Best Businesses to Start in California

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With its enormous population and pleasant climate, California can offer many advantages to businesses. In addition, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Silicon Valley all offer unique opportunities for savvy business owners. As such, there are many potential types of businesses to start in California. 

However, some types of businesses are better suited to California than others. Therefore, the logical next question to ask is, what is the best kind of business to start in California? The good news is that you have plenty of options. Restaurants, gyms, and tech-related shops are just a few of California’s best small business options. Determining which of these options is best for you ultimately depends on your skill-set, personal preferences, and general business trends. 

Without further ado, let’s discuss some of the best business types in California to start today. 

The Most Profitable Small Business Ideas in California

Starting and running a profitable small business is no easy task. One of the best steps you can take to ensure your success is to pick the right type of business. Here are five of the best small business types to start in California. 

Idea #1: Gas Stations

There’s no doubt that the car culture is thoroughly embedded in California. In fact, California has almost 14 million automobile registrations, far more than any other state in the country. And despite the great fanfare surrounding electric vehicles, they still account for only about 2% of the light-duty vehicle sales in the US. 

With the huge demand for gasoline comes a tremendous demand for clean, affordable, convenient gas stations. By selecting the right location and ideal equipment, you could be in a great position to cultivate a thriving business. You can make revenue not only on gas sales, but also on the sale of food, beverages, and car cleaning products. The possibilities are truly endless. 

Idea #2: Restaurants

With about 39 million people within its borders, California is the most populous state in the country. In addition, California is a tremendously diverse state. As a result, it is one of the best states for opening a restaurant. Although you will need to obtain quite a few food and alcohol-related business licenses to run your restaurant, you could potentially make incredible revenues. Keep in mind that you can open a single business yourself or choose to operate a franchise. 

Idea #3: Tourism

California is truly unique when it comes to tourism. With world-class theme parks like Disneyland and Universal Studios and amazing outdoor sights like Yosemite and Death Valley, it’s no wonder that California receives billions of dollars in travel-related revenue every year. There are almost an endless number of ways to cash in on the tourism business. If you have an unused piece of property, consider making it a hotel or tour guide center. You can also offer tourism memorabilia and merchandise. 

Idea #4: Technology

Everyone knows that Silicon Valley is one of the world’s premier centers of technological innovation. With a little bit of hard work, you can carve out your profitable niche in California’s booming tech industry. Potential ideas include repairing smartphones, providing consulting services to tech companies, or operating a 3D printing shop. You could also open your own e-commerce store or start a social media marketing firm. 

Idea #5: Health/Fitness

For decades, California has been at the heart of the fitness and diet industries. Many of the world’s legendary fitness heroes have lived in California, including Jack LaLanne, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Joe Gold. If you thrive on helping people get physically fit or improve their eating habits, then put your passion to use by opening a gym or fitness center. Alternatively, you can start your own personal training or nutrition consulting business. You can even open your own private medical practice if you have a medical degree. 

Why These Are the Best Small Businesses to Start in California

All of the business ideas listed above are ideal for California because:

  • There is a huge amount of demand for their services and products
  • They have a high amount of staying power
  • Many of them don’t have high start-up costs
  • Some cities and counties offer special incentives to small businesses

These are just a few factors that you should consider when deciding what kind of business is right for you. You should also consider your financial resources, personal interests, and long-term goals. That said, almost any kind of business can thrive with the right dose of hard work, initiative, and skill. 

Best Cities in California for Starting a Business

You don’t need to look far to find great cities in California to start your own small business. Just a few of the many potential options include:

  • San Francisco
  • Los Angeles
  • San Diego
  • Sacramento

All of these cities are great choices for businesses, but some are better for certain industries than others.  Take that into account as you move forward with forming your business. 

If you’re ready to take your first steps in the larger world of business, we can get you started quickly with our exciting suite of small business products and services. Whatever your needs and goals, we can help you fulfill them. Need to start a California Limited Liability Company (LLC)? We can help. We can also help you start a corporation with our California Corporation Formation Service, including drafting and filing California Articles of Incorporation

Even if you have no idea what kind of business is right for you, we can give you the information you need to Compare Different Business Structures

Why Form Your Business with Us?

We’re passionate about doing our best to help small businesses thrive and grow. We can help business owners with almost any business need. If you need to start a business, our California Business Formation Service can take care of the paperwork associated with starting a business. If you already have a business, our Worry-Free Compliance Service can help you stay compliant with California laws and regulations. With our services, we’ll take care of the administrative hassle so that you can spend your time taking your business to the next level. 


  • There are many reasons for this, including California’s modern technological infrastructure and its status as a global leader in many industries.

  • California’s government offers many useful services and resources for small business owners. You can also grow your business by networking and researching your niche.

  • Generally, there are many franchise opportunities. However, the degree of opportunity will vary between industries.

  • There’s no easy answer to this question. The best online business to start in California is one that taps into your interests, background, and business skills.

  • The best kinds of businesses to start at home are those that can be done primarily online. Examples include e-commerce, educational services, and consulting businesses.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

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Written by Team ZenBusiness

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