Despite many of the country’s business industries growing increasingly competitive, there are still many profitable small business ideas that are suitable for novice business owners. If you’re looking to start a hot new business, but you don’t have a large amount of money to set up a new company, it’s essential to choose a profitable niche. If you can start generating cash flow quickly, you won’t have as many problems funding your new startup venture. This is excellent news for aspiring entrepreneurs, as it shows that you don’t necessarily need to have a substantial amount of savings for you to start a business. What matters most is how you’re able to make use of your resources to grow what you have.
Modern technology makes it easy to set up a professional business without rental fees or other startup costs – you can start many modern companies from the comfort of your own home with some of our examples. All you have to focus on are the small details that make your business more attractive, such as a wider variety and easier payment strategies.
I’ve compiled a list of 15 of the top most profitable small business ideas for 2020. Which one is right for you? Let’s find out!
Digital marketing is the new frontier of modern advertising. While there are plenty of qualified businesses acting in the industry, there are still small business owners that don’t utilize digital marketing services. If you can tap into clients that haven’t already benefited from digital marketing, you’ll be able to turn a profit in no time.
To get started, you should train yourself on creating ads, managing PPC campaigns, and understanding various social media marketing channels. Advanced digital marketing firms will also offer SEO and web design. If you already have a background in advertising, all the more this small business idea is the right fit for you. You’ll only need to learn the latest updates in the industry, particularly the digital one.
Fortunately, there are tons of excellent software products that can help you generate ads and find relevant keywords. You can begin assembling a team of freelancers on Fiverr, UpWork, or Freelancer.com. Best of all, you won’t have to pay anyone until you find your first client.
Digital marketing can be extremely competitive if you’re looking for clients online. Right now, many businesses have joined the e-commerce industry and desperately need help to get started with their digital marketing campaigns – this is an attractive market for you to consider. For this reason, I suggest you look at local businesses to try and establish your reputation in the industry. Meet face-to-face with business owners to discuss their needs and explain your solutions. A digital marketing agency combined with #2 (an SEO agency) is a killer combination and is our best most profitable small business idea from home.
2. SEO Agency
While this also falls under a digital marketing agency, a dedicated SEO agency can be an excellent choice if you’re trying to get started. Here, your focus is to achieve digital marketing goals solely through SEO techniques, which is going on a more specific approach. SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the process of optimizing websites for search engines. Google, Bing, and other leading search engines all use algorithms that instantly scan the internet and return the best results for web users.
SEO agencies help their clients crack the codes associated with ranking their pages at the top of search results – this makes their websites more competitive against other websites. By ranking on the top search results, these websites can attract more visitors to their site. Your clients, therefore, stay satisfied with your business offering. By creating responsive websites and keyword-rich content, you can help your clients increase their organic traffic.
Develop a strategy that includes creating content, writing meta descriptions, improving page speed, adding backlinks, and more. There are plenty of free resources online that can help you become an instant expert in SEO. Providing SEO services in your city can be a very lucrative idea and is one of the best small businesses to start due to low overhead and the potential for high profit.
3. eCommerce Business (Online Retail)
eCommerce is an exploding industry. And while it’s growing increasingly competitive, there are still plenty of opportunities to profit from an online retail business. First, choose between producing your own products or using a fulfillment partner.
If you already have a product that you produce or a supplier that you work with, you’re ahead of the game. Setting up an online store is extremely straightforward if you use a platform like Shopify, Squarespace, BigCommerce, or WooCommerce. For a small monthly fee, you can build a comprehensive online store with payment processing, shipping integration, inventory tracking, and more.
If you want to eliminate the work associated with producing goods, you can integrate many eCommerce web builders with third-party fulfillment partners. In fact, you can even deliver goods directly through Shopify. For example, you can upload graphics that will automatically print onto shirts when a customer orders them – this will then ship to your customers without ever touching your hands.
Using fulfillment partners is a great way to avoid high startup costs. You won’t need any production equipment or substantial machinery to start a new eCommerce business.
4. Web Design
As more and more consumers shop online, any business needs to have a professional website. Even if a company isn’t selling products, many consumers will research a restaurant or retailer before they visit their brick-and-mortar location. It’s critical to have a digital storefront for your business, but a physical location is not required for this small business idea.
If you don’t have considerable coding experience, it doesn’t mean you can’t start a web design company. For those without computer science backgrounds, there are two additional options: hiring web designers or using web builders.
If you hire web designers, you should focus your efforts on contacting businesses, building your client base, and managing your projects. There are plenty of freelance coders that offer their services on an hourly basis. You can find skilled workers on various freelancing websites.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to outsource your web design work, you can use a web builder that doesn’t require coding experience. Various web builders allow you to build modern, sleek websites using templates and drag-and-drop tools. If you have excellent design skills, you can still add plenty of value while using a web builder. You could even build websites for local restaurants and bars (here’s some amazing examples of restaurant website design for some inspiration), which brings us to #5.
5. Restaurant or Bar
While restaurants and bars can be challenging and expensive to start (read our full guide to opening a new restaurant), if you don’t have any previous experience, you might hit a gold mine if you have the right ideas. A popular restaurant or bar is one of the best small-town businesses that thrive. Consumers are continually searching for new and creative eateries – if you can produce a unique and enjoyable menu, there’s no reason you can’t succeed.
If you have the culinary expertise but lack the business understanding, it can be a good idea to use a restaurant consultant. Consultants can help you pick locations, build a menu, design your layout, and market your new venture.
No matter what type of restaurant or bar you’re starting, there are a few things that can make the process easier. For example, using modern restaurant POS software will ensure that you hit the ground running. Such systems can keep track of sales, process credit card transactions, manage timesheets, maintain loyalty programs, and accept reservations. They’re a one-stop-shop for all your restaurant management needs.
6. Copywriting Business
If you’re looking to start a business that doesn’t require technical experience, starting a copywriting business has low startup costs and can help you begin generating revenue quickly. Copywriters produce written content, advertisements, and product descriptions for their clients. SmartBlogger.com has a great resource with tips and ideas to help you find freelance writing jobs.
You can also kickstart your writing business by contacting local businesses, or head to a website like Upwork to connect with clients around the world. Either way, it’s a good idea to offer significant discounts on your first few contracts (so you can build a portfolio and a reputation).
7. Independent Bookkeeping
Businesses are often seeking bookkeepers to help them with payroll and accounting. During certain times of the year, many companies are willing to take on additional staff to help with increased workloads. If you can train yourself on Xero, QuickBooks, or other accounting software platforms, there are plenty of opportunities to make money.
It can be easy to build up a small client base in your area, but you don’t need proximity to a business to help. Because most companies now use electronic bookkeeping, you can assist your clients from almost anywhere on the planet. Virtual bookkeeping makes a great side hustle as well.
8. House/Dog Sitting
While this is a business idea that has been popular for decades for any small town, it’s still an excellent way to generate revenue without any startup costs. You can advertise locally via message boards, community centers, and local restaurants. Alternatively, use online message boards like Next Door for marketing your services.
It’s always a good idea to get a background check and references before you start housesitting – this can go a long way in helping you establish trust with clients.
Another reason this is such a good business idea is that you can couple it with another venture. If you’re running a tutoring business or an SEO agency, you’ll be able to take your laptop or computer with you while you housesit.
9. Online Tutoring Business
Skype and other video conferencing software programs have made it easy to run online tutoring businesses. You can even share screens with clients if you want to show them documents or watch them work.
One online tutoring niche that is growing in popularity is language tutoring. You can offer Skype sessions to students around the world. Many foreign language speakers want a native speaker to learn a new language. Here’s a resource where you can find online tutor jobs that match your skills.
You can even run this type of business when you’re traveling – all you need is an internet connection.
10. Logo Design Agency
If you’re looking for a business that you can build using a computer, a logo design agency is an excellent choice. Sign up for a logo design course, pay for a subscription of software like Illustrator or Photoshop, and begin approaching clients in your area. Create a few samples to show to potential clients – it’s always a good idea to have some examples of your work.
If you don’t have strong design skills, it’s never been easier to hire designers to work on your behalf. By using Upwork and Fiverr, you can find extremely cost-effective Photoshop experts from around the world. Hire some designers and begin focusing on branding your agency and finding clients – as always, local businesses are a good starting point.
11. Property Maintenance Business – Yard Services
Mowing lawns, removing weeds, cleaning gutters, and washing cars are all tedious tasks that many property owners are willing to outsource. If you have enough money to invest in a lawnmower, pressure washer, and ladder, you can begin offering services to clients in your area.
While some homeowners are prideful about maintaining their yards, commercial property owners are much more likely to outsource all types of property maintenance. Source information about the owners of commercial properties in your area and get in touch – you can often quote a substantial amount for commercial jobs. You’ll need a way to accept payments, the card reader from Square Point of Sale or the Square Terminal are both excellent options to consider for taking payment onsite.
12. Fresh Produce Delivery Service
If you’re looking for a creative business idea, a fresh produce delivery service can help connect your clients with locally-farmed produce. While there are plenty of organic farmers operating within the United States, few of them have direct links to consumers. Many farmers suffer from small margins because they must meet the prices offered by large grocery store chains.
If you can offer farmers a cost-effective way to deliver produce to local families and businesses, you can charge a fee and scale your business. Focus on marketing your service to consumers – if you can be the link between the farm and the table, there’s no stopping you from developing a profitable company.
13. Courier Service
With various modern delivery services available to business owners, it might sound impossible to tap into the courier business. Still, there is plenty of space for new entrants to the market if you can guarantee the fast delivery of essential documents or goods. While you will most likely need to live in a large city to create a business like this, you only need a business license, a car or motorcycle, and a smartphone with GPS to get started. You’ll also want to consider insurance and bonding to protect yourself from package loss or damage.
Placing online ads or speaking directly to business owners can help you attain your first clients. As a modern courier service provider, you need to be on call during business hours. Hiring a few other drivers can ensure that you don’t miss jobs because of overbooking. Another similar hustle is to become a ridesharing driver like with Uber, and then you can courier people for money.
14. Translation Services
If you’re fortunate enough to be bilingual, you can offer translation services to individuals and businesses. As many online companies attempt to enter foreign markets, offering to translate websites, product descriptions, and other content can be extremely profitable. You can even provide these services to students and young children, too. As more parents today wish for their kids to become bilingual, this is a good market for you to target.
There are a variety of apps that now automate this process, but they can often produce errors. Because business owners can’t afford to make mistakes, so they might be willing to hire a professional translator for quality control.
15. Recycling Business
Many Americans want to recycle, but not all cities are willing to recycle all of your waste. For example, a few years ago, the city of Houston stopped accepting glass as part of their recycling collection services.
If you live in a city that has restrictions on what you can recycle, you can set up a business that offers this service to customers. By providing weekly waste collections, you can help the environment and charge a fee for your efforts. You can often make additional money at recycling depots that pay for certain types of waste. You can also set up online invoicing and automatic recurring payments with a merchant provider like Square.
You’d be surprised at how many homeowners and businesses are willing to pay a small fee to recycle as much as possible.
There are two ways that you can go about this. If you have the talent for it, you can upcycle these items to turn them into new and useful products. If you don’t, you can also tap local artists to source out their raw materials from you. Either way, your recycling business can still perform well enough.
Verdict: Choose a Business Idea with Low Startup Costs
While there are plenty of profitable business ideas working from home either online or in your small town, it’s always best to choose something with low startup costs. That way, your risk of losing so much should the business not succeed is low. It’ll also give you more stability, in case of unforeseen economic difficulties, like what the world is going through right now. By selecting a market that’s easy to enter, you’ll be able to start turning a profit and be successful without considerable upfront investment. The examples above can now turn you into that entrepreneur you’ve always wanted to become.
Editor’s Note: Do you agree or disagree with our list of the top successful small business ideas? We’d love to have your feedback, so please comment below. Let us know of any great small business ideas you recommend!
Cathy Smiley is a POS specialist, former restaurant professional, and content contributor for www.posusa.com. Cathy currently works as an ISO for one of the largest POS companies. Since 2011, she has personally been involved with hundreds of point-of-sale installations. Her articles have been featured or mentioned in many of the top industry websites. She likes writing on the subject of POS systems and enjoys helping merchants find the best solutions to help grow their business.
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