products or services.
A membership program isn’t just about finding new customers; it enables small-business owners to create recurring revenue streams while building strong connections with their current customer base.
As an added bonus, loyal customers will usually share their positive experiences with your brand with friends and relatives who may potentially become future members.
Offer Customized Packages
Customized holiday packages have significant business potential. To meet demand, travel companies might offer unique experiences and expand their services.
Selecting vacation packages that suit each customer’s interests may help small businesses stand out. This requires looking beyond traditional holiday packages to custom-made trips that captivate exploration.
Instead of offering pre-made vacation packages, companies can customize itineraries to suit each customer. You may plan photography getaways, health retreats, gourmet tours, and cultural immersions. In a competitive market, small enterprises may seek to capitalize on the growing demand in experiential travel to offer unforgettable excursions.
Curated travel experiences are paying off as more people travel for unique stories. Local communities, guides, and artists may help a small firm verify every tour detail. By telling stories and creating experiences, these companies may succeed in tourism.