34 Small Business Ideas You Can Start Today
This post was last updated on October18, 2022.
You dream of launching a new business this year and have the tools to create a business website that goes with it. However, you first need to find a great business idea that will spearhead your entrepreneurial journey.
Business ideas come in all shapes and sizes. Some business concepts are tried and true, while others may be more innovative or experimental. Popular business ideas include freelancing, consulting, online business, e-commerce stores, app development, coaching services and social media marketing. Freelance work is often chosen by those looking to supplement their full-time income or participate in the passion economy. Business consultants provide strategic guidance to business owners and executives to help them make the right decisions for their business.
Online business is becoming increasingly popular as technology advances, allowing entrepreneurs to create a business from anywhere with an internet connection E-commerce stores allow business owners to sell products directly to customers through an online store, as well as through new business models such as dropshipping and print on demand.
While many business ideas require sustainable personal costs or potential risk, this article offers the best small business ideas, across various industries, skills, and talents. From popular, to low cost, to the most profitable business ideas, this article lays out some of the best ideas to run with today.
Best business ideas
Popular business ideas
The vast blogging world means anyone with a passion or expertise to share can do so by simply creating a blog. As a blogger, you’ll need to find a niche to work with a clear purpose and create content for the right audience.
Say food and cooking are always on your mind. Express yourself to other like-minded people while developing your craft and start a food blog. Once you’ve published some posts and can track a substantial following, you may wonder how to make money blogging. Some ways to monetize your blog include working with an affiliate marketing program or selling merchandise on your site.
02. Web designer
If you’re equally creative as you are technical, then web design could be an effective business idea. Web designers plan, create and style website layouts. You can find freelance work either by soliciting companies or web design agencies, or using a site like Wix marketplace. Run your own clientele of individuals and small businesses from home or anywhere with internet access.
03. eCommerce retailer
Are you an avid collector or creator of special things? Now is the time to turn items in your home closet or shelves into profit with this profitable ecommerce business idea. You can open an online store and start selling products, accepting secure online payments and managing order fulfillment.
04. SEO consultant
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a practice all online businesses should know, as it affects whether a brand or business gets organic website traffic. As an SEO consultant, you’ll create a keyword ranking strategy for your clients and create online visibility that generates more leads.
05. App developer
More than five billion people use smartphones worldwide. Consider app development as a viable business idea. As long as you have a great idea for an app, you can join forces with an experienced developer to build it. That said, before you begin investing time and money into your app, make sure to research the market and user demand for it.
Podcasting is one of the most popular business ideas in recent years, according to Pew Research. The format requires minimal upfront investment and lets you showcase your expertise on your choice of topics. Once you’ve recorded your interviews or conversations, you’ll want to edit your audio before publishing each new episode on a podcast hosting site. Then you can think about monetizing your podcast by running ads throughout your show.
Starting a YouTube channel has proven itself as one of the most lucrative online business ideas so far. YouTubers make fortunes raking up millions of views and subscribers.
If you dream of becoming a successful YouTuber, remember: Good content comes from having fun, so be yourself. Start by defining what type of content you’ll offer your channel’s viewers. It can be anything from gaming to comedy, delivered in formats ranging from commentary to tutorials.
08. Produce an audiobook
Dear booklovers and self-publishers, you might have found the perfect business idea in producing an audiobook. Many readers now prefer audiobooks to visual book formats.
Recording your own audiobook does not have to be expensive. You can record it yourself or pay for production. Either way, make sure you record high-quality audio files and find an audiobook distributor that sells to your target audience.
09. Virtual assistant
If you’re trying to come up with a business idea, are highly organized and enjoy a balanced lifestyle, you may want to become a virtual assistant. You can support other businesses or entrepreneurs remotely and deal with an array of daily tasks, like content creation, bookkeeping, social media and emailing.
10. Social media manager
As a social media manager, you'll oversee how a company interacts and engages with the public. Depending on the company’s goals, this may mean increasing brand awareness via social media outlets such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter.
Your duties will likely include researching social media trends, incorporating them into a digital marketing strategy and setting key performance indicators (KPIs) for all social campaigns.
Low cost business ideas
11. Professional organizer
If tidying and decluttering is not only your personal mantra, but you can also help others see the big picture amid the madness, then consider becoming a professional organizer. You’ll help each of your clients invest in themselves, using your services to transform old habits into more efficient ones. When it’s time to promote your business, you can show off before and after images of your work on your service website.
12. House cleaner
When it comes to cleaning a home, the key is to roll up your sleeves and get straight to work. However, seeing this plan through seems to get harder every week for those who can’t deeply clean their kitchens and bathrooms due to time constraints.
As a professional cleaner, you’ll bring all your creative hacks and effective tips to clients and leave them feeling happier about their households. Once you start a service business, you can begin accepting bookings and payments via an online scheduling software.
13. Pet sitter
The number of U.S. households that own pets is in the millions, according to the APPA National Pet Owners Survey. If you’re an animal lover, a pet sitting service could be the right home-based business idea for you.
Pet owners away on vacation or working long hours in the office will rely on you to care for their pets—whether that’s walking them multiple times a day or playing fetch in the park.
You can start advertising your pet care side hustle to neighbors, friends and family. Make sure to keep an organized schedule to track each new booking. As your business grows, you may need to hire extra help.
Do you speak other languages fluently? Marketing your translation services is easier than ever. First, create an online resume and post it on job boards or reach out to established translating companies and institutions. If you can fill a niche, such as medical or legal translations, you’ll have a better chance finding and working for your target clients.
15. Child care provider
In recent years, child care and how it relates to the economy has become a hotly debated topic—not just among parents, but in society as a whole. The child care industry is now open to many new qualified candidates who can not only gain a stable income source of income, but also fulfillment in this essential sector.
16. Home caregiver
Serving as a home caregiver can be a rewarding experience. You help older people, veterans and those living with a disability carry out their day-to-day activities.
Additionally, if you want to advance your caregiving career, you can enroll in medical certification training to boost your credentials and potential earnings. Keep in mind that the work becomes physically and emotionally demanding over time. When you’re ready to make this business idea actionable, read some caregiving tips to reduce burnout.
17. Music teacher
This small business idea not only requires musical talent, but also teaching skills. You will most likely need a teaching certificate to work at a school or university. But if you’d like to teach music independently, research what qualifications you’d need and compare the going rates for private and group music lessons, online and off.
Doulas professionally train to help expectant mothers during their pregnancy, from the first trimester to the delivery. These highly-educated and informed professionals provide their clients with invaluable emotional support as well.
To become a doula, you must take a few essential steps: First, take a certification training course. Second, have a basic marketing strategy to connect with clients and build experience. This may include placing ads or creating a business card for potential clients.
19. Event planner
Event planning lets you meet new people and sharpen your negotiation and communication skills—with the majority of day-to-day work taking place in your home office. Planners often start working in one part of the special event industry, such as catering, entertainment, or styling. These self-starters can multitask, think creatively, and solve problems under pressure.
20. Personal chef
As more people outsource their meals with food delivery and curbside pick-ups, the demand for culinary services continues to rise, making it a good mobile business idea. A personal chef business will give you more autonomy and independence than working in a restaurant kitchen. You can also experiment with different cuisines as you maintain an ever-changing menu based on your clients’ wants and dietary needs.
If you like attending weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs and birthdays and have some photography experience, consider starting a photography business. Or if session photography is more your thing, turn your home space into a small studio and offer headshot for local actors and other professionals. In this case, you’ll want to invest in extra lighting and a high-quality photo printer.
While purchasing the right equipment helps you establish some credibility right away, don’t forget to put in the hours to create a portfolio that speaks for itself. In that case, you can make a free photography website to establish your business in a few steps.
22. Freelance graphic designer
What is freelancing but a way to gain freedom in what you do and how you do it? That said, you’ll also need to search for your next opportunity. Thanks to online marketplaces for designers, you can now connect instantly with potential clients and get hired.
This business idea requires strong writing skills and creativity. Copywriting uses words to inspire people to take the next step and buy a company’s product or service.
24. Fitness trainer
Exercise is good for the mind, body and soul. As a fitness trainer, you will reinforce this motto to your clientele and help them strengthen their bodies and boost their confidence.
You may also want to create a fitness website. Having a strong online presence can help manage your day-to-day operations and offer consultations, fast bookings, easy payment options to your clients, as well as a direct channel to communicate with you.
25. Massage therapist
Massage therapy is not only a rewarding way to help others, but is also an in-demand business idea, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In some U.S. states, you’ll have to demonstrate a completed 500 hours of massage therapy courses and hold a certification or licensing before opening a business. Check your local government website for more information.
Small business owners hire bookkeepers to help them complete financial tasks like data entry, bank reconciliation and monthly reports. This line of work is always in demand, and starting a business as a bookkeeper for other business owners can be a very profitable idea.
27. Life coach
Life coaching has been around since the early 1970s, but the methods continually evolve. Today, you can offer your expertise and experience in areas such as business, dating, fitness, finance and health. By understanding what your client wants, you can empower them to reach their goals.
28. Meal delivery service
Often based out of a private home or rented kitchen, meal delivery services offer a great business opportunity for those looking to offer quality, accessible and convenient food options in their community. As people choose to stay home and avoid commuting, the demand for services offering easy online ordering and fast delivery continues to surge.
Profitable business ideas
29. Dropshipping business owner
Dropshipping is a great way to start a business on a budget. This retail fulfillment business doesn’t require upfront inventory. Instead, you collect orders, forward them to your suppliers and then they ship directly to your customers. All you have to do is market and sell your products on your eCommerce website.
30. Print on demand business owner
Running a print on demand business means you design your items and then work with a supplier who prints them on blank items, such as t-shirts, mugs and tote bags. Once you have an idea of what you want to sell, open a website and showcase your merchandise.
31. Create digital products
Another good online business idea is to create and sell digital products like ebooks, online courses, downloadable templates, software and even audio recordings. First, you’ll want to see if there’s a market for your digital product idea. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback—from family, friends, social followings and even relevant online forums.
32. Affiliate marketer
With a growing online audience behind you and your content, you may want to look into affiliate marketing. As an affiliate marketer, you market another business’s products, services or brand in your content. Each time someone makes a purchase through your affiliate referral link, you earn a commission.
When choosing an affiliate program, look for one that aligns with your audience, topics and values. Start by checking out popular marketing platforms like ShareASale and the Wix Affiliate Program.
33. Webinar host
To start a webinar business, first focus on an expertise that will draw in a significant crowd. Then you can plan and create paid webinars around topics, inviting influential guests to speak on the panels.
34. Ride-sharing driver
Whether you’re looking to earn more cash on the side or become your own boss, consider becoming a ride-share driver. All you need to start with Lyft or Uber in the United States is a valid driver license, a car and insurance.
How to choose a business idea
A good business idea should be something that is both relevant and feasible. It should have a good return on investment, provide value to its customers, and be sustainable. Additionally, it should meet potential customer needs and also solve a problem or pain point. If you decide to pursue a business idea, it’s important to determine whether there is a real demand for the business in your target market. It’s also important to consider the competition and whether you can differentiate yourself from other companies offering the same product or service.
Finally, a business idea should be something that you are passionate about, or a field you have experience in, as this will help motivate you to work hard and bring the business to success. It will also better prepare you for the challenges ahead.
Here are a few important points to consider when choosing a business idea:
Unique value proposition: Start by understanding what is your unique selling point, compared to your competitors. Let's say you're a small business owner making candles. Unlike your main competitors, you only use organic raw materials, that's your unique value proposition.
Problem solving: For a larger company, it may be that you’ve adopted a freemium model or have a product that solves a specific pain point for users in your industry, or does it better that anyone else in the market. How you address this and solve your potential clients problem should be at the core of your business idea. Very often the business idea you have may not be novel or unique, it may simply not exist as a service or product where you are based or you may have a better offering - whether on price or quality.
Understandable: Make sure it's clear what you are selling and the value it offers potential customers.
Profitability: The whole success of a business idea rests on this. Everyone starts a business to be profitable, even if the initial impetus also comes from your invention or product.
Testing your business idea
It’s important to do your research and testing before committing to any specific business idea. Market research can give you an idea of the potential for success given the current business climate and customer demand. You should also test out different business models, pricing strategies, and marketing strategies to see which works best. It's also a good idea to conduct full competitor research before choosing your idea, so you understand what you're competing with but also so you can understand how to do things, better and differently.
Once you have a business concept in mind, it’s important to create a business plan outlining your goals and objectives. This will give investors an idea of what you are trying to accomplish, as well as help you stay organized and on track with the business development process. Additionally, testing out different business ideas can also help you decide which one may be best for your business.
How to start a small business with your idea
Now that you have an idea of what type of business to pursue, here are three quick tips on getting your online small business off the ground. If you want more in-depth information, read our complete guide on how to start a business.
01. Refine your business idea
Before you release your business idea into the world perfect it. Take a step back to really think about the reasons behind your choice. Ask yourself, “Why is this business idea important to me?” and “Will it be important to someone else?” Create a proof of concept to determie the feasibility of your busines idea and test it out with surveys or interviews with members of your target market.
02. Choose a business name
Once you've decided on your business idea, choosing a business name is an important part of getting started with your venture. Think about the type of business you're starting, how you want to kickstart your brand messaging and get creative.
Tip: Need help finding a business name for your new venture? Use a small business name generator for inspiration.
03. Write out your business plan
When starting a business, an organized business plan must lead the way. Use a business plan template to define a roadmap for your company’s structure and management. While business plans can differ, all include include an executive summary, mission statement, market analysis and financial projections.
04. Create a professional website
Having a business website is a major advantage for you, your brand and your customers. To begin creating yours, you’ll want to choose a business website template and customize it to fit your specific needs. Then, you’ll have to pick a free web hosting platform and connect it to a registered domain. Finally, you’ll want to optimize your website for search engines to increase organic web traffic. You can hire a search engine optimization (SEO) consultant to help you with your strategy.
05. Register your business
To do this you need to check the laws and regulations in your country or US state. You can read more about how to register your business with our guide.
Small Business Expert & Writer