20 Cheap Franchises To Start Under $20,000 - Business Opportunities


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If you’re a regular viewer of the showShark Tank , you probably remember SkinnyShirt, a company that appeared on the January 9 episode. The mind behind the idea is Julie Kalimian. She added a collar to a tight-fitting shirt in order to create a piece that could be worn beneath a sweater while still keeping one’s appearance neat. Whether you’re a customer or not, it was a great idea that landed her a payday on the show. Here are five cool facts about the company.

Kalimian Is a Working Mom

Aside from being an entrepreneur, Kalimian also holds down another important job: mother. She has four young children at home. However, instead of looking at motherhood and the business world as two things that could never coexist, Kalimian actually found a way to make them work together.

Being a mother of four children means a lot of sleepless nights. Kalimian would use this time to focus on her idea. When she was waiting for her kids in the parking lot of their school, she was on the phone and using her computer to conduct business.

She Had Help from Friends

It also helped that Kalimian had some great friends. Coming from a corporate background, she missed some of the collaborative efforts she used to take part in. After enlisting the help of her sisters and girlfriends, her company got off the ground. To this day, she still asks this group of ladies for their opinions.

Bad Businesses Led Her to Shark Tank

At first, Kalimian tried working with manufacturers on her own. However, she was ripped off by more than a couple of them, resulting in lackluster products after taking as much as a 70% deposit. Finally, Kalimian knew she needed help to make SkinnyShirt a success, but wouldn’t risk any more shady business deals. It was then that she decided to audition for Shark Tank. As luck would have it, she was asked on the show!

Her Idea Really Works

To some, the idea behind SkinnyShirt may seem too simple to sell. Clearly, they’ve never dealt with the frustration of trying to wear a nice, collared shirt under a sweater without the former getting bunched up or the two disagreeing on where to land on the body.

Aside from resolving those issues, SkinnyShirt is also great for providing a more slender appearance. The fact that it’s made from 97% cotton means wearing a SkinnyShirt is also extremely comfortable.

Kalimian Wants to Take SkinnyShirt Bigger

While the shirt is definitely a success at the moment, Kalimian didn’t get to where she is by thinking small. Right now, her product is featured in a number of different retailers. However, she dreams of seeing them available in big box stores, too.

Her company was already featured on QVC in February, which means if she can keep this momentum up, her dream will probably soon be realized.

SkinnyShirt should be an inspiring story for every breed of entrepreneur. Kalimian didn’t let anything hold her back; she asked for help when she needed it; and she’s always looking for even greater successes.


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Despite the fact that you feel like you can find a coffee shop on every corner,  our list of best coffee franchises are some of the fastest growing and most profitable franchises in America. Compared to other food and beverage franchises, they can be less difficult to start, and they can also be more easily scaled depending on the size of your investment.

As the market has gotten more competitive, more and more franchises are branching out of just coffee, serving teas, juices, baked goods, and even prepared meals. Finding the right franchise for you will depend on your preferences and experience, the amount of investment you have available, as well as the competition you’ll be facing in your local area. Listing Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts would be a little too obvious as they are some of the most ubiquitous chains in the country, here are a few others that might present great opportunities on our list of best coffee franchises.

1. Caribou Coffee

Though Caribou Coffee does not have as many locations as Starbucks, it is still incredibly large with great brand recognition for its specialty coffees and its less corporate atmosphere.

2. Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf

CBTL continues to grow and spread across the country. Though it used to be most famous on the West Coast and internationally, it’s become a popular choice in major cities in New York, Minnesota, Texas, and Washington, D.C.

3. The Coffee Beanery

This Michigan-based coffee shop continues to bring good sales numbers to franchisees and offers a large menu of sandwiches and other meals in addition to its coffee, espresso, and teas.

4. Peet’s Coffee and Tea

Peet’s was originally founded in the San Francisco area in the late 1960s. Smaller than some of other big brands, it has maintained its edgy and counterculture vibe, making it a hit with urbanites and young professionals.

5. Seattle’s Best Coffee

Seattle’s Best is actually owned by Starbucks, but is marketed to more cost conscious consumers. With its affordably priced coffee and drinks, it has won over its own crowd across the U.S. it rounds out our top five of best coffee franchises.

6. Lavazza

Lavazza is by far the most popular coffee chain in Italy, but still only has a foothold in America. It’s getting new customers because of its focus on internationally sourced and sustainable coffee.

7. Gloria Jean

Founded in the U.S. and famous throughout the world, Gloria Jean’s Coffee is a great franchise with a large menu, quality coffee, and attractive merchandise.

8. Dutch Bros. Coffee

Dutch Bros. is one of the fastest growing coffee shop franchises in the country, and many are opening up new locations due to the low franchise fees and start-up costs. The coffee’s great too!

9. Au Bon Pain

This is a popular chain throughout the east coast and in many major cities. It’s as well known for its large selection of baked good as it is for its coffee.

10. Tim Horton’s

Tim Horton’s is one of the most beloved coffee shop franchises throughout Canada. Though it’s still making its name in America, it boasts a long history of successful expansion and growth


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Microsoft, one of the world’s biggest tech companies, has taken on a unique partner – eighth grader Shubhamm Banerjee from Santa Clara, Calif.

Together, they will build the next generation of his Braille printer on the Windows operating system, which would be quite an upgrade from prototype that he built in 2013 out of Legos. It would fulfill Banerjee’s dream… to make life better for the blind.

The 2.0 version of his prototype, a lighter weight and cheaper printer named Braigo, will be developed and brought to market using Windows and the Surface Pro 3, Microsoft’s tablet. Braigo 2.0 is considered the first low-cost, internet-of-things enabled, silent and lightweight Braille printer.

On the Microsoft Windows blog, Banerjee posted, “Our relationship with Microsoft will help Braigo achieve a seamless experience for a visually impaired person who wants to use a computer at home or at the office to print documents for offline reading.”

At age 12, Banerjee started his own company called Braigo Labs (a combination of Braille and Lego). The Santa Clara, Calif. teen is the youngest entrepreneur ever to get venture-capital funding when Intel Capital invested in Braigo Labs.


Category: Business ideas

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