There are 31.7 million small businesses in the U.S. and growing, leading to more new business owners turning up every day. They are a great way to get in on the entrepreneur spirit, earn money and even build wealth in many cases. In short, new business ideas are not something we can run out of anytime soon. But how do you find the right small business idea?
If you are looking for inspiration to start your own small business, take a look at these 40 great business ideas for beginners.
How to Choose the Perfect Small Business Idea for Your Own Business
It can be tough to make it in the business world, so make sure your business ideas count. A solid idea for any size business requires a certain level of due diligence, planning and research so that you can make sure it is feasible for your unique situation.
Here are some tips to match the right business idea with your personality, skillset and goals:
- Focus on your skills, experience and preferences. What are you good at? What do you like to do? Are there activities that make you happy and feel fulfilled? When answering these questions, it is important to think about what skills come naturally to you.
- Narrow down your list. Once you have a general idea of the types of businesses that interest you, start researching them on the internet. Then, ask people in your local community and your local businesses to see if any companies match this description.
- Consider what you will need to start the business. Do you have the necessary funds to start a business? Are you able to do all or most of the work yourself to keep costs down? Are your personal and business finances in order? Do you have a business plan? By the way, the SBA has a an excellent free business plan template you can use to write your business plan.
- Make a list of pros and cons. This is an important step for helping you decide whether or not the business is a good fit for you.
- Noodle out the business/lifestyle ratio. The good news is when you work for yourself, you can often set your own hours. The bad news is that you might be working 60+ hours a week, especially during the startup phase. If you believe in balancing business with time for you and your family, then it is important to find a small business idea that will allow for this.
The Ultimate Small Business Ideas List
Now that you’ve decided you’re ready to start a business let’s dig into the list of 40 best small business ideas for beginners. Below, you’ll find ideas about anything from being a virtual assistant to owning a specialty supermarket. By the time you’re finished, you should have plenty of inspiration to get started on the right track to owning a thriving business.
1. Virtual Assistant
If you have strong organizational skills and a knack for detail, consider becoming a virtual assistant, as it is an easy way to get a business started. As a VA, you can support business owners who are too busy or don’t have the time to do everything themselves. You can perform tasks such as managing schedules, booking travel, answering emails and more.
If you’re good with children, starting a childcare business could be the right choice. It requires minimal startup costs and is easy to get started—usually, all you need are some educational certificates or training in early education development. You can begin by offering daycare services for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, school-aged kids and even special needs children.
3. Social Media Consultant
Knowing the ins and outs of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can lead to this lucrative service business. Here, a consultant acts as a social media manager to help enterprises develop their social media accounts and execute a social media strategy. This could include helping create or manage profiles on various platforms, developing and implementing campaigns and more.
4. Instagram Influencer
If you have a large following on places like Instagram, consider becoming an influencer. As an Instagram influencer, you can promote products and services to your followers in exchange for money. You’ll typically be paid per post or by commission for the products you sell. Be sure you read up on the FTC’s Disclosures 101 for Social Media Influencers before starting one of these online businesses though.
5. Etsy Seller
An Etsy shop is a great business idea if you have a creative flair. For the uninitiated, Etsy is a platform where artists and crafters can sell their handmade or vintage items. You’ll need to create a profile with photos of your products, set up payment and shipping information and write a description of your items. Then, when someone buys something from your shop, you’ll need to ship it out.
6. Dog Walking Business
Many people find themselves with more time on their hands than money. However, if you enjoy the company of dogs, dog walking is an easy way to get some extra cash and be your own boss while doing it!
7. Event Planning Business
Consider starting your own event planning business if you love to plan events. As an event planner, you’ll be responsible for all aspects of the event planning process, from budgeting to coordinating vendors to designing invitations.
Do you have a passion for hair and styling? If so, starting your own hair salon could be the perfect business venture for you. It’s relatively easy to start a hair salon—you just need to invest in some basic equipment and supplies. Plus, plenty of online courses are available to help you get started.
9. Yoga Teacher
If you’re a yoga teacher, you can build a yoga business to make money while doing something you love. It’s important to note that starting a yoga studio can be expensive—you’ll need to invest in equipment and rent or purchase space. But if you have the right connections and are willing to put the time and effort into it, you could be looking at a profitable business venture.
10. Landscaping Business
A landscape business is a profitable small business to start if you’re good with your hands and have a love for nature. As a landscaper, you’ll be responsible for designing, installing, and maintaining landscapes and gardens. Tasks you’ll be doing could include mowing lawns, planting flowers, trimming trees and more.
11. SEO Consultant
A consulting business is one of the more lucrative ideas on this list. And if you are knowledgeable about search engine optimization, being an SEO consultant is an excellent small business idea. An SEO consultant analyzes a client’s website and makes recommendations for improving its search engine rankings. You can provide your consultation services to businesses who need them, or you could even start an agency offering these types of services.
12. Web Development
For online business ideas, you really can’t beat web development. A web developer designs websites, creates content for them, tests their functionality and ensures they function properly. Web development makes for a great side business, especially if you like tech. But, of course, it is a great business to own and do as a full-time job too.
13. Digital Marketing
Another up-and-coming business is digital marketing. Business owners here are responsible for building and promoting websites. Here’s what you do: You build a website, promote it on channels like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc., use SEO to improve its ranking in search engines (Google/Yahoo), manage online advertising campaigns, update company collateral with new messages that fit the online branding and so on.
14. Professional Photography Business
If you have some starting capital, consider investing in equipment and offering photography services online. Areas you can go into include concert photography or LinkIn professional photos. Also, you can upload pictures to photo-sharing sites for royalties and sell them as prints or on products like phone cases, T-shirts etc.
15. Visual Artist
This is the best business for graffiti artists and spray paint artists. You won’t be a starving artist if you’re good, and both options allow you to obtain gainful employment. While it will be a challenge to get as rich as artists like David Choe and Banksy, visual artists can make anywhere from $16 to $70 per hour by mastering their spray cans.
16. Sign Company
There is a big push right now to make older neon signs more eco-conscious by replacing them with greener LED-powered signage. Fortunately, that’s creating a big niche, especially in California, where they are trying to reach a decarbonized electric grid. So, if you have a knack for business and design, consider starting your own sign company.
17. Acting Coach
If you want to become an acting coach in the United States, it’s important that you have proper training first. Usually, at least two years of college or conservatory-level courses are required before being certified by the state.
18. Accounting Business
If you’re an accountant, starting your own accounting firm could be a great way to make money. You can offer services such as bookkeeping, tax preparation, and consulting.
19. Bookkeeping Business
This business is accounting without the hassle of tax preparation and consulting. So if you love numbers and are good at bookkeeping, consider starting your own bookkeeping service. You can offer bookkeeping services for small businesses as well as for individuals.
20. Personal Chef Service
If you have a passion for cooking, consider starting your own personal chef service. As a personal chef, you’ll be responsible for preparing meals for your clients—either in their homes or yours. This could include anything from breakfast to dinner to a whole week of meals.
If you have a way with words and an eye for style, blogging could be perfect for you. First, you’ll need to get a domain and your own website, but the rest is up to you. When you create an online presence, you can monetize your blog and generate revenue from ads and affiliate links.
22. Online Store
If you have an eye for fashion or design, consider starting your own e-commerce store. You can sell anything from clothing and accessories to home decor and furniture.
23. Graphic Designer
Graphic designers create visual concepts using images, words or other elements for companies in need of marketing materials. All it takes to get started is a degree in graphic design, a digital diploma or mad skills in Photoshop and Illustrator (and talent, of course).
24. Personal Trainer
If you’re passionate about fitness and helping others achieve their health goals, consider providing personal training services. You’ll be responsible for designing custom workout programs and helping your clients reach their fitness goals.
25. Catering Business
If you love to cook, consider starting your own catering business. As a caterer, you’ll be responsible for preparing and serving food at events such as weddings, corporate functions, and birthday parties.
26. Ice Cream Shop
Ice cream shops are a great small business for someone with limited startup funds, as most require a relatively small initial investment to get started. If you ever want some inspiration, read about kid CEO “Beau” Tracy Shell. He started his ice cream catering business Lil’ Ice Cream Dude when he was eight. In 2019, he opened his own ice cream shop Lil’ Ice Cream Dude’s Cool World at the ripe old age of 15.
27. Clothing Boutique
If you have a way with style and an eye for fashion, consider opening your own clothing boutique. You can sell anything from jewelry to accessories to clothes and shoes.
28. Coffee Shop
You’ve probably heard of Starbucks, but there are still plenty of opportunities out there if you want to start your own coffee shop or café—especially if you’re willing to put in the extra effort to differentiate yourself from the competition.
29. Hot Spot Owner
The great thing about starting a hot spot is that you can do it anywhere—all you need is a space, Wifi and desktops or laptops. You can then start charging for people to come work from your space (co-working), listen to music or just hang out. Better yet, combine it with your coffee shop to have another source of revenue going
30. Health Coach
If you’re passionate about health and fitness, consider launching your own wellness business. As a coach, you can help others achieve their health goals through exercise routines and nutritional advice.
31. Car Detailing Business
Detailing cars is a great way to make money on the side. In addition, it’s a relatively low-cost business to start, as you can get started with just some cleaning supplies and your own labor.
32. Asphalt Maintenance Company Business
If you have a van or large truck, consider starting your own asphalt maintenance company. You will be responsible for sealing and repairing cracks in parking lots and driveways with asphalt sealants like epoxy resin crack fillers (a polyurethane material).
33. Pressure Washing Company Business
Pressure washing is a great business to start if you’re looking for something relatively low-cost and easy to get started. You can start by buying a pressure washer, some cleaning supplies and getting insurance.
34. Junk Removal Business
Junk removal is a great business for someone who doesn’t mind getting their hands dirty. It can be a relatively low-cost business to start, and you can get started with just a few tools and supplies.
35. Food Truck Business
Owning a food truck is one of the most profitable business ideas on this list of business ideas. If you have a love for food and cooking, starting your own food truck business could be the perfect venture for you. To start a food truck, you’ll need to consider factors such as startup costs, equipment needs (i.e., refrigeration), location requirements, and how much you’ll need to charge for your food.
If you get tired of the same hum-drum, cookie-cutter supermarket chains, know this: Everyone else is too! That reason is why starting a specialty supermarket can be a lucrative business venture. As the name suggests, a specialty supermarket focuses on selling unique and hard-to-find items that you won’t find at your local Walmart or Safeway.
37. Home Contractor
If you have experience in home repairs or remodeling, consider starting your own home contractor business. As a contractor, you’ll be responsible for repairing and renovating homes and apartments.
38. Handyperson Service Provider
Handypersons are in high demand for home repairs. But if you get started with a small business of your own, you can offer additional services like organizing closets and garages.
39. Raise Honeybees
Of all the home business ideas on the list, this one is the sweetest! Honeybees are in high demand, and with a little bit of startup capital and know-how, you can start your own honeybee farm. First, you’ll need to purchase hives, bees, and other supplies like pollen patties, smokers and special apparel that helps keep bees out of your clothes.
40. Flea or Farmer’s Market Vendor
If you’re crafty and enjoy selling your creations, consider becoming a flea market vendor. It can be a great way to make some extra money on the side, and you’ll have the freedom to sell whatever you want!
Start Setting Up Your Own Small Business and Use this Guide for Inspiration
There you have it—40 small business ideas to get future small business owners started! Meanwhile, if you want more chances to enjoy a successful business, it’s important to create a business plan and get your business finances in order before you launch it.
However, if you’re still having difficulty deciding what type of business to start, consider using this guide as inspiration. These businesses are all relatively low-cost and easy to start, so you can rest assured that you won’t be breaking the bank. And who knows? With a little bit of effort, you just might find your next million-dollar idea!
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