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The Ultimate List of Small Business Ideas

Updated on November 11, 2016

Whether you've always dreamed of starting a business of your own, or you've become frustrated after a long and unsuccessful job hunt and decided to go independent, deciding what kind of small business to start is the first and one of the most important decisions you must make.

When deciding what small business is right for you, a few questions to consider include:

  • What are my marketable skills and interests?
  • What marketable skills could I learn or improve?
  • Is there a market for my product or service?
  • How much money will my small business cost to start?
  • How long before I can expect to see profit?
  • Does this business idea suit my preferred lifestyle?
  • Will this business idea help me achieve my goals?

This list of small business ideas was created to offer inspiration to would-be small entrepreneurs. It focuses primarily on business opportunities with low start up costs that can be started easily from home by anyone with the skill and motivation to succeed.

List of Small Business Ideas for Crafters

One of the best home based business ideas is a craft business. Talented crafters with a good head for marketing can develop extremely successful craft businesses with few start up expenses, thanks to popular websites such as

Cool craft business ideas include:

  • upcycled jewelry
  • handmade wooden toys
  • personalized dog sweaters
  • beeswax candles
  • vintage furniture restoration

For a more complete list of craft business ideas, check out:

List of Small Business Ideas For Cooks and Food Lovers

Depending on local regulations in your area, starting a home-based food business can be easy or complicated, but if you love food and cooking, the red tape may be worth it!

There are hundreds of niches for a small business selling specialty foods. Here is a sampling:

  • artisan breads
  • dried fruit
  • gluten-free baked goods
  • vegan cupcakes
  • barbecue sauce
  • meal delivery service
  • ethnic foods

For a more complete list of small business ideas for food lovers, check out:

List of Small Business Ideas For People Who Love Children

For many people, one of the first jobs they ever get paid for is babysitting a neighbor or family friend's children. If you remember your babysitting days fondly, there are dozens of great small business ideas that will allow you to work with children while making money doing something you love!

Here is a sample of some unique small business ideas for people who love working with children and teens:

  • baby footprint bronzing
  • child proofing service
  • doula
  • game arcade
  • home day care
  • music lessons
  • organic baby food
  • storyteller
  • teen dance club

For a more complete list of small business ideas for people who love working with children, check out:

List of Small Business Ideas for Pet Lovers

Many animal lovers dream of starting a small business working with animals in some way, and with the pet industry surpassing $45 billion dollars per year in the United States alone, it is certainly a lucrative market!

There are many fun small business ideas that will allow you to make money and indulge your love of animals at the same time. Here is a sampling:

  • homemade pet toys
  • designer dog houses
  • breeding exotic fish
  • pet photography
  • raw food for dogs
  • therapy animals

For a more complete list, check out:

List of Small Business Ideas For Farmers and Gardeners

Many people ignore agricultural enterprises when considering possible small business ideas because they believe you need a lot of land to successfully make money growing crops or raising livestock. While it's true that you can't keep a dairy cow in a suburban backyard, some entrepreneurs have had amazing success even in tiny areas. For example, the Dervaes family runs a successful produce business on 1/10th of an acre in urban Pasadena, California! SPIN farming is another system suitable both for urban areas and more traditional farms.

Here is a selection of small-scale agricultural enterprises suitable for anyone with a backyard:

  • gourmet salad greens
  • heirloom tomatoes
  • worm farming
  • organic eggs
  • aquaponics
  • homemade potpourri
  • herbal teas

For a more complete list of agricultural enterprises, including everything from bison ranching to breeding rabbits, bamboo to broccoli, check out:

List of Small Business Ideas for Romantics

A business in the wedding or romance industry may be a profitable and highly enjoyable choice for anyone who loves to celebrate love and romance in all their forms:

  • carriage rentals
  • wedding planning
  • ballroom dancing instruction
  • romance novelist
  • bridal consignment shop

For a more complete list of small business ideas for romantics, check out:

List of Small Business Ideas For Car and Transportation Lovers

If you have a gift with engines and gears, there are many small business opportunities available in the automotive and transportation industries. Here are just a few:

  • antique car rentals
  • valet service
  • custom car art
  • car sharing service
  • bicycle repair
  • guided kayaking tours
  • hayrack rides

For a more complete list of small business ideas with cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats, bikes, draft animals, and more, check out:

List of Small Green Business Ideas

For many years, the concepts of "sustainable" and "profitable" were considered to be contradictory, not complementary, but as energy costs rise and concerns over environmental degradation grow around the world, green businesses have exploded in both popularity and profitability.

Here is a selection of cool green business ideas:

  • car sharing service
  • architectural salvage yard
  • home energy audit service
  • solar panel installation
  • green wedding planner
  • eco hair salon
  • organic pest control service

For a more complete list of small green business ideas, check out:

List of Seasonal Small Business Ideas

Seasonal businesses are a great opportunity for entrepreneurs who need flexibility, as they can be combined with other seasonal enterprises to create year round income or taken up only part of the year, to leave the rest open to pursue other opportunities.

Some sample seasonal business ideas include:

  • lawn mowing
  • leaf raking
  • haunted house
  • holiday decorating service
  • gift wrapping
  • Easter lambs

For a more complete list of seasonal business ideas, check out:

More Great Small Business Ideas

  • accounting
  • event planning
  • virtual assistant
  • giving lessons
  • web design
  • book indexer
  • house sitting
  • local tour guide
  • home day care
  • carpet cleaning
  • delivery service
  • pool cleaner
  • house painter
  • gift baskets
  • personal shopper
  • home organizing
  • proofreader
  • flea market
  • graphic design
  • makeup artist
  • office plant care and rental
  • piano tuner
  • tarot reader
  • interior decorator
  • tool rental
  • used bookstore


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    • eculligan profile image

      eculligan 6 years ago

      Some really nice ideas for getting started on your first business. I think I'm going to get involved in the web design business for starting.

    • okmom23 profile image

      okmom23 6 years ago from Midwest, U.S.A.

      Nice hub! Great business ideas for many ages. I did the "Gift Basket" business in the 90's and it worked out well. You have given me new ideas!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you for your helpful ideas.

    • coolbreeze profile image

      Rik Rodriguez 6 years ago from Hawaii

      Nice job I have tried so many different businesses. Its been a great adventure!

    • mr williams profile image

      mr williams 6 years ago from Norfolk, Virginia

      Great list of ideas for entrepreneurs to get started. Keep on hubbing

    • BunPig profile image

      BunPig 6 years ago from Portland, OR

      This is a really great article, some really good information and tips. Thanks for sharing!

    • businesstrader profile image

      Natalie Watson 6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Some cool business ideas to help people get started, but I always suggest people start looking into industries they already have knowledge in or a passion for.

    • businessesforsale profile image

      businessesforsale 6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      This article has actually helped me chose a path to follow. Thanks for the great info!

    • profile image

      Zurich11 6 years ago

      This is a nice list of business ideas. I've always thought that a dried fruit business could be very profitable. A small bag of dried fruit sells for a pretty high price at grocery stores.

    • bobthym profile image

      bobthym 6 years ago from Nashville, Tennessee

      I'm working on becoming a clown!

    • molson5070 profile image

      molson5070 6 years ago from State College, Pa

      gift baskets is a great one. i love making crafts, maybe one day ill actually do it! great hub

    • profile image

      kims3003 6 years ago

      Nice work on putting together a very interesting hub. Fabulous ideas and very helpful information. Well thought out and well written.

    • kev8 profile image

      kev8 6 years ago

      Great hub,I'll be backs to read it again,!

    • Trinsick profile image

      Trinsick 6 years ago from Cali

      Great ideas here thanks for putting in the time

    • suzanmitchel profile image

      suzanmitchel 6 years ago from New York

      I have been thinking on such opportunities for a long time. Your hub helped me a lot!

    • profile image

      1ncentives 6 years ago

      If you Look at successful trends! the Number 1.presently

      must be Coupons, think!! just under 3yrs.

      Now estimated at over £6.Billion..They even turned down an Offer from Google!!

    • Xishan Ansari profile image

      Xishan Ansari 6 years ago from Pakistan

      gr8 man very realistic ideas and very helpful hub love it thankx for providing such a valuable information

    • AaronAdamic profile image

      AaronAdamic 6 years ago from New York

      Yea, as soon as I have money I will try your ideas!

    • WebDESGR profile image

      WebDESGR 6 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Thank you for the hub, except I disagree that web designer or a graphic designer a great small business if you're not very good at it.

    • krantcents profile image

      krantcents 6 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Good ideas to start you thinking! My advice is find something you like to do and you will be successful because you will get the skills to do it well.

    • jasperneo profile image

      jasperneo 6 years ago from Singapore

      This is just fantastic! It definitely sets a lot of people into thinking about what they can venture into.

      Thanks for sharing!

    • burning bush profile image

      burning bush 6 years ago

      Very helpful information. Quite encouraging for those seeking to go out on their own. Thank you.

    • Sarah Masson profile image

      Sarah 6 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      Awesome list of ideas, thanks.

    • jenniryan profile image

      jenniryan 6 years ago from Australia

      Wow, this list should inspire more people to take action and start their own business. Great job.

    • lender3212000 profile image

      lender3212000 6 years ago from Beverly Hills, CA

      Some great suggestions there! I'm always looking for new ideas.

    • tal g mel profile image

      tal g mel 6 years ago

      Thanks for ideas!

    • profile image

      david stillwagon 6 years ago

      terrific hub with a lot of great info

    • sunnymarie profile image

      sunnymarie 6 years ago

      Very nice and useful hub! Thanks for sharing

    • Rajnil profile image

      Rajnil 6 years ago from Ahmedabad, India

      really useful hub for all the starter entrepreneurs. Keep writing such hubs.

    • trimar7 profile image

      trimar7 6 years ago from New York

      These types of hubs are the ones that help to keep the spirt up and people believing they can make a go of it with perseverence. Keep up the good work.

    • DLPreacher profile image

      DLPreacher 6 years ago

      Good information! Thanks for sharing!

    • wayne sr profile image

      wayne sr 6 years ago from home-East Moline,Il.

      You have a good lost of small businesses.I have started my own,But you don't have it listed.My business would be better if I only had the money to advertise

    • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

      Pamela Kinnaird W 6 years ago from Maui and Arizona

      I enjoyed your information and your format.

    • Article Magick profile image

      Article Magick 6 years ago from Dublin

      Great list! Voted up and bookmarked ;-)

    • earnestshub profile image

      earnestshub 6 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Some different ideas here, I like the idea of giving others ideas! Good hub, thanks. Voted up and useful.

    • Aviago1115 profile image

      Aviago1115 6 years ago

      Good business hub thanks!

    • Pablo_Gonzalez profile image

      Pablo_Gonzalez 6 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      Some incredible resources Kerry! Thanks for sharing. I voted it up! :-)

    • dpatullo741 profile image

      dpatullo741 6 years ago from UK

      Many thanks for giving numbers of ideas regarding own business. I am thinking of to start my own business.

      Thanks for sharing.

    • Holushurlah profile image

      Holushurlah 6 years ago from NG

      thanks for the ideas man, they are really worth trying

    • forkhyun profile image

      forkhyun 6 years ago from Korea, Canada

      good stuff! thanks for sharing it. If you want, I'd love to share some information about marketing online as well. Please feel free to visit my profile and comment on it. Thanks

    • Tony Flanigan profile image

      Tony Flanigan 6 years ago from East London, South Africa

      Great source you have compiled here. We appreciate the effort and time put into compiling a small biz list such as this.

    • Maven in the hat! profile image

      Maven in the hat! 6 years ago from Rockville Centre, NY

      Great article. Being a small business developer and marketer myself, I especially appreciate this contribution to the cause for entrepreneurship. Thank you for such a comprehensive list of ideas. So many people are 'out of work', need to reinvent themselves and never even thought of going in this direction. This is a great road map for them.

    • mviadam profile image

      mviadam 6 years ago

      With social media gaining so much steam it adds to the ease of testing a market without investing everything in brick and mortar.

    • razorblades profile image

      razorblades 6 years ago from Holland

      WOW, what a comprehensive list. Makes for very interesting reading not to mention a very valuable resource.

    • samironwebtrack profile image

      samironwebtrack 6 years ago

      wow thats a great idea u offer....its a really nice and usefull hub. thanks

    • deblipp profile image

      deblipp 6 years ago

      Nowadays many people plan for small business to earn more. I know few people who are working in a company plus planning for any business.

      It is good to think bigger.

    • networkandy profile image

      networkandy 6 years ago from Connecticut

      WOW that is a lot of ideas bro

      most of these I never even heard of. This is a great hub A lot of information but more importantly easy to read the way eveything is layout

    • malonge profile image

      malonge 6 years ago from Western New York On Hubpages

      I have a hub listing hobbies which can often turn into small businesses. See

    • Jack Salathe profile image

      Jack Salathe 6 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Great hub, very informative! Thank you for all the tips and ideas!

    • profile image

      Zurich11 6 years ago

      Great list. I think all the entrepreneurs I know would find this useful.

    • susannah42 profile image

      susannah42 6 years ago from Florida

      Some really good ideas here. Well written.

    • fucsia profile image

      fucsia 6 years ago

      Thanks for these great ideas... ideas that can generate other ideas!

    • profile image

      joinseo 6 years ago

      Thank you for great ideas.An idea can bring the change and that change can bring a revolution.This has always been the myth of revolution in history.So ideas are most important thing in this world.

    • profile image

      Jean Donlan 6 years ago

      I am totally new to Hubpages and this is one of the first hubs I have checked out- very well written, informative and the layout was easy to follow. Thank you for the information.

    • globalsky profile image

      globalsky 6 years ago

      The costs to start the business idea are the hardest to forecast.

    • profile image

      Kaur rajwinder 6 years ago

      Thanx for new ideas for self-employed people.

    • suejanet profile image

      suejanet 6 years ago

      Thanks for the great ideas. Now all I need is the money.

    • thewahwife profile image

      Angie Nelson 6 years ago from Nebraska

      This is a fabulous list. Thanks!

    • Emmanuel Udom profile image

      Emmanuel Udom 6 years ago from Lagos, Nigeria

      This write-up is educating and insightful

    • Vickie Bovender profile image

      Vickie Bovender 6 years ago from Southeastern US

      You've worked hard on this hub and it shows. I enjoyed every word. Thank you for the good info.

    • profile image

      tykk6una 6 years ago

      great list, i have some new ideas.

    • hitdev profile image

      hitdev 6 years ago

      Great going.

    • elitefatburner profile image

      elitefatburner 6 years ago

      Very informative hub, keep up the good work.

    • cashmere profile image

      cashmere 6 years ago from India

      WOW this hub is an amazing resource!Thanks for sharing

    • bugslady8949 profile image

      bugslady8949 6 years ago from The Bahamas

      You did a great job on this hub, keep up the good work.

    • kevrock529 profile image

      kevrock529 6 years ago

      Great information. Thanks for the great detail. It is very useful and put together perfectly.

    • fullboz profile image

      fullboz 6 years ago

      welcome to my hub

    • TurtleDog profile image

      TurtleDog 6 years ago

      Thanks for the info. Lots of ideas I didn't think of. I'll have to check out 'book indexer' :) Thanks again!

    • Becky Puetz profile image

      Becky 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      This is full of excellent ideas and information. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and advice. Awesome Hub!

    • janderson99 profile image

      Dr. John Anderson 6 years ago from Australia on Planet Water

      Great hub! Full of useful information

    • smartnet profile image

      smartnet 6 years ago

      Good business hub, I am impressed....

    • growmon profile image

      growmon 6 years ago from FLimby, Maryport Cumbria

      This article is sound full of good information and will help people brain storm and gather their ideas. However, no matter how good the research is without the commitment and hard word no business will be successful.

      Best Regards

    • profile image

      Multiman 6 years ago

      Very good and detailed!

    • Vaiebhav profile image

      Vaiebhav 6 years ago from Auckland, New Zealand

      Very comprehensive list Kerryg. I especially love the green ideas.

    • loveingyou profile image

      loveingyou 6 years ago from Canada

      This is a good list, but you may be missing the writing aspect of small businesses such as ghost writers, article writers...

    • crystolite profile image

      Emma 6 years ago from Houston TX

      This article will help me in my cafe business. Thank you

    • Misty May profile image

      Misty May 6 years ago

      Great Ideas! This is the best list of business ideas I've seen on the web so far! Keep updating this is great!

    • SUSANJK profile image

      SUSANJK 6 years ago from Florida

      Some good suggestions, thanks

    • musername profile image

      musername 6 years ago from Franklin, TN

      Good insights in the opening of the article. A little self-introspection before jumping into an endeavor is mighty powerful.

    • JMHeller profile image

      Joshua Heller 6 years ago

      Great Article! Funny you mention My wife was just telling me about that site the other night. I guess she might be on to something.

    • PixelCounterFilms profile image

      PixelCounterFilms 6 years ago

      Lots of information, definitely a great read.

    • pleohub profile image

      pleohub 6 years ago from Cebu City

      This make me think. Nice read.

    • MichelleShaeffer profile image

      MichelleShaeffer 6 years ago from Alaska

      Great list of creative ideas!

    • AllSuretyBonds profile image

      AllSuretyBonds 6 years ago

      Great Hub. These are some very creative ideas for people who are interested in starting their own business.

    • thedutchman profile image

      thedutchman 6 years ago

      This article is really informative. Thanks!

    • GreatSiteBabbler profile image

      GreatSiteBabbler 6 years ago from WorldWideWeb

      But are these business ideas applicable for the people under 18 too?

    • profile image

      EMMANUEL UDOM 5 years ago

      This is a good article

    • profile image 5 years ago

      great ideas in this hub. you've helped me...i won't tell you how, yet, but i will thank you...believe me :)

    • Jennie Demario profile image

      Venture Boyz 5 years ago from Floating in the clouds

      You have listed some very practical ideas. With all the different channels on the internet now such as ebay, amazon, etc..., there is tons of potential for creative people to make crafts and novelty items and sell them online.

    • nowickchilly profile image

      nowickchilly 5 years ago

      This is a great hub, thanks for sharing and for the detailed information!

    • sirsarac profile image

      sirsarac 5 years ago from Italy

      Great Hub!

    • BusinessTime profile image

      Sarah Kolb-Williams 5 years ago from Twin Cities

      Great list, very comprehensive -- thanks for the valuable information!

    • KaisaJordan profile image

      KaisaJordan 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      A very good job the economy needs this type of information now.

    • Miechin Graham profile image

      Miechin Graham 5 years ago from Blarney Stone,Chicago

      Thanks for those points..such a great help because I'm planning to have small business.

    • wiseoldaccountant profile image

      wiseoldaccountant 5 years ago from Buffalo and Orchard Park NY

      Good Hub,

      I set up up a link to this hub from my hub:

      Kerryg, I wonder if you would get more traffic from my hub if I put your picture next to the link. Do I have your permission to do that? This is good branding. The picture of the wolf is your brand.

    • KBEvolve profile image

      Kenneth Brown 5 years ago from United States

      None of these business ideas are in my areas of interest, but it is still an interesting look at the thought process that can go into building your own enterprise.

    • adrienne2 profile image

      Adrienne F Manson 5 years ago from Atlanta

      Whooaaa talk about a list of creative ideas for a small business. Some of these ideas I would have never dreamed of making a small business ouf of them. You have really showed that there is a way to make a living (and a decent one) even in an economy such we have today. Great job!

    • gzbraniac profile image

      gzbraniac 5 years ago from San Clemente, CA

      This is an excellent list. I'm working through the possibilities right now!

    • CoachCatherine profile image

      CoachCatherine 5 years ago from Altamonte Springs, FL

      Great hub!

    • ChanellChilds profile image

      ChanellChilds 5 years ago

      Thanks for all of the great ideas. This is a very thoughtful hub. With great gratitude.

    • r44my_k profile image

      r44my_k 5 years ago from London

      Great stuff. People are always looking for ideas. Even if an idea isn't "perfect" I think people should try some out anyway just to gain experience and learn something.

    • john000 profile image

      John R Wilsdon 5 years ago from Superior, Arizona

      Thanks for the link to SPIN farming. I found this to be invigorating and full of useful info. Thanks much. Voted up!

    • profile image

      Godwin 5 years ago

      My God bless you for the good idea i have from you after school am going to start my own b'ness this year in june

    • MelChi profile image

      Melanie Chisnall 5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Your article is very inspirational. It starts with a dream and passion :)

    • Kiwi Max profile image

      Max Zvyagintsev 5 years ago from New Zealand

      The idea of a haunted house as a small business caught my eye.

      Might scare some loyal customers away ;)

    • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

      Pamela Kinnaird W 4 years ago from Maui and Arizona

      You've put a lot of work into this hub and it's really interesting. Pet sitting is another small business. It's very popular in many states. People will pay $15 to $25 to have their dog stay at the sitter's house, happy and safe.

    • Quoteslover profile image

      Quotes Lover 3 years ago

      This is a great list indeed!

    • iguidenetwork profile image

      iguidenetwork 3 years ago from Austin, TX

      Great hub! The possibilities are endless. It's only a matter of passion and the right market target. Useful, shared.

    • AnitaClarkRealtor profile image

      Anita Clark 3 years ago from Warner Robins GA

      What a valuable hub with plenty of great small business ideas. Thanks for the share, Rego.

    • kkemper1 profile image

      kkemper1 2 years ago from az

      I did n0t see the word PASSION.

      Why not?

      The rest looked ok!

    • Tamara14 profile image

      Tamara Kajari 2 years ago from Zagreb, Croatia, Europe

      Very good info, thank you.

    • profile image

      Ella@listyourbusiness 18 months ago

      Loved your article.Thank you for the useful information but I want to add one point is that once you have set up your buisness well after that to make your business more visible to users you can register on Australian business directory that gives more pace :)

    • profile image

      National Homebuyers 9 months ago

      Some great ideas here. One idea is property management like us - we buy any house for cash

    • profile image

      Dr Megha 3 months ago

      wow..this list of ideas to start a small business really helped me..thank you

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