Best Businesses to Start in Virginia

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Thinking about going into business for yourself in Virginia? Virginia offers savvy entrepreneurs tons of opportunities for success. But it can be a challenge to figure out the best business to start in Virginia. This decision depends on business trends as well as your unique skills. In fact, the best business ideas in Virginia may be ones that rely exclusively on your talents or know-how.

We’ve been helping Virginia small businesses brainstorm ideas for years, and we’ve seen all kinds of entrepreneurs achieve success. Once you’re ready to get your business up and running, our business startup resources and services can help you get started quickly!

The Most Profitable Small Business Ideas in Virginia

Virginia’s low unemployment rate and pro-business tax environment make it a great choice for small business owners. The moment is right for you to start a business too. Maybe there’s something you’re passionate about that you’ve always wanted to turn into a business. Or maybe you’ve noticed a service or product that will fill a need in your area. Below are just 8 of the many businesses that can be profitable in the State of Virginia. 

Idea #1: Short-Term Property Rentals

The short-term rental industry is booming. Even the pandemic hasn’t tempered the overall demand for short-term rental accommodations in scenic places. Now is the time to think about renting out that spare bedroom or converting your old barn into guest quarters. No matter where you are located in the state, the best place to start a business in Virginia for short-term property rental can be right where you are! Just be sure to check state and local tax and zoning laws before listing your property on popular websites. 

Idea #2: Clothing Sales

Virginia is home to many vintage and resale shops, including those offering clothing dating back hundreds of years. The best business to start in Virginia may be opening a fun clothing store. You could choose to sell your wares in a storefront location, but you also have the option of selling exclusively online. 

Idea #3: Customized Tours

Virginia is full of tourist hotspots. From Colonial Williamsburg, to the Virginia-based attractions within the Washington, D.C. area, to Virginia’s civil war battlefields — tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry. Why not claim a piece of that for yourself? Great business ideas in Virginia could include providing customized tours to out-of-towners, depending on your interest, location, and expertise. 

Idea #4: T-Shirt Printing

The tourism industry isn’t just about giving tours. One of the best small businesses to start in Virginia might be printing and selling t-shirts at tourist attractions. Virginia also has many colleges and universities. Offering fun and funny t-shirts for college students with hard-to-find merchandise could be the best business to start in Virginia for you. 

Idea #5: Information Technology

IT is an incredibly important part of Virginia’s economy. There are lots of opportunities here for a savvy entrepreneur to build a great business. Whether you have expertise in providing IT services, manufacturing IT products, or managing data centers, this could be the industry for you. 

Idea #6: Professional Services

A specialized license can help you develop a successful business. As an accountant, licensed personal trainer, or hairstylist you may be able to create a lucrative business using your carefully honed skills. Just make sure to identify the best place to start a business in Virginia, since you don’t want to open your gym in a small town that already has 10 existing gyms.

You can also protect yourself as a professional business owner by starting your company as a professional limited liability company.

Idea #7: Pet Grooming

There’s no doubt about it, people love their pets. In fact, Americans spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on grooming alone in 2021, with more money expected to be spent in coming years. If you’re a dog lover, the best business to start in Virginia might be in pet services. In Virginia, you’ll need a license to operate a pet grooming shop. Some educational requirements may also apply.

With the help of our partners at Avalara, we offer a Business License Report Service. Our comprehensive Business License Report tells you what licenses and permits you need to obtain to operate your pet grooming company so you don’t have to comb through thousands of regulations yourself.

Idea #8: Virtual Assistant 

Many businesses have switched from in-office assistants to virtual assistants. Additionally, busy families and professionals are relying on virtual assistants to help them handle increasingly hectic lives. The best small business in Virginia for you may be to provide virtual assistant services. From your home base, you’d be able to serve clients all over the world. 

Why These Are the Best Small Businesses to Start in Virginia

These businesses are good businesses to start in Virginia because:

  • You can start many of them as home-based businesses 
  • Most of them don’t require a lot of expensive equipment
  • You can run most of them with just your laptop and a fast internet connection
  • Many of them are part of in-demand or growing industries in Virginia
  • They can have significant staying power

Just remember, the best business for you draws on your own expertise. Many successful entrepreneurs have started extremely popular businesses with not-so-mainstream ideas. Don’t let anyone suggest that you can’t make money by following your passion. You can, and we’ll help!

Best Cities in Virginia for Starting a Business

The best place to start a business in Virginia depends upon a number of factors. Some of the most popular places include:

  • Tyson’s Corner / Fairfax County
  • Abingdon
  • Lynchburg
  • Ashland / Richmond-area

These municipalities are scattered all over Virginia. Each city and county has unique benefits and attractions. Check to see which area might be right for you.

Why Form Your Business with Us?

We help you take care of the paperwork so you can get to work faster. And once your business is off the ground, we can help you keep it legally compliant with our Worry-Free Compliance Service. And we’re not just here for the big business events that come up a handful of times in the year. Our extensive catalog of business support services can help you manage your invoices, find business inspiration, and organize your important documents. 

We can help

The best business to start in Virginia could take any number of business entity forms. Whether you want to start a limited liability company (LLC) or corporation with your new business idea, we make it easy to compare business structures. When you’re ready to take the next step, our Virginia LLC and Virginia Corporate Formation Services can help you get your entity formed fast. We also offer a comprehensive suite of business services to get you started. 

Now that you’ve selected your entity type, what are some of the most profitable business ideas in Virginia?


  • Virginia is home to a number of diverse industries, as well as the federal government and military. Because of its history, rich agriculture, and low taxes, Virginia is attractive to businesses from high-tech manufacturing to government consulting.

  • Many Virginia business owners grow their businesses by researching their markets. Many also take advantage of the business resources and opportunities available in the state.

  • There are many franchise opportunities available in Virginia in various industries. Make sure to do your research before committing to a franchise.

  • The best online business to start depends largely on your business skills and business resources, just the same as any brick-and-mortar business. However, a business owner can keep their overhead low and ultimately find a lot of success with online sales.

  • There are many choices when you want to work from home. Online sales and certain food services can be great options for a home-based business.

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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