These great business ideas provide opportunities for entrepreneurs who want to start a new business, whether they’ve run a business before or want to start their first company.
- Many of the best small business ideas are related to the online business model.
- Choose a business idea that you are knowledgeable about and passionate about. Create a detailed business plan.
- Before starting a business, determine whether there is a demand for the product or service you want.
- This article is for anyone looking for inspiration to get started.
If you’re considering starting a business, you should consider whether your idea fills a need in how people approach their lifestyles and work. You may have a great business idea if you identify an unmet need and a target market. But how do you come up with a good idea in the first place? This list of business ideas includes 25 great types of businesses to help you find success.
25 Best low-investment small ideas
This 25 great business ideas list will help you start your entrepreneurial journey. Note that many of the ideas below only require having a credit card processing partner to get started. So you can keep the upfront costs relatively low.
1. Online reselling
If you are interested in selling clothes, you can consider starting an online reseller business. While fashion takes time, passion, and an eye, you can start your business as a side hustle and turn it into a full-time resale business. You can begin selling unwanted clothing and items using online shopping websites like Poshmark and Mercari, then expand to your resale website.
Browse estate sales and flea markets for hidden finds at bargain prices, then list for a profit online. If you’re diligent enough, you can amass a significant inventory of very few overlapping items in good shape and search for the right places.
2. Pet sitting
About 70% of US households own a pet. When these families are gone for long periods, your small pet-sitting business can give them peace of mind. As a pet sitter, you will supervise your clients’ dogs, cats, or other pets in their homes. As part of the job, you will need to feed them, water them, play with them and walk them (with dogs) as required. To help keep customers happy, you should regularly update them on how their pets are doing.
Pet sitting can be an especially apt small business idea if you have other sources of income that require nothing more than an internet connection and a laptop. Almost all pet owners will be happy to let you work on your computer while they spend time at home with their pets. This means you can manage two streams of income at the same time.
3. T-shirt printing
If you have a sense of fashion (or a sense of humor), then you might enjoy T-shirt printing. You can also license someone else’s designs and display them on a blank tee. However, if you have the space for a T-shirt printing machine, you can quickly get the necessary tools to get started.
4. Cleaning service
You can quickly turn it into a business if you want to clean. You can offer cleaning services to homeowners, apartment complexes, and commercial properties with several staff members, multiple cleaning supplies, and transportation. Most cleaning services charge $25 to $50 an hour. Cleaning services – a simple business that requires relatively little overhead; it just takes planning, passion, and marketing to attract customers.
If you want to differentiate yourself from other cleaning services, consider adding premium options like floor wax or exterior power wash for an additional fee. These services can decide between your new cleaning service and established companies that maintain a client list too large to provide this level of cleaning.
5. Online training
The demand for online education has opened opportunities for entrepreneurs. Since this is an online business, you can choose any subject you know and teach the course from anywhere. If you don’t have advanced knowledge in any subject, consider teaching English to study abroad students online.
6. Online bookkeeping
As with education, technology has allowed it to conduct many bookkeeping services online. If you are an accountant or bookkeeper who wants the freedom and autonomy to run your own business, start your online bookkeeping service by taking advantage of modern technology.
Consulting can be profitable if you are knowledgeable and passionate about a specific topic (such as business, social media, marketing, human resources, leadership, or communications). You can start a consulting firm on your own. Then grow your business, and over time you can hire other consultants.
8. Medical courier service
If you have a reliable vehicle and good time management skills, consider starting your service– specifically, a medical courier service. As a driver, you will be responsible for transporting medical items such as lab samples, prescription drugs, and equipment. You can start your own courier business or hire other drivers to work for you.
9. App development
If you are tech-savvy and experienced, you may want to consider a career in software development. Smartphones are an everyday accessory for many Americans, which has increased the demand for mobile apps. Similarly, virtual reality applications have also become popular in recent years. Therefore, there is also a demand for VR software development.
10. Transcription service
If you have a good ear and can type quickly, a transcription service will allow you to work from home with a flexible schedule. Medical transcription services are especially needed as voice recognition technology proliferates for dictation by medical professionals.
You can accept as many or as few transcription jobs as you want. This flexibility can be advantageous if you don’t want to start all at once or have a routine you want to keep. To increase your business prospects and justify charging more, consider becoming a certified transcriptionist and delving into several specialties.
Medical transcriptions typically pay anywhere from 6 to 14 cents per line, which adds up quickly. The typical turnaround time for transcription jobs is 24 hours. That’s why staying on top of what you take is essential. But the ability to only accept a few requests at first means you can expand as you’re ready. Best of all, startup costs and overhead are meager. All you need is a computer, the appropriate software, and a secure messaging service.
11. Professional organizing
Are they looking for a business idea that can genuinely bring joy? Professional organizers like Marie Kondo also help people and minimize for living. In the age of materialism and the pursuit of wealth, many are eager to defile and control their possessions. Minimalism is becoming extremely popular, but people often find it difficult to part with what they have had for a long time. Part of being a professional organizer is helping clients develop a downsizing system.
If you’re a highly organized person who enjoys making spaces functional and comfortable, you might be good at teaching others to do the same. People will pay you to help them build a way to minimize their possessions and maintain an organized space.
To promote your business, ask if your clients will allow you to take before and after pictures of the areas of their homes that you’re organizing. If so, you can use those portfolios to create a portfolio that you can post on social media to attract more clients.
12. Freelance copywriting or content writing
If you are a natural wordsmith with some marketing knowledge, you can establish yourself as a freelance copywriter or content writer. Many companies will pay for your services if you write blogs, web content, or press releases. Increase your value by using your SEO knowledge to help clients develop a strategy around specific keywords that their target audience is already operating in their online searches.
Freelance copywriting is a great business because you can work as long as you have an internet connection. It’s a business you can do from the comfort of your own home or even on the go if you’re traveling. You can even freelance full-time if you build a large enough network and get referrals from satisfied clients.
13. Home care service
There is a huge opportunity to help homebound seniors with home care and hospitality. It’s also a service that will only grow in demand. The population over 85 is projected to triple from 6.7 million to 19 million between 2020 and 2060, according to the Census Bureau. The global number of centenarians (people over 100 years old) has already reached 600,000. Many need care and support, often in their own homes.
Fortunately, you don’t need a background in health care to help seniors and build a successful business simultaneously, although these skills will also be in demand. Many seniors need help with all kinds of chores around the house or doing repairs. As you gain experience, you can consider expanding your business to help seniors move from their homes to assisted living facilities.
14. Translation service
According to research by IBISWorld, like many industries, the translation services sector has seen a decline in 2020; however, IBISWorld predicts a “huge uptick” for the industry over the next five years. The growth of this program is not surprising, as the Internet has opened up entrepreneurs in other countries to English-speaking markets and vice versa.
This trend has created an opening for multilingual speakers to offer specific services such as document translation and translation of website information into languages for use in other markets. If you are fluent in multiple languages, you can be successful in carving a niche in the translation services industry.
15. Digital marketing
The importance of the Internet is growing daily, but it is also becoming more difficult for businesses to cut through the online clutter and market themselves properly. Digital marketing services are always in demand. However, many small and medium-sized companies prefer outsourcing over building an expensive in-house team.
Suppose you have chops in SEO, content marketing, pay-per-click advertising, web development, or social media management. In that case, you can take advantage of a business opportunity that allows you the freedom to work from home.
Digital marketing is essential to any brand, so you must respond to developments in your customers’ marketing strategies. Social media management involves tracking comments and messages around the clock, not just scheduling posts with a set-it-it mindset.
If you enjoy strategizing and carefully executing marketing plans, digital marketing may be the right business for you. You can also consider becoming an affiliate marketer, another form of digital marketing.
16. Owning a food truck
Food trucks come in all shapes and sizes, serving various snacks and cuisines. Take your favorite style of cooking on the go. Sell your culinary passions directly to hungry customers. Sure, you’ll be working, but you’ll be in a space you’re passionate about. There is a chance to connect with people with similar interests.
Starting a food truck might sound like a wild idea, but the industry is booming. Overhead and upkeep for a truck are significantly less than for a restaurant. You have the added benefit of moving.
17. Lawn care service
If you grew up with lawns, your parents probably made you want to maintain them. While lawn care can be stressful for many, for some, it brings peace and comfort. Working outdoors with your hands to tame and beautify the natural landscape can be a rewarding experience. But since so many people are attracted to this business, it can also be profitable.
Lawn care services require essential equipment, a trailer, and possibly some workers, depending on how many customers you have and how big the jobs are. You can grow a small lawn care service into a full-fledged landscaping company by offering premium services and building a reputation as a brand that does everything with a smile. This could be your business if you enjoy working outdoors and creating elegant landscapes.
18. Rideshare driving
If starting your own business seems scary or too risky, you can always become a rideshare driver using your car. The rideshare service puts the onus and responsibility of running the company on you, giving you the freedom to work as much or as little as you want. Rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft allow people to start side hustles that pay well and require little more than the desire to drive people to their places and the occasional friendly chat.
Rideshare drivers have the independence of a small business owner without the heavy workload required to manage the logistics behind it. If any other business ideas require too much effort or upfront capital, then ridesharing may be the way to dip your toe into entrepreneurship.
19. Real estate
For many people, walking the housing market is of great importance. As a real estate agent, you can help people find their dream home at a price that fits their budget. In many states, you only need to complete a few months of classes and pass an exam to qualify as a real estate agent. Remember that even with certification, you’ll need strong social skills. So if you are not a people person, this may not be your path.
20. Graphic design
Corporations, small businesses, and sole proprietors need eye-catching promotional materials, but not everyone has an eye for what looks good. If you’re artistic and can organize content in a visually pleasing format, start a graphic design business to deliver flyers, digital ads, posters, and other engaging visual materials. Graphic design requires little physical equipment beyond a laptop and desk.
Not all companies that sell goods store them on the site. In drop-shipping, people running e-commerce sites go to a third party to fulfill all orders. The third party is most likely a wholesaler or entity carrying out the warehouse and shipbuilding operation. The minimal inventory and tools needed for drop-shipping is a great startup idea, especially if you’re worried about overhead startup and physical space.
22. Personal training
If the gym is your second home, you may want to share some of your experiences and help others achieve their fitness goals. As a personal trainer, you can offer your clients home workouts that cater to every athletic ability. You can also help clients create personalized nutrition and meal plans, so their diets complement their fitness goals.
Many personal trainers start their clients’ shopping process with social media pages detailing their experiences at the gym, along with some motivational quotes. While certification can help expand your customer base, it does not require any special training to start this type of business legally.
23. Resume writing
People apply for jobs all the time. Whether they want to make a career change, increase their salary, or change their work environment. Of course, most job applications require candidates to send resumes detailing their professional backgrounds. As a resume writer, you can help job applicants’ resumes stand out from the competition.
You’ll also help your clients create cover letters and portfolios that showcase the best of their work. You don’t need special schooling to become a resume writer—just some essential organization and proofreading skills. If you know how to make painters look professional and ready for the eyes of employers, you’re off to a great start.
24. Podcast hosting
Podcasts have become extremely popular. There are over 100 million active podcast listeners in the US alone. Best of all, you can start a podcast on any topic that interests you. From business to history to pop culture and more.
Starting a podcast requires a basic understanding of sequence and dedication and audio editing (and video editing if you want to create a companion YouTube channel for subscribers to watch).
Once your podcast has a significant following, you can sell time to advertisers or partner with revenue-generating companies. As your brand grows, you can get paid to speak at events or moderate panels on topics your podcast focuses on. Of course, to reach this level, you need to come up with a unique idea that you are passionate about and knowledgeable about. Then make sure you can relate to your target audience.
25. Event catering
Do you have a passion for culinary arts? If so, event catering could be a great business idea for you. Many people need delicious food to serve their guests. Be it at parties, weddings, pulka parties, or family gatherings. If you love cooking or baking and serving hungry guests, event catering can be a fun and profitable way to do it.
You’ll need to set up a menu and price sheet and obtain all the necessary permits and licenses to get started. Start small to get the word out about your food service. But when your food speaks for itself, don’t be surprised if your business grows by leaps and bounds through word of mouth alone.
What are the most successful small businesses?
Small businesses that do website design, a subset of digital marketing, are among the top selling and most profitable. People learn about business online more often than any other way. Therefore, it is not so difficult to find customers and a steady stream of income. Cleaning services and property businesses also have high success rates. According to this logic – all people need houses. They prefer them to be clean.
What would be an excellent small business to start?
If you want to maximize your profits while minimizing your workload, try any of the most successful small business ideas; however, if you are more interested in pursuing your passions while making enough money to live on, start a small business that fulfills you.
It requires you to use your skills and offers an excellent work-life balance. There are so many great business ideas out there – and you know better than anyone that small business ideas can bring you happiness, success, and stability.
How can I start my own business without money?
You don’t need money to own a small business. The first step to starting a business with no money is to keep your current job and start your small business as a side hustle. Next, develop your business plan and analyze your consumer base, market, and potential challenges.
Near the final stages of planning, you’ll have a better idea of how much money you need to make your business full-time. You can find this money through crowdfunding platforms and investors. Take a business loan only as a last resort.
You should also work with trusted professionals, including an attorney and accountant. Most businesses on this list require a special permit or license. Legal advice can help you do all this by the book. Meanwhile, the accountant is essential to manage the finances properly. Especially in the early days, you’re still building your income stream.
Although these professionals represent an upfront cost, they are well worth it and can help you build a healthy business.
How do I start a small business from home?
Home businesses are usually the most convenient and manageable. That said, not all great business ideas are suitable for home offices.
So make sure your business can be run from home – jobs with on-site and heavy in-person requirements may not be suitable. Include any office supplies and tools that make your online business ideas possible in your business plan and budget. For example, personal business computers, appropriate desks, high-speed Internet, filing cabinets, and business website.
What makes a good home business idea?
Good work-from-home small business idea boasts the following features:
- Minimal inventory and supplies: Chances are your home isn’t a kiosk (yet), and you only have so much room to store merchandise and food. If you want to work from home, lawn care is probably not the way to go. The same can be true for T-shirt printing if you don’t have a place to store your print. Copywriting and graphic design require little more than a laptop and a working internet connection. You probably already have these.
- Low startup costs: An affordable home business doesn’t have a startup lot to start. With minimal storage space, it’s not like you’re hoarding strawberries and inventory. You may need to buy software or get a license for specific small business ideas, but your financial hurdles should be few and far between.
- Computer-based, online business: Many of the above small business ideas require using a computer with an internet connection. Drop-shipping, digital marketing, and translation are all great examples. The exception to this rule is pet sitting. Suppose you observe pets on the pets and not the owner. And then, you need to open a pair of eyes and ears. You can even do computer-based work while watching pets.
- Flexible schedule: Traditional office jobs often require workers to work a rigid 9-to-5 schedule. If you work from home, sticking to this schedule can be less critical, especially when you’re your boss. So the best work-from-home small business ideas allow for a flexible schedule. Who should stop you if you’re doing your best software development work at 3 in the morning?
- Simple collaboration needs: While remote team collaboration is easy, working from home runs much smoother when you’re almost entirely independent. A small business where you answer to just a few clients and a co-worker or two (if any) leads to greater independence. Then you can work on your terms and see your small business idea to full fruition.