12 Overlooked Revenue Streams Small Business Owners Should Consider

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By Richard

To help small business owners uncover overlooked revenue streams, we’ve gathered twelve insightful suggestions from founders, CEOs, and other industry professionals. From the idea of selling digital products to the concept of white-labeling goods or services, this article presents a wealth of innovative strategies for you to consider.

  • Consider Selling Digital Products
  • Form Strategic Partnerships
  • Create an Online Course or Community
  • Monetize Your Blog with Guest Posts
  • Expand Virtually with Online Offerings
  • Monetize Niche-Affiliate Websites
  • License Your Intellectual Property
  • Rent Out Surplus Office Space
  • Earn Royalties from Facebook Reels
  • Add Merchandise to Your Business
  • Monetize Engagement on Streaming Platforms
  • White-Label Your Goods or Services

Consider Selling Digital Products

Advising many small-business owners on innovative revenue strategies over the past 10 years has revealed an often-overlooked income stream to consider.

Selling digital products like online courses, e-books, templates, or assets can generate scalable revenue for small businesses with minimal overhead. The key is creating digital goods that complement your existing offering and solve customer pain points.

Digital products have high margins and passive-income potential through online sales. Start by identifying your skills or resources that could be packaged into an online product. Craft the digital good, put it on a platform like Gumroad, and market it to your audience.

While it likely won’t fully replace current revenue streams, digital products present a profitable side-income opportunity worth exploring. With the right digital goods and promotion, it can provide a steady revenue boost for small businesses today.

Rahul Paragi, Founder, NamesPilot

Form Strategic Partnerships

Often, small businesses overlook the potential of strategic partnerships. It’s not always about introducing new items or services. Instead, it’s about aligning what you offer with a partner that complements your audience.

For our company, collaborating with other entities in our industry expanded our accessibility to the niche of other small-business owners. It’s essential to understand that business isn’t always about competition. By joining forces, smaller enterprises can work towards shared objectives. In our collaborations, it was pivotal to ensure mutual benefits. To those seeking partnerships: focus on what you can bring to the table before presenting your partnership proposal.

Lorenzo Nourchan, CEO, Northstar Financial Consulting Group

Create an Online Course or Community

One underutilized revenue stream small business owners should consider is creating an online course or membership community based on their expertise.

Many shy away from selling knowledge products, fearing client poaching. However, done ethically, teaching your approach in a digital offering expands reach tremendously with minimal added effort.

For my company, developing a self-paced module sharing our process and tools generated substantial passive income. We simply packaged what we do daily into an automated, on-demand learning experience.

With a solid membership program framework, small overheads, and a huge potential market, selling expertise digitally provides a lucrative model most service businesses overlook.

The key is identifying a niche need and positioning your unique process or methodology as the solution. Don’t just share basic information—reveal your secret sauce. Done right, an online course can become a significant income stream and lead generator.

Ankit Prakash, Founder, Sprout24

Monetize Your Blog with Guest Posts

One often-overlooked revenue stream that small business owners might want to tap into is guest blogging. At TechNews, we’ve found that by offering or accepting guest posts on our company blog, we add to the reader’s experience and create a source of income. Businesses or professionals often pay to share their insights on platforms other than their own to reach a new audience. By opening your platform to guest contributors, you can provide fresh content for your readers while monetizing your owned space.

Marco Genaro Palma, Co-Founder, TechNews180

Expand Virtually with Online Offerings

As a holistic consultant for entrepreneurs, I’m always encouraging business owners to think creatively about overlooked revenue streams beyond geographical constraints. It’s easy to focus solely on in-person sales and local customers, but expanding virtually opens up new profit potential, often at a very low cost.

I coach clients to consider how their expertise could translate into online offerings like virtual consultations, digital courses, subscription memberships, and more. While making this pivot requires some effort up front, the demand is frequently untapped. Serving people globally through virtual services can create passive income streams with minimal overhead.

I emphasize that time freedom and lifestyle design are just as important as revenue. Virtual offerings allow you to scale your impact exponentially while maintaining flexibility.

Mona Kirstein, Ph.D., Digital Strategist, Holistic Coach and Consultant, The Wholehearted Path

Monetize Niche-Affiliate Websites

Monetizing niche-affiliate websites is definitely something small businesses should consider. You can start by building a niche site, focusing on filling market gaps with valuable content. Once it reaches around 20,000 monthly page views, monetize it with ad networks like AdThrive or MediaVine.

Additionally, explore affiliate partnerships with programs like Amazon Associates, ShareASale, and CJ. Don’t hesitate to negotiate higher commission rates with affiliate managers, especially when collaborating with smaller brands. This hybrid approach combines ads and affiliate marketing for a diversified income source.

Ewen Finser, Founder, The Digital Merchant

License Your Intellectual Property

Many small businesses overlook the potential of licensing their intellectual property. Instead of letting patents, trademarks, or copyrights sit idle, entrepreneurs can grant licenses to third parties, generating a revenue stream without producing a physical product.

While sourcing licensees might present challenges and market dynamics can influence fees, it’s a creative avenue worth exploring for businesses aiming to diversify their income sources.

Tobias Liebsch, Co-Founder, Fintalent.io

Rent Out Surplus Office Space

A small-business owner usually overlooks renting out surplus office space to generate revenue. This initiative goes beyond generating extra income; it fosters a collaborative, entrepreneurial community. Many startups and entrepreneurs seek cost-effective office spaces. Small-business owners often have excess space because of downsizing or remote-work trends.

Owners can earn additional revenue and provide valuable resources to the local business ecosystem by renting out this space. It creates a dynamic, supportive community where like-minded individuals can learn, grow, and potentially form partnerships.

Renting out unused office space isn’t just about financial gains; it contributes to the success of other businesses in the area. It’s an often-underestimated but potentially rewarding revenue stream that small-business owners should consider.

Bill Lyons, CEO, Griffin Funding

Earn Royalties from Facebook Reels

Too many businesses are paying to run social media ads when they should spend their money and time creating awesome reel content. These reels can ultimately earn you royalties from Facebook while also promoting your business organically to potential customers. Look into it. It really does pay out.

Christopher Olson, General Partner, Azalea City Tax & Accounting

Add Merchandise to Your Business

One simple revenue stream to add to just about any business venture, no matter what industry you’re in, is merchandise. There are dozens of companies out there that will let you drop-ship a huge variety of merch with your label on it for virtually no investment up-front.

Setting up a page to sell these items on your website—especially when you’re already set up for e-commerce—is also trivially easy. Even if these items barely sell to consumers, you also gain access to easy options for work uniforms or employee gifts, and giving merchandise away to customers can be a great way to boost your brand recognition.

Nick Valentino, VP of Market Operations, Bellhop

Monetize Engagement on Streaming Platforms

In order to identify overlooked revenue streams, it’s important to think outside the box. Small-business owners might not immediately think of streaming platforms like YouTube and TikTok; however, these platforms offer unique opportunities—not just to engage with an audience, but also to monetize that engagement.

Creating tutorials or DIY videos related to your business serves dual purposes: first, it establishes your brand as an authority in your respective field—people often seek out how-to guides and DIY content online; if your business can provide this, it draws more eyes to your brand. Second, these platforms offer monetization options, such as ad revenues and sponsored content.

So, if you have an existing customer base or a large social media following, consider translating that reach into additional income through streaming platforms.

Alex Freeburg, Owner, Freeburg Law

White-Label Your Goods or Services

Small businesses should consider the possibility of white-labeling their goods or licensing their intellectual property. For instance, if unique sauces or condiments are produced, the recipe can be licensed to other food companies. This allows for earning royalties without the costs of manufacturing and distribution. It’s crucial to ensure that legal agreements protect rights and interests.

Tiffany Hafler, Marketing Coordinator, Blockchain Lawyer

Images Courtesy of DepositPhotos