Looking for inspiration to identify the best small business ideas? With so many business ideas, finding the right one is easier said than done.
It may seem like all of the good business ideas or the best small business ideas have been taken, but they are not. Most successful small business ideas come from individuals who work for someone else but they believe they can do better. Some might start out as employees or apprentices for other businesses and then gradually build up the skills and experience before they set out on their own.
With the right idea and determination, anyone can make their dreams of having their own small business come true. We show you how by walking you through:
Best Small Business Ideas
Here is a list of 51 of the best small business ideas for beginners with the right skill sets.
1. Home Contractor
If you have the experience working for a company that does home repairs or contracting work, then you can fairly easily start your own contracting business where you offer various services to homeowners.
2. Landscaping Business
Starting a landscaping business or lawn care business mainly just requires some equipment, transportation and a steady base of clients. So you don’t need to have business experience to get started.
3. Freelance Writer
If you have writing skills, you can get started with your own writing business fairly easily by offering your services to businesses on a freelance basis.
You can also fairly easily start your own blog where you post about topics that match up with your own experience and expertise.
5. Virtual Assistant
Virtual assistants can offer a variety of different online services to businesses and professionals. A virtual assistant handles email organization and communication, social media scheduling and bookkeeping. You can start a virtual assistant business even if your experience in those areas comes from working for other companies.
6. Home Cleaning Service
For those who enjoy cleaning, or at least don’t mind it, starting a house cleaning business can provide a pretty straightforward path to business ownership.
7. Child Care Service
If you’re a kid person, you can start a child care business out of your home or even offer babysitting services where you go to the family’s home.
A courier is one of the small business ideas that simply provides a service that delivers messages from one person to another. So you don’t need much in the way of supplies or experience in order to get started.
If you’re trained as an accountant, you can build up your own base of business or individual customers and build your own accounting business.
10. Errand Service
You can also start a business that offers various errand services like picking up dry cleaning or groceries.
11. Social Media Consultant
If you’re knowledgeable about social media, you can potentially offer your services to various businesses managing their social media accounts.
12. Social Media Influencer
Or you could focus more on building up your own social media accounts and eventually build your business as a social media influencer. Influencers is one of the small business ideas that can earn an income from posting about various brands and promotions.
13. Etsy Seller
If you have any crafty skills, you can put them to good use by making various items by hand and then selling them on sites like Etsy, which make it fairly easy for beginner business owners.
14. Flea Market Vendor
You can also focus more on selling your goods in person. Flea markets and similar events provide a pretty simple way for new business owners to get started selling various items.
15. Ecommerce Reseller
Even if you don’t necessarily make your own items, you can purchase and resell goods on sites like eBay or Amazon without any prior business experience.
16. Web Designer
If you have knowledge or experience in web design, you can offer your services to clients and build your own business as a web designer.
17. House Painter
You can also take a more low-tech approach and offer services as a house painter for local homeowners or even businesses.
18. Dog Walker
If you enjoy spending time with four-legged friends, you can start a business as a dog walker. Offer services to pet owners who don’t have enough time to walk their dogs regularly.
Starting a food service business is one of the small business ideas that can be pretty involved for a beginner. But if you enjoy making food and want to build your first business around it, you can start a baking business. As a baker, you can sell products or custom creations for events out of your home kitchen.
20. Event Planner
For those who have some strong organizational and communication skills, you can build up a client base and start a business planning weddings or various other events.
If you’re trained in cosmetology, you can start your own business as a hairdresser or hair stylist that travels to clients for events or other occasions.
22. Makeup Artist
Likewise, you can build up a client base and offer makeup services for events, photo shoots or special occasions.
If you’re skilled as a musician, you can build a business where you play at events or venues and earn a portion of the ticket sales or merchandising.
You can also fairly easily start a business offering photography services for events or local clients who want to schedule portrait photoshoots.
25. Car Washing Service or Care Detailer
Car washing or detailing services don’t always need to involve lots of complicated equipment or business acumen. You can set up a location where you provide services to customers. Or as a car detailer you can travel to clients with your detailing supplies.
26. T-shirt Designer
Online services like Redbubble and CafePress make selling custom t-shirts fairly simple. So you can create your own designs and sell them online or even order a supply of them to sell on your own.
27. Coffee Cart Operator
Coffee shops and cafes are one of the small business ideas that can be complicated operations. But you can simplify the process and make it more attainable for a first-time business owner by opting for a coffee cart business instead.
28. Meal Preparation Service
You can also prepare single-serve meals and sell them to consumers out of your home or a simple commercial kitchen as long as you have the supplies and necessary licenses.
29. Antique Refurbisher
For those who enjoy working with antiques, you can start a business where customers can bring you their items for repair or refurbishing.
30. Public Speaker
If you have expertise in a given topic, even if you’ve never had your own business in that niche, you can start a business by offering public speaking services at events or conferences.
31. Personal Trainer
For those who have a lot of experience in physical fitness, you can build up a client base and start working as a personal trainer out of a home gym. Or connect with a commercial gym.
32. Yoga Teacher
Or you could get certified as a yoga instructor and build a business teaching yoga classes. Some of the best business ideas are the simplest.
33. Dance Instructor
If you want to teach more of a variety of movements, you can start your own dance classes out of your home or a local studio.
34. Music Teacher
You can also work one-on-one or in small groups to offer music lessons or classes in various instruments or styles.
Or you could opt to teach in a one-on-one setting in a variety of different subjects. Providing tutoring services to students can be a straightforward way to start your first business.
36. Graphic Designer
If you have any design experience, you can work on attracting your own clients who need things like logo or branding design elements.
37. Tech Support Business
You can also start your own tech support company where you provide assistance to people over the phone or online when they experience tech issues.
Or if you prefer working out of a home instead, you can start a business as a housekeeper that provides various homemaking services for families.
39. Affiliate Marketer
If you’re able to build up your own online network or audience related to a specific topic, you can start working with different brands as an affiliate marketer. Earn a portion of each sale you send their way.
40. YouTube Personality
YouTube also offers a popular platform for people to share information related to a number of different topics. And you can earn a share of ad revenue by posting and promoting your own videos.
You can also start your own podcast and sell advertising space or work with brands to earn an income from your show.
42. eBook Author
Writing a book isn’t exactly an easy undertaking. But it doesn’t require any official business experience to get started publishing and selling your own ebook online.
43. Interior Decorator
You can also start a business as an interior decorator without a lot of expensive equipment or complicated business knowledge.
44. Pool Cleaner
If you want to spend time outside and provide services for local homeowners, pool cleaning is another pretty straightforward service around which you can build a business.
45. Furniture Maker
You can also build or re-purpose your own furniture and then sell it to local boutiques or even at art fairs or similar events.
If you want to work from home or even just build a small side business, you can offer proofreading services to businesses, authors or individuals who want to pay someone to look over their work. The cost for this idea is very low.
47. Resume Service
You can also focus on helping local job seekers who need some help putting together their resumes or cover letters.
48. Scrapbook Maker
If you enjoy scrapbooking, you can actually build a business doing that for customers who want to preserve their memories in a creative way but don’t want to do the work themselves.
49. Clothing Alterations Service
For those who are skilled with a needle and thread, clothing alterations offers a potential business opportunity. It doesn’t require a lot of equipment or prior business knowledge.
As long as you know multiple languages, you can build a business by offering translator services to individuals or businesses in need of assistance converting conversations or documents from one language to another.
51. Uber Driver
The final entry on our list of business ideas is that of becoming an Uber driver. This is one of the top ways entrepreneurs and individuals who want to get into business fast get started today. You can be in business next week! When we travel we always strike up a conversation with Uber drivers and ask how they like it. Most of the time they are very positive. A valid driver’s license, a good driving history, and a reliable vehicle are all musts for this business.
Small Business Ideas Checklist
Now that you’ve seen the list of business ideas, it’s time to evaluate which ones are a good fit. While every business idea on our list is suitable for first-time owners and aspiring entrepreneurs, increase your success chances by doing your homework. When evaluating any small business ideas, here is a checklist of points to consider.
Does the business idea match your skills?
We all have at least one thing we do well. Take stock of your skills and identify what YOU know how to do well. Find business ideas where you can leverage your skills. Example: if you are good at writing and communicating, congratulations. You have a basic skill needed to be a freelance writer. To assess your skills, look at your accomplishments as an employee. Look at experience with school and community projects. Look at your hobbies, too.
Is the business a good fit for your personality?
Pick a business where you will feel comfortable because your personality is a natural fit. If you are an introvert who prefers to work at a computer, then business ideas involving online work may be perfect. If you love interacting with people, then find business ideas that put you face to face with other people. You are more likely to be successful if the role feels comfortable.
Are startup costs within your budget?
Keep your investment in your first business low. Run quick numbers to estimate what it will cost to launch your favorite business idea. Most of the business ideas above cost little to start. But a few may require a bit more investment in marketing, equipment, inventory or supplies. Make sure you can cover the cost.
Is licensing required?
Most of the above business ideas do not require licensing but a few do. For example, certain professions such as home contractors may require licensing. As a condition of that license you may also have to meet other requirements, such as carrying liability insurance. As you research ideas, check with your state, municipality, county or other local authority to identify all requirements.
What do people in similar businesses say?
Strike up a conversation with individuals who currently operate the business types on your short list. See how they feel about their businesses. You can also do research online. Search in Google to find forums and discussion boards for particular occupations, and read what members have to say. Similarly, search for Facebook groups or LinkedIn groups — there are groups for writers, marketers, social media consultants and other entrepreneurs who speak frankly.
Next Step on Your Small Business Ideas
As you evaluate your short list of business ideas using the checklist above, narrow the list down.
Look at these side businesses if possible. A side business keeps your risk low because you can continue to bring in a steady income at the same time you are building a business.
The goal is to identify the one best business idea — for you.
When you have isolated one business you are excited to try, outline a business plan. Address what it will take to launch and operate. Ask for help from friends and family whose opinions you value. Treat these people as your brain trust — your own informal board of directors for your future business.
Whatever business idea you chose – have confidence in yourself. Take action. Success awaits those who try!
Photos via Shutterstock
More in: Develop an Idea