20 Best Small Business Opportunities
- Career Coach
- Cost-Cutting Consultant
- Errand Service
- Event/Wedding Planner
- Food Truck
- Freelance Writer
- Golf Coach
- Interior Decorator
- Professional Organizer
- IT Contractor
- Mobile Pet Grooming
- Personal Shopper
- Personal Trainer
- Hair Stylist
- Social Media Specialist
- Massage Therapist
- Vending Services
- Virtual Assistant
- Website Developer/Designer
- Uber or Lyft Driver
Perhaps you’re thinking of leaving the nine-to-five grind, or you’re simply ready to make a career change. Maybe you’re fresh out of school and ready to change the world with your entrepreneurial spirit. Whatever the reason, these days it’s easier than ever to start a business of your own. The tricky part is landing on the small business opportunities that will lead to success.
20 of the Best Small Business Opportunities Right Now
These small business opportunities are ideal for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to work from home, or who simply want to start a business in a promising, fast-growing industry.
1. Career Coach
People with backgrounds in human resources, workforce development, and career services are especially well-suited for this business. If you want to specialize as a career coach for a specific field, you’ll need industry experience. Above all, you need to be an excellent listener and understand how to help people achieve their goals and dreams.
Aside from professional certification, all you really need to become a career or life coach is a computer, a mobile phone, and a quiet place to work—but some name recognition or a loyal customer base wouldn’t hurt, either.
2. Cost-Cutting Consultant
Businesses are always looking for ways to save money. As a cost-cutting consultant, your job is to help trim the fat from a business budget and offer efficient solutions to complex problems. You need a good head for numbers, an eye for details, and general understanding of the overall operational issues a business might have.
Because you’ll generally be going to the company’s location, you won’t need an office to yourself, so you’ll have minimal overhead costs to contend with.
People are busy, so they’re often willing to pay for convenience. Errand services take care of the little things that people don’t have time to do, like dropping off dry cleaning, grabbing groceries or office supplies, or even stopping by the bank. You’ll definitely need a car—and make sure to visit your agent, as you’ll want commercial auto insurance for your business vehicle.
4. Event/Wedding Planner
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the event planning industry should experience faster-than-average growth—11% over the next 10 years.
Event planners put together all kinds of events, from weddings to business conventions, birthday parties, and office holiday parties. Hospitality experience is a good start for aspiring event planners. Other than that, you need solid contacts, outstanding organization skills, an eye for detail, and the ability and drive to make things happen.
Read more in our guide to starting a wedding planning business.
5. Food Truck
According to Mobile Cuisine, the food truck industry has experienced a 12.4% growth trend over the past few years, skyrocketing to a $1.2 billion dollar industry as of 2015—and things have only gotten better since then.
This business is a bit trickier than the others we’ve looked at so far. You’ll need a unique idea for food items to offer, a truck to service customers, proper insurance, business licenses, operating permits (depending on the city you’re operating in), health code compliance documents, and an inventory of food items just to get started. But if cooking is your passion, then a food truck might be the way to go.
Learn more about how to start a food truck.
6. Freelance Writer
Besides a computer and a bookmarked online dictionary, freelance writers need an impeccable handle on the English language and fairly thick skin to get started in this industry. It helps to have experience with a couple of niches, like finance or health writing, and areas of expertise, like copywriting or SaaS content writing. This job can be performed anywhere you have internet access, making this one of the best small business opportunities from home.
Getting paid to hang out at your favorite golf course all day, giving pointers to players interested in improving their games… What could beat that? Besides a thorough enjoyment of the game, you’ll need to cultivate relationships with golf courses in your community and let them know about your service, be a top-notch player, and have the communication skills to teach beginners.
8. Interior Decorator
Besides creativity, you’ll need to have a knack for project management, a knowledge of design and architecture history, and CAD (computer-aided design) or drawing skills. You also need to be up-to-date on building regulations. You can market your business to building contractors or new home buyers looking for an expert opinion.
Learn more about how to start an interior design business.
9. Professional Organizer
The average American spends a total of two-and-a-half days each year looking for lost items like remote controls, books, socks, keys—and even cars. Sometimes people’s homes or offices are cluttered because they’re so busy, and other times they might just be messy.
Either way, there’s no end of business for the professional organizer. If you have a gift for organization, storage solutions, and project management, you’ll do well in this business.
Small businesses often don’t have the resources for an in-house IT department, but still need help troubleshooting, repairing, and upgrading their equipment. Tech-savvy individuals who go into business for themselves need to keep their computer hardware and software skills current and should be on-call whenever a client has a technological emergency.
For this business, you’ll need a truck that can handle the demands of a pet groomer: a table, water, crates, and so on. You might be required to perform special grooming needs on some animals, too. This can be a particularly rewarding business for people who love animals and offers the opportunity to expand as demand for your services grows.
12. Personal Shopper
You’ll probably find yourself extra busy around the holidays, but many people have difficulty or little interest in purchasing normal things throughout the year, like clothes, household goods, or birthday gifts for others. To become a personal shopper, you’ll need a car and auto insurance, an excellent eye for detail, and a skill for self-promotion.
Personal trainers are sometimes associated with one or more gyms in their community, while others make house calls. To get started in this industry, you’ll need to become a certified personal trainer. Beyond that, you’ll need a genuine desire to help others, infinite patience, and knowledge about the mechanics and limitations of the human body.
14. Hair Stylist
Hairstyling will never go out of style. If you’ve been working at a salon but want to start your own business, you already have a cosmetology license and a list of customers who love you. Now all you need is a business permit, a dedicated room in your house with a sink, a comfortable chair, and a cart or counter for all your supplies, and the actual supplies, like scissors, curlers, pins, and styling products.
Businesses rely on social media strategy more than ever. As a social media specialist, you’ll help businesses create a strategic plan, develop the brand’s voice, and create social media posts that increase shares, comments, and sales. You can work from anywhere, but you’ll need a broad skill set that encompasses PR, marketing, and writing.
16. Massage Therapist
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, massage therapy is experiencing a 26% growth rate over the next decade—much faster than the average industry, making this one of the best small business opportunities on this list.
To start a massage therapy business, you’ll first need a massage therapy certification. Then, to work from home, you’ll need a business permit, massage table, massage oils, soft music, and a quiet room. In addition to your own business website, you can leave fliers or your card at physical therapy or fitness facilities.
Vending machines today deliver more than just sodas and chips: you can buy everything from DVDs to makeup, umbrellas, and lottery tickets. (At one point, vending machines at American airports even sold life insurance policies.) Your options include starting a vending machine business or becoming a franchisee of a flourishing vending machine business.
Virtual assistants perform a wide range of administrative duties from their homes: transcription services, email communications, bookkeeping services, research and scheduling, and countless other important tasks. You can work for several clients at once, and all you need is reliable internet service, a computer, and impeccable organization and planning skills.
Check out our guide on how to start a virtual assistant business.
19. Website Developer/Designer
20. Uber or Lyft Driver
If you enjoy driving and are looking to pick up some extra cash on the side, why not consider becoming an Uber driver or Lyft driver? If you meet all the requirements (you’re at least 21, have a valid U.S. driver’s license, a four-door vehicle that is 10 years old or less, among other things), make sure your car insurance and vehicle registration is up to date and be prepared to pass a background check. Once you’ve handled all those things, you’ll be picking up passengers in no time.
The Bottom Line
The right business idea can mean the difference between success and failure—so choose among these small business opportunities wisely. But ultimately, pursue your passion! That’s what launching a small business is all about.
- BLS.gov. “Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners“
- Mobile-Cuisine.com. “2015 Food Truck Industry Statistics Show Worth of 1.2B“
- PRNewswire.com. “Lost and Found: The Average American Spends 2.5 Days Each Year Looking For Lost Items Collectively Costing U.S. Households $2.7 Billion Annually in Replacement Costs“
- BLS.gov. “Massage Therapists“
- LATimes.com. “Pioneer of Airport Vending-Machine Insurance Dies“
- RideSharingDriver.com. “Uber Driver Requirements: Do You Qualify to Drive in 2020?“
Meredith Wood is a small business owner, the editor-at-large at JustBusiness, and VP at Fundera.
Meredith is the founding editor of Fundera and has specialized in financial advice for small business owners for close to a decade. Meredith is frequently sought out for her expertise in small business lending. She is a monthly columnist for AllBusiness, and has contributed to or been featured in the SBA, SCORE, Yahoo!, Amex OPEN Forum, Fox Business, Fortune, American Banker, Small Business Trends, MyCorporation, Small Biz Daily, StartupNation, Manhattan Chamber of Commerce and more.