by Janet Attard
Last Updated Wednesday, November 18, 2020
Looking for business ideas? This list of business ideas has 343 startup suggestions to consider. Read the tips on how to choose the right type of business for you first, then browse through these startup ideas.
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Are you looking for small business startup ideas? Do you want to start your own business, but wonder what’s a good business to start? Maybe you’re tired of working for a boss who makes every workday stressful. Perhaps you are convinced you can make more on your own than you can working for someone else — or you just want to bring in a little extra money to pay for a few luxuries in life. Perhaps you’ve been laid off and haven’t been able to find a new job. Or it could be that your family really needs two incomes but you don’t want your kids to be latchkey kids.
Those are just a few of the possible reasons for starting a business. No matter what your reason is, what’s important is that starting a business can be personally and financially rewarding–if you come up with the right business idea.
What’s the Best Business To Start?
That’s one of the first questions most people ask. Others are “What’s an easy business to start?” and “What’s the best business to start at home?”
But the question you should be asking yourself is, “What’s the best business for me to start.”
Different businesses require different skills, abilities, and cash to get going. A great business for a programmer to start, might not be a good idea for physical therapist or waiter. Your own likes and dislikes also need to be considered. Some businesses might be lucrative, but involve doing work you dislike doing. Others can be highly enjoyable, but not produce enough income for your needs.
So, how do you find real business opportunities and avoid scams? Or if you’re looking to add new product lines to an existing business how do you evaluate business ideas that come to your attention? The answer is as individual as you are. Here are some of the criteria you should consider when you are deciding what type of business to start:
- It is something you know how to do and can do well.
- It is something you LIKE to do and wouldn’t mind doing day after day.
- It is something with a broad enough appeal to sell on a steady basis.
- It can be sold at a price that will cover all of your expenses and overhead plus return a healthy profit.
- The market (your potential customers) is one you will be able to reach
- You have or can raise sufficient funds to get the business started and keep it running until it becomes a profitable venture.
If you haven’t yet found your entrepreneurial niche, perhaps you’ll spot a business that sounds promising (based on the criteria just mentioned) in the list of business ideas below. Some can be started as a home-based business, others really can’t. Some require you to be an expert in a particular task or industry. Others are in fields that can more easily be learned.
Many can be turned into full-time businesses, but some are ideal primarily for moonlighting or as add-on income streams in an existing business. All are viable ways to make money, if you know the business and become good at marketing.
Free Business Startup Checklist
Starting a business can be overwhelming! Use this free
Business Startup Checklist to make sure you don’t miss any important steps. This downloadable Word document lists the steps you need to take to get your business up and running, and includes space for you to note your own comments and deadlines. You can get the checklist free when you subscribe to the free Business Know-How Newsletter.
The list below is not all-inclusive. There are many, many other ways to start a business. (If you know of anything you think we should add to our list use our site feedback form to let us know.)
To help you find ideas that match your skills and interests, we’ve grouped the business ideas into a number of categories. Under some of the types of businesses (Artist, for instance) we’ve mentioned particular products or services that might be offered either as the main business or as one of the business’ offerings. Once you find a business idea you think you’d like to start, check out our how to start a business guide to find out how to get ready to launch the business.
List of Business Ideas
Here are 343 small business ideas. To get to the businesses in any category, just click on the category name below. Alternately, you can just scroll through the entire list of business ideas to find one that stirs your interest.
Paint and sell original works of art
From landscapes to abstracts, decorative art (tole painting), and even children’s books, there is a market for good art.
Artists carve and sell everything from granite statues to ice sculptures and even pumpkins at Halloween.
Big and small businesses alike need graphic designers to create brochures, posters, logos, packaging, signage and so much more.
Draw original artwork for presentations
Paint wall murals
Hand paint designs on furniture, and decorative items
Create animated videos for businesses
Sell hand-painted or handmade holiday ornaments
Auto parts sales
Auto repair garage
Brake replacement & repair
Car accessories business
Junk car removal
Mobile car tune-up and repair service
Tow truck service
Business and Consumer Services
Advertising specialty sales
Administrative support services
Bed and Breakfast Inn
Balloon decorating service
Boat excursions and tours
Business plan writer
Carpet and upholstery cleaning
Repeat business from private homes and commercial establishments make this a good business to establish
Commercial disinfecting service
Take your cleaning service a step beyond by providing professional disinfecting services for offices and other businesses.
Concrete construction and repair
Teach other people how to make decorative accessories, sew, paint, or do other crafts. Bring in extra money by selling supplies and patterns.
Daycare for adults
Dental claims processing
Dog walking service
Start a dog walking business in your neighborhood or town. Simple to start and with people busier than ever, there is a lot of demand.
Dog obedience training
Have experience training your own dog? Turn it into a business with almost no investment.
Help to clean up the home and pets and get paid. Here’s how one person made money two ways from this idea.
Drive for ride-hailing service
Make your own hours and work for Uber, Lyft or even start your own local airport shuttle business.
Drive for local businesses
Create your own business delivering food or packages to customers of local restaurants and shops. Or, sign up to be a driver with a service like DoorDash*
Adult children of the elderly are often looking for someone to spend time with their parents. You can get paid to visit and do interesting things
Always loved electrical work? Get licensed and become an electrician – tons of demand in most areas. Already licensed? Look for local electricians who may be retiring and ask about buying their business.
Environmental cleanup service
Cleaning up after environmental disasters can be a lucrative business if you have the knowledge and skills to handle the problem.
Environmental contamination detection and analysis
Manufacturers and other companies have a need to monitor and analyze groundwater and other pollutants.
Run different types of errands for busy people in your area. A business you can start in minutes with no investment and can spread by word of mouth.
Fishing boat rides
Flea market seller
Food delivery service
Formal wear rental service (male or female)
Framing service (picture frames)
Nonprofits need money to do the work they do. If you have experience with grant writing, you can get paid as a freelancer for helping them get access to the funding they need.
Enjoy making people feel beautiful? Start a business where people pay you to help them look and feel confident. Keep startup and overhead costs down by starting out in a coworking salon facility that divides up a large space into small, private salons individual stylists can rent.
Get paid to help people repair broken furniture, fix loose cabinet doors, install shelves, and do a variety of needed fixit services in their homes.
Home or office organization services
Help people organize their homes or businesses and get paid to do it
Home attendant service
The aging population makes this a business that will be needed for years to come. Check state licensing requirements as you research this idea.
Home design service
Help people bring harmony to their home with Feng Shui, or simply help them design their homes for efficiency, comfort, and beauty.
Home staging service
Help home sellers get the best price by making minor changes that maximize the home’s eye appeal to potential buyers.
Home healthcare service
Hire and send trained medical professionals to the homes of people who have healthcare and rehabilitation needs. Licensing is likely to be required.
Inspect homes for real estate buyers ahead of their purchase so they are forewarned of possible structural damage, potential for flooding basements, and other issues they’d want to avoid.
As a housekeeper, you’ll take care of light cleaning and other household chores such as ironing clothes, washing dishes, preparing meals, running errands, and other chores needed on a regular basis.
Outsourced HR services
HVAC installation & service
Inventory control service
Junk removal services
Lawnmower and motor repair
Lead generation service
Masonry & Paving for homeowners
Medical Claims Billing Service
Music teacher – private lessons
Novelty T-shirt sales
Nutritional supplement sales
Personal fitness trainer
Pet waste cleanup
Pest control service
Pool cleaning service
Portrait and wedding photographer
Power washing service
Public relations agency
Swimming pool installation
Swimming pool maintenance
Telephone service reseller
Tree trimming and removal
Water taxi service
Computer & Internet
Computer backup service
Do you enjoy tinkering with computers and solving problems when they don’t work? Get paid for fixing and troubleshooting computer issues.
Are you a coder? Make money writing software for games, cell phone apps, websites, online storefronts, and so much more.
Are you an expert on using computers or software? Teach those skills to people who need them. Sell training by the hour, or create training course once and sell it over and over on online teaching platforms.
Data recovery service
Know your way around computers and hardware? Get paid to help people recover lost data. Jobs can be lucrative.
Air quality consultant
Business improvement consultant
Make money helping businesses identify problems and find solutions
Coach (personal or business) or mentor
Construction management consultant
Franchise consultant help prospective franchisees evaluate their skills and interests and determine the best franchise for the individual to purchase
Health & wellness consultant
Human resources consultant
Internet marketing consultant
Labor relations consultant
Social media consultant
Medical office consultant
Product development consultant
Proposal consultant (government contracts)
Proposal consultant (grants)
Risk management consultant
Total quality management consultant
Utility auditing consultant
RELATED: Starting a Consulting Business
Arts and crafts instructor
Custom designed T-shirts
Custom designed jewelry
Custom-designed dried or silk flower arrangements
Design and sell craft patterns
Handmade dolls and children’s’ toys
Handmade knitted goods
Crafts supply sales
RELATED: How to Get Started Selling on Etsy
Editorial, Graphic Arts, Publishing
Book cover designer
Ebook design & production
Multimedia presentation creation
Newsletter production for clients
Write book jacket blurbs
Write publicity releases
Escape Rooms Musician
Make money by being the voice in commercials, animated movies, videos, documentaries, audiobooks, and more
Business Support Service
Mailing list management
Planning and Organizing
Business plan writing
Event Planning Service
Retail and Commercial
Used book store or online seller
Chinese food take-out service
Coffee shop owner
College food delivery service
Gift basket Service
Manufacturer’s sales representative
Network marketing business
Real estate sales & rentals
Sales coach or trainer
Printer toner recharging
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About the author:
Janet Attard is the founder of the award-winning Business Know-How small business web site and information resource. Janet is also the author of The Home Office And Small Business Answer Book and of Business Know-How: An Operational Guide For Home-Based and Micro-Sized Businesses with Limited Budgets. Follow Janet on Twitter and on LinkedIn