Are you looking for small business ideas to start in 2023? Every business owner has different priorities, so we’ve structured this blog to help you consider business ideas that are important to you.
We’ll start by providing some resources that can help you narrow your business options, then break our list of business ideas into sections based on different interests and business goals, followed by a brief overview of how to choose a business idea.
Throughout the process, we’ll provide resources to help you narrow down your options, review testimonials, and find a great small business idea.
The 23 Most Profitable Business Ideas (2023)
Business owners are trying to make good money, and the best way for a new business to succeed is by starting a company in a thriving sector. To compile this list of profitable business ideas, the following steps were taken in the hopes that it would eliminate some of the most difficult research for business owners. To duplicate these results, you’ll need to:
- Download the NYU Stern’s Industry Sector database of publicly held companies.
- Adjust the Net Margin by adding the Stock-Payments-to-Sales Ratio because most small businesses will not be paying employees with stock. This step gives a more accurate estimation of privately-owned companies’ profits.
- Compare each segment to the total market (including and excluding financials). Financial companies have a completely different set of rules they live by, and the way they make money is not comparable to other small business ideas.
- Include segments with a higher net income than the overall market (excluding financials).
- Compare the industries based on barriers to entry (green is best, red is worst).
- Compare the industries based on the percentage of the industry representation in the database.
The industries with the highest profit margins are included in the table below:
The businesses most likely to become highly profitable are:
If you’d like to start a drink company, consider starting a vending machine business to sell them out of. Then sign up for early access to our course.
If you’d like to play with the complete data, you can find it here.
6 Businesses That Never Fail (Well Rarely)
There are six businesses that have such high success rates that they make great starter businesses.
- Laundromats: There’s a statistic going around that 95% of laundromats succeed, but I can’t find the root source. While searching a found a testimonial from business owners that purchased a laundromat and the details of their purchase convinced me it might be true. When you combine that with laundromats that we’ve interviewed, they seem to be one of the easiest investments to make great profit.
- Real Estate Investing: With good credit and a few thousand dollars down payment, you can get started in real estate investing. The 50 largest cities have a median rent of $1,879 and average mortgages were $1,427, meaning you can make an extra $450/month renting homes. Add Airbnb rentals to that and you can make even more.
- Self Storage: Self storage can make a lot of money too. The average space rental is $1 to $3 per square foot monthly. When you buy a space for less than $150 square foot, you can add automation, a coat of paint, and increase the value. After six to seven years, you’ve made enough you could pay it off if you want and then it’s nearly 100% cash flow.
- Last Mile Delivery: Ride share and delivery businesses are low barriers of entry and give a good introduction to running a business. You don’t have to set pricing, but have to manage expenses and ongoing costs. They give you easy wins when you start a business, but they aren’t the most profitable. They’ll definitely show you why a business needs to be scalable.
- Online Business Flipping: Buying successful businesses, automating them and increasing the revenue is a great way to get started. After you improve the business, then you sell it.
- Senior Care Centers: The over 65 population will double by 2060 and they’ll need care centers. All levels of government subsidize these centers and each resident space receives $2k to $5k per month for the service.
22 Home-Based Business Ideas
Some of the best business ideas are home-based businesses. When working in your own home, start-up costs are low.
After starting a small business, you can deduct a portion of your rent or mortgage, internet connection, and power bill from your expenses. Based on current tax laws and costs, the first $30K is almost tax-free because the costs offset it. That’s way better than being an employee. That’s why everyone should consider small business ideas from home.
A few low-cost business ideas to start from home include:
- Online Translator
- Virtual Call Center Operator
- Online Store
- Affiliate Marketing
- Virtual Assistant
- Digital Marketing Services
- Niche Website Owner
- SEO Expert
- Interior Decorator
- Make Jewelry
- Public Relations
- Real Estate Agent
- Remote Concierge (helps connect people with things they want)
- Personal Trainer
- 3D Printing Services
- Web Development
- Social Media Manager
- Graphic Design Business
- Event Planning Business
- Property Manager
- Landscaping Business
- Pet Business
Setups where potential clients and employees don’t come to your location make a great home-based business idea. Learn how Mike Andes grew his landscaping business to one of the fastest-growing franchises in the world.
33 Low-Cost Business Ideas with High-Profit
The business world is full of entrepreneurs who have started small businesses with little or no money. When you think about low-cost, high-profit small companies, many require no education. Here are 33 we’d suggest:
- Tutoring Services
- Real Estate Agents
- Hauling Business
- Digital Marketing Consultant
- Tour Guides
- Green Business Consultant
- Personal Trainer
- Window Blind Cleaning Service
- Online Business Manager
- Fashion Designer
- Local Delivery Services
- YouTube Content Creator
- Search Engine Optimization
- Freelance Writer
- Equipment Rental Service
- Food Truck
- Ice Cream Man
- Meal Prep Company
- Mobile Food Carts
- Mobile Locksmith Services
- Telephone Answering Service
- Mobile Pet Grooming Business
- Candle Maker
- Security Company
- Mobile Car Wash
- Research Services
- Decorating Services
- Dent Removal Service
- Dog Walking Business
- Pet Sitting Service
Most small businesses have low startup costs–as long as you focus on keeping your overhead costs down, start a small business from home, and document your business finances. If you haven’t watched our interviews with Paul Akers, check out the one below:
For more information on most of these lucrative business ideas, check out our blog about 30 businesses to start for less than $10K. It’s full of experiences from existing business owners who have already succeeded.
59 Online Business Ideas
Check out our podcast, where a consulting and SaaS CEO explains what they do:
What Are Good Business Ideas for Women?
Women play a very different role in business now than even a few decades ago. In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau conducted a study and found that women business owners are starting businesses faster than the sector growth rate in most major industries.
According to the same U.S. Census Bureau report, many businesses tend to attract an initial investment from women. The most heavily weighted industries are:
- Food Services
- Professional Services
- Scientific Advancements
- Tech Services
- Waste and Remediation
Good news! Many of these are extremely profitable business ideas and home business ideas. Here’s a list of 114 new business ideas for women:
Check out our podcast with Charmaine Nicole, founder of Sydney Nicole Hair and Black Hair and Skincare:
We also had the chance to talk to Afshan Abbas, founder of Fuchsia Shoes. Find out what she told us about her $60K/month shoe business.
Check out our video with Shed Gal Susan Frair to see how she has become the number one shed dealer in the country:
Check out our blog about Pam Christenson of Synergy Massage Therapy to learn how to start your own massage business.
12 Truly Unique Business Ideas
Every small business idea should be somewhat unique, but what are some truly quirky business ideas?
Living in Vegas, I’ve had the opportunity to see some of the most distinctive business ideas in the world. From Cirque du Soleil to fire dancers, we have some crazy businesses here. Here’s a list of unusual business ventures you can consider:
- Give tours of haunted locations.
- Prop design for parties.
- Throw concerts.
- Creatively-themed haunted houses.
- Video game-themed restaurants and bars.
- Comic-themed businesses.
- Star Wars-themed businesses. (Get Disney’s permission.)
- Swingers clubs (yes, they exist).
- Become a meme lord. (Create funny memes, share them, then sell them on designs.)
- Create your own cryptocurrency.
- Professional huggers are also a thing. If you want to make depressed people feel better, hugs increase the chemicals responsible for happiness.
- Sell Non-Fungible Tokens. They can be artwork, titles to homes, and concert tickets. There are a ton of use cases you can read about in FinTech Magazine. The Merge by Pak below sold for $91.8 million.
If you start a business venture in these fields, be careful because some of them may put you at risk due to regulatory clarity.
57 Small Business Ideas for Teens
Teens historically have a higher unemployment rate. If you are a young adult that wants to earn money, consider some of these teen entrepreneur ideas:
Read more about each of these in our blog, 57 Best Business Ideas for Teens.
Watch the interview with an 18-year old who started $144K/Month pressure washing business:
19 Categories of Business Ideas You Can Also Consider
Maybe it would be helpful to view a few selections from fields that relate most to you. Peruse these groups to see what interests you. Along the way, perhaps seeing something in a different category would also surprise you with interest.
Fashion Business Ideas
If you’re into fashion, consider these ideas:
Technology Business Ideas
If you’re into technology, consider these ideas:
Want to Start a Writing Business?
Try these ideas if you want to start a business from which you write:
Choose an Artistic Business Idea
These are some business ideas that you can do if you love artistic endeavors:
Businesses to Start in Photography or Videography
If you love working with a camera, you should consider some of these ideas for a business:
Check out our blog about becoming a photographer.
Want to Be a Consultant? Check Out These Ideas!
If you know a ton about a specific subject matter, you could become a consultant. Here are some of the best options:
Find out how Cliff Ravenscraft has helped more than 40,000 people launch podcasts.
List of Cleaning Business Ideas
We’ve created educational content related to starting a cleaning business. These are some of the ideas:
Check out our interview with Chris Mondragon below.
Need a Business Idea that Involves Teaching?
If you’re a public school teacher or just love teaching, consider these business ideas:
Start a Business that Helps People Plan
Some people are great at execution, while others are good at planning. These business ideas are for planners:
- Event Planner
- Party Planner
- Business Plan Writer
- Financial Planner
- Open an Event Space
Ideas that Involve Weddings
Some people just love weddings. If you’re one of them, these ideas might be the right business for you:
Love Food? Look at this Business Idea List!
Here are 14 ideas that involve delights for foodies:
Here’s a great interview we’ve done a food trucking business.
Learn about running a restaurant straight from one of the oldest restaurants in the country:
I’m a Financial Wizard. What Business Idea Is Good for Me?
For those of you who are great at math, consider these opportunities:
Businesses that Involve Tangible Work
If you like doing physical work that keeps your hands busy, consider a business idea in one of these fields:
Check out UpFlip videos about construction:
Consider These Real Estate ideas
If you want to own land or buildings, consider these businesses:
I Want to Start a Healthy Living Business
If you love health, here are some business ideas for you:
Business Ideas in the Legal Field
In addition to becoming a lawyer, there are a handful of other businesses that keep the legal field running. Consider one of these to get you started:
- Public Relations
- Real Estate Agent
- Paralegal Services
Love Animals? Start a Pet Business
For people who love animals, there are a variety of businesses you can get into according to your specific interests.
Here are some of them:
- Dog Groomer
- Dog Walker
- Pet Sitting or House Sitting
- Pet Trainer
- Start a Ranch
- Start a Farm
Businesses that Require Driving or Traveling
Expect to be on the go with these ideas for a business:
Miscellaneous Business Ideas
How to Choose Small Business Ideas
Every business owner is different, as is every successful business. If you want to start your own business, you need to consider small business ideas that fit your personality, skillset, and lifestyle. Before you go full steam ahead on any business idea, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is there a problem I want to solve?
- What do I want to spend the rest of my life doing?
- Do I have experience in the industry?
- Do I have the education to implement my business idea?
- How much will my small business idea cost?
Let’s look at how these questions will impact choosing your best small business ideas.
Is there a problem I want to solve?
Many small business owners start their own businesses because they see a problem in an industry and believe they can solve it. If you have a problem that needs to be solved, do market research, create a business plan, and start your own business. If you don’t already have a small business idea, keep reading. I have some strategies I have developed to help people achieve their goals.
What do I want to spend the rest of my life doing?
Over the years, a lot of people have told me:
“I want to start a business but have no ideas.”
A business is simply the intersection of what you are good at, what you enjoy, and what you can make money doing. There are so many business opportunities that people sometimes find these three questions overwhelming. That’s why I recommend a simple 2-step strategy:
- Take an aptitude and interest test.
- Research your results.
I’ll explain the benefits of each step and how they’ll help you find good small business ideas for you.
Take an aptitude and interest test.
An aptitude and interest test is a two-part test used by high schools, colleges, the military, and state unemployment offices to help people find careers. The aptitude portion of the test is skills-based and helps you figure out what you do well compared to other test takers. There are various questions involving abstract thought, math, English, and problem-solving. Job Test Prep has some examples of questions you’ll be answering. The interest portion asks questions like:
- How much do you enjoy working outside on a scale of 1 to 10?
- How much do you enjoy driving on a scale from 1 to 10?
The interest portion is focused on narrowing down the fields you are good at to ones that you will enjoy based on their job descriptions. If you don’t like driving and don’t like working outside, then you probably won’t want to be a landscaping company.
I’d recommend reaching out to your local college or unemployment office and asking if they offer free or low-cost tests. They tend to have the most effective tests. OnetOnline has resources for you to find the nearest career services centers.
Onet also provides online tests through My Next Move. You can find reviews of other tests on Monster.com. When you finish the tests, it will give you a list of potential jobs that look similar to the one below:
It will also ask you to limit jobs by the education required. I chose “high education” for this one, and it suggested the following positions:
Now, you have a list of good business ideas, but how do we limit it to one great idea? You’re about to find out.
Research your results.
We just limited the choices dramatically, but that doesn’t mean you’ll make a great living doing all these. Fortunately, the Bureau of Labor Statistics is extraordinary at collecting and analyzing data. The Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) shows the data on each industry, including:
- Median Pay
- Expected Growth
- Education Level
- Job Functions
The picture below shows an example of the OOH. Your goal here is to verify that the business idea is in a growing field and makes a reasonable living. Without those two characteristics, a small business idea will compete with existing businesses for a smaller pie.
The best small business ideas will be in quickly growing industries that make a good living. Future Business Tech has a quick read about the fastest-growing sectors, and all of them are tech, except for renewable energy and e-learning.
The Future Business Tech blog coincides with historical trends from the stock market, where IT, healthcare, and consumer discretionary offerings beat the market average between 2007 and 2021.
Do I have experience in the industry?
Paul Akers, the owner of FastCap, has brought hundreds of products to market in the woodworking industry, and he told us:
If you don’t have experience, there are plenty of ways to gain it. You can:
- Work with a small business in the field to gain experience.
- Take online courses.
- Find a business partner.
- Do freelancing on Fiverr.
Once you’ve built up some experience, it is easier to implement a business idea successfully.
Do I have the education to implement my business idea?
Some fields have educational requirements that may lengthen the time to launch a business idea. For instance, states require engineers to have a bachelor’s degree, references, and five or more years in the field to become a Principal Engineer (the person who signs construction documents certifying they are up to code). If you don’t have the education and experience, you have a few options:
- Consider small business ideas with less stringent requirements and get the education while working on another business idea or in a related field.
- Fast-track your education. I completed a bachelor’s and MBA between 2013 and 2017, so you can move fast if you are determined.
- Find a business partner.
How much will my small business idea cost?
Small business ideas can cost several thousand to millions of dollars, depending on the industry. According to Zen Business, some with the highest barriers to entry include:
- National and international shipping providers
- Drug manufacturing (the legal kind)
- Air transportation
On the other hand, some small business ideas require a few hundred dollars. One of my favorite entrepreneurs started her small business idea with a few hundred. Check out our interview about how Jazmin started her business BlkSunflower:
Now that you know how to come up with business ideas, get ready to implement your idea.
Implement Your Own Business Idea!
After reviewing the list of business ideas, you’ll need to narrow it down to a few that might work for you. Then, begin working through these actions:
- Perform market research.
- Write a business plan.
- Identify the total addressable market.
- Get funding.
- Name the business.
- Structure the business.
- Prepare to start running your business.
Let’s look at how each of these helps you turn a good business idea into a profitable business.
Perform Market Research
Understanding the industry you are going into is critical. You’ll need to understand who the major players are, what role they play in the market, and how they attract customers.
You’ll also need to understand who your customers are. That’s the point of market research. You are working to become an expert in the field. We have a whole blog dedicated to conducting market research.
While doing market research, make sure to save information about your competitors. I’d also suggest following their social media accounts to keep up to date on what businesses owned by other people are doing. You’ll be using all the information you gather in your business plan, which we’ll discuss next.
Write a Business Plan
After searching the market, you’ll want to write a business plan. A business plan is simply a document that communicates what you are trying to achieve.
You can write a one-page business plan or write a highly-detailed plan. Regardless of whether you are going into event planning, website development, or teaching a foreign language, business plans all have a few ways they are all similar. They all include:
- Company Description
- Description of Products and Services
- Marketing Plan
- SWOT Analysis
- Competitor Data
- Competitive Analysis
- Marketing Expenses Strategy
- Pricing Strategy
- Distribution Channel Assessment
- Operational Plan
- Management and Organizational Strategy
- Financial Statements and/or Financial Projections
For more information on each of these subjects, check out our blog about how to write a business plan or watch our interview with Mike Andes. He started mowing lawns to pay for college and has grown Augusta Lawn Care into one of the fastest-growing franchises in the world:
Go here to download our free business plan template to help you create your own business plan. If you don’t want to create your own, try Wise Business Plans. Their team of MBA writers, market researchers, and graphic designers has written more than 15 thousand business plans.
While writing the business plan, you’ll need to create financial projections. We’ll explain the easiest way to estimate the market opportunity next.
Identify the Total Addressable Market
The total addressable market (TAM) is how much a small business idea is worth if the small business captures 100% of the addressable market. You’ll be able to establish this through market research. For instance, if you’re selling custom-made tags for dogs, you would find the TAM by establishing:
- The number of dogs: We might encounter 76, 811, 305 in the U.S., according to the American Veterinarian Association.
- Percent of people who prefer custom products: Approximately 3.5% prefer vanity products based on U.S. vanity license plates.
- Value of tag: The average is about $20.
So the TAM would be 76, 811, 305 x 3.5% x $20 = $53,767,913.50. Of course, you aren’t likely to get 100% of that, but the number #1 Etsy pet product seller makes approximately 2% of it per year. Find out how. You’ll also need to fund the business. We’ll show you how.
It costs money to start a business. The majority of businesses make less than $100K in revenue. They have less than $50K per year of revenue without employees, but as employees increase, so does revenue. This is the breakdown by the number of employees:
- 1-4 Employees: $387,000 average revenue
- 5-9 Employees: $1,080,000 average revenue
- 10-19 Employees: $2,164,000 average revenue
- 20-99 Employees: $7,124,000 average revenue
- 100-499 Employees: $40,775,000 average revenue
Realistically, for you to succeed, you need at least $1,000 to start some of the best small business ideas, plus enough to cover any personal and business finances. Consider eCommerce shop ideas if you want low-cost side business ideas.
Whether you take a low-cost approach as you start a business or want to build a company you’ll eventually franchise, the most common options are:
- Self-funding: This might be what you earn from work or pull from retirement funds.
- Personal loan and mortgage refinance: Talk to your bank about these options.
- Loans from friends and family: Make sure to treat them like you would any other business partner.
- SBA Loans: These are harder to get but often have some of the best terms on the market.
Make sure you have a well-documented business plan if you are seeking loans. Lenders want to know that you have truly thought out your small business idea before they will consider lending you money for it.
Our blog about how to fund a business shares a ton of information about types of small business loans, how to get them, and good lenders. You can also apply with our lending partners.
Name the Business
You’ll need to choose a business name. You’ll want to make sure:
- The .com domain is available. Use GoDaddy to check and reserve your domain.
- The name is available with the state(s) you want to register. Just search ”my state’s SOS website” to find where to check for your state.
- The trademark is available. Use the Trademark Electronic Search System.
As long as all three show the name is available, you are ready to go to the next step, creating the business structure.
Structure the Business
A business structure simply identifies the type of business you are operating. This means you will:
- Choose whether you want to be an LLC, Sole Proprietor, S-Corp, C-Corp, or other structures. Read about the 11 types of business structures to see which is best for you.
- Register with the Secretary of State.
- Get an Employer Identification Number from the IRS.
- Get a state seller’s permit/tax ID.
- Get any city or county licenses required.
- Fulfill any special requirements for your industry.
Make sure to consider your personal liability when choosing a structure. People typically go with an LLC, but based on recent research over time, businesses should opt to become an S-Corp for tax purposes.
Once you’ve done these steps, you’ll be legally able to open a business. For low-cost businesses like blogging or social media management, you can get started almost immediately. For others, you’ll have other work you need to do. We’ll look at that next.
Prepare to Start Running Your Business
If you completed the last step, you are now a business owner. You’ll need to do a little more before you are ready to serve customers, though. Depending on your business you might need to:
- Order inventory.
- Choose a location.
- Hire employees.
- Create your own website.
- Get insurance.
- Get a business bank account.
- Market your business.
There’s no such thing as the perfect business idea. There are tons of great business ideas, but you’ll have to identify which small profitable business ideas are best for your skills, personality, and location.
While it’s great being your own boss and setting your own hours, not everyone wants to start a business from scratch. We have resources for you if you’d prefer to buy a business, too. Check out these resources for other ways to become a small business owner!
What are some small business ideas you are considering, and what’s the most important factor in your decision-making process?
How profitable are online startups?
They vary based on what you are goods or services you offer, but well-run online startups will reach between 20 and 36 percent net profit.
I am interested in the side hustles businesses
We have a blog on side hustles. https://www.upflip.com/blog/side-hustle-ideas
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Wow! Was very informative article