Maybe you’re a recent college graduate looking to make a name for yourself.
Or perhaps a stay-at-home parent wanting to go back into the workforce.
Or maybe you’ve just been struck by the entrepreneurial bug.
Regardless of your motivation, starting a small business can be an incredibly rewarding experience – both financially and emotionally.
But the problem?
Successful small business ideas don’t happen overnight.
You need to brainstorm, research, and plan accordingly.
Fret not, though! Here’s an extensive guide outlining the most successful small business ideas you can start today.
For Sellers, Resellers, And Flippers
Reselling can be your full-time high paying career option if you know what you’re selling and to whom. Here are some business models you can try:
Dropshipping is an ecommerce business model where you don’t keep any inventory. Instead, when a customer purchases a product from your store, you place a similar order from a third-party supplier that ships the product directly to them.
It’s the ultimate low-risk business model as you don’t have to purchase bulk inventory or handle any shipping yourself.
Here’s an example. Let us say you have a store selling trendy phone cases. When a customer orders, you place an order with the manufacturer and they ship it directly to the customer.
Drop servicing is a service model based on the dropshipping principle where you don’t provide the service yourself but outsource it.
For example, a client approaches you for a website design service. You create the budget and timeline, then outsource the job to a freelancer on Fiverr or Upwork who handle the actual work while you manage the project on behalf of your client. Similarly, you can outsource design on 99Designs, programming on Toptal, and many other services.
Digital Assets Flipping
Websites, applications, and even domain names are bought and sold on the internet. You can buy a website for hundreds or thousands of dollars, make some improvements to it, increase its traffic and user engagement, and then resell it for a hefty profit on marketplaces like Flippa and Empire Flippers.
Even domain names can be flipped for a profit. If you have an eye for picking the right ones, then you could buy and sell domain names on popular platforms like GoDaddy Auctions or Sedo. Some domains even sell for millions of dollars when they are connected to a popular brand.
Affiliate marketing is a business model where you get paid a commission for promoting someone else’s product.
Let’s say you own an anime-focused blog or a YouTube channel. You could join various affiliate programs, such as Amazon Associates, and then recommend related products to your readers. When someone clicks on one of the links you promote and makes a purchase (be it after one week), you get a percentage of that sale as your commission.
If done right, affiliate marketing can be highly profitable since all it takes is a few clicks to generate a sale. You don’t need to handle any product fulfilment processes and can scale your business quickly with almost no overhead costs.
All you need to do is to create accounts on affiliate marketplaces like Impact, CJ, Amazon, etc., find products to promote and start driving traffic to your blog.
However, it is intensely niche-oriented so you’ll need to have a good handle on your readers’ interests in order to make it work.
For the Mr. or Ms. Fix-It
If you’re a handy person and have an eye for detail, here are a few small business ideas you can consider.
A handyman is someone who can take care of minor repairs and maintenance jobs that require an expert’s touch. For example, fixing plumbing, electrical and carpentry jobs.
You can either run your business as a home-based or by renting out space in an office or shop. You can even become a partner of an aggregator like Handy in the USA and Urban Company in India and work on the jobs they assign you.
If you plan to handle the entire process independently, you’ll need to acquire the necessary certifications and licenses. Once done, you can easily be in the above-average income bracket making around $51,500 per month.
Everyone needs their house to be kept in order, but many lack the time and energy to do it themselves. That’s where a professional housekeeping service comes in.
You can provide services like dusting, vacuuming, mopping, and other cleaning tasks that involve deep cleaning of carpets, furniture, and other surfaces.
However, know that this business requires physical labour and a high level of dedication, as well as obligating you to follow safety protocols when using certain cleaning products.
You’ll need to acquire insurance and permits to operate your business, so make sure you have the necessary resources in place before launching.
Home Repair Services
One thing that never seems to lack demand is the need for home repair professionals.
People are always looking for someone reliable to help them with small (or not-so-small) repairs around the house and all you need to get started is the right set of skills, some tools and a van or truck to transport them.
You’ll need to acquire the necessary licenses, permits, and insurance in order to operate your business legally, but if you have some manual labour experience, this could be the perfect option for you.
For The Number Whiz
If you have a knack for working with numbers, there are several small business ideas that you might want to consider:
Bookkeeping and Accounting Services
Not every small business can afford to hire a full-time bookkeeper or accountant, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need one. This is where you come in. With the right accounting software and a few basic business skills, you can provide bookkeeping services to small businesses in your area.
However, starting an accounting business requires you to have the right education and certifications, depending on the state you’re doing business in. Generally, a degree in accounting or a related field is needed along with CPA certification.
You could also use your knack for numbers to provide financial planning services. Whether it’s helping people create budgets, invest their money, or plan for retirement, you can offer valuable advice and strategies that can put them on the path to financial freedom.
As with accounting, you may need specific certifications and/or qualifications before providing financial planning services.
Tax Preparation Services
If you have a keen eye for detail and a good grasp of tax laws, you could offer your services as a tax consultant or preparer. Your job description would include helping individuals and businesses prepare their taxes, and ensuring that all records are kept up-to-date.
Know that not everyone can become a tax preparer, as there are certain qualifications and certifications that you’ll need to meet if you want to become successful. You need a Preparer Tax Identification Number, for which you have to be an enrolled agent, CPA, or attorney.
For Tech Whiz
Technology is a booming industry, and it could be your gateway to success if you have the skills to stay ahead of new trends and products. Here are some ideas:
Web And App Developer
Almost every business in your area is either online or planning to be. You can become their go-to person for web development and app design.
While such services require you to have certain coding skills, there are new no-code platforms like Bubble and WordPress that make it easier to build websites and apps without coding.
All you need to do is market your services to the right people.
SEO stands for search engine optimisation, which means helping businesses rank high on search engines like Google and Bing. The job involves identifying potential keywords, researching competitor websites and then tweaking your clients’ content to improve their site’s ranking.
Besides this, you’re also responsible for backlinks (getting other websites to link to your own) and optimising for local search. Small businesses often hire SEO professionals since they usually lack the technical know-how and time to do this themselves.
And this is in fact a high-demand industry. According to ZipRecruiter, SEO experts can earn up to $64,000 annually – depending on your clients and expertise.
If you have a knack for organisation and administrative tasks, then becoming a virtual assistant could be your perfect small business idea.
Virtual assistants help entrepreneurs with day-to-day tasks, like managing emails and scheduling meetings – without ever having to meet in person.
Depending on your clients, you could even offer additional services such as bookkeeping or video editing.
All you need is a laptop with reliable internet access and you’re ready to get started.
Social Media Consultant
Not every small business owner has the time, skills or knowledge to effectively manage their own social media channels.
But social media marketing is a necessity to stay competitive in today’s market.
That’s where you as a social media consultant come in – you help your clients create, manage and promote their content across multiple social media platforms.
You handle their organic as well as paid campaigns, track the performance of their posts and analyse the data to provide insight into what’s working and what isn’t.
The best part? You don’t require a degree or a certification to become a social media consultant – all you need is knowledge and expertise.
Moreover, it’s an incredibly low-investment business idea as you only need some basic tools like a laptop or computer and a stable internet connection to get started. Sometimes, you do most of your work on your smartphone.
And since more and more businesses are turning to social media for marketing their businesses, the opportunities for consultants are growing by leaps and bounds.
If you consider yourself someone who is passionate about the environment and climate change, then why not consider starting a green business?
Green businesses are those that use sustainable materials and practices to create products or provide services. There’s a dedicated domain to it. You have green products, green marketing and green services.
Start A Sustainable Fashion Brand
Sustainable fashion refers to clothing and accessories that are designed, sourced and manufactured with sustainable practices in mind.
The fashion industry is the second-most polluting industry in the world and is responsible for producing a tremendous amount of waste. This fact isn’t hidden from the public anymore. Hence, there is a growing demand for sustainable fashion.
As a green business owner, you can start a fashion brand that uses sustainable materials and ethical practices. This could be an apparel line, footwear or accessories. You will need to research the different options available for more sustainable materials and processes, such as bamboo fabric, organic cotton and recycled plastic.
The best part?
You can initially capitalise on the demand on marketplaces such as Etsy and Amazon. This could be a great way to test the waters without investing too much money in your own website or brick-and-mortar store.
Open A Nursery And Deliver Plants
Over two third of Americans report having at least one houseplant in their home. And this trend is seeing only signs of increasing.
If you have a green thumb and are passionate about plants, this is a great business idea to explore. You could open a nursery that focuses on houseplants and offer delivery services for your customers.
You can even sell gardening goods to help your customers get the most out of their plants. It’s one of the most successful small business ideas as an average household spends at least $608.54 per year on gardening goods. Moreover, the demand for plants and plants-related goods is growing exponentially, especially among millennials as more people become aware of the benefits houseplants offer.
For The Teachers
If you like to teach, the time is for you to quit your day job and start your own teaching business. It isn’t about private teaching anymore – you can take your entire class online, create courses and other resources in the form of e-books, audio guides and even live workshops. Here are some ideas for teaching-related businesses:
Develop Online Courses
If you’re good with something even if it is non-academic, there’s an audience who might be willing to pay for your expertise.
For example, there are people teaching vegetable gardening, baking cakes, giving music lessons or even teaching the basics of painting; all as a part of their teaching-related business.
All you need is a computer, video recording software, and a confident personality to get started.
Once you have developed your course, you can list it on various e-learning websites like Udemy or Skillshare and start earning good income.
Even YouTube has its own educational marketplace called YouTube Courses, which is seeing a tremendous rise in popularity.
The best part?
Your course isn’t limited to the students in your area and can be sold to anyone around the world.
Start A Podcast
People now have less time and they are looking for on-the-go content.
Podcasts are a great way to consume information while doing something else; like running, commuting or doing household chores.
There are people making a living from their podcasts and it can become a great source of income when done right. All it takes is good niche knowledge, creativity, and sophisticated equipment to start your own podcast.
Once you have built an audience, you can monetise your podcasts through sponsorships, advertisements, and affiliates or you can develop premium content for a fee.
Tips To Starting A Successful Small Business
A small business doesn’t mean you have to limit your ambitions. Small businesses can be incredibly successful when done right. Here are a few tips to get you started.
- Have A Clear Business Plan: Before starting a business, it’s important to have a clear plan outlining your business goals and how you intend to achieve them. This plan should include a budget for startup costs, market research, and marketing and growth strategies.
- Choose a business that suits you: While you’ll need to research the best small business ideas, it’s also important to ensure that whatever venture you choose is a good fit for your unique skillset and interests. If you don’t have a passion for the product or service you want to offer, it will make it much harder to stay motivated and dedicate yourself to seeing it succeed.
- Build relationships with customers: Small businesses depend on relationships between you and the customer, suppliers, and other stakeholders. Keeping these relationships strong is essential for growth, so make sure you have a plan to nurture them.
- Don’t do it all yourself: As a small business owner, you have two critical limitations – limited budget and overwork. But this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to do everything yourself. Plenty of resources are available for entrepreneurs and small business owners, from virtual assistants to freelancers who can help you get the job done. In fact, you can outsource to freelancers working from a low-income country for tasks like content marketing, accounting and even website designing.
- Focus on building an ‘A’ team: Small businesses require a dedication to details, hard work and a drive to succeed. You need to focus on building an ‘A’ team that is willing to take risks and has the skills necessary for your venture. Investing in a few talented individuals can go a long way in ensuring success.
- Take advantage of Small Business grants: Small businesses in the US have access to Small Business Administration (SBA) grants that can provide funding for their venture. These grants are available for a variety of purposes, from startup capital and emergency funds to expansion projects or research funding. Even other countries have their own Small Business grant programs.
If you plan carefully, understand your market and focus on building an effective team, then starting a small business is an idea that can pay off. Small businesses are becoming increasingly popular and more successful every day, thanks to the internet, which allows entrepreneurs to reach a larger audience than ever before.
But even if you get hundreds of successful small business ideas, you need to choose only one that:
- Suits your skills
- Fits the current market trend
- Has potential to grow
And, most importantly, you should be passionate about it. Once you’ve identified your niche and have a plan in place, focus on marketing your business and building relationships with customers. Success can soon become yours with hard work, dedication, and smart decision-making.
Go On, Tell Us What You Think!
Did we miss something? Come on! Tell us what you think about our article on most successful small business ideas in the comments section.
A startup consultant, digital marketer, traveller, and philomath. Aashish has worked with over 20 startups and successfully helped them ideate, raise money, and succeed. When not working, he can be found hiking, camping, and stargazing.