Finding the Right New Small Business Idea

Finding the Right New Small Business Idea

Finding the Right New Small Business Idea

Ready to dive into entrepreneurship? While starting a business can be hard, deciding what business to start can be even harder. There are so many business opportunities that choosing the right one can be overwhelming. Here we’ve listed some of the most popular ways to start your own business without a great deal of specialized training or skills. 

Many of these ideas will allow you to test entrepreneurship, as you can start building these businesses part-time while still working a full-time job. 

What Are Some Small Businesses That Require Little Start-Up Capital?

1. Freelance Services

If you have experience in a specific industry, or desire to work in one, you may want to start your business journey by offering your services on a freelance basis. You can try it as a side hustle to get a better understanding of what’s really involved, and to decide whether it’s a fit. (Just make sure this isn’t prohibited or restricted by your current employer if you still have one.)

A large variety of skills and services can be offered on a freelance basis, including copywriting, graphic design, social media management, home health care, notary services, dog walking or pet care, web design, and more. 

2. Website or Ecommerce Store

You can start a website or ecommerce store to feature a subject matter you’re passionate about, or one you simply believe has great potential. Many websites rely on affiliate marketing to make money, which means they get paid for recommending products or services. In that case, you don’t have to create your own products, or deal with the hassle of taking or managing orders. (Amazon has an affiliate program that isn’t high-paying but does offer a huge selection of products you can get paid to recommend.) 

You can also consider an ecommerce website that sells products directly or via dropshipping. With dropshipping, you partner with suppliers who handle product storage and shipment.

3. Coaching and Consulting

Similar to freelancing, you may be able to get paid for your expertise in the form of coaching or consulting. You can find coaches for anything from relationships to parenting to health, or on the business side for starting, growing or selling a business. Check whether certification is required for the type of coaching or consulting you want to offer. 

4. Food and Meal Prep 

Whether it’s baking beautiful cupcakes to sell to coffee shops, or creating easy weeknight meals to sell to busy families, there are many business owners who use their baking or cooking skills to create a small business. As it grows, you may need to move into a commercial kitchen or even your own bakery or restaurant. 

5. Lawn or Home Care

Mowing lawns, cleaning homes, running errands, cleaning up after dogs, and other businesses that revolve around lawn or home maintenance can be lucrative. If you are reliable and do a good job you can quickly find yourself in demand. 

6. Social Media Consulting

If you have a strong understanding of social media platforms and marketing strategies, consider offering social media consulting services to other businesses. Help clients optimize their online presence, develop content strategies, and/or run effective ad campaigns.

7. Mobile Repair Services 

If you can provide repair services for smartphones, tablets, or laptops you may be able to start a mobile repair business and offer in-business or in-home services. 

8. Content Creator/Influencer

Turn your passion or expertise into a profitable small business using content marketing. You can build a niche website, podcast, YouTube channel or social media following. 

9. Pet Care and Services

We spend a lot of money on our pets, and businesses that cater to pet owners can be rewarding both financially and personally. 

Side Hustle Nation features a list of the 23 best side hustles in 2023. If one of these ideas appeal to you, you can start it as a side business. Plow income back into your business and you may be able to turn it into a full-time business. 

Whatever business idea you decide to start, make sure you set it up properly. Forming a business entity (like an LLC or corporation), using a business bank account, paying business taxes, establishing business credit, and getting business insurance are essential to making sure you don’t put your personal finances at risk.

What Small Business To Start With $5,000?

Many business owners start their business with very little startup capital. Friends and family, savings, and even business credit cards may be used for essential startup costs. 

Here are seven business ideas you can start with a budget of $5000:

  1. Pet sitting and dog walking. Pet sitting and dog walking businesses for busy pet owners in your area can be a great business for animal lovers. Demand is starting to grow again as more employees return to the office. Your startup capital can cover marketing, licensing and insurance. Eventually you may want to grow into a doggy day care business. 
  2. Residential or commercial cleaning service. Smaller-scale cleaning businesses often require fairly minimal equipment. Make sure you get the proper insurance, and understand you may need a surety bond for some jobs. 
  3. Sell to the government. State, local and federal governments purchase all kinds of goods and services, and many businesses have been successfully built by taking advantage of this opportunity. 
  4. Mobile auto detailing. This is another business that requires a fairly small outlay for equipment and has fairly low barriers to entry. 
  5. Bookkeeping. If you are willing to invest in your education, you can learn bookkeeping skills and either work directly for clients or partner with a tax professional such as a CPA or accountant. 
  6. Resell items. There are lots of opportunities for buying cast off or sale items and turning them into cash. People flip everything from flea market and garage sale finds to bulk items companies are trying to get rid of.  
  7. Online business. There are still countless opportunities for online businesses, ranging from ecommerce stores to informational websites. Often these businesses can be started for fairly minimal out of pocket costs, but expect to invest a lot of sweat equity. 
  8. Web development. Mobile app development, website design, digital marketing and similar services remain in demand, and you may be able to carve out a profitable niche working with local businesses or remotely for clients anywhere in the world. 

What Small Business To Start With $50,000?

A startup budget of $50,000 can be helpful in starting a number of businesses. It can pay for essential startup expenses like:

  • Business formation costs
  • Website
  • Social media marketing
  • Business, professional, and/or occupational license
  • Equipment and supplies (varies by type of business)

Here are 11 businesses you could consider on a starting budget of $50,000: 

  1. Food truck. If you’re careful with your money you may be able to start a food truck for $50,000 though start up costs can be double that depending on the truck you buy and where your business is located. 
  2. Home health business. As our population ages, there is an increasing need for reliable in-home health care or assistance. 
  3. Mobile hair salon. If you can learn how to cut hair you’ll discover a market of people, usually with limited mobility, who prefer to get their hair cut or styled in their homes. 
  4. Pet grooming. You can open a storefront or start a mobile pet grooming business. 
  5. Vending machine business. Bring vending machines to popular locations and you may make great money. 
  6. Power washing/handyman/home repair services. If you have the skills, your seed capital can go toward the tools you need to build a business offering these in-demand services. 
  7. Spa (nails, eyebrows or lashes, massage). You’ll need skilled technicians, whether that’s you or someone else, and you will likely need a business license, professional or occupational license, and insurance. 
  8. Restaurant/coffee shop/bar. You may be able to get into the hospitality business for under 50K, depending on your location and how extensive a menu you have. 
  9. Insurance or accounting. You’ll need professional training and licensing but with that, you may be able to build a nice business in these areas of financial services.  
  10. Buy a business. You don’t always have to start from scratch. You may be able to buy a business. Search the online business marketplace BizBuySell and you will find lots of opportunities, though there may be geographical limitations. 
  11. Buy a franchise. There are also numerous franchises available for $50,000 or less. While you need to choose carefully, a franchise can give you a template for your business and reduce the learning curve. 

What Small Business To Start With $500,000?

A startup budget of $500,000 will sound like a small fortune to some entrepreneurs who are working with much less capital. 

With half a million dollars you can:

  • Invest in real estate
  • Start a more equipment-heavy business
  • Hire staff
  • Develop a technology product 

Just because you can, though doesn’t mean you should. As mentioned earlier you can also buy an existing business with a customer base and track record or buy a franchise. While the most popular franchises cost more than $500K, your money combined with franchise financing can get you into a very desirable business. 

What Are The Best Small Business Ideas For A New Entrepreneur?

Starting a business can be hard. Deciding what business to start can be even harder. Taking the time to investigate options can be well worth the time and effort. If your business is successful, chances are you’ll be involved with it for a while. 

Here are some steps to help you in the process of choosing the best business to start:

  1. Inventory Your Skills: Start by evaluating your skill set, as well as things you’re willing to learn. You don’t have to know how to do everything your business requires, but you must be willing to learn it. Also make a list of what things you definitely don’t want to do in your business. If you dislike dealing with the general public, for example, you don’t want to start a retail store. Identifying your strengths can help you pick a business that aligns with your abilities and that you can stick with. 
  2. Inventory Your Resources: What do you have to start with? Make a list of your financial resources, the amount of time you can commit to your business, and your networks. Keep these in mind as you research your options. 
  3. Research the Market: Conduct thorough market research to identify viable business opportunities. Look for industries or niches that are growing, have high demand, or are underserved. Analyze market trends, competition, target audience, and potential profitability. If this sounds daunting, don’t worry. You can get free help with this kind of research using the resources below.
  4. Identify Your Target Audience: Who is the target for your products or services? How will you solve their problems? How will you reach them? The clearer your target market, the easier it is to reach them through marketing and advertising. 
  5. Evaluate Profitability: Understand how your business will make money. Even if you don’t have every piece of information you need yet, take time to forecast sales, and profits. Project your break even point. 
  6. Face the Risk: Every small business is risky. You want to think through the main risks and mitigate those that you can. Understand competition, market saturation, regulatory requirements. Think about how much risk you’re personally able to take, and which business ideas best match your risk tolerance. 
  7. Get (Good) Advice. Experienced business mentors can give you invaluable feedback on your idea. Take advantage of the free resources mentioned later in this article. Connect with other entrepreneurs in your area or in a different part of the country. Listen to their feedback but understand you’ll have to make your own decisions. 
  8. Create a Business Plan: Creating a business plan can help you map out your vision, mission, target market, marketing strategies, financial projections, and operational details. You won’t know exactly how your business will progress until you try it but a business plan can help you identify hurdles and can give you direction. 
  9. Test the Waters: If possible, it’s a great idea to test your business idea on a smaller scale before you go all in. You might launch a minimum viable product (MVP) to validate demand and gather feedback.
  10. Take Action: If you’ve decided it’s a go, you can launch and learn as you go. 

Online Business Ideas

There are countless ways to make money online, and you may find a unique niche that could prove very lucrative. Here are some of the top small business ideas for online businesses:

  1. Content Creator. Turn your passion into profit with a website, blog, YouTube channel, or other online hub. Monetize through affiliate marketing, sponsorships, or your own merch like t-shirts. 
  2. Social Media Management: If you love social media marketing but don’t want to be the face of a business, consider selling social media management services to businesses.
  3. Online Coaching or Consulting: Many content creators also offer a coaching or consulting product to help other businesses replicate their success.
  4. E-book Author or Publisher: Write, publish and market e-books on Amazon or your own website. You’ll need to invest at least as much time marketing your books as you do writing them if you want to stand out. 
  5. Online Courses: Whatever someone wants to learn, there are courses that teach it. Online courses range from raising backyard chickens to creating a social media management business. 
  6. Affiliate Marketing: One of the most popular ways to get started as an online business is with affiliate marketing. Here, you get paid for selling other people’s products to your audience. 
  7. Digital Product Designer: Some people have built lucrative businesses creating and selling digital products like website templates, graphic design assets, fonts, or stock photos through online marketplaces like Etsy, or in their own online stores.
  8. Virtual Assistant: If you prefer to be in a support role, becoming a virtual assistant can allow you to help other businesses by taking tasks off their to do lists. You can be a generalist or specialize in tasks you enjoy like email marketing management or SalesForce implementation. 
  9. Search Engine Optimization. Help other businesses get more visibility in search engines by learning SEO strategies and techniques. 

Service-Based Business Ideas

If you have a skill, or can develop one, there’s probably a service-based business that would be a fit. 

  1. Residential and commercial cleaning.
  2. Home health and senior care services. 
  3. Bookkeeping and/or accounting.
  4. Landscaping: lawn care and snow removal.
  5. Home Services: Home staging,  professional home organizing, handyman and repair services, pressure washing, gutter cleaning, painting (residential and commercial), window washing, estate sales. 
  6. Automotive services: detailing, car repair, auto purchase consultant. 
  7. Personal care: Massage therapy, nails, eyebrows/eyelashes/waxing, hair cutting.  
  8. Food: baking, meal prep, catering. 
  9. Seamstress, upholstery and other sewing businesses. 
  10. Fitness businesses: Yoga or pilates lessons or studio, fitness trainer, personal nutritionist or dietician. 

Product-Based Business Ideas

There are countless product-based business ideas to consider. Just keep in mind that if you are competing against online sellers like Amazon, you will need a way to stand out. 

Ideas to get your creative juices flowing: 

  1. Handmade and Custom Jewelry: Create and sell unique and artistic handmade jewelry pieces using various materials such as beads, gemstones, metals, or recycled materials.
  2. Skincare Products: Soaps and skincare products like facial cleansers, moisturizers, serums, and body lotions can be popular, especially if they feature natural or more sustainable ingredients or packaging. 
  3. Specialty Food Products: Visit farmer’s markets and you’ll see the range of creative food products that people sell. Locally roasted coffee, homemade sourdough bread, gourmet sauces, handmade chocolates, homemade jams, flavored popcorn, ice cream or sorbets and just of many options.
  4. Eco-Friendly Products: If you can source or create products that are more sustainable you can make a living while making a difference.
  5. Subscription Boxes: Custom subscription boxes deliver everything from socks to snacks on a monthly basis. Shoppers often love trying these curated products. 
  6. Home Decor and Accessories: Many people are looking for unique ways to furnish their homes, whether it’s with sweetly scented candles or high-end custom furniture.
  7. Customized Gift Baskets: Curate and assemble personalized gift baskets for various occasions, such as birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, or corporate events, offering a selection of carefully chosen items tailored to the recipient’s preferences.

Product-based businesses often require more capital as you have to source products, stock up on inventory and plan for packaging and shipping. You’ll need to have a unique product and/or a strong brand to stand out. 

Resources for Small Business Owners

Don’t overlook free and low-cost business resources that can help you start and grow your business. Research shows that small business owners who utilize these types of resources are more likely to succeed.

Small Business Administration (SBA) 

The US Small Business Administration offers terrific resources, and helps funds resource partners that can provide free training, education and mentors for your business. 

These include Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), Veteran’s Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs) and Women Business Centers (WBCs). 

Use the SBA’s locator service to find help on your area. You can also start with an SBA Community Navigator to help you navigate available resources. 


Get free business advice from experienced mentors through SCORE. These mentors volunteer their time and expertise to help entrepreneurs start or grow businesses.

Small Business Associations

Membership groups can offer networking opportunities, training and resources. You can look for these types of associations for your industry or groups with broader memberships such as:

  • Chamber of Commerce
  • National Small Business Association
  • National Association of Women Business Owners
  • Business Networking International (BNI) 

Industry associations can also be a valuable resource for industry-specific information and strategy. 

How Do I Know if My Small Business Idea is Viable?

Your new business must find customers willing to pay you for what you have to sell. To have a profitable business, you need sales that are high enough, and expenses that are low enough to make money.

Some entrepreneurs figure this out by offering a product or service for sale before it’s complete. (Make sure you don’t collect money for someone you’ve misrepresented or that could be considered deceptive advertising.) 

Another option is to offer a scaled-back version at a lower cost to get feedback and perhaps reviewed. Or you can try crowdfunding to validate your business idea, provided you’re willing to invest time (and some money) to create a solid crowdfunding campaign.

Pat Flynn’s book Will It Fly offers a step-by-step system for testing your product idea before you bring it to market. If you want to avoid wasting too much time or money, consider following his advice. 

Another point to keep in mind is that the rise of AI tools will affect some businesses and professions more than others. You may want to think carefully about starting a new business that is likely to be disrupted soon by AI, unless you can take advantage of those tools to gain a competitive advantage. 

The Washington Post offers an interactive tool you can use to learn about which types of jobs are most likely to be impacted by AI. As one example, event planning often makes lists of best businesses to start, but according to the Post analysis, event planners are anticipated to experience a more than average impact from AI.

Do I Need a Business Plan to Start a Small Business?

Plenty of businesses have been started without a business plan. But if you really want to create a successful business, a business plan can help you map out how you’ll do that. You’ll put time and thought into developing your business model, marketing strategy and more. 

A business plan can help turn a good business idea into a great business idea. 

How Do I Obtain Funding For My Small Business?

Getting money to start a brand new business can be challenging but there are start-up financing options out there. After friends and family, the most popular options for small business loans and funding for startups include:

What Is the Best Way to Market My Small Business?

Creating a marketing plan for your small business will be key to connecting with customers. There’s no single marketing strategy that’s right for every business. A local business may find success with a combination of local advertising, targeted online advertising, word of mouth, or even direct mail. 

A business targeting online shoppers may find success with paid advertising, email marketing, working with influencers or an affiliate program that generates referrals.

A B2B-focused business may want to invest in creating white papers, LinkedIn marketing, or attending trade shows or conferences that prospective customers will attend.  

Working with a business mentor from SCORE or your SBDC (for free) can be valuable in creating your marketing strategy, as well as your business plan.

Have at it! We'd love to hear from you and encourage a lively discussion among our users. Please help us keep our site clean and protect yourself. Refrain from posting overtly promotional content, and avoid disclosing personal information such as bank account or phone numbers.

Reviews Disclosure: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the credit card, financing and service companies that appear on this site. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card, financing and service companies and it is not their responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *