It is no secret that most aspiring entrepreneurs crave the opportunity to start their own small business and carefully nurture its success. Similarly, the temptation to grow a side-business to great (and profitable) new heights, allowing you to eventually become self-employed, can often be irresistible.
Good job, then, that many ideas with future expansion opportunities are available to those daring enough to go after them.
So, how do you choose the right idea when inspiration may be lacking? It is important to base your new venture on something you are passionate about, or have knowledge in, and has the potential to grow your success further.
Take a look at these top small business ideas to get you started!
The Tried and Tested
1. Business Adviser
Do you have specific expertise in a particular industry or job role, with knowledge that could help other businesses either improve their practices, save money, or simplify their primary tasks? Advisory is a great option for you. This tried and tested small business idea will allow you to pass on your experience to other (particularly smaller) corporations looking for support from a seasoned professional.
Note that this option has many growth opportunities. Get the right clients on-board requiring ongoing consulting services, and you could soon find yourself in need of an additional team and work space to manage the demand for your expertise.
2. Financial Adviser
An easy option for those with experience and certifications in accounting and finance. Through financial advisory, you will be able to support clients one-on-one with debt management, tax planning, insurance, retirement fund planning, investment management and more.
The key to success here will be building clients' trust through credibility, as word of mouth will be your major growth path. To work towards this, make sure you have your related qualifications in order, and look into obtaining an additional Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification from your regional authority. Remember that you will be dealing with clients’ sensitive financial information, so interpersonal finesse will also be needed.
3. Import/Export Business
International trade can prove to be extremely lucrative for those 'in the know'. If you have any domestic experience in either the import or export side of things, this could be for you.
Despite requiring specific knowledge and skills, dedicated planning, constant monitoring and a certain element of risk, the financial pay-out can be well worth the trouble. Don't forget that you will need specific licensing and permits to begin your own import export business, so factor in the need for this research and due diligence. To secure significant growth, you will come to depend on exemplary relationships with buyers and suppliers.
Being a franchise owner is the epitome of following a tried and tested route to starting a small business. The process involves putting your own funding into an experienced business model with proven success. You will also benefit from significant support to meet your goals and targets.
Franchises are available across industries, so remember to select one that is aligned either to something you are passionate about, or have some experience in.
5. Wedding Planning
The global bridal industry is worth a whopping $298 billion dollars, according to Splendid Insights global wedding market research. With that in mind, it's unsurprising that there is enough to go around! Though large corporations occupy the lion's share of the industry, the aftermath of the global financial crisis has led to significant demand for small, niche wedding service providers – including planners.
From venue hire, catering selection, flowers and decoration management, to transport and accommodation bookings of guests, you are able to select your preferred service offering.
This business idea has significant growth opportunities, so feel free to start small and expand to offer additional related services as your client-base grows.
6. Graphic Design
Demand for graphic design is great and growing still. All businesses, from established corporations to budding startups, require attractive and innovative designs. If you have the creative talent, consider following this route. You will need adequate professional design software, and the ability to maintain great relationships with your clients for quick referrals to new customers.
Remember that your design expertise can apply to both digital and print content, website design, editorial content and publishing material.
With further business development options, you can consider providing supplementary services to clients at a later stage, such as printing and delivery, or freelance sourcing for additional content (writing, editing, audio) where needed.
The beauty of the photography business is the long list of industries to which it applies. With no specific qualifications needed, building an attractive portfolio with the correct equipment is enough to get you off the ground. Weddings, parties, corporate events, real estate and stock photography are all areas with a great deal of potential.
Again, you will need both prior experience and exceptional customer relationship management skills to expand this small business and reap the financial rewards, particularly as you will depend on referrals, and your past client base will likely not need frequent repeat services from you.
8. Website Development
If you have expertise in development, you can leverage this to offer website development services. This is another area where small, niche businesses are in more demand than traditional firms, due to the rise of startups with limited initial funding to spend on the important process. With recurring costs such as maintenance and site design updates, you can depend on a flourishing recurring business model based on the breadth of your creativity. Requirements here include adequate experience and access to the necessary technical tools and applications.
As many online sites now offer users the ability to create their own website and design for a small one-off or subscription fee, be sure to also offer value-adding services such as content curation, editing, advisory and related research to keep bringing customers in.
Blogging may possibly be the most profitable of all small businesses for those with a creative flair. The content you produce can be tailored to your personal interests, daily life or professional expertise. Informal blog structures are incredibly popular, so don't worry if you aren't a wizard with your words – your writing skills will be less important than the content you produce.
You will first need to take care of the technical requirements by building your blog website, and conducting some research to define your target audience and decide what topics would be interesting and relevant for them.
Unlike other small businesses, blogging offers a variety of revenue streams. They include email subscriptions, banner advertisements, affiliate marketing and sponsored content.
The expansion and growth opportunities for this model are endless, especially when considering the complimentary platforms available for you to share and promote your content on (not to mention creating additional tailored content for), such as Youtube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and more. Not only will you reach a larger audience, but you will likely attract the attention of more prestigious brands and companies to cooperate with on paid sponsorships.
As though this wasn't enough, the option of blogging and social media consultation is also open to you, allowing you to share your expertise to others in the industry and create yet another revenue stream from this business.
10. Writing Services
Similar to graphic design, the need for editorial writing services is consistent across small, medium and large businesses. Whether on a freelance basis or via small agencies, companies across industries require services that include copywriting, copyediting, proofreading, online content writing, press release writing and article writing.
The key benefits for you as a business owner are the incredibly small overheads required to launch and maintain your writing small business, and potential to work with multiple clients concurrently. With further, more complex writing projects available to the best writers, the opportunity for growth of this profitable business is significant.
11. Gourmet Specialty Food Service
Do you have a passion for the specialty food industry?
Good news – the market for gourmet food items is on the rise in a big way. In addition to traditional stores or stalls, food package delivery services are also becoming increasingly popular, and this could be the perfect passion project for your chosen edible items, even lowering the overheads typically needed to maintain a physical store. Whether this encompasses delicacies, cheese, wine, teas, oils or seasonings, be sure to offer items that aren't available at your regular local grocery providers, and you will be in with a shot at success.
12. Property Styling
At the crossroads between real estate and interior design is property styling or home staging – visually preparing a property to go on the market and receive the best offer possible. While no particular background is required, you will need to utilize a combination of creative skills to enhance the available property space to give potential buyers the best first impression possible. Lighting, furniture, artwork and accessories will be your key tools here, but remember that they will become part of your potentially expensive professional inventory required for further styling jobs.
With so many ideas and industries to choose from, the real challenge is selecting how and when to start your new small business! Remember to focus on something that aligns closely to your passions, interests or experience, and prioritize value-add customer services above all to ensure your new venture will thrive.
Now it's time to get to work – good luck!