1001 Small Business Ideas

Browse our small business ideas below!

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:

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 on 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 (artists, 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.

Startup opportunities abound, so learn to find real business opportunities and avoid scams. Here are ways to evaluate business ideas by deciding what type of business to start.

A deeper look into finding new business ideas: More ways to find business ideas

Once you find a business idea you think you’d like to start, check out our how-to-start-a-business guide to find out how to get ready to launch the business.

Then follow this template to write a business plan. If you already know what business you want to start or want to protect yourself from being personally liable, you can create an LLC or a corporation now.

Small Town Business Ideas

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:

  • Bagel shop
  • Car wash
  • Coffee shop
  • Clothing store

Small town service businesses to consider include:

  • Gardening and lawn care services
  • Home repair services
  • Home help for senior citizens
  • Kitchen remodeling

These are just a few of the possible businesses suited for a local startup. Check this list of 66 small-town business ideas for more suggestions.

Home-Based Small Business Ideas

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:

  • Jewelry
  • Gift cards
  • Soaps
  • Candles
  • Sculptures
  • T-shirts
  • T-shirts
  • Clothing
  • Home decor

But there are many other types of home businesses that may be more profitable to consider.

This list of home business ideas to start with little or no money includes estimates on the amount of money you might make in each one.

Online Business Ideas

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 an inventory, you can create e-products and e-training 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.

Learn more about how to find wholesale products to sell online.

Here are some trending online business ideas

Digital products and services

Here are some more examples of digital products and services you might sell:

  • Voice-over service
  • Video editor
  • Online courses
  • Freelance writer
  • Ebooks
  • Email marketing services

Get more online business ideas and research

Specialize in a niche

Specialization, aiming at a smaller niche, focusing on a more precise target market, can make all the difference in getting your business going, getting it found, and producing revenue.

A great niche can help you:

Basically, defining a target market and niche that’s both “specific enough” AND currently underserve in the world will help you with everything… literally.

Examples of niche businesses

There are companies that have grown big selling things like casual shirts, comfortable underwear, and even beard oil. You can come up with niches you could serve if you think about what you sell and who might need it. Here are just a few business niche examples.

Business Ideas with under $100 Startup Costs

Want to start your business – but you have no money? No problem. Check out this big list of profitable small business ideas with low startup costs – some cost nothing. All are under $100!

Research further into ways to start and fund your business cheaply:

Freelancer and Gig Economy

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 of 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.

Trending Business Idea for Women

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.

Those are just the tip of the iceberg.

Startups for Men

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.  

There are many other choices, of course. Here are 39 small business ideas for men.

Related: Want to start a business but don’t have any ideas? Read our comprehensive guide for new entrepreneurs.

Business Ideas for Teens

It can be difficult to make much money when you are a teenager. During the school year, you may not have much time to work. And jobs you can get any time of the year are likely to pay minimum wage. If you think outside the box, you may be able to make more by starting your own business.

Teenagers are the next wave of entrepreneurs

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:

  • Event Promotion
  • Social Media Influencer

For more ideas,

See this list of business ideas for college students to start.

Easy Business Ideas for Beginner Entrepreneurs

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.

  • Artist
  • Art dealer
  • Art broker
  • Art gallery
  • Art instructor
  • Children book illustrator
  • Draw caricatures
  • Paint wall murals
  • Greeting card designer

If none of these ideas for artists are to your liking, get inspired by these additional art business ideas.

Automotive Business Ideas

  • Auto parts sales
  • Auto repair garage
  • Brake replacement and repair
  • Body Shop
  • Car wash
  • Car accessories business
  • Gas station
  • Limo service
  • Mobile car tune-up service
  • Muffler shop
  • Tow truck service
  • Car delivery and pick up

Need more ideas?

Put your foot on the entrepreneurial pedal with these additional automotive business ideas.

Beauty Business Ideas

The beauty industry can be pretty profitable (pun intended).

It is a huge industry at over $511 billion in revenue globally. If you want to capture your piece of the action, consider these beauty business ideas

Beauty business suggestions

Want more beauty business ideas? Read this full list of beauty business ideas.

Business and Consumer Services

Here’s how you can start your own delivery service business.

Handyman Business Resources

Here are several business models for a handyman business.

Get started in the Landscaping Business

Here’s how to get started in a landscaping business.

  • Lead generation service
  • Limousine service
  • Loan consultant
  • Locksmith
  • Magician
  • Mailing service
  • Market research
  • Marketing agency
  • Masonry and paving for homeowners
  • Meal preparation service
  • Medical claims billing service
  • Medical transcription

Fitness Business Resources
Here’s how to start your own gym or fitness club.

  • Personal fitness trainer
  • Personal concierge / personal shopper
  • Personal chef
  • Pet clothing
  • Pet grooming
  • Pet sitting
  • Pet walking
  • Pet waste cleanup
  • Pest control service
  • Plant care and watering services for businesses
  • Plumber
  • Pool sales and service

Photography side hustle

You can also start your photography business as a side gig and grow it into

  • Power washing service
  • Public relations agency
  • Public speaker
  • Real estate appraiser
  • Remodeling service
  • Researcher
  • Reupholster furniture
  • Seminar producer
  • Swimming pool installation
  • Swimming pool maintenance
  • Tailor
  • Tax preparation
  • Telemarketing service
  • Telephone service reseller
  • Test prep coach
  • Tool rental
  • Travel agency
  • Tutor music
  • Tree trimming and removal
  • Tutor
  • TV installation
  • Veterinarian
  • Walking tours
  • Water taxi service
  • Wig store
  • Window cleaning

Computer and Internet

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.:

  • Agricultural consultant
  • Air quality consultant
  • Business improvement consultant
    Make money helping businesses identify problems and find solutions.
  • Coach (personal or business) or mentor
  • Computer consultant
  • Diversity consultant
  • Engineering consultant
  • Environmental consultant
  • Expert witness
  • Failure analysis/evaluation
  • Fitness consultant
  • 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
  • Healthcare consultant
  • Hospital management consulting
  • Human resources consultant
  • Image consultant
  • International consultant
  • Internet marketing consultant
  • Labor relations consultant
  • Social media consultant
  • IT consultant
  • Marketing consultant
  • Medical office consultant
  • Personnel management consulting
  • Product development consultant
  • Proposal consultant (government contracts)
  • Proposal consultant (grants)
  • Retail consultant
  • Risk management consultant
  • Safety consultant
  • Sales consultant
  • Security consultant
  • Skincare consultant
  • Total quality management consultant
  • Training consultant
  • Utility auditing consultant
  • Make up consultant
  • Wedding consultant

Consulting Resources

Get started by reading how to start your own consulting business.

Then check out this list of the best consulting businesses to start.


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.

Related: How to Get Started Selling on Etsy

Editorial, Graphic Arts, Publishing

Publish your book

Here’s how to get a book published.

  • Book indexer
  • Internet publisher
  • Literary agent
  • Multimedia presentation creation
  • Newsletter production for clients
  • Nonfiction writer
  • Novelist
  • Proofreader
  • Publicist
  • Subscription newsletter
  • Translator
  • Video animator
  • Video editing
  • Videographer

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:

  • Agent
  • Ballet studio
  • Bandleader
  • Comedian
  • Dance company
  • Dancer
  • Dance teacher – Dance studios can be very lucrative. Students of all ages want to learn how to express themselves, and stay healthy, by dancing.
  • DJ
  • Entertainment services – Do performances for special events such as plays, conferences and parties
  • Home entertainment theater installation

Discover more business ideas in the entertainment field here

Fashion Business Startups

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:

  • Bridal wedding dress designer
  • Fashion TV show host
  • Pattern maker
  • Fashion illustrator
  • Photo stylists
  • Accessory designer
  • Vintage store
  • textile designer

Read the full list of fashion business ideas here

Food Small Business Ideas

Attention foodies! There are many tasty (and profitable) food business ideas to make money from your love of food. A few examples:

Not satisfied with these food business ideas?

Fill your mind with dozens more from this menu of food business idea


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:

Read dozens more ideas on this list of more mobile business ideas.

Office Services

Planning and Organizing

Start a Business Today

Let ZenBusiness Simplify the Process


Rental Business

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.

Some rental businesses to consider:

Here are more rental business ideas/rental-business-ideas/.  

Drop Shipping and Reseller Ideas

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.

There are plenty of products that you could resell. Here’s a list of 33 reseller business ideas

Retail and Commercial


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.

Get more ideas for running an agricultural business here

Business Ideas for Vacant Land

If you own land you can make money in your own business. No you do not need to invest in development or build buildings to create cash flow.

There are many creative ways to profit even from empty lots such as farmers markets, wind farms, campground and storage yards.

Learn tons of new ways to make money from raw land on my list of business ideas for vacant land here

Business Ideas for Empty Warehouses

If you own an empty warehouse, you have two major options. You can sell it for an immediate profit, or you can use this empty warehouse space to make money.

If you consider yourself to be a bit of an entrepreneur, you’ll want to use this space as a source of continuous income. Here are some business ideas to get you started:

If those ideas don’t suit you, see this more extensive list of money-making business ideas for empty spaces.

Green Small Business Ideas

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 ServiceYes 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.

If you love the outdoors and gardening this could be the ideal startup for you. Best way to start a lawn care business.

Here are dozens more ideas for green businesses to start.

Small Manufacturing Businesses

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.

Read these best business ideas for seniors

Learn about the Do and Don’ts of starting a business after retirement

Baby Business Ideas

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.

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.

To get started, read these suggestions for how to start an app business.

Business Ideas to Start in a Recession

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:

Read the full list of recession-proof business ideas here

Check the list of cost of business licenses by US States here

Learn how to sell your business idea to investors or to a company – step by step

All small businesses need legal services for their LLC formation, sales contracts, partnership agreements, and trademark registrations. Read this comparison of online legal service providers.

Don’t let lack of funds stall your entrepreneurial plans. See how you could be starting a small business with no money.

Now you have the list of new business ideas get going and make this your entrepreneurial year.

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