Small business ideas are easy to find, but some are total duds. To be your own boss, you need a business that will make you money and make you happy.
Luckily, this list is packed with profitable, scalable business ideas.
Whether you want to launch a dropshipping store or flex your skills with a website design business, you can find a customer base in 2021.
Why should you start a small business now?
It takes confidence to start a business, but entrepreneurs have a lot to gain by going it alone. Here are some of the big perks running a small business can bring you:
- Independence – Small business owners can do things their own way, from the business plan and marketing to services or products sold.
- Flexibility – Although starting a business takes a decent amount of effort, the payoff is being able to work from home or fit clients around your schedule.
- Innovation – When you’re the person in control of the business, new ideas, projects, and opportunities are easy to grab hold of.
Feeling ready to start your business, but still need some inspiration? Read on for 7 of the best business ideas in 2021 for entrepreneurs.
1. eCommerce business
Let’s start out with one of the most versatile business ideas out there. If you’ve ever been tempted to launch a retail business, now is the time.
An eCommerce store is perfect for small business entrepreneurs who want a job they can do from home with surprisingly minimal startup costs.
Sure, you might want to make and store the products that you sell, but it’s easy to choose a business model like dropshipping that takes away the inventory management side of things.
With dropshipping, you order and ship products from suppliers based on demand from your customers. It’s a super low-investment option which still has traction.
Whatever ideas you come up with, you’ll need a website. The central function of eCommerce businesses, becoming a website owner isn’t as hard as you might think.
Overview of eCommerce Platforms
The fastest and most low-cost way to start a business online is with a website builder.
Although they’re low-cost, great website builders provide powerful tools to small businesses. Plus, you won’t need any coding skills to get started.
The very best website builder platforms have impressive eCommerce functions for your online store, too. Here’s a quick overview of what you can expect from the key players:
- Zyro — Fast and intuitive with smart AI features to help with branding and imagery, Zyro’s online store builder is beginner-friendly, ideal for users with new business ideas.
- Wix — Another feature-filled all-rounder, building an online store is made simple on this platform thanks to easily editable website templates and a worldwide customer base.
- Shopify — Used globally by businesses and entrepreneurs, Shopify stores come with tons of integrations. Just beware the transaction fees if you don’t use Shopify Payments.
- WooCommerce — Built for WordPress and packed with add-ons, this ecommerce platform is a great place for people with a little more website building and business experience.
- BigCommerce — Ideal if you’re dropshipping products on your online store, this highly configurable platform has plenty of support for its users.
2. Create online courses
There are plenty more business ideas, if having an online store isn’t quite your thing. Instead of selling products, you could sell your skills with online courses.
It’s a lucrative home-based business to start in 2021 as people look for new learning opportunities. You can likely find clients willing to pay for your expertise in most industries.
Whether you’re a makeup artist or you can teach writing skills, figure out what sets you apart. Which courses are in demand?
Put together a business plan that takes your idea from side business to main business. Think about things like subscription models and creating video content.
Starting a business like this can be low-investment and easy to launch with just an internet connection. Just make sure that you have a niche and – most importantly – some expertise.
3. Affiliate marketing
Get businesses to pay you to promote their products. If you’re a confident kind of person or a marketing pro, this is one of those business ideas that can grow exponentially.
With affiliate marketing, you promote the products that another business or store sells, and earn commission from your clients if customers end up buying from your referral.
It’s a well-known side hustle that’ll bring in money while you focus on other business ideas, but some people are able start a business focused on affiliate marketing services.
To thrive as an affiliate marketer, it pays to establish a standout online presence and grow from there. You can easily get started from home.
Set up a blog, website, or leverage your social media accounts to bring your clients a wide range of customers.
4. Online coaching
Some of the best business ideas are about inspiring other people, not just selling products and services. If you’re that type of person, this idea is for you.
Self-improvement is always in style. If you’re able to offer a service like fitness, life, or career coaching, now is the time to start finding clients.
You’ll have to be an expert at the job, whether you’re a personal trainer or a content marketing guru. Most coaching clients are professionals searching for a high-impact service.
If you want to start a business coaching others, consider carving your niche by creating step-by-step programs or self-publishing a guide.
This is a cool low-cost online business idea that you can start from home. People are willing to pay for self-improvement, so set up a slick website and write your business plan.
5. Healthy catering service
Whether you’re a pro chef or a talented home cook feeding friends and family, there’s a small business opportunity waiting for you, too.
Foodie entrepreneurs have been changing the food business landscape for the last few years, making it easier for customers to find and buy healthy options.
People are embracing creative catering services more than ever, so this is an exciting business model to grab onto. Is there a niche that no one has thought of yet?
Storyboard some ideas for your catering service and get cooking. You could cater to specific clients or serve themed food, for example.
While a catering business is cool, make sure you’ve got the right permits if you turn this into your full-time job – especially if you work from home.
6. Craft beer and cocktail making
Some small business ideas aren’t super low-cost but they are super fun. Beer and cocktail making is one of them.
If you have the talent (and the startup capital), this is a cool and profitable business to start. The demand for craft beer and cocktail kits seems to be soaring.
A lot of people start a business like this from a hobby or passion. It’s possible to get brewing at home, but as with catering services you’ll need to check for certification requirements.
Craft beer and cocktail making takes some real skills, so prepare for the startup costs and the learning curve.
That said, if you work with the right people and nail your marketing efforts, you can create incredible in-demand products. Check out some brewery success stories to inspire you.
7. Virtual assisting
If you’re set on starting a low-cost small business from home, offering your services as a virtual assistant is a worthwhile move.
You might even be surprised to find out that businesses pay good money for someone else’s organizational skills. So if you’re an organized person, get networking.
As a virtual assistant, you could offer a range of services, starting from filing emails to planning calendars and streamlining the day-to-day life of a business professional.
This kind of service takes a proactive approach and a great network of customers. That said, it’s a great home business idea and pretty low-investment to start.
Why not think differently with your business marketing, and use your social media accounts to reach out to younger professionals or other small businesses?
How to choose the right business idea for you
So many small business ideas – how do you know which business to start? Well, that’s down to you.
If this long list of business ideas has inspired you, but you’re still not sure whether to open a store or offer cleaning services, here’s how to work it out:
- Find your passion – A small business can be low-cost to start, but demanding to run. Ensure you’re pursuing business ideas and customers you’ll love.
- Know your strengths – Starting a business needs expertise. Impress people by creating a small business you understand.
- Determine your capital – There are plenty of low-cost business ideas out there, but you might need to spend money to make money.
- Conduct market research – Make sure you’re offering services or products that people want. Only pursue small business ideas that are in demand.