57 New Small Business Ideas: +Good Online Startup Tips for 2019

Jason Smith

Jason Smith

Senior Author

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Jason Smith

Senior Author

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Introduction

Many people dream of starting their own business. There’s an undeniable attraction to the idea of financial independence, to charting your own course in life and no longer being reliant on an employer for income. But certain fears – like the belief that you can’t come up with a good business idea, or that any idea that you do have has already been taken – keep people from taking the plunge and striving to bring those dreams into reality.

But business ideas can come from any number of areas, many of them quite unexpected. To help you light that spark of creativity and get the juices flowing, we’ve compiled a list of 57 small business ideas that run the gamut from the more conventional, to the profusion of creatively entrepreneurial things that you can now do with the power of the internet, all the way down to already-existing franchises that you can purchase without an unrealistic expenditure of cash and make thrive. We hope for this to serve as a jumping-off point for anyone with dreams of striking out on his own. To ensure that you can cover for the cost of any kind of financing, a business loan calculator might be able to help. 

Traditional Business Ideas

At its heart, every business was born because someone had a useful skill of some kind and saw a way to apply that skill to meet a perceived need. Even though the essence of entrepreneurship is creativity and the ability to see things that others might not be able to see, there are still plenty of tried-and-true types of business ventures that offer goods or services likely to be in demand for a long time hence. Even though the following few ideas in this section are fairly common and have been around for a long time, they can still offer you the independence and chance to be self-directed that every entrepreneur craves. To start off our list of ideas, therefore, we would like to run through a few more traditional ideas for businesses. 

Small Business Ideas

“Handyman” Businesses (Plumbing, Electric, etc.)

If you like to work with your hands and are mechanically inclined, a business centered around providing plumbing, electrical or some other similar sort of service may be an excellent fit for you. After all, things always break down: sinks stop working properly, pipes become clogged, electrical wires get damaged and cease to properly carry current, and so forth. Things break all the time and people need others around who can fix them when they do. This means that there will always be demand for your type of services if you choose to take this sort of route.

It bears pointing out, however, that starting such a business is not necessarily as simple as telling people that you can fix things, waiting for customers to request your services and getting busy. Becoming an electrician, for example, requires entering a vocational school, apprenticing under an electrician and then getting licensed to become one yourself. Laws about this vary from state to state and field to field, but generally you – or your workers, if you should have them – will need to be licensed or certified to perform much of this kind of work.

Construction

Another option for you if you enjoy manual work is to start a construction business. People have always needed things built for them – houses, porches, bathrooms and much else besides. This, again, makes construction businesses perennially in demand. If you happen to have a history of working for construction companies, it can be particularly gratifying to take the skills and experience that you’ve acquired over the course of your tenure as a worker and use them in a setting where you finally get to call the shots.

The licensing requirements for general construction companies are usually not as stringent as those for more specific things like plumbing or electrical work. However, depend on where you’re working or what you’re working on, you will have to acquire things like building permits. Training is often also necessary, but pervious experience working for construction companies will usually suffice for that.

Car Repair

If you’re mechanically handy and love working on cars, don’t let that hobby go to waste. After all, great business ideas can start out as hobbies; and if your business involves doing something that you enjoy doing and would do for free anyway, you’ll only pursue things with that much more passion.

Perhaps you’ve worked as a mechanic before, developed hands-on experience and now want to parlay that into a business of your own. In that case, you just need to find a location (which may involve renting some commercial property in which to base your garage), get a few good mechanics to work for you and get to work. If you don’t have much hands-on experience, be sure to seek out a good trade school in your area first so that you may acquire the necessary skills.

Car Wash

Perhaps you do have a passion for cars, but not necessarily for fixing them or tuning them up. Maybe what gets you instead is the sight of a freshly cleaned and waxed car, glistening and looking like it just came off the showroom floor. Well, it’s clear that over time, as people drive them, cars get dirty. They can get covered in dirt, dust or bird droppings, and thus require a thorough cleaning to make them presentable again. Some people just don’t have the time necessary to clean their cars regularly and keep them looking their best, and others simply aren’t car people and don’t know how to do the job properly. That’s where you, if you decide to open your own car wash, will come in.

Landscaping

Yet another option for those with aptitude for manual work is to start a landscaping business. Once again, this is something which is frequently and consistently in demand. People’s lawns or the shrubs or bushes on their property can become overgrown with time and if they don’t have the time, the skill or the inclination to keep things in order by themselves, they’re going to need landscapers for the job. If you choose to start this kind of business, you’ll have the opportunity not only to work with your hans, but also to exercise your creativity as you find ways to make your clients’ land look just right.

While this sort of work presents its share of challenges for those who have just recently started their business – especially in the area of equipment costs – it can be not only personally rewarding but financially successful if done right. Unlike some similar manual labor-intensive construction or repair related businesses, landscaping generally doesn’t require as much in the way paperwork, permits or training for workers. This is because much landscaping work can be as simple as mowing a lawn or trimming a few hedges.

Accounting

If you prefer working with your mind more than with your hands and if numbers are your thing, than an accounting firm may be just what is necessary to bring your dreams of self-direction and financial independence to life. Granted, the educational and licensing qualifications that you must meet before you can become an accountant are rather high – as you must both have a bachelor’s degree and pass the rigorous CPA exam to become an accountant – but the associated rewards are substantial. Individuals and businesses will always need help filing their taxes every year, and businesses will have bookkeeping needs that they will require accountants to help them with.

Child Daycare

This is an obvious choice for a business idea for all of those who are good with kids and enjoy being around them. Parents love their children, but they have other obligations that make demands on their time, like work, and so can’t always be around to take care of them. Also, they’ll sometimes frankly just want to get away and take some time to relax. They’ll almost certainly need occasional help to manage things, and that’s where child daycare centers come in.

Depending on your goals and financial situation, you can either become a full-time nanny, run a daycare center out of your own home or rent commercial property for the purpose.

Tutoring

Unfortunately, there are large numbers of children who struggle in school and need help improving their grades and test scores. If you know that you can communicate clearly and in simple language, if you excelled in school, if you love children or if you just enjoy being of help, then starting a tutoring company may be the right entrepreneurial path for you.

The available options here are pretty wide. You may choose either to visit your students at home or have them come to see you in your office or tutoring facility. You may specialize in improving particular skills or academic performance in particular subjects – such as math or paper writing – or you may decide to be more of a generalist and spread your focus across all areas. You may choose to focus on improving students’ grades in school, on preparing them to take an important test like the SAT, or on both. It all depends on what works best for you and what you find works best for your customers and students.

Senior Citizen Care

Perhaps you have feelings of care and empathy for the elderly and want to help them enjoy the best quality of life possible. In that case, you should consider turning your empathy into a senior citizen care business that can give you financial autonomy and control over your life while allowing you to do something that warms the hearts and improves the lives of others. Many people in their old age find that they can no longer do things that they used to be able to do, and therefore may require assistance with even fairly simple day-to-day tasks like getting dressed, walking up the stairs or preparing food.

You can choose either to house seniors in a care facility like a nursing home or to send someone to their homes to assist them with running errands, taking trips or other things that they may need.

Pet Care

If you love animals, it’s possible to turn your love into any of a number of different businesses. Since people often do not have time to provide proper care for their pets because of work or other obligations, you can take care of that for them. You can do this either by visiting the clients’ homes and staying there while they are away to care for and watch over their pets, going to walk their dogs when they require you to, or opening up a pet daycare facility in which to keep pets while their owners are away. Another option in the animal care field is to open up a animal shelter where you can house and care for abused or neglected animals.

Open a Bakery

Similar to the idea of opening up a restaurant, opening a bakery can be an excellent way for those with cooking skills to do something they love while bringing pleasure to others. It’s a perpetually popular industry, so there’s always likely to be business, and it can also leave you free to enjoy your nights as you please. As with all of the rest of the food and beverage industry, however, selling baked goods can be quite cutthroat, as there is enormous competition from other businesses. If starting your own bakery is something that you want to do, make sure that you’ve done enough market research to allow you to open up your establishment in the right place and serve what customers in that area most want.

Open a Bar or Nightclub

Let’s say that you’re an inveterate night owl who only truly comes alive hours after the sun has set. Let’s say that you’re gregarious and outgoing and that you love mingling with others. In that case, starting your own bar or nightclub might be something that’s right up your alley. Open up a place where people can get together, drink, dance, and unwind from their day or work week, and make it either as raucous or as sedate as you like.

As fun and personally enjoyable as starting a business venture like this might be, however, it absolutely pays to keep a few things in perspective. For one thing, many areas, especially large cities, are already crawling with bars and nightclubs, so you will be facing stiff and ubiquitous competition if choose to open up in such an area. If you live around a smaller town where there isn’t as much to do, however, you might just be able to provide a sorely needed service with a bar or nightclub there.

Open a Spa or Beauty Salon

This is yet another possibility for entrepreneurial people with a strong aesthetic sense and a desire for creative expression through something visual. People want to look good. Knowing that they look good gives them a confidence that filters out into and suffuses everything else that they do in their lives. When you open up your own beauty salon or spa, you get to be the person that makes sure that other people look good.

Be aware, though, that to become a hair stylist, esthetician or nail technician requires you to complete a licensing process, which will involve some training. If you are willing to do this to pursue your dreams, then have at it!

Open a Gym

If you insist on staying in excellent shape and taking such good care of your body that your friends and family regularly come up to you to ask you for workout tips, you might do very well for yourself if you open up your own gym. Alternatively, you might become a personal trainer and visit your clients at home, or perhaps market and sell some workout routine that you have designed.

After all, countless people make countless promises to themselves to get to the gym and take better care of themselves, but so many lose the will to follow through because of lack of motivation. Perhaps you have the passion and charisma necessary to motivate people to get into shape.

Getting into the fitness field may require any number of certifications, such as the NASM, ACE or ACSM, so be prepared to first invest the time necessary to fulfill your certification requirements.

Open a Massage Parlor

In some ways similar to the beauty salon idea, this is another possibility for those who enjoy bringing people rest, relaxation and rejuvenation. Since large numbers of people work high-stress jobs and are desperate for something that allows them to unwind and forget their cares, you can provide them with exactly that in the welcoming atmosphere of a massage parlor. Beyond the relaxation that it provides, massage therapy can also have positive health effects.

To become a massage therapist, however, you will need to be licensed.

Small Business Ideas

Ideas For Online Businesses

The internet has introduced a number of revolutionary changes into life that are almost too numerous to contemplate. If you’ve had dreams of running a business of your own, the internet can be a godsend for you, enabling you to cut down enormously on all sorts of traditional business overhead costs like office space rent. Because of the internet, many for whom the idea of starting a business would have otherwise been prohibitively expensive are now either running online companies from their computer screens at home or have become freelancers and sole proprietors embarking on their own individual entrepreneurial journeys.

Here are just a few idea for how you can use the internet to parley some of your skills into potentially successful and satisfying business ventures.

Foreign Language Teacher

Without question, the easiest and most effective way to truly learn a foreign language and acquire the ability to use it naturally is to immerse yourself in a group of people who actually speak that language. The demand for effective communication across linguistic and national borders is enormous and ever-present, so if you’re able to speak any foreign languages, you can easily use the internet to get your name out there and make yourself available to anyone who may need to learn.

Whether by using your own personal website or some kind of online freelancing service like Fiverr or Upwork, you can make yourself available to people who want to learn a new language. Through online communication tools like Skype or Google Hangouts, you can easily connect with your students, teach them and give them that crucial experience of actually conversing with a native speaker in a foreign language. Since the internet makes all of this available to you, the rest is just a matter of setting your hourly rate and getting your name out there.

Translator

Similar to the previous idea, if you have foreign language skills but perhaps feel that teaching is not your cup of tea, you can still use your skills to make money online as a translator. Many companies need their websites translated into different languages in order to be able to reach foreign markets. Sometimes, companies require legal briefs or other crucial documents to be translated into other languages. You can make your language skills available to all such clients through the internet.

Translators typically set their rate as a certain amount of money per word translated, so once you have decided on your rate you must market yourself and let potential clients know that you’re available to them. You can do this, for example, by creating your own website or by posting your services on an online freelancing service.

SEO Consultant

In a world where so many businesses and other organizations must maintain an effective online presence, those organizations or businesses live or die by SEO. SEO – or, Search Engine Optimization – is the art or practice of employing certain principles to make a given website more visible in the results of major search engines like Google or Bing. This also means being able to properly interpret data from sources like Google Analytics to improve your search engine presence.

For online businesses, it is essential that people be able to find their websites, and for this to happen, those websites must be displayed prominently on search engines. For this reason, businesses have come to value the services of SEO consultants. A good SEO consultant can make the difference between a website appearing on the first page of a Google search or being relegated to an online backwater somewhere. So if you understand SEO, you should certainly consider making your services available online.

Selling Online Courses

If you have some skill that you know people would like to learn – be that programming, copywriting, drawing, playing an instrument, or virtually anything else – you can make online courses in which you communicate your knowledge to others. Through a company like Social Triggers – which specializes in teaching business and software skills – or Skillshare – which has courses on almost any subject under the sun – you can teach people whatever it is that you happen to know and whatever it is that you’d like to teach them. Course creators make money when users pay the posted fee which grants users access to the course.

Speech Writing

Any number of occasions in life – weddings, corporate board meetings, birthdays, award ceremonies, etc – may call for a speech. So many people are terrified of public speaking and are simply aghast at the idea that they might give a bad speech when all eyes are on them. For this reason, many are willing to pay good money for a skilled writer who can cook up an effective and captivating speech for them for whatever occasion it is at which they need to speak.

If you have skill as a writer, this is certainly something that it would pay to seriously consider trying your hand at, and the internet makes it particularly easy for you to get in touch with potential clients.

Public Speaking Coach

Building on the theme of speeches and public speaking, perhaps it isn’t writing per se that is your forte, but oratory specifically. Being able to give a captivating speech and charm listeners with charisma is the lifeblood of far more businesses than is often realized. Any salesman needs charm and effective speaking skills to be able to pitch his product to potential customers and persuade them to buy. New entrepreneurs looking to gather up venture capital to bring their ideas to life. Politicians need to be able to regale audience at conferences or during campaigns. All such people and more have use for the skills of a public speaking coach.

With the internet, you can swiftly get in touch with your client and give them direct speaking lessons with the help of video chatting software like Skype – and all without even needing to leave your home.

 

Small Business Ideas

Self-publish a Book

Returning to the theme of writing, perhaps you find that you are, after all, a better writer than you are a speaker. Perhaps you have some novel that has been swimming around in your head for a long time, or some useful self-help advice to offer, or ideas and thoughts on virtually any subject that you think people would be willing to read a book about. Since traditional publishes tend to have forbiddingly labyrinthine publication procedures, can often take take years to finally publish your book and swallow up the vast majority of your book’s sales revenue for themselves, self-publishing is an alternative that you should seriously consider.

Of course, if you decide to self-publish through an outfit like Amazon, you will be responsible for marketing your own book. The advantage of self-publishing, however, is that a far larger proportion of your book’s sales revenue goes to you than would be the case if you went through a traditional publisher. After paying Amazon a pretty small fee to publish your book, for example, you’ll be able to keep 70% of the sales revenue that your book generates, whereas traditional publishers only allow you to keep a fraction of that.

Ghostwriter

Suppose that you have strong writing skills but find yourself afflicted by that dreaded problem for so many writers, writer’s block. If you can write but don’t know what to write about, you can always write what someone else tells you to write. Depending on how extensive the ghostwriting project that you choose to work on is, you may need many months to research the subject before you can gain the ability to write about it with authority. However, if writing is truly your passion and something in which you are skilled, this can be a price worth paying.

Proofreader

Another way to use your writing skills to make money via the internet is as a proofreader. Plenty of people generate all sorts of writing that could benefit from constructive criticism and careful editing – be those research papers, book manuscripts, or whatever else. If you’ve got grammatical skills, strong attention to detail and an ear for what sort of writing sounds good and reads well, you would be well-advised to offer people those services online and make yourself some money.

CV Writer

Massive hordes of college student graduate each year and enter the job market, unsure of how to present themselves and their skill sets in such a way as to land them the interviews and the jobs that they want. If you have the right combination of writing skills, aesthetic sense, knowledge of what captures people’s attention and care for detail, you can run a business as a CV or resume writer for all of those people who are out job hunting.

The internet makes this easy. You can either get your name out there through a freelancing service like Upwork, or you can start your own separate website for the purpose. Your customers can then tell you about their skills and experience and you can craft them the perfect resume.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate market is an excellent way to earn a passive income simply by reviewing products or leaving links to them lying around. If you join Amazon’s Affiliate Program, you’ll be given the ability to drop special affiliate links to various products that Amazon has for sale. If someone goes to see the product through your link and then chooses to buy that product, Amazon will pay you a commission that is a fixed percentage of the product’s price (see Amazon’s Affiliate Fee Schedule for full details on commissions).

If you run a website that attracts a large amount of traffic, sprinkling a few affiliate links around can generate Amazon some considerable sales, which in turn can make you some easy money. Even if your website is smaller, affiliate marketing is a great way to make some extra cash.

Web Design

Who doesn’t love an attractive, aesthetically appealing and user-friendly website? By now, things have reached the stage where any company that doesn’t have an appealing and simple website is going to lose credibility and send potential customers running for the hills. For that reason, companies of all sorts have grown dependent on web designers front-end developers who have a sense of visual style and a strong intuition for what website users want.

If you can also write compact code that’s easy for other programmers to follow and modify as necessary, then you really ought to be broadcasting your skills online as a freelancer. Once again, websites like Fiverr and Upwork are highly useful for getting yourself out there in this field.

App Development

Beyond web design, if you have programming skills, you could also go far as a freelance app developer. Mobile apps of all kinds have exploded in popularity over the last number of years and the demand for more of them continues unabated. If you a great idea for some kind of useful or entertaining app, make it yourself and sell it online. Or, if you don’t happen to have any such ideas of your own but know how to code, make apps for others as a freelance developer.

Social Media Consulting

If you’re a social media fanatic who knows how the major platforms work, understands analytics data and can find a way to get something trending or popular, an enormous number of businesses and other organizations want your skills and are willing to pay good money for them. Social media’s popularity makes it essential for any business that wants to generate attention and sales to have a presence on at least the major platforms like Facebook and Twitter. They want people who know how to generate attention for their brands on these platforms, and so if you do, use the internet to put your name out there and get to business.

Instagram Consulting

A still-developing special niche of the social media consulting world has to do with primarily visual and image-based social media platforms like Instagram. Instagram’s popularity is currently growing and quite a few business still don’t know what they’re doing on these platforms. If you have a passion for photography and a keen eye for making attention-grabbing images, help them find their bearings and generate some buzz for their brands as an internet-based consultant.

Selling Handicrafts

If you’ve got a flair for visual creativity and love working with your hands, then you may be happy to find out that you can sell handmade items online. If you’re wondering what sorts of things you can sell, the truth is, the sky is really the limit here. Through platforms like Etsy and ArtFire, people have sold everything from crocheted blankets, to paintings, to painted glassware, to especially beautiful or visually arresting photographs, to whittled figurines. Of course, you’re only limited by your own creativity here. If you can make something by hand that you think people would want, you can find a way to sell it online though ArtFire, Etsy, Amazon, eBay or some other such platform.

Selling T-Shirts Online

Another option for artistically-skilled, creative and entrepreneurial people is to design t-shirts and sell them online. Because of the existence of websites like Spreadshirt, Shopify, Teespring and UberPrints, it’s now incredibly easy to design a shirt and put it up for sale. These services handle printing up and shipping the shirts for you. After they take their cut, the rest of the sales revenue that you can generate by selling your shirts goes to you. All that you need to do is create the images that you would like to see on your shirts, digitize them and submit them to the t-shirt design website that you decide to use when they ask you for your design. These websites provide you with a template for working out and submitting your designs, so this is easy to do.

If you are visually creative and like making beautiful things, you should absolutely give selling your own t-shirts online a shot.

Music Teacher

Countless people surely wish that they had the ability to play a music instrument, but lack either the confidence to get started or the will to be persistent as they’re learning to play. But if you love music and can play an instrument, why not turn that obviously marketable skill into a business?

The internet can only make things easier for you in this endeavor, as it can allow you to advertise yourself, gather email subscriptions and customers by writing a periodic newsletter in which you give readers some helpful instrument-playing tips to whet their appetites, and then give them either pre-recorded video lessons on your website or give people personal lessons without ever having to meet them through software like Skype. Since you won’t have to necessarily go and physically meet your students, this will cut down on your costs, allowing you to charge lower prices and driving more eager students into your hands. Websites like JustinGuitar and GuitarTricks have pioneered this approach.

Sell 3D-printed Products

3D printing is one of the most extraordinary technological innovations of recent years and has virtually limitless potential, enabling users to create live 3D copies of a large array of items, including food and even houses. Some have already endeavored to capitalize upon this potential, and you can do so as well.

If you can acquire or design a 3D printer that can manufacture certain desired items, make use of that capability and stake out your claim online. With the proper website in place to advertise your services and offer them to potential customers, you can easily accept customer orders for items, create those items with your 3D printers and ship them to your customers for a fee. As 3D printing technology grows and develops, the list of items with which you will be able to do this will only expand.

Websites like DanitPeleg and 3DigitalCooks have already made a mark in this area, producing 3D-printed clothes and food, respectively.

Party or Events Planner

If you have fastidious organizational skills and a strong aesthetic sense, becoming an events planner can be an excellent way to channel your talents into a business. As in many areas of entrepreneurship, the internet stands ready to help you here, if only you use it properly. Since this is an extraordinarily large and varied area of work, there’s almost no telling what type of things you might have to arrange. Your services could be called upon to organize weddings, birthday parties, product launches, corporate luncheons, or just about anything else under the sun. Versatility is a crucial skill here, but if this appeals to you, get going!

With a snazzily-designed website showcasing your skills and providing potential clients a feast for the eyes, as well as a few testimonials from satisfied customers, you and insert yourself into this field and potentially become quite the success.

Fresh Produce or Other Food Delivery

People need food. It’s as simple as that. In particular, there’s quite the niche market for fresh organically-grown produce. But people also have busy schedules and responsibilities, and therefore don’t necessarily have the time to do their food shopping themselves. Why not take advantage of this clear need and create a business that satisfies it?

There are already services like GrubHub and Postmates which specialize in general food delivery, and FreshDirect, which narrows its focus to organic produce. You can either choose to be a delivery driver for GrubHub or Postmates, thereby setting your own schedule and essentially working as an independent contractor, or, if you’re really ambitious, set up a food delivery service of your own. The internet will only grease the wheels for you.

Small Business Ideas

Starting Your Business Through Franchising

If starting a business entirely from scratch is either too difficult or too much of a hassle for you, buying an already-established franchise is an option for you to consider. When you buy a franchise, the business model, methods of operation and advertising, necessary supply chains from other businesses and, in some cases, even the support staff are already present, meaning that you don’t have to put in the work of building up fundamental business infrastructure from nothing.

After paying an initial franchise fee to the franchisor (the person who owns the franchise) for the right to use the franchise’s brand name and equipment, as well as for any training, recruiting or other costs that might be incurred, the franchisee (the person purchasing the franchise) has the right to use that franchise as a business of their own and to strive to profit as best they can. Here are some franchises that we recommend taking a look at.

Chester’s

Chester’s is a restaurant mainly centered around serving fried chicken, but also serves wraps, chicken sandwiches, salads, wings and chicken livers and gizzards for those who particularly love southern food. Rounding out the menu are biscuits for breakfast and cookies for dessert. You can find active Chester’s franchise locations in all manner of places, including airports, supermarkets, truck stops, convenience stores and college campuses. As of 2018, Chester’s has 1,161 franchise locations in the US and 31 locations in foreign countries.

Since franchising with Chester’s means opening up your own chicken restaurant, it is going to involve some significant capital investment beyond its reasonable $3,500 initial franchise fee. This investment is extremely variable ranging from as little as $12,000 to a hefty near $300,000 outlay. Depending on your assets, location and real estate availability, you might be able to do it for less than $10,000, which could make franchising with Chester’s very much worth your while.

Property Management Inc.

Property Management Inc. is a service which allows you to inspect rental properties, find tenants for those properties, process rent payments, and more. In essence, through this franchise you can serve as a kind of flexible landlord who can pass between multiple properties, property owners, real estate agents, and so on.

As of 2018, this company consists of 210 franchises, including 1 which is controlled by the company itself, 207 which are found domestically in the US, and 2 which are in foreign countries.

Beyond the initial franchise fee, which can be between $15,000 and $45,000, Property Management Inc. requires you to have a net worth of between $50,000 and $500,000 and to have between $50,000 and $100,000 of cash on hand before you can become a franchisee. All this, plus an initial investment which can be anything from about $21,000 to over $100,000 make for a fairly significant barrier to entry if you should want to franchise here, though with the right properties, business can certainly be lucrative.

Dale Carnegie Training

Founded by Dale Carnegie as a way to teach people the skills discussed in his runaway bestseller How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie Training franchises offer courses and other instructional programs on such things as sales, leadership, communication and interpersonal skills, and general self-improvement.

With 131 franchises in the US and 140 outside of it, the company continues to pursue that vision. The initial franchise fee can range from $10,000 to as much as $50,000 and may require an investment of anywhere between $50,000 and more than $200,000 to get rolling as a franchisee. There is a further minimum net worth requirement of between $500,000 and $1,000,000, so this program is only for those intent on becoming and training serious thought leaders.

SuperGlass Windshield Repair

This company specializes in three things, all of which are meant to win over the hearts of all car enthusiasts: windshield repair, scratch removal and headlight restoration. Though based in Orlando, Florida, SuperGlass has franchises in places as diverse as France, Spain, Germany and South Africa. As for 2018, SuperGlass has 294 franchises open in the US and 47 more open in all other countries.

Since the amount of training that franchisees will want or need can vary, the initial franchise fee ranges between $5,000 and $17,500. Beyond this, franchisees are known to initially invest anywhere between $18,000 and $84,000 in their business. Since you will be running a car repair shop, SuperGlass does expect you to maintain at least $15,000 of cash on hand and have $15,000 or more in net worth.

Coffee News

Coffee News is a weekly publication that is found distributed in such places as restaurants, hotels and coffee shops. It primarily makes money by carrying ads for all kinds for local business in the areas where it happens to be distributed. In addition to this, it also contains news stories, jokes, horoscopes and other assorted trivia.

As of 2018, Coffee News, which is headquartered in Bangor, Maine, has 434 franchises located in the US and 276 located outside of it. 8 more franchises are owned and controlled directly by the company. It has a $9,500 initial franchise fee and generally requires an initial investment of between $10,750 and $11,750. As a franchisee, you will also have to pay a royalty fee of between $40 and $80 per week.

Little Kickers

If you choose to become a franchisee of Little Kickers, you will run soccer classes for preschool-age children. Beyond this, Little Kickers more generally gives children under seven years of age classes to improve everything from social skills like learning how to share and take turns, to balance, coordination and motor skills.

Since it’s a Canadian company, all 280 of its franchise locations as of 2018 are outside of the US, with two of those being directly owned and operated by the company. The company also experienced an impressive 11.1% growth in the number of its franchises over the last year.

Owing to the fact that you’ll require some significant training to be able to deal with and teach small children properly, you’ll be required to pay a $16,000 initial franchise fee and may end up investing anywhere from $23,175 to $34,550.

Padgett Business Services

If you’re an accountant looking to go into business for yourself, but don’t have the business infrastructure necessary to manage the transition, franchising with Padgett Business Solutions might be just the answer to your predicament. Padgett began by assisting small business owners with filing their taxes, but has since expanding into such broader services as credit car processing, payroll solutions and financial report management, among other business-related services.

Padgett has 225 US-based and 118 foreign franchise locations as of 2018. To get yourself up and running with the Padgett brand name, you’ll have to pay an initial franchise fee of between $15,000 and $56,000 and may subsequently invest anywhere between $20,000 to $100,000 to get off the ground. A minimum net worth and liquid cash requirement of $100,000 must be met before you can become a franchisee, however.

Christmas Decor

Since this is a holiday decorating service, it is seasonal. Before considering becoming a franchisee, this is something crucial to bear in mind. Beyond decoration, Christmas Decor also handles interior design, installation maintenance and removal of holiday decorations. If you expect to be able to work out a large number of decorating orders in quick succession during the holiday season, becoming a franchisee is certainly worthwhile.

As of 2018, Christmas decor has 229 US-based franchise locations and 28 foreign ones. Becoming a franchisee requires paying an initial franchise fee of between $11,400 and $31,900, as well as an ongoing royalty fee of 5% and an ad royalty fee of 1%. Furthermore, expect to invest anywhere between $19,550 and $62,250 in your franchise, depending on the amount of customer demand, your location and other factors.

Leadership Management Inc.

Founded in 1965, Leadership Management Inc., as its name suggests, is a company meant to help other companies inculcate and develop leadership skills in their workers and other personnel. As many businesses tend to delegate authority to progressively lower and lower-level managers down the chain, they will need to have a fairly sizable crop of employees who are able to lead other workers in the projects and endeavors that have undertaken. That is precisely what Leadership Management is meant to do and what you will be doing, should you decide to become a franchisee.

Leadership Management offers its programs in an astonishing 23 different languages throughout more than 60 different countries, and as of 2018, have 247 franchise locations outside of the US. They also have an additional 115 franchises in the US. Since, you will be imparting significant business and personal skills to those whom you train, you will have to pay a fee of $15,000 to the company before you can become a franchisee. That fee is meant to cover the cost of training and qualifying you. Beyond this, expect to invest between $20,000 and $27,000 in your franchise to get it up and running.

Rhea Lana’s Franchise Systems Inc.

Rhea Lana’s Franchise Systems Inc. organizes events at which to see children’s clothes. The company has narrowed its focus to only six key events per year. On the one hand, this means that all franchisees will be under substantial pressure to generate as much revenue as possible during these events and that their schedules will be exceptionally hectic then. On the other hand, it also means that franchisees will be freed up to do whatever they like for the rest of each year.

Though founded in 1997, the company has been franchising since 2008 and now holds events in more than 25 states and has 85 operational franchises, 3 of which the company owns directly and 82 of which are found scattered across the US. The initial franchise fee ranges between $11,500 and $14,500, and franchisees will need to invest anywhere between $20,550 and $39,950 into their businesses in the beginning.

Kinderdance International Inc.

Kinderdance International offers dance classes to small children and as of 2018, boasts 2 company-owned franchises, 101 US-based ones, and 47 more that are based outside of the US. The initial franchise fee can run anywhere from $15,000 to $40,000, but there is a 10% discount available for veterans. The company also has various relationships all sorts of third-party sources which can assist all prospective franchisees in paying their franchise fees.

Though initial investments can range from $18,000 to $46,000, Kinderdance makes a point of going to where the kids are instead of making kids come to them, and therefore are known to hold classes at churches, public and private schools, daycare centers, YMCAs, preschools, community centers and other similar places. Franchisees can take advantage of this to substantially decrease the amount that they will need to invest in constructing or renting facilities in which to hold classes.

Proforma

Proforma provides both large corporations and more modest-sized businesses with forms, advertising copy, business documents and other sorts of printing services. If you become a franchisee, your job will be to act as a sales agent or broker between your business client and some preferred wholesale printer or supplier. Once your business client tells you what he needs printed and how, you will contract with the printer to get the work done. If you’re a stickler for meticulous organization or have an eye for business style, franchising with Proforma is definitely something for you to consider.

Proforma has 636 operational franchises as of 2018, 593 of them US-based and 43 of them foreign-based. They demand a $14,500 initial franchise fee before making someone into a franchisee, as well as some ad royalty and ongoing royalty fees. The company also requires a minimum net worth of $100,000 for all prospective franchisees, as well as at least $50,000 in cash on hand. Initial investments have ranged from $4,730 to $39,695.

Coverall

Coverall is another company that cleans office space and other work environments. Since they began franchising in 1985, they have assisted more than 40,000 customers around the world using a cleaning regimen specially designed to hamper the spread of disease-causing germs. As of 2018, they have 6,960 US-based franchise locations and 1,203 foreign-based ones.

An initial franchise fee of between $13,500 and $40,320 and an initial investment of anywhere between about $16,000 and $51,000, will be enough to get your franchise rolling. Coverall also requires franchisees to have between about $4,000 and $22,000 of cash on hand to be able to cover various business exigencies.

Small Business Ideas

Some Affordable Franchises

Franchising clearly has certain advantages, primarily in that it gives you ready-made business infrastructure and an idea to work with. But suppose that in addition to being unsure of your ability to come of with a good business idea on your own, you also don’t have much cash on hand and can’t afford to pay large initial franchise fees or make prohibitively huge initial investments into your franchise. In that case, here are a few examples of franchises that you can start up with less than $20,000 of total expenditure.

Cruise Planners

The name of this franchise is pretty self-explanatory, and it alone is enough to give you a fine idea of what the franchise is all about. Cruise Planners is a home-based American Express Travel Services Representative franchise, meaning that the franchise itself ultimately stems from American Express. Cruise Planners allows you to work from home selling complete travel packages to clients which include everything from cruises and land-based vacations to car rentals, travel insurance and more.

Boasting 2,570 franchise locations in the US as of 2018, Cruise Planners has seen explosive franchising growth over the last few years.

With an initial franchise fee that ranges anywhere from just $495 all the way to $10,495 – depending on the type of package and selling rights that you buy from the franchise – it’s an easy way for you to start your own company with a small initial investment.

Jazzercise Inc.

Jazzercise Inc. evolved out of owner Judy Sheppard Missett’s jazz dance classes years ago. While teaching, she had the idea of starting a modified recreational dance class as a way of providing participants with aerobic exercise. Since she began franchising in 1982, her company has racked up an impressive 8,932 franchise locations by 2018, 6,953 of which are in the US, 1,977 of which have been opened in more than 30 foreign countries, and 2 of which Missett owns and controls herself.

Since Jazzercise insists on making sure that its franchisee instructors are all well-trained, it charges an initial franchise fee of $1,250 to cover all training costs. After you’ve passed the rigorous training course, you can expect to invest anywhere between $2,405 to $17,155 to get your location up and running and make it as attractive to potential students as you can. This therefore requires some commitment from franchisees, but the work is rewarding, as Jazzercise currently teaches its fun total-body conditioning program to as many as half a million students per year, worldwide.

Town Money Saver

Since 1992, Town Money Saver has been sending out direct-mail advertising fliers to homes and businesses, and since franchising in 2005, the company has grown to include 52 US-based franchise locations. In addition to the advertisements – generally for other businesses – Town Money Saver’s copy might include easily redeemable coupons for all who receive what it distributes.

Because of the relatively low overhead of this franchise, there is no initial franchise fee charged here to prospective franchisees. You will, however, have to pay the printing bills for your fliers, which will include a significant part of your likely initial investment in the franchise. This initial investment is usually somewhere between $5,700 and $17,000.

Buildingstars International Inc.

Buildingstars is a commercial cleaning company which has been franchising since 2000. The company focuses on cleaning offices or other major buildings, generally doling out its services to other businesses. A number of different options are available to franchisees, each with increasing levels of responsibility and remuneration. You can become a technician, who works part-time and handles the actual mechanics of cleaning; an onsite manager, who oversees work on particular projects and directs cleaning teams; or a corporate manager, who handles groups of projects and therefore is responsible for generating more significant amounts of revenue.

The initial franchise fee can range from $995 for franchisees who want to become technicians, to as much as $46,995 for franchisees who want to become corporate managers. Franchisees will also need to make initial investments that run anywhere from just $2,245 to $53,200. The company has experienced impressive franchise growth in the last few years and in 2018 boasted a total of 883 franchises, 6 of which were directly owned by the company and 877 of which are found all over the US in such places as Chicago, Houston, Pittsburgh, Phoenix and New York.

Anago Cleaning Systems

Anago Cleaning Systems works out arrangements with other businesses to provide regularly-scheduled cleanings of their office space. They also offer periodic cleanings for those with different kinds of needs. As of 2018, they have an incredible 1,503 franchise locations strewn across the US and have even branched out across the world with 56 more franchise locations in other countries.

Beyond the initial franchise fee that can vary between $4,590 and $32,348 (though veterans receive a 10% discount here), new franchisees can expect to invest anywhere from $10,440 to $68,548 in getting their franchise up and running.

Dream Vacations

Dream Vacations is another travel agency and vacation planning network which, if you choose to become a franchisee, you will be able to operate from the comfort of your home. You’ll be able to sell travel packages of all kinds, which include things like shore excursions, tours and travel insurance on top of the flight, hotel and tickets included in the typical package. You’ll be able to sell to individuals, couples, families, business or any other kind of groups.

Dream Vacations has 1,328 operational franchises across the US and 3 more in other countries, as of 2018. Requiring an initial franchise fee as low as only $495 (because of low overhead costs), it’s very easy to get up and running here. Initial investments on the part of new franchisees are generally also quite low, ranging from $3,245 to $21,850. The initial franchise fee can occasionally run up to as much as $9,800 if you want fancier selling rights. Veterans also get a 20% discount on their franchise fee and can have training fees waived for their business partner or business associate if that associate is also a veteran and is married to the veteran franchisee.

Vanguard Cleaning Systems

Founded in 1984, Vanguard Cleaning Systems has grown to include an impressive 2,997 US-based franchises and 330 foreign-based ones by 2018. Vanguard is a commercial cleaning business which is further supported by more than 50 regional offices throughout North America and has served more than 15,000 clients throughout its history, including schools, business, non-profits and healthcare facilities like clinics and hospitals.

To become a franchisee, you must pay an initial franchise fee of $5,000 to cover training and overhead costs (though veterans get a 10% discount). Beyond this, you might be required to invest between $5,500 and $36,600 and must have a net worth of at least $50,000 and at least $7,000 of cash on hand.

Jan-Pro

Jan-Pro is a commercial cleaning service that focuses primarily on offering services to other businesses and organizations like gyms, churches, schools, banks and other offices. It operates according to two different franchising models, one of which is a home-based unit in which the franchisee himself does the cleaning, and the other of which is a master franchise in which franchisees can oversee a group of other franchise units.

As of 2018, Jan-Pro has 7,409 active franchises in the US and 1,381 more outside of the US. The initial franchise fee can vary from as little as $2,520 to as much as $44,000, depending on the type of unit that you want your franchise to be. Initial investments range from $4,170 to $54,700 and also depend on the type of unit you want to have.

Conclusion

So, there you have it – 57 different small ideas that range over all sorts of different industries, business models, skill sets and aptitudes. We hope that by exposing you to such an extensive list, we’ve shown you that great business ideas can potentially come from anywhere, induced you to start brainstorming and maybe even given you some ideas of your own about the kind of business that you would like to run.

With the right ideas, attitude and skills – and a whole lot of sincere passion to boot – anyone can achieve the dream of becoming an entrepreneur. So, get busy and bring your vision to life!

 

Jason Smith


Jason is a Senior Author for SBL. He has been working with small business owners like you for the past ten years. He graduated with an MBA and began a career as an independent financial consultant for small businesses in his state. 

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