21 Business to Business Ideas

Business to Business Ideas for Artists and Crafts Makers

carol duvall interviews james dillehayThis article lists twenty-one business to business ideas for creating extra or full time income. For my craft business readers, the ideas for creative types may be of special interest for ways to sell things you make to businesses. Once I got started on the topic, though, I realized there were other great ideas for business to business services, so I decided to include the best ones. Many of these business to business ideas are services which require learning curves, but none are out of reach for the person who comes across an idea and thinks “I can do this!”

Personalized Products

Personalization has always been a hit at craft shows. Shoppers go to a jeweler, portrait painter or embroider and get their name or the intended recipient’s name incorporated onto a unique gift. Likewise, business owners want to see their company name on t-shirts, uniforms, coffee mugs, posters, awards, day-timers, pens and pencils, calendars and many other items where their business name can show up over and over again.

Premiums and Incentives

The premium and incentive business amounts to between $40 and $50 billion dollars annually. Products, including handmade items, are purchased by businesses for gifts, sweepstakes prizes, publicity and promotions, salesperson incentives, employee performance incentives, tagalongs (given away with sale of another item), referral incentives, and more. Items used as premiums are often purchased in large quantities, but when local businesses look for incentives, they may not need thousands of units so approaching business owners in your area is a great way to get started with this idea. When you are ready to expand, you can find national buyers attending The Motivation Show, National Premium and Incentive Show.

Selling to Interior Designers

Interior designers are another good market for the creative person to begin selling to, because they like to offer the work of local artisans to wealthy clients who want truly unique home decor. Some corporations have their own interior decor staff who buy for the entire company. Artful Home ( www.artfulhome.com ) is a paid-for listing of handmade and unique items made for the interior design market. The average price of a craft item selling on their site has been around $700 and they have sold handmade pieces for as high as $5,000. Items for the interiors market tend to sell for higher dollars because they are both well-made and often uniquely designed.

Selling Crafts to Stores through Wholesale Trade Shows

There are trade shows and expos for almost every industry, including handmade crafts. These events allow artists to show off their newest designs. Trade shows like the One of a Kind Show in Chicago ( www.oneofakindshowchicago.com ) or The Buyers Market of American Craft ( www.buyersmarketofamericancraft.com ) attract retail buyers from all over the country who are looking for unique product lines to add to their displays. Big trade shows allow you to reach hundreds of buyers who may purchase hundreds of items, so you have to know what you can handle.


There are scores of ways a sharp photographer can create income streams from business owners. Local businesses run promotions and need photos for brochures, flyers and their websites. They need legal documents photographed or scanned. They also need promotional items like calendars they can give to customers to remind them of their business name. Realtors need dazzling images of their properties to attract buyers. Travel agents use images of far away lands to draw visitors. Check out the list of ideas for making money from your photos at http://blogs.photopreneur.com/52-ways-to-monetize-your-photos

Gift Baskets

Popular as business or personal gifts, creating and selling gift baskets offers many opportunities. Gift basket ideas include products for desktops, office plants, pen sets, cheese lovers, wine and gourmet, golfers, spa fans, champagne and chocolate lovers, and office warming when someone gets a promotion. How about making up patriotic gift baskets for returning vets that churches or local businesses buy and give to welcome soldiers home?

Business to Business Ideas for Writers


Business owners tend to want to write their own ad copy. Often a bad idea when you see the finished ad. This is because they talk too much about themselves and don’t make it clear what’s in it for a customer who buys their services. Proofreading menus, product labels, brochures, flyers, websites, newsletters, books, ebooks, and news feeds is a related editorial service you can offer. Create a swipe file of good, bad and ugly promotional copy you can refer to when approaching clients. For tips on copywriting, satch this video with advice from Ted Nicholas, well-known copywriting expert: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfNZNhQD_6A

Write Reviews

Sites like PayPerPost.com, ReviewCentre, BrightHub.com and SoftwareJudge.Com have income programs for reviewers of products and services. The ability to write quickly will bring you more money. There’s lots of companies looking for reviews. You can also contact business sites that don’t appear to have any reviews or testimonials and pitch your review service. It’s a fact that good reviews and testimonials boost sales.

Write Newsletters

One of the most effective tools for staying in touch with customers is a company newsletter that provides useful product tips, new services, or special deals. Outsourcing the newsletter’s production makes sense for companies that don’t want to hire a full time editor or writer. A good friend’s brother got into writing and publishing newsletters for financial companies. He built the business up and sold it for $7 million. For an example of a business newsletter service, see http://www.thenewslettercompany.com

Computer and Internet Business to Business Ideas

Virtual Assistant

Every professional and most business owners can appreciate the services of having just the right person preview and handle emails, take care of routine internet tasks, micro-manage outsourced projects, and other online jobs. For the business owner, taking on a VA (virtual assistant) as contract labor can be more cost effective than hiring an employee, especially if when they have temporary project needs. As long as you have a reliable internet connection (that’s fast), great communication skills, and pay attention to details, this is one of those business to business ideas you can do from home in your pajamas. Average prices charged by VAs is between $25 and $75 an hour, depending on special skills you bring to the job.

Optimize Websites for Local Businesses

It’s a fact that more and more people research products and services online before they buy. Local search plays a bigger and bigger role by search engines Google, Yahoo and Bing. Around a billion people a day access Google alone compared to a shrinking number of people who use the Yellow Pages to find a business. Typically, business owners don’t have the time or skills to research their search engine rankings or more importantly, their competitors, to learn why a site is ranking in the top results for popular search terms related to their product or service. The market for local business owners needing this service is huge and growing.

Computer Troubleshooting

It’s a good bet that most small business owners have a laptop or a desktop computer in the office. If you can optimize a personal computer to run faster, scan and remove malicious spyware, help organize file folders, advising how to back up files, or resolve other problems, this is the business for you. One way to spread the word about your service is to offer to speed up a computer for free or a minimal amount of money. When leaving present the owner with a list of your other services. This gig may require bonding or insurance to cover any losses that come about from a mistake on your part.

Bookkeeping Services

You don’t have to be a CPA to offer bookkeeping services to local businesses, though you do need to have a working knowledge of accounting and stay up to date with IRS changes. Good luck with that one. There’s a range of services that fall into this category beyond bookkeeping, including: specializing in Quickbooks, business planning, loan packaging, payroll management, and tax preparation. Marketing tip: offer a free 30 minute consultation to discuss the business owners specific needs where you offer tips they can use even if they don’t hire you.

Business to Business Ideas: Services

Cleaning Services

Small business owners who don’t want to pay employees overtime will hire people to come and clean in the evenings to be ready for the next day of business. This is a business that doesn’t take any particular skills, just the ability to make things neat and clean. If you are available to work nights or weekends, this may be the business for you.

Security Services

Fire and burglary protection services are always in demand, regardless of the general economy. Some business insurance policies require proof of security services. Although installing security solutions may require learning some additional skills, you are also in the position here of being able to sell entire security systems. Maintenance contracts to keep the systems up to date and tested can earn you ongoing income.

Landscaping Services

Businesses with public locations, like retail offices, restaurants, and professional offices are often located in buildings surrounded by a small area of lawn with trees, bushes or flowers. What a great job, providing landscaping and plant maintenance. You get to be outside and work with nature, kind of. In winter months, you can offer your customers snow removal services.

Secretarial Service

Typing / Transcription / Proofreading – many small businesses and individuals have a need for these services, but not enough need to hire a temp through an agency. Assuming you’ve got a computer, a printer, and e-mail (and the necessary skills), you’re all set. Be prepared to charge by the job, not by the hour

Video Preparation Services

Many small business owners could profit from adding videos to their websites or social media pages. They just lack the skills and time to produce them. Videos don’t have to be live action shots to be effective. You can quickly create a video using Windows Movie Maker or Sony Vegas to lay in tracks from PowerPoint slides, text files, audio clips, images and other video files. With a little practice, you can make quite entertaining video productions for any business.

Mobile Car Services

Running a business can be all consuming. Why not offer to take the stress of maintaining a car, truck or fleet of vehicles off the owner’s mind? Mobile car servicing provides lots of possibilities, including: mobile oil changes, car washing and detailing, minor tune-up, battery jump start, unlocking locked vehicle, and car delivery service.

Window Washing

This idea isn’t new, but it never seems to go out of demand. Potential customers include businesses with display windows and lots of public traffic like: restaurants, bakeries, coffee shops, retail stores, and professional offices. It’s a service business that can’t be done by a computer or machine, at least, not yet anyway. You could cross promote your service with someone offering landscaping to refer each other business.

Going Green Business to Business Idea

Advising companies on how to go Green. Everyone loves to feel they are doing business with businesses that are going green, that is, paying attention to how to help the environment rather than abuse it. Go into a company with a list of ways they can lessen their impact on the planet. For instance, setting thermostats for optimal savings, using water reducing faucet aerators, what office materials and supplies can be recycled, using smart power strips that cut down on wasted electricity and special bins for recycling, including batteries and cell phones. Include resources they can access immediately to get the ball rolling. For more ideas, see the list of ways to green a business in the article at: http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/120/50-ways-to-green-your-business.html

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