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Looking for small business ideas to start? Find more than 1,000 business ideas in our comprehensive list of suggestions for starting your own business.Start by reading the tips on what business to start. Then find a good business idea for you in the list that follows.
Launching your own business can be personally and financially rewarding. Technology has made becoming an entrepreneur easier than ever in the past. It’s also led to many new business ideas for startups that didn’t exist just a decade or two ago. Many in the list below are good ideas for home businesses and small towns.
What’s the best business to start?
That’s likely the top question on your mind. Others may include, “What’s an easy business to start?” or “What’s the best business idea to start at home?” But the question you should be asking is, “What’s the best business for me to start?”
To answer that question, consider your skills, interests, and available cash. Here are criteria to consider when deciding what type of business to start:
What do you know how to do and can do well?
How much money do you need to make?
What do you like to do and wouldn’t mind doing daily?
What has a broad enough appeal to sell on a steady basis?
What can be sold at a price that will cover expenses and overhead and return a healthy profit?
Will you be able to reach enough potential customers?
Do you have or can you raise sufficient funds to start the business and keep it running until it becomes a profitable?
As you look at the list of small business ideas below, keep those personal interests, skills and needs in mind.
Small Business Ideas List
We’ve grouped the business ideas into categories to make it easier to find concepts that match your interests and skills. To get to the businesses in any category, just click on the category name below. Alternately, you can just scroll through the entire list of business ideas to find one that stirs your interest.
Some businesses in the list are one-person business ideas. Some require a significant amount of money and may require you to hire employees to make them successful. Others could be enjoyable but won’t produce enough income for your needs. If you don’t have cash, you may want to consider ideas for businesses you can start with little or no money. Under some of the types of businesses (artist, for instance), we’ve mentioned products or services that might be offered either as the main business or as one of the business’s offerings.
Every small town needs businesses to thrive. Great companies have been launched in rural areas – remember Walmart started in a small town!
Think about the basic human needs of food, clothing, and shelter as the building blocks of successful small-town businesses. Some examples are small or specialty grocery stores, clothing boutiques and local building contractors. This list of small-town business ideas that will work in your rural area or village because every small town needs these types of goods and services. Some examples of small-town businesses are:
Florist– People go online to look for and order flowers, so uou’ll need an attractive website with good photos of your creations for this business. If you do a good job with your flower shop it will lead to requests to provide flowers for special events including weddings, parties and company events. You can also ramp up your sales for such special events by reaching out to wedding and event planners and local venues that host large groups.
Ice cream shop – While business may boom in the summer you may be surprised how many people buy great ice cream in the winter, too. The secret to success: fabulous ice cream and a good, high-traffic location! You don’t need a lot of flavors or specialty products to succeed but whatever you do offer must be great! What about the price, is it important? Not really. If people really cared about the price they would just go to the supermarket, buy the cheapest ice cream and eat it in their backyard. So focus on quality first.
Toy and Game store
Small town service businesses to consider include:
Gardening and lawn care
Home repair services
Home modifications for senior citizens
Personal trainer – Are you passionate about fitness and do you like working with people? You could be a great personal trainer, helping people get fit and feel good about themselves. Today you can offer personal training online, such as via Zoom. Or you can train clients in their homes, in your home or at a local gym. Like many businesses you can easily run this service part-time. Read more about starting a business as a personal trainer.
Many types of businesses can be started and run profitably from home as long as they don’t disturb you neighbors in any significant way.
Handmade products, for instance, have long been a cottage industry. The art of handcrafted products is becoming more and more appreciated and valued. Creative business ideas you could make and sell include craft items and other handmades such as:
Tutoring – Tutoring is still another example of a very easy-to-start business. Yet you can grow it as large as you want by hiring additional tutors and ramping up your marketing. The demand is huge. You can tutor almost anywhere. You can tutor online via video, such as on Zoom. You can go to your clients’ homes or they can come to your home. Or you can meet in a coffee shop or a library.
Do you want to be a digital entrepreneur? There are lots of interesting and unique ways to make money online. From blogging to voice over work, online business has never been hotter or more profitable. You can sell your own products or services online or be a reseller.
If you don’t want to deal with keeping inventory, you can create eproducts and etraining courses that you deliver online. You can also use drop-shippers and print-on-demand companies to allow you to promote and sell products online without having to buy and store inventory. This article tells you how to find wholesale products to sell online.
Here are some trending online business ideas
Social Media Business – Do you enjoy hanging out and putting up posts on Facebook and other social media platforms? Then why not get paid for it? Just about any business that sells something would like to be on social media. But a lot of business owners don’t know how or don’t want to spend the time to do their own social media. Most customers will want to retain you on a regular basis to keep their social media postings fresh. So you can develop a nice steady income. Plus you can do most of the work from home. Get started by approaching local small businesses or start by doing some work for a friend’s business. Set up a web page for your own social media business and start promoting that on social media, too. Here are some examples of work you could do
Instagram Marketing Consultant – While lots of individuals know how to use Instagram, many companies have no experience or knowledge of this website platform. So if you know marketing and how to promote on Instagram, you can run a business that helps companies get new customers, through the Instagram.
Online courses – You can teach just about anything in an online course. Professional skills, business skills, art skills, lifestyle skills and more! Usually, it’s best to focus on a narrow and specialized topic. A broader topic may seem like it has a much larger audience. But a smaller audience is typically going to offer a better income opportunity. Generally, the more specialized the courses are that you offer, the more people will be willing to pay for them. It’s not unusual for specialize courses to be priced at anywhere from $500 to $2,000. Courses are often about 4 hours to 10 hours in length.
Online dating consultant – As an online dating consultant you will help your clients build their online presence and attract the perfect match. You could offer a full range of services with in depth interviews, evaluations, strategies and on-going advice giving. Or you could offer flat rate pricing for basic services such as for writing online profiles.
Pinterest Virtual Assistant – Another hot social media site is Pinterest, which has grown way beyond DIY and recipes to become a powerhouse for brand promotion with over 433 million users monthly! Most business owners are not Pinterest savvy and need help to manage their accounts and post “pins”. This is a great freelance new business idea for moms and students.
Podcasting Business – For most people the key to being able to successfully monetize a podcast is not just big audience numbers. It’s specializing and becoming known for a particular topic. You’ll need to build a deep connection with your audience and do your podcasts regularly, at least once a week. There’s a lot of competition, though, so it can take some time, effort and a little bit of luck to build an audience.
Printon Demand – Use online suppliers to create and sell, unique and custom, print on demand merchandise. There are hundreds of options of print-on-demand products including phone cases, t-shirts, tote bags, home decor, greeting cards, and photo books. You upload your artwork and your supplier does the rest including shipping items directly to your customers.
Digital products and services
Here are some more examples of digital products and services you might sell:
Email marketing services
Search engine optimization (SEO) – Many companies hire SEO businesses to help improve their search engine rankings. Some businesses will hire SEO firms on a one-shot basis to optimize their website or to compliment their own in-house SEO efforts. But what you really want is to get a monthly retainers to work with companies on an ongoing basis to maximize their search engine placements. Use these tips to get your SEO business started.
Social media assistant
Subscription Box Business – What can you sell in your subscription box? The sky’s the limit. Popular boxes include skincare items, soaps, candles, makeup, shaving items, socks, children’s books, perfumes, apparel accessories, sport items, toys, coffee, chocolates, wines, puzzles and more. Add your own personal touch by your product selection, your packaging design and your marketing. This is a repeat customer, steady income business. The key to success is to really think through everything including your market niche, your product mix, your offer and your marketing. Then, you’ve got to test and test again until you find out what works best.
The trend is towards a gig economy. Gigs are temporary positions with contract and independent workers for short-term engagements. It’s estimated that there are about 59 million gig workers in the United States. With a little creativity and smarts, entrepreneurs can build the business around this kind of self-service business.
People who want to start this type of activity and focus on the most popular services such as data entry, writing, computer programming spreadsheets like Excel and all kinds of website development tasks. Major sites such as Fiverr and Upwork list projects and gigs available all which contain great new business ideas for you. I think this is a good place to start for business ideas for beginners.
Small Business Ideas for Women
Women-focused media is helping to reshape our society’s ideas about femininity, gender, and power. According to the SBA, women own 20 percent of all businesses and 42 percent of all businesses that don’t have employees.
While every woman is different, and there are no limitations on the types of businesses women can start, here are a few business ideas for types of businesses that women often start. Here are a few ideas, but don’t limit your search for business opportunities based on your gender, however. Women are increasingly starting traditionally male-owned companies and visa versa.
Affiliate Marketing – Over 80% of all purchases are made by women. Use your shopping expertise to direct other women to great products and services. In an affiliate marketing business, you’ll earn a commission when they make a purchase.
Women’s Health Specialist – Today’s evolved mindset is removing the social taboo of women’s health and bringing it to the forefront of business opportunities. Entrepreneurs who want to make a difference in women’s lives are well poised to profit with firms that offer services, resources, and products related to women’s health and well-being. Here are five health and fitness ideas to look into.
There are still more male-owned businesses than woman-owned. Great. Certainly, every man is different and has particular interests and talents. Here are some industries in which males traditionally have excelled.
Woodworking – America’s wood product business makes over $6 billion annually. Growth is forecasted to be in custom-made furniture for office and home. Offices require more open space, sit and stand desks, and team workspaces. Meanwhile, homes are more multi-purpose, which creates demand for multi-use rooms and furniture which folds and collapses such as Murphy beds, folding tables, and moveable cabinet walls. Here’s how to start a woodworking business. And here’s more than 125 possible names for a woodworking business.
Learn more about these business ideas for teenagers here.
Business Ideas for College Students
If you are a college student, free time may feel like it is hard to come by. With class, extracurricular activities, study sessions, and social life, there is not even much time to sleep, let alone explore options as a student entrepreneur. However, starting a business while in college can be an exceptionally profitable enterprise for a couple of reasons.
Some cool new business ideas and jobs students can start pursuing while in the university include:
Beginner entrepreneurs can make money by performing services they know how to do. Some typical examples are tutoring, pet sitting, cleaning services and blogging. Depending on your background, some of the following ideas might be easy for you to start.
Art Business Ideas
Creative individuals make super entrepreneurs. In addition to creating your art, you need to know how to run a business. Here are some ways to use your creativity to make money in your own company.
Children book illustrator
Freelance graphic artist – Make commercial art your specialty. Big and small businesses alike need graphic designers to create original graphics and to design brochures, posters, logos, websites, packaging, signage, graphics for presentations, and so much more. Creating animated videos can be another source of revenue.
Greeting card designer
Hand-paint designs on furniture, and decorative items
Paint wall murals
Paint and sell your original works of art. From landscapes to abstracts, decorative art (tole painting), there is a market for good art. Here are some ideas
Sell hand-painted or handmade holiday ornaments
Teach painting – You can make money by charging for the classes and bring in additional income by selling your students the supplies they need for projects.
Sculptor – Artists carve and sell everything from granite statues to ice sculptures and even pumpkins at Halloween.
Car detailing – People who love cars love to keep them in great shape. And if you love cars too, and are incredibly meticulous, then this could be a great business for you. target your most likely customers – owners of high-end cars. Executive transportation companies may be another possibility.
Car Rentals – Buy and rent new cars or used cars. You’ll need significant finances to build your fleet of cars and market the service, pay employees and pay for your location. You’ll also have ongoing costs for maintaining the vehicles. Alternately, you could start a business getting other people to rent out their unused cars. Pay careful attention to insurance and liability issues.
Apartment preparation service – when rental apartments turn over, there is work to be done. The same is true for office rentals. The work might range from filling in nail holes in the walls to emptying leftover trash
Bed and breakfast inn– Some people enjoy owning their own bed & breakfast and do well in the business. Others find serving breakfast every morning and dealing with guests to be more work and more difficult than they anticipated. Guests expect personalized attention and some will be more demanding and problematic than others. You’ll need to deal with special requests and with guests changing and cancelling reservations. Your building and property will have more wear and tear than a private home and cleaning is a never ending chore.
Bicycle rental – Bob Adams started a rent-a-bike business when he was 19. He took $1,000 from his savings and bought a bunch of second hand bicycles. Then, he arranged to have a motel, a gas station and a sporting goods store serve as rental locations. But his competitors had better rental locations. And they also had shiny new bicycles. Almost no one was renting Adam’s bikes. To solve the problem, he offered free delivery of bicycles to customers at their motels and campsites — something no one else was doing. His customers loved it and the business took off! This example shows why it is so important in any business to develop a unique business model. You shouldn’t start a business and try to follow what your competitors are doing. And you shouldn’t just try to “be better.” Instead you want to be different in a way that really matters to your customers. Use this sample bicycle rental business plan for inspiration.
Bicycle repair– The demand is constant providing you with a strong, steady income. You could start by only taking on the easier repair jobs. Then for more complex repair jobs you could contract them out to other repair shops and keep a percentage of the repair price.
Balloon decorating service
Boat excursions and tours – If you own a boat big enough to comfortably and safely seat groups and like being on the water, make some extra cash in the summer by renting yourself and your boat out for private excursions. You captain the boat and take the groups around to the best spots for sightseeing and swimming. Let the guests bring their own food or you supply it. Be sure you have lifejackets for all and follow all safety precautions.
Boat, kayak, canoe and jet ski rentals
Boat maintenance and repair
Business plan writer – To get going as a business plan writer, develop a specialty. For example, offer a low priced flat rate service for people looking to start a fairly simple business. Or offer a more consultative hourly approach targeting people raising money for larger startups. You could also consider targeting entrepreneurs by industry.
Carpet and upholstery cleaning– Don’t overlook carpet/upholstery cleaning! It can be a highly profitable, repeat customer, steady income business for you. To be successful, learn and stay up-to-date on the techniques for cleaning carpets and stains.
Childcare Service – Daycare has that very important great business characteristic — repeat customers and steady income. It’s also flexible. You can start a daycare practice in your home, at a leased location or at a location provided by a third party such as a corporation that would love to have convenient daycare on its premises. To get going, you will need to check out your state regulations and get licensed. You’ll need insurance such as for liability and worker’s comp, if you have employees. You’ll need specific policies on issues such as late payments, sick children, possible injuries, and late pickups. And you’ll want to make extra sure your facility is totally safe for children.
Child learning center
Cleaning service– Repeat business from private homes and commercial establishments make this a good business to start. Most people first grow their cleaning business by adding a couple helpers to work alongside them. This way, they can keep a close eye on the quality of the work and remain the primary contact with the customer. You can grow this business much more quickly by adding additional crews.
Commercial disinfecting service – Take your cleaning service a step beyond by providing professional disinfecting services for offices and other businesses.
Concert promotion business
Concrete construction and repair
Construction business – There are many smaller construction projects you can do to ease your way into this field. For example, you could start by building sheds, playhouses, garages, outside decks, house additions, studios, pool houses or basement remodels. You could also consider taking on a little more risk yourself by buying a house that needs work, rehabbing it and selling it for more. It’s relatively easy to get bank financing for rehab projects.
Construction management consultant
Copywriting/ Content Writing – Companies of all sizes want to put articles on their websites and add posts to their blogs to drive traffic and attract customers. For example, a business that sells office furniture may commission articles on the latest trends in office décor or perhaps on how to choose the best seating for various office tasks. What most business customers will have in common is that they would like their articles and blog posts to show up in relevant searches in Google and other search engines. So the more you can learn about search engine optimization (SEO), the more marketable you will be.
Teach other people how to make decorative accessories, sew, paint, or do other crafts. Bring in extra money by selling supplies and patterns.
Daycare for adults
Delivery service – The demand for delivery services is booming driven by online shopping and services. Some delivery businesses focus on servicing Amazon. There is also a lot of demand for delivery of food from restaurants. And for grocery pickup and delivery. Some small furniture companies contract out their deliveries. Another variant is a courier service where you deliver rush items such as documents and other packages. Still another twist is medical deliveries such as test samples, medicine or even human organs. Here’s how you can start your own delivery service business.
Dental claims processing
Dog Grooming – Many people don’t have the time or the patience to do groom their dog themselves. This is another great repeat customer, steady income business. You can even try starting small in your home – but you will need to keep an eye on local zoning laws. Or outfit a van with needed equipment and travel to clients homes. Perhaps you start just by grooming dogs for a couple friends and see if you really like it.
Dog obedience training Have experience training your own dog? Turn it into a business with almost no investment.
Dog walking service – Start a dog walking business in your neighborhood or town. It’s simple to start and, with people busier than ever, there’s a lot of demand. The key to success in dog walking? Keeping your clients happy and finding new customers Happy customers are repeat customers. They will keep using your service forever and they will recommend you to their friends at the dog park. As you build up your list of loyal customers you are not only increasing your income, you are also building the value of your business. That means if you get tired of walking dogs, you can sell your business for a good bit of money.
Dog/yard cleanup – Help to clean up the home and pets and get paid. Here’s how one person made money two ways from this idea.
Drive for ride-hailing service Make your own hours and work for Uber, Lyft, or even start your own local airport shuttle business.
Drive for local businesses – Create your own business delivering food or packages to customers of local restaurants and shops. Or, sign up to be a driver with a service like DoorDash.
Elderly companion – Adult children of the elderly are often looking for someone to spend time with their parents. You can get paid to visit and do fun and interesting things.
Electrician – Always loved electrical work? Get licensed and become an electrician. There’s plenty of demand in most areas. Already licensed? Look for local electricians who may be retiring and ask about buying their business.
Employment agency/staffing service –Employment agencies recruit, evaluate, screen and recommend job candidates to companies that are filling job openings – typically long term job openings. Staffing agencies hire employees on a temporary basis and then contract them out to companies that need short term help. Most employment agencies and staffing services specialize to a greater or lesser degree. The type of jobs or industry they focus on make a significant difference on the characteristics of their business. For example, if you have a staffing service focusing on providing unskilled day laborers for construction sites your business will be quite a bit different than a staffing service providing software developers to Internet companies.
Environmental cleanup service Cleaning up after environmental disasters can be a lucrative business if you have the knowledge and skills to handle the problem.
Environmental contamination detection and analysis Manufacturers and other companies have a need to monitor and analyze groundwater and other pollutants.
Errand service – Run different types of errands for busy people in your area. It’s a business you can start in minutes with no investment, and it can be publicized by word of mouth.
Estate Sale Brokers – As our population ages, many families are left with the estates of lost loved ones that can be both emotionally and financially overwhelming. They need help in organizing, appraising, and selling their families’ possessions. The most successful business owners will have experience and knowledge in the antique and secondhand market sales. The ability to work with people, logistical organizing, and team management will ensure your business success.
Family Historian – Many people are deeply interested in their family history but find these sites, and the research process, overwhelming and time-consuming – thus your business opportunity is born. You can start with a small investment that is affordable.
Fence sales and installation
Fishing boat rides
Flea market seller
Formal wear rental service (male or female)
Framing service (picture frames)
Grant writer – Nonprofits need money to do the work they do. If you have experience with grant writing, you can get paid as a freelancer for helping them get access to the funding they need.
Hair salon –Enjoy making people feel beautiful? Start a business where people pay you to help them look and feel confident. Keep startup and overhead costs down by starting out in a coworking salon facility that divides up a large space into small, private salons individual stylists can rent.
Gutter Cleaning Service – This is a seasonal business, but one that you can make good money from if you are sure-footed and comfortable walking on roofs. You may want to decline jobs that are very high or very steep pitched surfaces unless you have adequate safety equipment.
Handyman service – Get paid to help people repair broken furniture, fix loose cabinet doors, install shelves, and do a variety of needed fix-it services in their homes. You will need the ability to do very basic household repair work reasonably well and know which jobs to turn down because you can’t do them well. As the business grows, you can hire subcontractors to do the work. As a handyperson you’ll get a lot of repeat work. But each job is typically small so you’ll need a bunch of customers to turn it into a full time business. Here are several business models for a handyman business.
Home or office organization services – Help people organize their homes or businesses and get paid to do it.
Home attendant service – The aging population makes this a business that will be needed for years to come. Check state licensing requirements as you research this idea.
Home design service – Help people bring harmony to their home with Feng Shui, or simply help them design their homes for efficiency, comfort, and beauty.
Home staging service – Help home sellers get the best price by making minor changes that maximize the home’s eye appeal to potential buyers.
Home healthcare service – Hire and send trained medical professionals to the homes of people who have healthcare and rehabilitation needs. Licensing is likely to be required.
Home inspector – Inspect homes for real estate buyers ahead of their purchase so they are forewarned of possible structural damage, the potential for flooding basements, and other issues they’d want to avoid.
Housekeeper – As a housekeeper, you’ll take care of light cleaning and other household chores such as ironing clothes, washing dishes, preparing meals, running errands, and other chores needed on a regular basis.
HVAC installation and service
Inventory control service
Junk removal services– It seems like everyone has a garage or attic or other room full of junk they would love to get rid off! Like a moving service, you don’t even need a truck to get started in this business. You could begin by either renting a truck at a place like U-Haul or buying a little trailer to tow behind your car. You can even keep your day job and do all the junk removal jobs on the weekend. Develop extra income by efficiently sorting the junk you take away into items you can resell, items you can get paid to recycle, and items that have to be disposed of. You can develop repeat business and good word of mouth if you are polished and professional.
Landscaping – This is another perfect business that you can start small or part-time, and then grow at your own pace. You can start with just a basic lawn cutting service. All you’ll need is a second hand lawn mower and a grass catcher. You don’t need a fancy truck or trailer. You can grow this business quickly by adding both customers and services. Typical add-on services include leaf collection, yard clean up, edging, weeding, snowplowing, and applying fertilizer. The next level of services you could offer would be flower, bush and small tree planting. The highest level of services would be landscape architecture/design, designing and creating beautiful landscapes for higher end homes and commercial locations. Here’s how to get started in a landscaping business.
Laundromat business or laundry service – People need clean clothes, so it is a classic steady income business. Location is important. Consider offering extra add-on services or products such as folding of clothes, full laundry services, and pickup and delivery. In addition to selling detergent and bleach you could sell other products such as snacks and beverages. Before starting a laundromat from scratch look to see if you can get a reasonable deal buying an existing laundromat that the current owner has become tired of operating.
Lawnmower and motor repair
Lawn sprinkler business –This is a niche business and not too competitive. It’s also a good mix of both product and service so solo operators can successfully compete against the larger companies. Finally, it’s a repeat customer, steady income business. You could do it all – both the installation and the service part of this business or you could just do one or the other. Of course installing a new sprinkler system can be a lot work and requires knowledge of how to do it properly.
Lead generation service
Masonry and paving for homeowners
Meal preparation service
Medical claims billing service
Millennial Fitness & Social Club – America is home to 80 million millennials, those born between 1981 and 1996, with $2.5 trillion in annual buying power. These people are very healthy, and fitness minded but won’t come to your father’s health club. They want fun and lots of social media presence to connect with the company and their friends. Offer this type of fitness adventure, and you are sure to profit in the years ahead. Here’s how to start your own gym or fitness club.
Miniature golf course
Moving company – Start small and grow at your own pace. Most moves are local, so the market for local moving services is huge. You can keep your day job and focus on the highest demand moving days – weekends and holidays. Start by renting vans or trucks as you need them. This will allow you to get the exact size vehicle you need for each move. Truck rental services like U-Haul will also sell you insurance and provide supplies. You can hire helpers by the day or the hour. Charge by the hour rather than by the job. If the customer underestimates the number of items to be moved, you still earn the same hourly rate. Offering packing services is a nice add-on for extra income.
Novelty T-shirt sales – Custom T-Shirts are perfect for selling online, but you could sell them locally too. Even if you are going to focus on your local market you might want to initially skip the cost of a storefront and try running this business from your home. You could approach local businesses, social groups and sports teams. Wouldn’t it be great to get a sale for your town’s entire youth soccer league? You can even contract out the actual T-shirt printing and focus exclusively on making sales and customer service. Of course instead of doing custom T-shirts you could try to sell your own designs. This is a riskier approach but the upside potential is huge! Learn more about starting a t-shirt business.
Nutritional supplement sales
Outsourced HR services
Painter – Sell your services painting the insides or outsides of people’s homes. One cautiont: consider buying insurance in case you accidentally spill paint on priceless antiques or the home owner accuses you of damaging their siding.
Party bus– You’ll need to buy or rent a bus or a boat big enough for groups and know how to meet and exceed your guest expectations. You’ll need a party host – not just a bus driver – who is super energetic and upbeat. You’ll need some great destinations, typically bars and nightspots. You’ve got to choose ones your customer will love, not just the ones that will give you the best deals. And you’ve got to keep the momentum of the party going. You’ll want to set up some strict safety guidelines. And for this business you’ll also want to consider liability insurance and creating a separate business entity such as a corporation or LLC.
Professional photographer – There are all kinds of ways to turn photography into a business. You can do portrait photography, commercial shoots for businesses, real estate photography, or wedding photography. You can sell photos through stock photo services. You can even do photojournalism or sell your outstanding photos in the photo art world. You can also start your photography business as a side gig and grow it into a full-time operation.
Property Management – In this business you handle inquiries, review references and process rental applications for tenants. You answer questions and handle requests from existing tenants. And you arrange for maintenance and basic repair services.
Power washing service
Public relations agency
Real estate appraiser
Senior companion serviced – This is an excellent repeat customer, steady income business. Plus, you are providing a tremendous service. You will want to check any licensing requirements in your state. And you will want to exercise diligence on any companions that you contract.
Sightseeing tours – There are many types of tours you can offer as a tour operator. Bus tours, bicycle tours, food and wine tours are a few examples. You can also offer other services such as helping groups develop an interesting itinerary including educational, cultural and historic venues, securing tickets and making arrangements for restaurants and ground transportation.
Stairlift business – As our populations age, there is an increasing need for stairlifts to allow elderly people to age in place.
Swimming pool installation
Swimming pool maintenance
Telephone service reseller
Test prep coach
Travel Adventures – Nowadays, people will want to have more adventures traveling. The combination of enticing social media stories and wealthy early retirement baby boomers makes this idea very profitable. From active fitness travelers to ecotourism the opportunities are endless.
Window treatments – Homeowners and apartment dwellers want attractive valances, drapes of other “treatments” for the windows in their homes. Help them select the right look and sell them the products to create the look.
Computer and Internet
App developer– Selling apps is more competitive today than in the past. To be successful, start by thinking of potential customers. For example, selling an app to individuals or small businesses or large corporations are all very different. Then, think of what benefit your app could deliver to your target audience. Is it a benefit they might actually pay money for? Evaluate the competition. How would your app be different or better than theirs?
Computer backup service
Computer repair – Do you enjoy tinkering with computers and solving problems when they don’t work? Get paid for fixing and troubleshooting computer issues.
Computer programming – Are you a coder? Make money writing software for games, cell phone apps, websites, online storefronts, and so much more.
Computer training – Are you an expert on using computers? Teach the elderly and other people how to use computer and tablets and how and when to upgrade their operating systems. Sell training by the hour, or create a training course once and sell it over and over on online teaching platforms.
Data recovery service – Know your way around computers and hardware? Get paid to help people recover lost data. The jobs can be lucrative.
Drone business – There are various possibilities in this field. You could sell and service drones for consumers. You could sell and service drones for commercial users. Or offer drone photography and video services for realtors, or for tourist promotion or to tape local soccer or baseball games.
Smartphone training – Teach people how to get the most out of their smartphones, the cameras in the phones and all the apps available to them. Charge for classes, or create a blog and make money from advertising and affiliate links.
Software training – Career executives and businesses need to have trained properly in software such as QuickBooks and Microsoft Office. Companies that offer one-on-one on-site training for managers will do well as will those offering small group classes for multiple students. You can also create and sell courses online through various learning platform sites.
Website development and design – With virtually every small business needing a website today, there’s a demand for website development/website design businesses. Some small businesses need relatively simple sites that can be built using templates and tool like WordPress that don’t require extensive computer coding or design skills. Bigger companies are likely to have more sophisticated needs, that might include custom programming and design. To break into this field, understand your capabilities and look for customers that your skills can help. To develop an ongoing revenue stream for this business consider charging a monthly retainer for website maintenance.
Consulting Business Ideas
A consulting business can be very lucrative and rewarding. Good consulting niches include sales, logistics, human resources, executive coaching, small business coaching, international business customs, Facebook marketing, website strategies, email, accounting, logos, and more. This is a good business to start if you have been working in your field for many years and have in-depth experience.
The business-to-business market is strongest and is most open to hiring outside contractors Here are just a few examples.:
Air quality consultant
Business improvement consultant Make money helping businesses identify problems and find solutions.
Coach (personal or business) or mentor
Franchise consultant Franchise consultants help prospective franchisees evaluate their skills and interests and determine the best franchise for the individual to purchase.
Health and wellness consultant
Hospital management consulting
Human resources consultant
Internet marketing consultant
Labor relations consultant
Social media consultant
Medical office consultant
Personnel management consulting
Product development consultant
Proposal consultant (government contracts)
Proposal consultant (grants)
Risk management consultant
Security service– This regulated field will require licenses and registrations. But it’s not the most complex business. There are a lot of potential clients including jewelry stores, banks, medical facilities, night spots and schools. You’ll need to check with local and state licensing and registration requirements. Unlike most businesses you will also need a federal license. You’ll need insurance and will need to be careful who you hire to work in the business.
Total quality management consultant
Utility auditing consultant
Yoga instructor– Yoga classes are another great repeat customer, steady income business. If you can keep your participants happy, they will usually stay with you a long time and also recommend you to their friends. To start this business. You can offer classes in your home, in a friend’s home or you can rent space.
Want to express your creativity and make some money at the same time? How about a craft business? Today the opportunities to sell your crafts are seemingly endless with the expansion of the Internet. You can sell your crafts on sites like Etsy.com, on your own website, through your own email list and on social media. Sell at local art and craft fairs. And you can also approach retail stores yourself. Or once you have a good product line put together, you may want to consider contracting a sales rep firm that focuses on the gift trade.
A sales rep firm will sell your products to retailers for you on a commission basis, usually 15% of the wholesale price. You can find these firms at the larger gift shows or you can approach them online.
Arts and crafts instructor
Candle making and sales –You can make your own candles and sell them online, through established retailers, at local fairs and craft shows or through your own retail location. Or you can just sell candles that you buy from candle makers.
Jewelry making – There’s always demand for creative handmade jewelry, and today there are seemingly unlimited venues for selling your jewelry. You can sell your jewelry on websites like Etsy and eBay, on your own website, and through social media. Some people get started selling at craft fairs and flea markets. Others sell through jewelry shops. Jewelry retailers will look for a significant discount to retail, such as 50% or more. Be careful about selling through merchants who only take your product on consignment. That means they don’t pay you or take ownership until the jewelry actually sells. If your items are stolen or lost, you don’t get reimbursed.
Blogger – A blog is a great example of a business that you can start small and grow at your own pace. Ariana Huffington started a blog with her friend Ken Lerer in 2003. They pulled together news stories and gave political commentary naming their blog The Huffington Post. In 2011 they sold it for $315 million. Popular blog topics include fashion, food, travel, music, sports, local interest, hobbies and much more. Choose a narrow or specialized topic and stick to it. Let your personality shine and include specific, actionable advice or pointed commentary. Read more about how to start a money-making blog.
Book cover designer
Book publisher – Consider beginning with eBooks. It’s easy to get them published and listed on places like Amazon. Make sure you choose a highly sellable topic. Then start building an audience even before you release your book. Then as you publish your book, continue to promote the daylights out of it! Get all the free publicity you possibly can. Here’s how to get a book published.
Video production business – The demand for video production is soaring. If you are looking to enter this business, try to specialize and focus on doing videos for small to mid-sized companies such as company overview videos, ads and other marketing videos. For example, maybe you want to focus on videos of homes for sale by real estate brokers or videos for food providers. As an alternative, you could focus on non-business video production such as weddings or sporting events. Everyone wants great videos! You may also want to focus on live video streaming.
Write book jacket blurbs
Write publicity releases
Entertainment Business Ideas
Are you a showbiz type? An actor, singer, dancer, or musician? Great. Your talents can earn you good money. The entertainment industry is especially profitable and fun! Here are a few of the best entertainment business ideas to get you started:
Dance teacher – Dance studios can be very lucrative. Students of all ages want to learn how to express themselves, and stay healthy, by dancing.
Entertainment services – Do performances for special events such as plays, conferences and parties
Use your love of clothing to start the business of your dreams. Today it’s easier than ever. You can contract out production and sell online. You can sell through platforms such as Amazon and eBay or your own website, or you can even sell to traditional retailers.
You can start your clothing line small and grow it at your own pace. Launch your clothing business with a very few, fabulous items. One concept: put together a collection of clothing that people want to be part of. In other words, something you can market as a lifestyle brand. Find a manufacturing source that will produce a quality product consistently. Even if you decide to use an existing platform such as Amazon or eBay to sell, it’s a good idea to build your own online presence including a website, an email list and social media – which is especially important for clothing. This will not only help attract new customers, but also build repeat business, and create positive word of mouth
Yes, the garment industry is very competitive, but so is every profitable business trade. Also, there are many entrepreneurial opportunities available beyond the obvious ones of the designer or model. Such as these stylish fashion business ideas:
Attention foodies! There are many tasty (and profitable) food business ideas to make money from your love of food. A few examples:
Become a personal chef
Catering business– Catering is a fabulous business because you can earn good money without the risks and high overhead associated with owning a restaurant. Because most of the demand is for holidays and weekends you can start this business part-time. To stand out in the catering field consider offering a specialty such as barbeques or clambakes. It’s okay to start with limited food offerings of just your most fabulous foods. Check with local authorities to determine what licenses or permits you may need before starting this from home.
Sell your signature cookies or other baked goods.
Food truck – Cook up a storm at places people congregate and want to eat – like street fairs, college campuses, parks, and even city streets. You’ll need the proper licenses and permits, but with a food truck you go where the customers gather instead of waiting for them to come to you. Here’s how to start your food truck business.
Coffee houses and tea cafes – The trend towards cozy and cool places to drink coffee socialize continues to grow strongly. It’s fueled by new and standard coffee drinks such as cold brews and sweet rich drinks. To be successful, you need your coffee shop/tea salon to stand out from the competition. Will you offer special craft coffee? Will you offer exceptional pastries? Will your interior design be particularly inviting? You also need a great location with a lot of traffic. Ideally, a lot of foot traffic. Before you lease space, go to the location and count how many people walk by during key time periods. Read more about how to open a coffee shop.
Craft beer production and sales
Develop a specialty food product
Gourmet jam production
International & Specialty Cooking Classes – From your own kitchen demonstrate the cooking techniques and upload your videos, for which you charge an access fee for the course. Or you can rent a demonstration kitchen (often available at universities, high schools, and business incubators) and charge a class fee for students to watch you prepare the dishes.
Mini-market / convenience store.
Wine bar –You are going to need to serve at least some food to make a go of it. So it is pretty similar to a restaurant business, albeit with a distinct twist. It’s higher risk than starting a sandwich shop, let alone some of the simple service businesses on this list. But if you can develop a loyal customer base you can become quite successful. Wine tastings are and selling wines is a natural for wine bars. Like any business you want to carefully evaluate your potential market and customer base before you open your doors.
Not satisfied with these food business ideas? Fill your mind with dozens more from this menu of food business ideas.
Import/export business –Source products overseas and then bring them back to your home country. Then, sell them online through an existing online marketplace like Amazon, Etsy or eBay or your own online store. You should carefully plan out how to position your business. Interesting but unrelated items will be hard to sell. Come up with a strategy and a plan and choose your goods carefully.
Mobile Small Business Ideas
With today’s busy schedules and digital lifestyles, mobile businesses are surging ahead of traditional retailers and service providers. Gone are the days when you had to travel to the salon, now it comes to you! Almost any type of business can go mobile. One of the most popular trends has been for restaurants to move into food trucks, parked at concerts and events.
Consider launching any of these mobile businesses:
Resume writing – Many talented professionals are not very good resume writers. So, there’s a lot of demand and it’s a great online business. Here are 3 secrets to get you going. First, make sure you have plenty of appropriate search engine friendly keywords in the resume. Second, keep it short but not too short – except for top executives I would keep resume length to one page. Third, and most important, make sure that the resumes you write are not just “attendance records.” In other words, don’t just list the job responsibilities for past positions. Instead focus on what the clients accomplished, achieved, and changed. That’s what lands jobs.
Translation service – If you are fluent in other languages besides English, you could create a good business serving different types of companies from manufacturing to medical. These successful small business ideas are good for teachers and students. Here’s how to start a translation business.
Party planning – Since the demand for most parties is on the weekend, it’s a great business to start part time while holding onto your day job. Furthermore, it’s a great business to start small with a very limited service offering and then expand your services as you grow. For children’s parties you could start by just offering magician, clown, face painting or balloon services. You could also have a full-service party planner business by contracting out for any services that you might need. For example for children’s parties you could hire a catering service, clowns, magicians, and dress up actors. You could arrange for the rentals of trampolines and jungle gyms. You could hire a band, a fireworks service and a pony ride service.
Today people rent everything from power washers, to tuxedos and happy birthday signs lawn decorations. Equipment rentals are growing in the party and event industry and in the construction industry. The trend is fueled by current financial situations and the cost of ownership vs the cost of renting.
A fast, easy and relatively low-cost business startup idea is to buy merchandise and resell it. You can be a reseller of new merchandise, or you can set up a resale business selling used merchandise. If you are reselling new merchandis, you buy products at a wholesale price and resell them to your customers at a higher retail price – pocketing the difference as profit. If you resell used goods, you need to find used products to resell that are in good condition and priced low enough to allow you to make a profit.
Drop shipping is a popular way for resellers to operate. A drop shipping business is one in which you sell a product, typically online, but you don’t stock the product or fulfil the order. Instead you forward the order to the manufacturer, a wholesaler, or another retailer, who delivers the product to the customer. To be successful, carefully evaluate the market, your potential customers, your competitors, your potential products and your possible sources. Then you need to develop a well thought out strategy and a business plan. Begin with a very few, carefully chosen products. Then test different promotional venues. Facebook, Instagram and TikTok are among the many possibilities. Plus test different ad copy and different pricing. If your drop shipping business takes off, you may want to change your model to stock and fulfill orders yourself. For more success strategies, grab this ultimate checklist for starting a drop shipping business.
Resale Store – As either an online business or a retail store front, resale is a hot business. Clothing first comes to mind for this business, but you can sell just about anything else from sporting goods to furniture to used books. In addition to products to resell, consider operating your resale store on a consignment basis. That means you don’t actually own the goods and you only pay the source for the goods when you sell them. Other examples of reselling businesses include being an Amazon reseller, vintage designer clothing and refurbished technology. The key to making money as a reseller is to be sure there is a market for the product you want to resell and that they’ll pay the price you need to charge to make a profit.
Amazon Store – Over 200,000 entrepreneurs are making sales of more than $100,000 a year through Amazon. You can start an Amazon store with very little money and even a single product. You also have the option of having Amazon fulfill your orders and ship your products. You will have to pay various fees to sell on Amazon, and the fee structures can vary by product and change frequently. Recently in the US for example, Amazon sellers paid a “referral fee” of about 15% of the selling price. They also paid a monthly flat fee of $39.99 for a professional selling plan, or alternatively $.99 per product on the individual plan. Amazon fulfillment (called “FBA”) primarily charges per item shipped but there are other charges as well, such as for long term storage fees. While it is relatively easy to set up an Amazon store and start selling some products, it is more difficult to build a sustainable, highly profitable business. Selling on Amazon (or anywhere else online) is super competitive.
Antique dealer – The dealers who do best are often known for some kind of specialty. And that’s really the key to this business – focus on one area, get to know the pricing, and learn what kind of items you can turn over quickly. Of course, you can start this business online too. You can start by selling through established online venues like eBay and Etsy. You can build your antique dealership slowly, starting with a few items. And then adding more items and more expensive items to your inventory, as you build your expertise and your confidence.
Apartment building owner
Bartending service for parties and events
Used bookstore or online seller
Bakery – If you love to bake this could be a very satisfying and doable business for you. If you’re thinking about starting a homebased bakery business, check on local regulations first. Depending on where you are located your bakery business might need a commercial kitchen. To start, you may be able to lease space in a commercial kitchen rather than setting up your own. You have a variety of options for selling your food. You could sell it online and ship it out. Or you could sell and arrange for delivery to local food stores or restaurants. Learn more about how to start a bakery business.
eBay business – The key to success in buying and selling on eBay is to develop some sort of specialty, learn the pricing and then buy cheap and sell at a fair market price. When you are starting be careful that you don’t overpay or tie up your money in slow selling products. That being said, you can make a lot of money trading items on eBay. Once you become experienced selling your own products, you could start another sideline posting other people’s items on eBay. You could take the pictures, set up the listings on eBay, and arrange for packing and shipping. You would charge a commission or a flat fee. You get paid when you make a sale. Since you don’t buy inventory, this is a low-cost way to start a business.
Gift basket business – Gift baskets make for great gifts and a great business. You are basically repackaging products made by other companies. But the presentation has to look great and you have to be good at marketing your service.. You can great gift baskets containing packaged foods, candy, cosmetics, soaps, or other specialty items. Your customers may be individuals or businesses.
Gift shop – You can open your gift shop online as well as with a traditional storefront. A well done gift shop is a pleasure to visit. The overall ambience and the sense of discovery make it fun. For a local store, you’ll need a location with good foot traffic such as a busy small town or tourist area. Build a strong online presence, too, and be sure to get customers to sign up for an email list so you can notify them of new items in your store. If you’re thinking about opening a gift shop consider visiting some of the larger gift trade shows to get product ideas – and to get inspired! Here’s what it costs to open a gift store.
Used boat sales – You can do very well buying and selling used boats – or just about anything else. Learn the pricing before you buy a lot of inventory. Focus on the fastest selling, brand name items, even if the profit margins are thinner. And remember, if you are operating in a residential area, keep your boats in your backyard!
Used Industrial Equipment – First consider what industries you are going to target and determine what kind of equipment they are most interested in buying.
Vending machine owner
Business broker – A business brokerage firm is like a real estate brokerage for businesses. You can get started as a business broker with just about no money. Today you don’t even need an office. And if you hire additional brokers you don’t need to pay them a salary – instead you can compensate with a percentage of each sale they make. Commissions are typically in the 10% to 15% range for smaller businesses. The listing firm and the seller firm split the commission, but often a single business brokerage firm does both. Be sure to check on and abide by regulations in your state. Some states require business brokers to be licensed, others don’t.
Manufacturer’s sales representative
Network marketing business
Real estate sales and rentals
Rehabbing homes – A core part of the rehab business is buying the property. You really want to buy the property at a great price. And you want to have a good idea what the property will sell for once you improve it. The best way to do this to really get to know a particular area well and to study the “comps” – what similar properties recently sold for. One of the great things about rehabbing work is that you can pretty much control your own work schedule. Furthermore, if you are careful, any money you have at risk should be fairly well protected by the underlying value of the property. Like with many other businesses, you could start small, such as with a studio apartment project, and then move up from there.
Sales coach or trainer
Printer toner recharging
Agricultural Company Ideas
Love to farm? Enjoy animals? If so, then these agricultural business ideas are ideal for your entrepreneurial venture. In demand, crops include microgreens, specialty mushrooms, and specialty fruit. Agricultural tourism and farmers’ markets are lucrative business opportunities. Here are some popular ideas in this field.
Today’s focus on environmentally friendly products and sustainable companies opens opportunities for green-minded entrepreneurs. Here are some ideas for green small business startups.
Electronic Recycling Home and Office Pickup
The result of our huge almost insatiable desire for new electronic devices is mountains of old electronics and their toxic batteries that need to be properly recycled. These materials are extremely dangerous in standard trash dumps.
Many people do not know how or where to recycle these items. Start a new business that picks up this e-waste trash and take it to your nearest electronics recycling center. Your fees can be based on item weight and travel distance.
Lawn Care Service – Yes this is an evergreen business. Consumers continue to demand lawn care, maintenance, and landscaping services. A great part-time service that you can develop into a substantial firm with hard work and smart marketing.
Get inspired to start your manufacturing business. This list of manufacturing businesses has ideas for all industries including food, agricultural, woodworking, metal crafts, sewing, and technology. Becoming a manufacturer can be quite profitable. Your products can be sold locally, internationally or online greatly expanding your market share.
Business Ideas for Seniors
Starting a new business in retirement is an excellent idea. You can earn extra income, supplement your retirement savings, reduce your tax bill, improve your mental and physical health, pursue your dream of becoming an entrepreneur while passing on your skills and knowledge to the next generation.
Many baby business ideas are ideal for stay at home moms and many have low start-up costs, too. This list of profitable baby and kid business ideas includes baby stores, baby products, baby food lines, baby clothing, toys, services, and family entertainment small business startup ideas.
Trending Small Business Ideas
Apps for Children
Kids are tomorrow’s new customers, so selling products for them today and familiarizing them with your logo is an excellent idea. 75% of children under 8 years of age in America have access to a smartphone or tablet computer.
In the past, television was often called the electronic babysitter today it is more likely that a smartphone is an electronic nanny. Parents, who are probably technically addicted millennials, encourage their children to use software and apps, especially those that teach good health habits and are education oriented.
Focus on developing apps for children in this growing marketplace and on marketing the apps to parents.
Don’t let a recession or other business slowdown stop you from starting a business. Companies may outsource work to save money on labor costs during a recession. Furthermore, some industries are more recession-proof than others.
Here are some businesses that are particularly resilient during an economic downturn: