Starting a business can be an exciting and personally rewarding experience, allowing you to be your own boss and turn your passions into profit. For many people, it’s even a long-held dream. Before delving into the creation of your business website, it is essential to conceive a distinctive business idea that not only captures your interest but also addresses an unfulfilled need or interest within the market. In this article, we’ll offer you some tips for coming up with a unique business idea and discuss 25 examples to provide some inspiration.
25 unique business ideas
From innovative solutions to niche services for specific industries, these ideas showcase the creativity, versatility and fresh perspective small business owners can bring to the marketplace.
01. Tutor underserved communities
Unique service business ideas often depend on identifying underserved customer bases. Texas-based Brain Bridge caters to students with special needs, offering educational testing, advocacy, consulting and tutoring. Owners Rachel Hadcock and Annie Rubalcava customize their approach to every client, ensuring that all their needs get met in a way that is right for them.
02. Provide niche pet-grooming services
If you’ve ever had a dog or cat, you know that their paws and nails are extra sensitive. Because of that, providing them with proper care is not only important but also difficult. As a seasoned veterinary assistant, the founder of Wizard of Paws has a keen understanding of these concerns and the expertise necessary to provide a safe, “fear-free” experience for pets and owners alike.
03. Offer photography services to a specific industry
Photographers are a dime-a-dozen, so building a thriving photography business requires some finesse. Enter Elite Photography. By specializing in real estate photography, the business can establish relationships with agents who will always need great photos to make their listings pop. You can take this idea one step further and sell your photos online as digital products.
04. Help people tackle unique hair care challenges
The Hair Rejuvenation Center & Salon understands that hair loss can have a profound impact on an individual's self-esteem and overall well-being. By combining their expertise with cutting-edge techniques and technology, the team offers personalized solutions that go beyond a one-size-fits-all approach.
But it doesn't stop there. The Hair Care Center and Rejuvenation also provides specialized cuts, perms and other styling services that prioritize the overall health and vitality of hair. Their experienced stylists take the time to understand individual needs and offer personalized recommendations to enhance hair quality, manageability and appearance.
05. Offer bridal hair styling
People tend to get pretty attached to their hair stylists, so attracting new customers can be an uphill battle. Specializing in bridal hair styling offers a unique advantage, since vendor referrals are so influential in the wedding industry. Establishing relationships with a few trusted vendors can open doors to a steady stream of clients. Hailey Jordan Martin takes this unique business idea a step further by also offering makeup services, eliminating the need for brides to hire a separate artist.
06. Manage short-term home rentals
Since its inception 14 years ago, Airbnb has fostered a flourishing ecosystem of complementary businesses. BNB Hunters exemplifies the potential of starting a business in this realm. By providing valuable assistance to Airbnb hosts who have available space but could use an extra hand, the company has carved out a significant niche. BNB Hunters offers comprehensive services, aiding hosts in managing their listings, implementing effective marketing strategies and ultimately unlocking the full potential of their properties in the competitive short-term rental market.
07. Provide alternative healing services
If your goal in starting a business is to make a positive impact on someone’s life, an alternative healing business could be exactly what you’re looking for. Although pursuing this path often involves extra steps (such as specific training or obtaining a license), there’s less competition in such fields. In fact, people who don’t have access to healers in their area sometimes even travel to find these treatments elsewhere. For example, a testimonial on the Hatha Holistic website said they drive over an hour to visit the acupuncture practice.
08. Put your business on wheels
Rather than asking customers to come to you, consider going to them. Because you can offer convenience in a way that brick-and-mortar competitors can’t, running a mobile business (or pursuing pop-up shop ideas) can give you a unique advantage. Plus, it’s an ideal business to start with little money.
One noteworthy example of this unique business idea is Missouri-based Mobile Animal Services, which saves customers the inconvenience of trekking their pets to a groomer or veterinarian. Because of the unique range of services that the company provides, they also have more opportunities for customer acquisition and retention. For example, if a customer hires Mobile Animal Services to microchip their puppy, they may remember their positive experience and hire the company again to clean their dog’s ears or check its glucose levels.
09. Start a nanny-matching service
With the abundance of service providers available online, the task of finding the right one can be overwhelming for customers. A former childcare provider understood this and started The Nanny House, which matches families with nannies in Louisiana. This matching service is a particularly potent business idea because it reassures families that their children will be in safe hands.
10. Set up a home maintenance service
People often want to outsource complicated, routine maintenance tasks. So if you have repair or home maintenance skills, and like the idea of working with things rather than directly with people, consider offering maintenance services. Green Gas, for example, regularly services and maintains heating systems throughout London—offering both scheduled and emergency services. Given that many home maintenance tasks require routine checkups, you could even offer your services on a subscription basis.
11. Kick dog-walking services up a notch
Sometimes, coming up with a unique business idea is just putting a twist on an age-old idea. Sammie of Yorkshire, England did just that when she started Hack&Hike. Instead of just offering standard dog-walking services, she offers “structured pack walks” in spacious hiking areas so that dogs can safely socialize and exercise. To diversify her business model, Sammie also offers pet-sitting and equine-care equine care services.
12. Provide Instagram-friendly catering services
A sure–fire way to build a thriving catering business is to build it with social media in mind. The Arizona-based company, Desert Flower Catering, specializes in beautifully styled charcuterie spreads, while offering corporate lunches, buffets and passed appetizers. In every case, the company’s groovy branding helps it stand out.
13. Offer specialized experiences to travelers in your local area
If you live near a popular tourist destination or have specialized knowledge of a unique industry or attraction in your hometown, consider ways you can offer personalized experiences to travelers. Offering guided tours or connecting travelers with unique local experiences can be a fun, lucrative side hustle. It’s also a great way to meet new people and show off your hometown.
14. Look for an underserved cleaning niche
When it comes to building a successful cleaning business, providing reliable and trustworthy service is key. However, if there’s a lot of competition in your area, you might need to offer something extra. For example, the founders of Carefree Airbnb built their business around short-term rentals, which require quick, frequent service.
15. Set up a specialty disposal service
Proper disposal of large items often requires knowledge of local regulations and environmentally friendly practices. Because most people don’t have this knowledge, getting rid of items such as broken appliances or construction waste can be trickier than it seems. Apolonia Neri recognized this almost 20 years ago and started Neri Tire Disposal, a tire removal business that is still thriving today.
16. Become a virtual assistant
Coming up with a unique home business idea can help you minimize expenses, make your schedule more flexible and eliminate your commute (and in some cases, it can lead to businesses that run themselves). Plus, offering virtual services can help you reach a wider clientele than you could if you worked in-person. Nicole Roach uses her decades of administrative experience to build NSR Virtual Management, which offers virtual assistant services such as bookkeeping, data entry and email management.
17. Provide virtual online tutoring services
Another home business to consider is setting up a virtual classroom or tutoring center teaching your specialty skills. Ms. A’s Classroom is an online classroom that uses problem-solving and group learning to help students gain confidence in math. Ms. A also provides one-on-one tutoring. The online center provides a range of levels from K-12, as well as SAT and MCAT prep.
18. Sell handmade apparel
Selling handmade apparel online is an exciting opportunity for creative entrepreneurs in today's digital age. With e-commerce platforms and social media, you can showcase your unique designs to a global audience. To succeed, craft high-quality products with attention to detail and define your niche within the industry. For example, Miami-based Sara Swimwear offers sustainably made swimwear and ships all purposes in sustainable packaging.
19. Turn your art or craft skills into an online retail opportunity
You can sell products on your own website or from large sites like Amazon or Etsy. An online business is a great option for artists who want to reach a wider clientele and sell their art online.
If you have a crafty hobby or you like to collect unique items, consider starting a product-based business to capitalize on those interests. Cuagua Designs makes earrings from the local flora of Humboldt County, California and sells them online.
20. Make soap
Soapmaking is a unique business idea that combines creativity and entrepreneurship. With a growing demand for natural and handmade products, there is an opportunity to create personalized and high-quality soaps. By mastering the art of soapmaking and showcasing your creativity, you can attract customers who appreciate the beauty and benefits of handmade soap. For inspiration, check out Modern Muses, which sells plant-based soaps online.
21. Offer pet-sitting services
Not everyone wants to leave their pet in a dog kennel when leaving town. If you are passionate about pets, consider taking inspiration from Sloppy Paws. This North Carolina business offers in-home pet sitting so pets don’t have to deal with the extra stress of being in a new place while their owners are away.
22. Incorporate CBD oils into everyday products
By infusing CBD oil into a range of products such as skincare items, bath products or baked goods, companies like Bathing Bee have tapped into the growing demand for natural wellness solutions. By offering CBD-infused everyday products, businesses can cater to a diverse customer base seeking natural alternatives, setting themselves apart in the market and opening doors to new opportunities.
23. Set up a dropshipping business
If you aren’t the artsy type, set up an eCommerce business selling clothing or boutique items that other people design. As an added benefit, this passive income idea is a safe bet. It doesn’t involve much investment, and it won’t require as much upkeep as others on this list. It might not make you a ton of money, but even small, regular returns can add up to significant revenue over time.
24. Provide specialty aesthetician services
While many aesthetician businesses may offer a wide range of services, The Beauty Haus focuses on microblading and eyelash extensions. Specializing in these two areas not only helps the business stand out, but also enables the staff to perfect these treatments. The Beauty Haus attracts a loyal clientele and has established itself as a leader in the industry.
25. Offer consulting services to specific industries
If you have restaurant experience but don’t want to run a restaurant, consider offering your knowledge and expertise to others. The Restaurant Company offers start-up restaurant assessments, advice and administrative services to restaurants in the New York area.
6 tips for coming up with a unique business idea
Still scratching your head? These tips will help you come up with a unique business idea that will fit your experience, expertise and interests.
01. Brainstorm around your passions and experience
The first step in coming up with niche business ideas is to focus on your passions and interests. What do you care about? What do you spend your free time doing?
If you had to spend an entire day talking about something, what topic would you choose? These questions are a great place to start when coming up with a business idea. When you pursue your passions, you’ll have the motivation and drive needed to succeed, even when faced with challenges.
02. Research market trends and opportunities
After focusing on your passions and interests, the next step is to research the market. Start by looking for gaps that your business idea can fill. Are there areas in your field or region that are underserved or ignored by mainstream businesses? It’s essential to concentrate on these areas. Regardless of the economic climate, people will always be willing to pay for an improvement to a product or service that already exists.
03. Evaluate your skills and expertise
Besides considering your passions and interests, it’s important to factor in your skills and expertise. Figuring out where they align with people's needs will help you build a successful business in today’s passion economy. So, what are you good at? What unique skills and knowledge do you have that might be valuable to other people? Take some time to reflect on the skills you’ve acquired through work, education and hobbies.
It can also be helpful to ask close friends or family members for their thoughts on your strengths and skills. Someone who knows you well may have a different perspective and be able to identify skills that you overlook. Perhaps there are tasks that people regularly ask for your help with or certain areas where you have an advantage over others.
04. Solve a problem
Someone somewhere will always have a problem they need help to solve. With some creative brainstorming and a little research, you can come up with ways to use your skills, expertise and passions to offer fresh solutions.
05. Look for differentiation opportunities
If you find that your chosen industry is already crowded with competition, don’t lose heart. You can still enter the marketing by tweaking your product or service to stand out from the rest. Adding a unique twist can be a great way to distinguish yourself and stand out in the crowded market. Think of ways to add value or offer something new that others aren’t providing. This will help you attract loyal customers that appreciate your innovative approach and help your business grow.
06. Making your unique circumstances work for you
Consider the issues you face because of your unique circumstances and ask yourself what solution you’d like to see to those problems. Others may have the same issue, and your skill set may be the key to solving it. By looking for opportunities in your own experiences, you might solve your own problem and come up with a unique business idea.