Small Business Ideas
Starting a business is exciting. Coming up with new business ideas is usually the first step for entrepreneurs.
Knowing which small business ideas would be the most successful and profitable is easy with our guides and tools.
Recommended: Use our Business Ideas Tool to find the best business ideas for you, or check out our full list of over 800 business ideas.
Great Small Business Ideas
Find the perfect small business idea for your next venture. We've organized our list of small business ideas into these categories:
- Low-Cost Business Ideas
- Home Business Ideas
- Business Ideas for Teachers
- Online Business Ideas
- Business Ideas for Creative People
- Recession-Proof Business Ideas
Browse our full collection of business idea lists in our Business Ideas Categories guide.
For startups, check out our best startup ideas.
Most Profitable Small Business Ideas
If you have a skill or subject matter expertise that could benefit another company, becoming a consultant can be a low-cost, low-investment small business idea. You can start your own consulting business on your terms — working from home or on the road with a flexible schedule — and set your own hours. Consultants typically charge hourly or a set fee and consulting can even include helping with personal and business finances.
Get started with some of our consulting business guides:
2. Cleaning Service
Those with an eye for detail and a knack for tidying up may consider starting a cleaning service. With a potentially small investment, a cleaning business can service many different types of clients and customers. There's always a need for cleaning services, meaning the profit potential is always good.
Get started with our dry cleaning guide.
The beauty industry is booming business, as many people are looking to use their skills and expertise in hair, makeup, and skincare to earn extra money. Beauty businesses can encompass anything from makeup artistry to cosmetic manufacturing and salons.
Get started with these business idea guides:
4. Real Estate
The real estate industry is a thriving and diverse one that offers plenty of opportunities for those who are interested in starting their own venture. There are many different aspects to this field, and it is important to have well-rounded knowledge if you want to succeed.
Get started with these business idea guides:
Recommended: Check out our full list of the most successful small business ideas.
Online Business Ideas
5. Online Courses
Online courses have become increasingly popular because they provide an easy and low-cost way to learn new information. Many online course businesses offer a variety of topics, from business management to computer programming, and offer varying levels of certification. Because of this, you can create multiple courses that cater to different stages of learning.
Get started with our online courses business guide.
6. Social Media
As the popularity of social media continues to rise, so do the business opportunities. Your social media-based business could be about content production, or you could opt to work behind the scenes helping other businesses thrive as a social media manager or consultant. Either way, the potential for profit and the relatively low startup costs are worth considering.
Get started with these business idea guides:
7. Tech Development
There is a growing demand for tech-related services and digital products as businesses continue to move online. Entrepreneurs with a background in coding or development may consider starting their own tech business, either for product creation or for web-based services.
Get started with our web development guide.
8. Graphic Design
If you have an eye for visual arts and creating designs for clients, a graphic design business can be a great way to make your own income and have creative control over your work. Its low startup costs and ongoing expenses make it a great online-based (and home-based) business idea for creative individuals.
Get started with our graphic design business guide.
9. Drop Shipping
Drop shipping is a business model where products are sold without having to carry the inventory yourself. This is done by placing an order with the supplier, and then getting the product delivered directly to your customer. You may consider starting a general drop shipping business or focusing on serving a particular platform like Amazon.
Get started with our drop shipping and Amazon drop shipping business guides.
10. YouTube Channel
YouTube is one of the most popular platforms for broadcasting and sharing video content online. Millions of users tune in to watch videos each day, and many YouTube channels have become very successful thanks to their innovative monetization strategies.
Get started with our YouTube channel guide.
Low Startup Cost Business Ideas
11. Dog Walking
Do you have at least a few hours a day to spare? If so, consider starting your own dog walking business. This is a great low-cost business idea that can be very profitable. There are many benefits to running your own dog walking business. First, you can work from home. Second, you can set your own hours. And third, you can be your own boss.
Get started with our dog walking business guide.
12. Personal Trainer
Individuals with a background in fitness may consider becoming a personal trainer. A personal training business is a low-cost, low-investment business that requires minimal ongoing costs. If you already have equipment, you can base your business from home. Otherwise, many personal trainers offer their services through gyms to keep expenses low.
Get started with our personal training business guide.
13. Event Planning
If you have an eye for detail and are good at multitasking, becoming an event planner could be a low-cost way to start your own business. Clients can vary from weddings to conferences and even larger-scale conventions. You can provide services for multiple types of events or focus on a particular niche.
Get started with our event planning business guide.
14. Property Manager
If you have good skills in communication, leadership, and organization, as well as a knack for multitasking, consider opening a property management company as a low-cost endeavor. A property manager can be a landlord themselves, or they can expand to help multiple landlords or properties.
Get started with our property management business guide.
15. Clothing Boutique
A clothing boutique is a perfect way to start your own fashion-forward apparel company. From T-shirts to clothing for adults and children, your own clothing boutique store can be quite profitable. The success of any apparel store is dependent on the unique selling proposition for your offerings.
Get started with our clothing boutique guide.
For animal-loving entrepreneurs with expertise in pet care, consider starting a pet-sitting business. Pet sitters offer short- and long-term care for clients' animals, either at the clients' home or in the sitter's home. Some sitters only focus on a particular animal such as dogs or cats, while others offer broad services.
Get started with our pet-sitting business guide.
17. Freelance Writing
Entrepreneurs with a love for the written word and working with multiple clients may consider starting a freelance writing business. This can be a low-cost, small-investment enterprise that can provide you with a steady stream of income as well as independence.
Get started with our freelance writing business guide.
18. Car Detailing
Automobile detailing companies provide high-end services to get vehicles looking their best. These businesses typically offer basic car care, such as waxing, polishing, and cleaning exterior surfaces and interior fabrics. The amount you can charge will depend on your clientele, the services you provide, and the level of detail you're willing to put forth.
Get started with our car detailing business guide.
If you love spending time outdoors, a landscaping business might be your best bet. Landscapers work entirely outside and generally earn a few hundred dollars per hour or even several thousand dollars per week. With startup costs limited to some yard tools, you shouldn't have to spend a fortune to start your landscaping business.
Get started with these business idea guides:
Home Business Ideas
A catering business can be a great way to work from home and make your own schedule. Catering businesses can be operated in a number of ways, including as a full-time, or part-time business, and you can either work solo or hire staff and grow your business into a larger enterprise.
Get started with our catering business guide.
21. Foreign Language
There is a growing demand for foreign language skills in today's economy, making it an ideal home-based business opportunity. This is because, with the use of online resources and software, anyone can start and run their own business from the comfort of their own home, providing excellent flexibility and work-life balance. Consider offering your knowledge as a language instructor or as an interpreter.
Get started with our translation agency guide.
22. Home Inspector
With the right certification, you can easily start your own home inspection business from, well, home. Home inspectors review clients' properties, both interior and exterior, to ensure that the building is well-maintained and up-to-date with safety measures. Then, they create reports and make recommendations to their clients on how to proceed with any needed fixes. This business idea requires very little setup — just a proven knowledge of home safety.
Get started with our home inspection business guide.
23. Online Store
A great home business idea to start is your own online store. This is because having an online store allows you to sell products online and take orders over the internet. It is a low-cost small investment business that requires little overhead and has the potential to be one of the more profitable business ideas. This is because online businesses have great potential if you know how to properly market.
Get started with these business idea guides:
24. Professional Organizer
Do you have a flair for organizing? Are you looking for a way to make money from home? If so, consider starting a professional organizer business. There are many reasons why this business could be successful. First, it is a relatively new and growing field. Second, it is something that can be done anywhere in the world. And finally, professional organizers typically charge high fees for their services.
Get started with our professional organizing business guide.
Passive Income Business Ideas
25. Car Wash
A car wash can be one of the best small business ideas for earning passive income due to its popularity. The level of involvement you will have to put into your car wash will ultimately depend on its structure: self-service (drivers washing their own cars) or fully automatic.
Get started with our car wash guide.
26. Airbnb Business
Airbnb saves people money from staying in high-priced hotels and also gives travelers more choices in the types of accommodations they can stay in while offering greater value. If you have space to rent, especially in a desirable location, starting an Airbnb business could generate the passive income you're looking for.
Get started with our Airbnb business guide.
A laundromat business could be an excellent way to provide passive income, and there are many options available for starting a successful laundromat business. Some considerations when starting a laundromat business include location, hours of operation, equipment required, and pricing strategies.
Get started with our laundromat guide.
Unique Small Business Ideas
28. Beer Brewing
Want an idea for a unique business? If so, consider starting a beer brewing business. This industry is growing and there are many opportunities available. This is because, microbrewing and nanobrewing businesses are well suited for college towns and for cities with large populations of educated citizens, especially college-grad millennials who love fancy beer.
Get started with our microbrewery busineass guide.
Axe throwing is a small business idea that may be the most unique of all of them on this business ideas list, providing entertainment for individuals and groups alike. Because axe throwing is a sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages, it's a great option for fun-seeking entrepreneurs wanting something out of bounds.
Get started with our axe-throwing business guide.
30. Rage Room
Rage rooms are all the rage on this list of unique business ideas to start. A rage room is a place where people go to break things, kick things, hit things, and basically release stress and frustration without hurting themselves or others. Consider it therapy for pent-up rage.
Get started with our rage room business guide.
Food Business Ideas
31. Food Truck
Food trucks are a great small business opportunity to consider. First, they offer the chance to serve hot food from a mobile menu, rather than to people who just want a quick snack. Second, starting your own food truck business is relatively inexpensive to start. What's more, the cost of a food truck is relatively low compared to other types of food businesses, including for marketing purposes.
Get started with our food truck business guide.
32. Ice Cream Truck
Starting an ice cream truck company could be a mobile, low-cost small business idea for foodie entrepreneurs. They are less costly than starting your own ice cream shop. Ice cream trucks are a classic business idea, and you could be the next in a long line of entrepreneurs taking advantage of this market niche.
Get started with our ice cream truck business guide.
33. Personal Chef
If you enjoy cooking and are comfortable in the kitchen, consider starting your own personal chef business. Personal chefs typically enjoy higher-end clientele, preparing meals for individuals and small groups or catering larger events such as weddings and corporate conferences. Some personal chefs partner with local businesses, like other restaurants or food markets, to help with planning their catering business menus.
Get started with our personal chef business guide.
34. Specialty Foods
If you have a knack for a certain type of foodstuff, you may find it best to start a shop focused around your culinary craft. Stores that sell specialized sweets and treats can be especially popular in tourist destinations.
Get started with these business idea guides:
Recommended: Check out our full list of the best food business ideas.
Mobile Small Business Ideas
A bookmobile is a unique business that is gaining popularity in locations with few or no bookstores. Bookmobiles are designed to carry books to different locations, not unlike the way a bookmobile service can take books from a local library to places where people are less mobile.
Get started with our bookmobile business guide.
36. Pressure Washing
Pressure washing is a business idea that could earn you decent cash for your time. There is a demand for well-maintained property, and pressure washing could be used to cover this demand. You can clean driveways, sidewalks, and building facade cleaning. As it can become a large home improvement task, pressure washing can be completed by one or a few employees.
Get started with our pressure washing guide.
37. Mobile Pet Grooming
Are you good with animals? Are you willing to invest your own time to be able to make a living by providing pet grooming services? Then consider starting your own mobile pet grooming business. With a mobile pet grooming business, you drive your pet-grooming truck to the pet owner's home for pet cleaning and grooming services. This is a profitable business because you can add a convenience fee to your services because you're taking the time to travel to the pet owner's home.
Get started with our mobile pet grooming business guide.
38. Delivery Service
Delivery services can range from common restaurant delivery services to much more niche deliveries, such as fresh fruit and other small deliveries. If you have enough free time, you can start a delivery business with just a car and a phone. These services are usually low or no-investment startups, but some types of delivery businesses may require you to purchase separate equipment.
Get started with our delivery service guide.
Recommended: Check out our full list of the best mobile business ideas
Recession-Proof Business Ideas
Any healthcare business idea can be a great entry into entrepreneurship. However, one of the best healthcare business ideas in recent times has been the emergence of the “digital clinic,” which is a service that allows patients to get their medical treatment and tests over the internet, providing the highest level of accessibility and portability. Medical-based businesses are a mid-cost, recession-proof opportunity that's sure to stand the test of time.
Learn how to start these healthcare businesses:
40. Consignment Stores
When an economic downturn hits, a variety of businesses face revenue drops or shifts toward lower-priced products. A well-run consignment store, however, can have a bright future because of price flexibility and demand for lower-cost items. Consignment stores are great business ideas for entrepreneurs who want a flexible opportunity to set their own hours and grow into an established business.
Get started with our retail consignment Stores guide.
41. Convenience Store
It can be difficult to make a go of it when you're in a recession, but there are still a number of low-investment, high-profit ventures that you can turn to during times of financial hardship. One is the convenience store. A convenience store can provide a steady stream of business, especially if it's located in an area with good traffic and has high gas prices.
Get started with our convenience Store
42. Information Technology
Information technology is a recession-proof industry with a steady flow of customers who pay an average of $500-$700 an hour, for a range of services. There are a number of information technology small business ventures you can start, including computer support and consulting services.
Get started with our a software development guide.
With childcare being a highly in-demand service with relatively low startup capital needed, there are many reasons to consider starting a childcare business. Daycares can be flexible and provide a range of services that can include care for infants, toddlers, and older kids. Daycare owners should have a working knowledge of child development and be trained in child safety.
Get started with our a daycare guide.
Green Business Ideas
44. Green Cleaning Products
Starting a small, green cleaning products business could be a great way to provide income while making the world a healthy, and environmentally-friendly place. There is a growing market for green cleaning products, so this business idea can be profitable. If you love helping others while making a difference, this is a great business idea for you!
Get started with our green cleaning products business guide.
45. Green Beauty Product
The growth rate of the green beauty product market is substantial, with consumers seeking out products that are made from natural, often organic, ingredients. Many of the products currently available on the market are designed to be safe for home use. Consider starting this type of business if you want to take your small business idea up a few notches.
Get started with our green beauty product business guide.
46. Responsible Landscaping
An environmentally responsible landscaping business is an excellent low-cost, green business idea. Landscape maintenance can be a lucrative business if you offer quality service and focus on environmentally-friendly methods. Whether you have an acre of land or just a couple of flowerbeds, starting your own landscape business can be an excellent small business idea.
Get started with our responsible landscaping business guide.
47. Carbon Offsetting
An effective way of offsetting the effects of global climate change is by selling carbon offsets. An offset is a project somewhere in the world that directly reduces carbon emissions. With an accurate accounting of total emissions and the projects to offset them, you can sell carbon offsets, helping fight the effects of climate change and potentially reducing your own carbon footprint.
Get started with our carbon offsetting business guide.
48. Energy Consulting
If you are looking for green business ideas, consider starting a consulting agency that focuses on creating and maintaining energy-efficient business practices. There are many types of energy-conserving devices and green business practices, and consulting agencies can analyze your business and make recommendations. The types of clients you can attract will vary based on your expertise.
Get started with our energy consulting business guide.
49. Reusable Grocery Bags
If you're looking for a business idea that can save consumers money and help the environment, this business idea should be on your list. Businesses that sell reusable grocery bags can help people avoid the use of single-use plastic bags. These bags are not only reusable, but they're also biodegradable. Not only does this business idea offer environmental benefits, but it also offers savings to customers.
Get started with our reusable grocery bags business guide.
50. Insect Farm
Nowadays, more people are aware of how beneficial insects can be to our environment. Many people are beginning to realize that they can have an insect farm where they raise insects to help preserve the environment, like bees for pollination. Insects are also bred to produce textiles like silk and candles and even natural pesticides.
Get started with our insect farm guide.
51. Community Garden
Community gardens, also called urban gardens or common gardens, are a great way to promote healthy eating and build your community. Community gardens can give residents an opportunity to learn more about growing food for themselves. Community gardens are becoming big business, especially among millennials, with many municipalities offering grants to develop and manage community gardens. It's just a matter of working with local governments to start a community garden.
Get started with our community garden
Recommended: Check out our full list of the best green business ideas.
Homesteader Business Ideas
52. Pumpkin Farm
Pumpkin farms may not be the first thing most people think of, but there are many unique ways to make a profit off a pumpkin farm. Many people sell pumpkins wholesale, some raise giant pumpkins and sell them at farmers' markets or pumpkin festivals, and others simply sell fresh pumpkins to consumers for Thanksgiving or Halloween.
Get started with our pumpkin farm guide.
Starting a greenhouse business is a great way to earn some green. You can use your greenhouse for growing vegetables or flowers year-round and sell your plants to nurseries, garden shops, or even directly to the public. These businesses are profitable because of the high demand for flowers and home-grown vegetables.
Get started with our greenhouse guide.
54. Mushroom Farm
Growing mushrooms is a great way to get into the organic food and beverage business. You don't need extensive knowledge or experience; you don't even have to know what all mushrooms look like. You just need space, some tools, and the willingness to work hands-on with fungi.
Get started with our mushroom farm guide.
55. Hydroponic Farm
Hydroponic farms use water instead of soil to grow plants. Hydroponic farms are gaining in popularity, making a hydroponic farm business a potential business idea for homesteaders. It will take some time to set up, but once in place, a hydroponic farm can generate regular income by supplying produce to local restaurants, farmers' markets, or direct to consumers through roadside stands. Unlike traditional farming, hydroponic farming generates food year-round, meaning you can make money year-round.
Get started with our hydroponic farm guide.
56. Herb Farm
There is a growing trend for people to start and run herb farms as a homestead business. With limited space, resources, and finances they are creating an herb farm with the intention of self-sufficiency. If you enjoy growing herbs, consider starting an herb farm business. You can start with a small herb farm, with a focus on herbs that aren't typically found in the average grocery store or supermarket. Then expand to include the most common herbs, because those are the ones people are familiar with and most desire to purchase.
Get started with our herb farm guide.
Starting a craft business from your homestead is very easy and does not require any big investments. You can sell your work directly to your clients via a marketplace platform like Etsy, or you can showcase your crafts at craft fairs or even start your own craft store. You will need to be creative and make your projects unique and special to attract clients.
Learn how to start these craft businesses:
Popular Small Business Ideas
We feature more than 1,001 business ideas to make finding the perfect idea easier. Some of our most popular business ideas include:
Business Ideas for Kids and Teens
Entrepreneurial spirit doesn't discriminate by age — and neither does success. Anyone can start a business no matter how young or old.
How to Start a Small Business
Once you find a business idea that you're interested in, it's time to take the next step and officially start your business.
The simplest business structure to use is an LLC, as it provides personal liability protection and certain tax benefits. Use our free guide to start your LLC by selecting your state, or choose from the most popular states like California, Florida, and Texas.
Building a business website is the best way to market your business. Every business needs a website if you want your customers to find you.
Recommended: Best LLC Services
Other Business Ideas
If you're eager for an entrepreneurial career but are intimidated by the prospect of creating your own business concept, a franchise can be a great option.
Check out our most popular guides: