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Contrary to popular belief, there are actually many ways to start a business that allow you to focus less on the logistics and upfront costs and more on launching your ideas. Let’s get you past the first big mental hurdle of “I want to start a business but have no ideas.”
These 26 small business ideas make a great entry point for beginners, bootstrappers, or anyone with a busy schedule, and get your business up and running without everything else falling apart.
To help you find the inspiration to get started, we’ve compiled a list of 100+ in-demand business ideas, divided into categories such as fitness, clothing and gaming.
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Small Business Ideas: Guide (low Investment + High Profits)
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Whatever your business type, you will need a good domain name (use our free domain name generator) associated with an excellent brand name and representative logo.
Buy stock, store it, pick it, pack it, ship it. Managing inventory is a big commitment when you run a business.
Dropshipping is an easy, low cost, business idea to start and the first of our good business ideas. Dropshipping is a fulfillment model where a third-party supplier stores and ships inventory to customers on your behalf. It is one of the best businesses to start because it is low overhead, hands-off and scalable.
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You don’t have to handle products yourself – you just have to make the sale and pass orders to your supplier. In fact, it is one of the fastest and cheapest businesses to start.
You can collect products from one or more suppliers in your own online store under a theme that focuses on a specific niche, such as gear for yoga enthusiasts or water bowls for dog owners. When a customer buys a product from you, the order is sent to your supplier, who fulfills it on your behalf. However, you are still responsible for your own marketing and customer service.
There are both local and foreign suppliers that you can work with as long as you can build a relationship with them built on trust – an unreliable supplier will reflect poorly on your brand.
Dropshipping is a great way to test product-market fit and launch a business before investing in your own original products. Make sure that you always order a sample for yourself to ensure that your supplier is reliable and that the quality of the products is suitable for sale to your customers.
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Another dropshipping model, print-on-demand puts inventory, shipping and fulfillment in the hands of a third-party supplier. But unlike the dropshipping business idea above, the focus here is on customizing products with your own designs to create something original.
T-shirts, hats, phone cases, hoodies, skirts, bags and more become canvases for your creativity. You can come up with witty slogans for developers or references that resonate with cat owners – if there’s passion and pride within a community, there’s a potential t-shirt business you can start.
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Even if you’re not a designer, you can find someone to work with on freelance sites like Fiverr, Upwork, Dribbble, or99Designs.
With many print-on-demand services, you pay per product, so the base price per unit will be more expensive than if you order in bulk. But the advantage is that if a particular t-shirt design doesn’t sell, you still haven’t actually paid for the item (only the design, if you outsource it).
You can even use shirt mockup templates so you don’t have to spend extra money on a full photo shoot for each new design.
There are a variety of print-on-demand platforms you can work with, many of which can be integrated with your store for seamless order fulfillment. However, be sure to always order a sample of your product (often offered at a discount) to make sure your custom products look good.
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A book is just another type of product when you think about it. As such, you can create one to serve a particular demand in the market.
Cookbooks, picture books, comic books, poetry books, photo books, coffee table books and novels – if you have the knowledge or creativity, there are a variety of original books you can bring to market. The options are endless – that’s why it’s one of the best ideas for small businesses to start.
Print-on-demand is a relatively safe way to test the waters and start self-publishing. It also gives you control over the quality and appearance of your book.
Lulu xPress and Blurb are popular platforms to create, order and distribute your own books as physical and digital products. You can also sell it on third-party marketplaces like Amazon or Powell’s.
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While you can order one book at a time, the cost naturally goes down when you buy in bulk. Consider pre-selling or crowdfunding your book idea to ensure there is demand and guarantee a certain number of sales so you can feel confident enough to make a bulk order.
Launching your own book can be a great way to monetize a blog if you have one or are looking to start one.
Digital products like music, courses, podcasts and templates are unique on this list of small investment ideas. Unlike the others, they are not tangible. There are no recurring manufacturing or shipping costs to worry about, so your margins can stay high, making it another no-brainer for one of the best businesses to start.
The trick is to find out what makes a good digital product. What is useful enough that people are willing to pay to download it?
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The answers range from original instrumental beats to stock photos that can be licensed to other creators to information products and templates that help people improve their skill levels in a particular field.
If you have a talent that can be turned into a digital product, think about parlaying it into a new stream of income.
Has a free digital download app that allows you to offer digital products in your store as easily as physical products.
If you’re artistically inclined or know your way around a camera, you can use dropship with a print-on-demand business model to let others physically own a piece of your work. Just make sure you have the rights to the content you want to print or use public domain assets that you can freely monetize.
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If you already have an engaged online following – say you’re a cartoonist or an urban photographer – you’re in an especially good position to try this small business idea.
Depending on the printer you work with, you can turn your work into products like posters or framed wall art, even greeting cards. There are plenty of cheap digital templates and mockup generators like Placeit that you can use to showcase your products without having to print out each item and run your own photoshoots.
In our free 40-minute video workshop, we’ll take you from product idea to setting up an online store to your first print-on-demand sale.
Having a mission to go with a business and put some profit to a cause gives social entrepreneurs a unique way to market their business while addressing the issues they care about most.
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While many social enterprises offer their own original products, you can also take one of the cheap small business ideas above and partner with a non-profit or implement that social good with your own hands, as long as you are transparent about how it works.
As part of your marketing, you can share the impact your customers have had by supporting your business, such as a blog post covering your work in the community or a real-time impact calculator on your website.
TheGive & Grow app makes it easy to partner with charitable organizations and incorporate your mission into your business. You can set it to donate a specific amount or a percentage of sales, or ask your customers to add a donation at checkout.
Offering services is not passive, but it can certainly be a lucrative way to gain independence. With service-based small business ideas, “time” is your inventory and your biggest investment. You only have a limited supply of hours in your day. However, that makes it easier to move up if you have skills that are in demand.
Barriers To Entry: Factors Preventing Startup Entry Into A Market
Writers, graphic designers, virtual assistants, SEO practitioners, cleaning service providers, dog walkers, real estate professionals, and more can build a business around their skills. You can offer these