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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

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


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    • profile image


      22 months ago

      Nice ideas.Good article.

    • profile image

      ramdev vyakaranam 

      2 years ago

      Reasons You Are Failing In Your Online Business

      Now, this is going to sound crazy, but the people over at Insta Builder have just released their new sales page for their "drag & drop" sales funnel creator (the one that over 6000 marketers are using right now)...

      And I have to tell you...

      If you need a "checklist" for your sales funnel (to make sure you are getting the highest conversions possible) you NEED to read that letter.

      Here is the link

      I'm not even joking right now.

      Get out a pen and piece of paper, go to the sales page, and go through all 32 of those points.

      If your sales funnel isn't taking advantage of EVERY SINGLE ONE of those conversion boosting tactics... then your funnel isn't performing like it should.

    • profile image

      Michael Andy 

      2 years ago

      Thank you for sharing this wonderful and easy startup business ideas. Nowadays, these business ideas are really in trend and having lots of scope in the market. To get some more amazing startup business opportunities that bring profits and reputation to your business, you can browse to BusinessPartners an online business community.

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Great!! wonderful collection of business ideas

    • profile image

      Dr Megha 

      3 years ago

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

    • profile image

      National Homebuyers 

      4 years ago

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

    • profile image


      4 years 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


      5 years ago

      Very good info, thank you.

    • kkemper1 profile image


      6 years ago from az

      I did n0t see the word PASSION.

      Why not?

      The rest looked ok!

    • AnitaClarkRealtor profile image

      Anita Clark 

      6 years ago from Warner Robins GA

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

    • iguidenetwork profile image


      6 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.

    • Quoteslover profile image

      Quotes Lover 

      6 years ago

      This is a great list indeed!

    • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

      Pamela Dapples 

      8 years ago from Just Arizona Now

      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.

    • Kiwi Max profile image

      Max Zvyagintsev 

      8 years ago from New Zealand

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

      Might scare some loyal customers away ;)

    • MelChi profile image

      Melanie Chisnall 

      8 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

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

    • profile image


      8 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

    • john000 profile image

      John R Wilsdon 

      8 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!

    • r44my_k profile image


      8 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.

    • ChanellChilds profile image


      8 years ago

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

    • CoachCatherine profile image


      8 years ago from Altamonte Springs, FL

      Great hub!

    • gzbraniac profile image


      8 years ago from San Clemente, CA

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

    • adrienne2 profile image

      Adrienne F Manson 

      8 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!

    • KBEvolve profile image

      Kenneth Brown 

      8 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.

    • wiseoldaccountant profile image


      8 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.

    • Miechin Graham profile image

      Miechin Graham 

      8 years ago from Blarney Stone,Chicago

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

    • KaisaJordan profile image


      8 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

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

    • BusinessTime profile image

      Sarah Kolb-Williams 

      8 years ago from Twin Cities

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

    • sirsarac profile image


      8 years ago from Italy

      Great Hub!

    • nowickchilly profile image


      8 years ago

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

    • Jennie Demario profile image

      Venture Boyz 

      8 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.

    • profile image 

      8 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 :)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      This is a good article

    • GreatSiteBabbler profile image


      9 years ago from WorldWideWeb

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

    • thedutchman profile image


      9 years ago

      This article is really informative. Thanks!

    • AllSuretyBonds profile image


      9 years ago

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

    • MichelleShaeffer profile image


      9 years ago from Alaska

      Great list of creative ideas!

    • pleohub profile image


      9 years ago from Cebu City

      This make me think. Nice read.

    • PixelCounterFilms profile image


      9 years ago

      Lots of information, definitely a great read.

    • JMHeller profile image

      Joshua Heller 

      9 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.

    • musername profile image


      9 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.

    • SUSANJK profile image


      9 years ago from Florida

      Some good suggestions, thanks

    • Misty May profile image

      Riley Clark 

      9 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!

    • crystolite profile image


      9 years ago from Houston TX

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

    • loveingyou profile image


      9 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...

    • Vaiebhav profile image


      9 years ago from Auckland, New Zealand

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

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Very good and detailed!

    • growmon profile image


      9 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

    • smartnet profile image


      9 years ago

      Good business hub, I am impressed....

    • janderson99 profile image

      Dr. John Anderson 

      9 years ago from Australia on Planet Water

      Great hub! Full of useful information

    • Becky Puetz profile image

      9 years ago from Oklahoma

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

    • TurtleDog profile image


      9 years ago

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

    • fullboz profile image


      9 years ago

      welcome to my hub

    • kevrock529 profile image


      9 years ago

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

    • bugslady8949 profile image


      9 years ago from The Bahamas

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

    • cashmere profile image


      9 years ago from India

      WOW this hub is an amazing resource!Thanks for sharing

    • elitefatburner profile image


      9 years ago

      Very informative hub, keep up the good work.

    • hitdev profile image


      9 years ago

      Great going.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      great list, i have some new ideas.

    • Vickie Bovender profile image

      Vickie Bovender 

      9 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.

    • Emmanuel Udom profile image

      Emmanuel Udom 

      9 years ago from Lagos, Nigeria

      This write-up is educating and insightful

    • thewahwife profile image

      Angie Nelson 

      9 years ago from Nebraska

      This is a fabulous list. Thanks!

    • suejanet profile image


      9 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Kaur rajwinder 

      9 years ago

      Thanx for new ideas for self-employed people.

    • globalsky profile image


      9 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Jean Donlan 

      9 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.

    • profile image


      9 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.

    • fucsia profile image


      9 years ago

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

    • susannah42 profile image


      9 years ago from Florida

      Some really good ideas here. Well written.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

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

    • Jack Salathe profile image

      Jack Salathe 

      9 years ago from Seattle, WA

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

    • malonge profile image


      9 years ago from Western New York On Hubpages

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

    • networkandy profile image


      9 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

    • deblipp profile image


      9 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.

    • samironwebtrack profile image


      9 years ago

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

    • razorblades profile image


      9 years ago from Holland

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

    • mviadam profile image


      9 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.

    • Maven in the hat! profile image

      Maven in the hat! 

      9 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.

    • Tony Flanigan profile image

      Tony Flanigan 

      9 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.

    • forkhyun profile image


      9 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

    • Holushurlah profile image


      9 years ago from NG

      thanks for the ideas man, they are really worth trying

    • dpatullo741 profile image


      9 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.

    • Pablo_Gonzalez profile image


      9 years ago from Raleigh, NC

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

    • Aviago1115 profile image


      9 years ago

      Good business hub thanks!

    • earnestshub profile image


      9 years ago from Melbourne Australia

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

    • Article Magick profile image

      Article Magick 

      9 years ago from Dublin

      Great list! Voted up and bookmarked ;-)

    • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

      Pamela Dapples 

      9 years ago from Just Arizona Now

      I enjoyed your information and your format.

    • wayne sr profile image

      wayne sr 

      9 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

    • DLPreacher profile image


      9 years ago

      Good information! Thanks for sharing!

    • trimar7 profile image


      9 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.

    • Rajnil profile image


      9 years ago from Ahmedabad, India

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

    • sunnymarie profile image


      9 years ago

      Very nice and useful hub! Thanks for sharing

    • profile image

      david stillwagon 

      9 years ago

      terrific hub with a lot of great info

    • tal g mel profile image

      tal g mel 

      9 years ago

      Thanks for ideas!

    • lender3212000 profile image


      9 years ago from Beverly Hills, CA

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

    • jenniryan profile image


      9 years ago from Australia

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

    • Sarah Masson profile image


      9 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      Awesome list of ideas, thanks.

    • burning bush profile image

      burning bush 

      9 years ago

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

    • jasperneo profile image


      9 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!

    • krantcents profile image


      9 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.

    • WebDESGR profile image


      9 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.


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