Top 30 Most Profitable Small Businesses During 2008

Previously I wrote about the most profitable small businesses during a recession.  The information came from Sageworks, which aggregates data reported by accountants that use the Sageworks data analysis platform.  The data is from privately held companies, most of which are small businesses.

Several people left comments and emailed me wanting to know some additional businesses that were profitable during what we now know has been a recession since December 2007.  So I went back to Sageworks, and this time have a list of the top 30 most profitable businesses for last year (12/29/2007 – 12/29/2008).

top 30 most profitable small businesses 2008

The number you see next to the description on each line is the government NAICS code (National American Industry Classification).  I looked up some of the codes so that you could see, in plain English, a smattering of the types of small businesses represented.

  • 3. Other Financial Investment Activities – includes investment advisers and portfolio managers
  • 9. Nondepository Credit Intermediation – includes equipment finance leasing companies
  • 15. Other Schools and Instruction – includes dance teachers, music instructors, automobile driving schools, martial arts studios
  • 16. Other Ambulatory Health Care Services – includes ambulance services, stop smoking clinics
  • 17. Other Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services – includes translation services, photography studios, veterinary services
  • 20. Personal Care Services – includes barbershops, beauty salons, nail salons, weight loss centers
  • 22. Land Subdivision – includes real estate developers
  • 23. Specialized Design Services – includes interior designers, graphic designers, commercial artists
  • 26. Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services – includes human resources consultants, marketing consultants, security consultants, environmental consultants
  • 29. Computer Systems Design and Related Services – includes software programmers, Web designers, disaster recovery services, IT consultants/integrators

Surprised by any of these?

Note: for comparison, you might want to look at Scott Shane’s article using U.S. Census data: Are There Recession-proof Small Businesses?

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Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.