35+ Best Small Business Ideas for 2021
Tired of your repetitive white-collar work-life and considering a career change? Or uncertain of what career to pursue in the first place? Why not choose to become your boss instead?
You might be hesitant thinking that many outstanding small business ideas have been taken, and yours might not be competitive enough. Most popular ideas for small businesses come from individuals who work for someone else but know they can do something more. Many may become employees or trainees in companies and slowly improve their skills and expertise in advance of their start-up.
Everybody can make their dream come true with determination under proper implementation. We can walk you through with our suggestion list of 40+ small business ideas below.
Table of Contents
- Offline business ideas
- Personal Trainer (PT)
- Life/career coaching
- Dog walking
- Garden center
- Personal chef
- Event planning
- Massage therapy
- Makeup artist
- Video production
- Interior design
- Resume writing
- Boutique creative agency
- Personal assistant
- Thrift shop
- Coffee shop
- Home-based/online business ideas
- Considering your small business ideas
- Final words
- Small Business Inventory Management
- Merchant Account: The Ultimate Guide for Small Business
- What Are Business Growth Strategies?
- What is a Merchant Cash Advance?
Offline business ideas
1. Personal Trainer (PT)
If you’re a fitness buff and would like to motivate others to have a healthy lifestyle, you can consider starting a fitness-related business idea. There are several choices in the fitness area based on where your preferences lay – from general fitness to being an instructor, from personal training to start your gym. Think of Zumba or Pilates. After all, you should be able to bring the best market ideas to your strength.
To pursue this career path professionally, you’ll need certain certifications as proof of authority. NASM, ACE, and ACSM are among the most popular and recognized certifications, so it is up to you to select the path. As a personal trainer, you should be able to offer consultations, provide moderately personalized nutrition meals, and a systematic exercise schedule for each of your clients.
For broader engagement and self-branding, appear on multiple social media platforms as much as possible - for example, use your Instagram feed for inspirational fitness quotes and tips, build a YouTube channel for free exercise videos and healthy meal ideas, and use Facebook/Twitter to promote some free fitness events, workshops, or training camps.
2. Life/career coaching
If you have experience in dealing with difficult situations in life or with your career path and want to help people reach their full potential, consider putting it into a coaching business. Everyone faces certain hardships at some point in their career, and it would appreciate it if someone can mentor them.
Being a life coach, you must offer your clients firsthand and exclusive training paths, along with practical advice that can motivate them to make movements in their personal life and career path. Overall, people come to life coaches to find a way to get out of their troubles or crises.
3. Dog walking
Dog walking is a profitable business idea to try if you love dogs. The demand for dog walking is strong, but even this industry has a relatively low barrier compared to the high rates in return. With just a couple of smooth moves, you can launch your business well. Many people are likely to start a corporation as a single practitioner or a limited liability corporation (LLC).
If you don’t have any experience, it would be a smart idea to seek consultants who are experienced and trustworthy when developing your business. But first, you can test your adaptability in this area by applying for dog walking companies like Rover or Wag in advance.
4. Garden center
If you enjoy gardening but want to share your expertise instead of supporting people actively with their gardens, it might be a good business opportunity to open your gardening center. You can give other people advice and teach them about what they need to beautify their gardens. Opening a garden center can be a profitable business under proper execution.
Those interested in starting up a garden center must be passionate about plants and gardens in the first place. Thorough knowledge of cultivation methods and varieties of plants are important since most consumers often expect meticulous expertise from their advisors. You will also have to know the seasons and plant/flower varieties typical in your area and how the common (and not so common) garden products are used safely and legally.
5. Personal chef
Are you a chef who gets sick of the restaurants’ endless hours of hard work? Or perhaps you are a foodie who likes to cook at home and wants to turn that passion into a real venture. Then starting a personal chef business will be rewarding and potentially lucrative for you.
Personal chefs serve meals to working households, informal house parties, business lunches, and special occasions such as anniversaries or birthdays. Many personal chefs are skilled in certain fields, such as making gourmet food or special diets. You will be able to fulfill your dream of making delicious food while creating lifelong relationships with people and gaining valuable experience.
The ideal audience of your meals are local households and businesses, so build strategic plans to reach these targets. And remember to personalize meals for picky eaters as well.
Catering is another choice if being a personal chef is too limiting for a go-to person like you. While a successful home catering business doesn’t have a particular formula, a slice of culinary skill, dedication, and grace will go a long way.
Most small catering businesses manage to dominate the niche by focusing on food other forms of events to keep overheads minimal and advertisement focused. Just be confident in choosing your projects, work for large events, and handle things well.
7. Event planning
Perhaps you worked for many years planning conferences and workshops and thought that now is a perfect time to sort out how to work for yourself. Or maybe you have experience in organizing events and have a feeling that this could be the passion of your life. These are enough to motivate you to turn this hobby into a real service.
You may prefer to specialize in a certain type of events – such as wedding or business meetings – or develop yourself as a business event planner. If you are extremely coordinated, pay close attention to the specifics and schedule large-scale events, it might be time other people profit from your expertise.
8. Massage therapy
If you enjoy massaging, with the soothing touch - you can knead stressed muscle and relaxed, clenched nerves - your massage therapy can bring relief to life. By traveling to homes or workplaces, you will see clients on the run with a massage pad, calming oils, and restful music.
You may also set up a physical massaging branch in shopping centers, or at airports with approval from the relevant authorities. The benefits of the business are that start-up costs are always low and an environment is a comfortable place for the clients.
Few states require licenses of massage therapists, so consult with the US Massage Therapy Association if yours is one. Creating partnerships with the departments for human resources of large businesses, local small business owners, corporate associations, community centers, fitness centers, sporting wear stores, grocery shops, and chiropractors to expand the reach.
9. Makeup artist
A makeup artist aims to change the appearance of various people. These changes are made by a mix of makeup, specialized tools, and skills. Such businesses play a significant role in flooding society with confidence, spirit, and pride in making them better feel about their look. If you have an idea of starting this business, you can consider taking professional training courses to leverage your skills and acquire some beauty certifications if required.
To promote your business, you could also consider connecting with barbers in your respective stores and other neighboring industries to promote one another. Take advantage of social media as your main advertising channel - utilize visual-centric platforms such as Instagram to show off your work. You can also run online beauty contests and campaigns to gain more reach, or offer free basic makeovers at festivals or workshops to engage more contacts.
You may want to try making a job out of your love for photography if you have a decent eye and are still the one that captures special moments. Since the rivalry is very intense, it can be helpful to differentiate you in a specific area, such as pet pictures, weddings, or portraits.
You have to combine your photography passion with true business knowledge to excel, like most artistic endeavors. You should constantly develop your skills and services and work on your own identity, web media, and customers.
The easiest way to start is to photograph friends and family first to ask for referrals. Photography businesses also expand with word of mouth, so create a Facebook page or an Instagram account where you can tag potential consumers who appear in news feeds of their friends.
11. Video production
You need to invest in the equipment upstream that is quite costly for the production of the video. Yet that, too, makes your services so worthwhile. Make sure you have a working belt to share or build a page for interested audiences with different collections of your work.
While the types of projects carried out by a video production business are not constrained, focusing your marketing activities in one or another area is very beneficial. Specializing enables you to build a brand that will later extend your corporate profit system. Local video production businesses often only have one or two members who do everything from marketing to production and editing. When starting a video production company, take this into account.
12. Interior design
If you are familiar with room design and arranging furnishings and appliances, this is your place. Interior designers (including artist-designers, who do not have an accredited university or graduate degree) enhance, refresh, and improve the interior architecture and functions of both residential and business areas. Many are skilled in a certain style of design, such as kitchen design or decoration, and others raise their profits by selling decor items such as furniture and accessories.
Designers must pass a strict certification examination to receive a license, which they can only take after having accumulated six years of work and a college degree. But it doesn’t mean a license is required to become an interior designer. It might take some time to develop your portfolio, but you would build a fanbase beyond your wildest expectations to record your creations and post them online.
13. Resume writing
It can be tough and time-consuming to present a resume, cover letter, and - if needed - portfolio for a new job. This is why many people turn to professional resume writers to seek help. When you perform this service, you’ll have to interview applicants and create resumes that draw the interest of the applicant reviewers.
This service may contain cover letters or thank-you letters to potential employers. Assist your clients with personalized resumes, professionally designed cover letters, and finely structured portfolios to impress the employers.
Proofreading services are also important, making it a great idea for a small business. To start a proofreading business, you need good language proficiency, spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
You will study and modify the vocabulary used in books, journal articles, online materials, advertising, labeling, student contracts, or practically all other forms of written correspondence, depending on your customer requests. You can start your service as a freelancer or sole proprietor first, then consider expanding your service to an LLC legal entity later.
You can make a living as a translator if you are fluent in a foreign language. Although some translation systems are now technically assisted, reliable, high-quality human translators are still needed.
A translating business usually offers translating services for a wide range of documents while protecting its customers’ secrecy. In the translation industry, there are several diverse niches such as education, policy, and the health sector.
You can earn huge income by specializations of different categories of products such as corporate contracts, instructional content, health reports, or advertisements. Several translators are now widening their operations to include audio-visual translations.
If you are proficient in foreign languages, excellent at a certain subject, or can clarify topics in ways that are easy to understand, you can consider starting a small tutoring business. Based on your experience, you can specialize in a specific field, such as paper writing, languages, mathematics, and research, the list goes on. Advertise your programs through local colleges, educational organizations, and community centers to create a consumer base.
17. Boutique creative agency
Whether you are an expert at public relations, marketing, or social media, starting a boutique agency might be a successful career for you. Many other small firms need this kind of service but have neither the resources nor the scale to include full-time jobs. Note that boutique agencies are small and focused on a few groups of clients rather than numerous ones. In the initial stages of restructuring, this form of start-up needs a lot of attention and effort but can run easily until it gets its momentum.
You can consider becoming a consultant if you have certain expertise, experience, and knowledge in a specific area and would like to help others in making decisions in that field. First, explore your particular gift or expertise. You might then be required some special qualifications or a special permit, depending on your profession, to start working as a consultant.
Make sure you have accumulated the necessary certifications before expecting your clients to approach and hire you. Also, Networking is the key to any kind of consultant’s progress today, so start developing your network of contacts straight away.
19. Personal assistant
If you are knowledgeable in the details and incredibly organized, it may well be a successful opportunity for you to start a personal assistant business. Personal assistants should be sensitive, thorough, and trustworthy. First, decide what kind of services your clients will get. Some assistants perform a few duties, for instance, shopping and arranging, while others are more skilled, with general office activities for busy professionals. Many businesses often tend to generalize, not specialize, and offer different clients a wide variety of services.
20. Thrift shop
Today’s thrift shops are fashionable, advanced, and highly requested, indicating their on-going popularity. A thrift shop could be an ideal business idea for you if you enjoy low-priced shopping or have a passion for vintage, retro, or high fashion products. There’s far to go, but irrespectively to the focus, a good business strategy, quality products, and outstanding marketing skills are important.
The biggest concern when opening a thrift shop is to find the sources to collect the merchandise. Frequent garage sales, cheap shops, and estate sales are some suggestions to find good deals of used items. Gather undamaged products and settle them before selling from all roads and curbsides.
Look for wholesalers who can supply used clothes in bulk at decent prices. Call for donations and offer them to be collected from donors or create a donation withdrawal at your shop if you have already moved in.
21. Coffee shop
Start making profits from your coffee addiction. Running a coffee shop can be lucrative when you get things right. Most owners start their coffee shop business with one of the three main options: purchasing a franchise, buying an existing coffee shop business, or starting from scratch. It takes a bit more time and a lot of effort to start a shop from scratch - but it will also maximize your sales opportunities in the future.
Auto detailing can be an ideal way for a successful business to earn money. When you look at the concept of ‘detailed’ literally, a car-detailing business may be a small business venture that isn’t just profitable but also plays a significant role. This needs neither lots of preparation nor commitment at the outset but it can help you with a professional insight so that you have a route map to continue.
The auto detailing system to customers is strongly demanded, so just make sure your business is well-equipped enough to adapt to the market demand.
Home-based/online business ideas
If you’re planning to sell products online but don’t have enough money to open a store or inventory, consider drop shipping. Dropshipping is a type of e-commerce business that does not require physical goods management.
You only need to create an online store and contact suppliers who will take care of delivery, packing, and orders to your customers. You don’t have to waste hours on product testing because you can find outstanding items to sell using dropshipping apps. If you’re searching for a simple and accessible online business idea, dropshipping might be a good choice that is worth trying.
If you want to effectively execute business concepts, consider printing on demand. That is where you sell personal prints on things like phone boxes, tappers, and T-shirts, but simply don’t print the artwork. You are now working with manufacturers who print your template on the package – including shipping and delivering the goods to the clients and you don’t have to think about logistics.
You can only pay after the items have been delivered. One of the fastest methods for beginning is to build a shop and install a POD program like Printify. Marketing is a good method to reach the public, partnerships with influencers to promote your POD items. (?)
25. App developing
The demand for applications among companies has made app development one of the most profitable small business ideas today. Starting an app-developing venture is even easier with much lower costs thanks to the advent of tools and affordable developers. You can also build the wireframe and mockup before you plan to launch the device using apps like OmniGraffle or Sketch.
Or as an alternative, through web sites like Upwork, you can hire a freelance application developer. You can also gain passive earnings by designing user apps. This necessarily relies on a policy of monetization that produces recurrent incomes.
26. Web testing
Are you aware that digital footprint companies hire real people to have input on their websites? The views allow them to address problems not found by their creators. You should recruit a lot of people individually to build a consulting service on your website. As you visit the company’s website, the staff will be asked questions during tasks. There might be videos to show you a general understanding of the existing user interface and how the website can be changed.
27. Software education
Know someone that lacks computer program skills? If so, you can establish your own software training business and enroll students monthly. Students may include businesspeople who want to develop their IT skills or other small business owners pursuing master tools such as Excel and PowerPoint.
If you have the know-how, you will take much of the lessons from the edge. You should employ freelance tech consultants to mentor students depending on their area of experience as your company expands and more people sign up for your programs.
28. Social media managing
Have you got a social media knack? As a social network specialist, you can use your talents to handle organizational and even private social media pages. To become a manager on social media needs more experience than preparation. There are social media training classes, but you do need to do a little self-study and analysis.
29. Content writing
About any internet business needs support in developing content for web websites, forums, etc. As such, it may be one of the most promising business ideas to begin a content development or copywriting business. Remote.co, Problogger Jobs, and BloggingPro are common websites that get the first few customers.
You may also consider accessing Facebook community communities to market the business to a wider audience. There are other opportunities to get your clients a feeling about them, such as by providing personalized templates as part of your offerings and keyword optimization.
30. Graphic design
If you imagine yourself as a professional artist but your digital drawing/painting style is more figure-like, graphic design might be a good idea to start your small business. Graphic designers also work individually to produce products for corporate clients, advertisement firms, public relations organizations, and publishers. Talented graphic designers frequently split from conventional 9-to-5 working routines to launch their own business.
You can now create posters, letterheads, flyers, product labels, and mail-order catalogs easily using the fantastic tools offered today. Set your schedule, pick your projects, and create a portfolio to build your business now.
31. Data entry clerk
Such data entry businesses are needed because most corporations require data entry, monitoring, coordination, and analysis. Popular websites provide jobs that data entry services may provide, and then submit data with any business that wants it. Many big companies contract with part-time or full-time data entry individual firms. If you’ve got outstanding programming skills and typing skills, this might be your job opportunity.
32. Virtual assistant
The offer of virtual support services is one of the best business ideas. From big companies to sole-entrepreneurs need help with their daily business management. You will take the weight off your outstanding management skills. Of course, you will be paid to answer calls, arrange meetings, and conduct other daily tasks. You’ll still have the time and commitment.
By replying to listings on platforms like FreeUp or PeoplePerHour, you can end up with your first few customers. This is a proven business model because people always search for efficient virtual assistants.
33. Pet-sitting service
Love animals? Parlay your love into a career by starting a pet-sitting service. As a pet sitter, you will take care of the pets while the pet owners are away, or board the pets at a kennel. Most pet-sitting services can be provided home-based, which can minimize a considerable amount of startup costs compared to other businesses. You can kickstart your business with just a computer (or laptop), some technical devices, a flexible schedule, and your love and care for animals.
There are some specific ways to make your pet-sitting service more profitable. This type of service is more well-promoted using word-of-mouth marketing strategies and face-to-face promotion rather than digital techniques.
Getting one first customer with good feedback can help increase your earnings substantially. You can try placing your business card at local pet stores, wear clothes or hats with your business logo on, and offer discount coupons for new customers or customers with regular retention. Refer to one aquarium guide website.
34. Travel planning
A travel agent might have been behind times, but people of the new generation would demand a travel coordination service that can help them plan their traveling schedule with minimal effort. If you’re interested in planning holiday trips in magnificent locations, beautiful hotels, delicious restaurants at various budget limits, consider turning your interest into an actual travel planning service.
It is easy to start a home service as a travel planner if you own a computer and your phone. These are key tools to hunt for hot travel deals across the internet. Trip combos can be built to suit individuals, couples, and even whole families’ special needs. It is a stress-free business since you easily can work from home and be your boss.
35. Vacation host
Starting a holiday rental business is an ideal way to earn money, including not being a homeowner or getting a poor reputation. The path to winning over customers’ trust in this industry is to supply them with a valuable commodity – an outstanding accommodation – to eat and make it convenient for them. You can think about becoming a vacation host on Airbnb, Vrbo, or Homestay.
Since your potential customers cannot see and review the accommodations with their bare eyes, they’ll examine and rate your offering based on the given photos, star ratings, and comment feedback. Therefore, you must take professional photography (better seasonal), view your ratings monthly, and encourage more customer feedback to effectively advertise your service.
Considering your small business ideas
Now that you have seen the list of business ideas, it is time to decide which ones match in. Although each company idea on our list is tailored to potential owners and prospective entrepreneurs, maximize your odds of success with your research. When reviewing your small business ideas, the following are some points to consider.
Choose a business that fits your natural personality and makes you feel comfortable. For example, if you’re an extrovert who enjoys interacting with people, then find a business that requires maximal face-to-face and interactive communication.
Or if you feel more comfortable working independently, consider freelance home-based or online business that requires you to work with devices and software only. The more enjoyable you feel when working, the higher your success rate will be.
Evaluate your strengths and decide what you can do right. Explore business ideas that utilize your expertise. For instance, you may have a basic skill to be a freelance writer if you are good at writing and communicating. See your accomplishments as a worker and determine your abilities. Have a look into school and group project experience. Consider your interests as well.
Budget and costs
Maintain your investment small in your first venture. Run quick calculations to estimate the expense of launching your favorite business idea. Any of those business ideas cost little to begin.
Others may, however, require a little more investment in marketing, facilities, storage, or supply. Make sure all your costs are covered as well.
Requirements for licenses and qualifications
Many of the business ideas listed above do not need licensing except for a few. You may also have to meet other conditions, such as having liability insurance as part of the license. When you look for ideas, make an overview of your needs with your state, county, or other local authority.
- The Guide about SaaS Business Model
- Tips to Improve Business Social Media Presence
- How to Become a Distributor?
- What is Product Branding?
- How to Successfully Launch a T-shirt Business?
Now that you got a list of ideas to start, it’s time to narrow the list down. Concentrate on one idea that fits with your strengths and gives yourself the highest chance of success to pursue. Hundreds of companies have adopted these business ideas, so be confident to invest your time and energy into what has been tested by the market.
Remember that you have plenty of opportunities to make it big – whether you’re a college student, a house parent, or simply wants to start a business.