The Ultimate List of Small Business Ideas


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

Comments 113 comments

eculligan profile image

eculligan 5 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 5 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, 5 years ago from London, UK

Thank you for your helpful ideas.

coolbreeze profile image

coolbreeze 5 years ago from Hawaii

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

mr williams profile image

mr williams 5 years ago from Norfolk, Virginia

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

BunPig profile image

BunPig 5 years ago from Portland, OR

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

businesstrader profile image

businesstrader 5 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 5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

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

Zurich11 5 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 5 years ago from Nashville, Tennessee

I'm working on becoming a clown!

molson5070 profile image

molson5070 5 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

kims3003 5 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 5 years ago

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

Trinsick profile image

Trinsick 5 years ago from Cali

Great ideas here thanks for putting in the time

suzanmitchel profile image

suzanmitchel 5 years ago from New York

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

1ncentives 5 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 5 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 5 years ago from New York

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

WebDESGR profile image

WebDESGR 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 years ago

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

Sarah Masson profile image

Sarah Masson 5 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

Awesome list of ideas, thanks.

jenniryan profile image

jenniryan 5 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 5 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 5 years ago

Thanks for ideas!

david stillwagon 5 years ago

terrific hub with a lot of great info

sunnymarie profile image

sunnymarie 5 years ago

Very nice and useful hub! Thanks for sharing

Rajnil profile image

Rajnil 5 years ago from Ahmedabad, India

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

trimar7 profile image

trimar7 5 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 5 years ago

Good information! Thanks for sharing!

wayne sr profile image

wayne sr 5 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 5 years ago from Maui and Arizona

I enjoyed your information and your format.

Article Magick profile image

Article Magick 5 years ago from Dublin

Great list! Voted up and bookmarked ;-)

earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 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 5 years ago

Good business hub thanks!

Pablo_Gonzalez profile image

Pablo_Gonzalez 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

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

dpatullo741 profile image

dpatullo741 5 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 5 years ago from NG

thanks for the ideas man, they are really worth trying

forkhyun profile image

forkhyun 5 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 5 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! 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 years ago

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

deblipp profile image

deblipp 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 years ago from Seattle, WA

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

Zurich11 5 years ago

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

susannah42 profile image

susannah42 5 years ago from Florida

Some really good ideas here. Well written.

fucsia profile image

fucsia 5 years ago

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

joinseo 5 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.

Jean Donlan 5 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 5 years ago

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

Kaur rajwinder 5 years ago

Thanx for new ideas for self-employed people.

suejanet profile image

suejanet 5 years ago

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

thewahwife profile image

thewahwife 5 years ago from Nebraska

This is a fabulous list. Thanks!

Emmanuel Udom profile image

Emmanuel Udom 5 years ago from Lagos, Nigeria

This write-up is educating and insightful

Vickie Bovender profile image

Vickie Bovender 5 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.

tykk6una 5 years ago

great list, i have some new ideas.

hitdev profile image

hitdev 5 years ago

Great going.

elitefatburner profile image

elitefatburner 5 years ago

Very informative hub, keep up the good work.

cashmere profile image

cashmere 5 years ago from India

WOW this hub is an amazing resource!Thanks for sharing

bugslady8949 profile image

bugslady8949 5 years ago from The Bahamas

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

kevrock529 profile image

kevrock529 5 years ago

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

fullboz profile image

fullboz 5 years ago

welcome to my hub

TurtleDog profile image

TurtleDog 5 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 Puetz 5 years ago from Oklahoma

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

janderson99 profile image

janderson99 5 years ago from Australia on Planet Water

Great hub! Full of useful information

smartnet profile image

smartnet 5 years ago

Good business hub, I am impressed....

growmon profile image

growmon 5 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

Multiman 5 years ago

Very good and detailed!

Vaiebhav profile image

Vaiebhav 5 years ago from Auckland, New Zealand

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

loveingyou profile image

loveingyou 5 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

crystolite 5 years ago from Houston TX

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

Misty May profile image

Misty May 5 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 5 years ago from Florida

Some good suggestions, thanks

musername profile image

musername 5 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

JMHeller 5 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 5 years ago

Lots of information, definitely a great read.

pleohub profile image

pleohub 5 years ago from Cebu City

This make me think. Nice read.

MichelleShaeffer profile image

MichelleShaeffer 5 years ago from Alaska

Great list of creative ideas!

AllSuretyBonds profile image

AllSuretyBonds 5 years ago

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

thedutchman profile image

thedutchman 5 years ago

This article is really informative. Thanks!

GreatSiteBabbler profile image

GreatSiteBabbler 5 years ago from WorldWideWeb

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

EMMANUEL UDOM 5 years ago

This is a good article 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

Jennie Demario 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

BusinessTime 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 4 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 4 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

KBEvolve 4 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

adrienne2 4 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 4 years ago from San Clemente, CA

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

CoachCatherine profile image

CoachCatherine 4 years ago from Altamonte Springs, FL

Great hub!

ChanellChilds profile image

ChanellChilds 4 years ago

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

r44my_k profile image

r44my_k 4 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

john000 4 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!

Godwin 4 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

MelChi 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

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

Kiwi Max profile image

Kiwi Max 4 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

Quoteslover 3 years ago

This is a great list indeed!

iguidenetwork profile image

iguidenetwork 2 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

AnitaClarkRealtor 2 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

Tamara14 24 months ago from Zagreb, Croatia, Europe

Very good info, thank you.

Ella@listyourbusiness 13 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 :)

National Homebuyers 4 months ago

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

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