Are you looking for business ideas? Discover more than 60 great business ideas you could choose from. Don’t forget to look for sub-niches and micro-niches within each business idea for hidden opportunities. Start building your business empire today!
A Comprehensive List of the Best Small Business Ideas You Can Start Right Now and Market from Anywhere!
This is a list of a wide range of small business ideas that are relevant in 2021. This list originally had 122 small business ideas but we had to revise it in 2020 due to the impact lockdowns would have on many of these small business ideas.
With lockdowns continuing past 2020, we are taking another look at the small business ideas listed. However, this time we will be adding a few new small business ideas rather than removing ideas. While lockdowns have certainly been devastating for may businesses, many businesses and business owners have become very resourceful and either made changes to their business or pivoted into entirely new businesses.
Instead of buying into all the doom and gloom and negatively it is important that we see the many problems we face today as opportunities. People pay for their problems to be solved. If your business ideas can solve someone’s problems and you can make yourself widely known and deliver a great product or service then you can successfully take almost any small business ideas and turn them into a successful business
Top Tip: eCommerce has been experiencing a massive boom as people have increased their use of online shops to make their purchases. If you are looking at starting a new business, then make sure you look into eCommerce business ideas. eCommerce help existing businesses reach entirely new markets and it can be used to build successful eCommerce businesses without the need for a physical shop.
A key point to remember with any business ideas or ventures that you decide to pursue – you need to be able to market it! Your product or service will only be as successful as you can make it known and desirable.
Whether you are starting your first business, as a way to become your own boss, or just to get a little cash on the side, there will be something here you could do. Whether you are looking to start a new business out of passion or necessity, there is a small business idea for you.
So take a look below and remember to think outside the box to find the right opportunity or space to disrupt the market.
You can become an affiliate marketer for many companies. Affiliate marketing has grown in the overseas market and is just starting to take hold in South Africa, so there are plenty of opportunities here. This is one small business idea that is likely to see considerable growth in 2020.
To become an affiliate marketer you need a computer and internet connection. From there you need to learn about blogging and attracting the right traffic.
We are in an age of information. Apps which make things quicker and easy to access, share or use information are invaluable. Today there are many app development tools which will help you creates apps without knowing coding.
If you have business ideas that are based on apps then learning more about app development is a good starting point.
Do you have a space in your house that is sitting idle? You can make use of a space – or rent an appropriate space to teach art. There are no age restrictions when it comes to art so there is a huge target market.
No space? Everyone on lockdown? Hold your art classes online and sell art supplies so people can participate.
Once you have decided on the type of art and art mediums you want to teach, you can invest in a little equipment. Then market your classes and you’re away! Online learning in all forms is set to become one of the most popular small business ideas of 2020.
With social media, everyone wants that ‘Pinterest’ party look. And a key is the cake. There are many, many free online courses which teach you how to bake and cover cakes, bake cookies, cake pops, etc. There are many people who are willing to pay to have the look they want for their baked goods.
While baking birthday and wedding cakes might have taken a knock during the lockdown, people love to throw parties and celebrate and thus novelty cakes as a small business idea are likely to remain popular for many years to come especially when combining it with online ordering.
All you need is an oven, a good-sized countertop and some basic baking equipment. Here are a few channels to follow: Craftsy (there are some free tutorials), Cakes StepByStep, Elisa Strauss of Confetti Cakes and Julia M Usher.
Blogging needs to be done frequently in order to be successful. If you are persistent then you can definitely create a profitable business blogging. Take a look at some of the most popular blogging niches and discover the top blogging niche around.
Blogging is not only going to be one of the top small business ideas of 2020 but for many businesses, blogging is going to be a vital means of promoting and growing their business. While blogging may take more work than paying for advertising, it’s medium to long term value is unmatched and good quality blog posts cleverly used for promotion are highly valuable and can drive serious revenue.
So regardless of which of the listed small business ideas interests you, realize that blogging is going to be a key component in marketing and promoting your business.
Every single business out there needs to keep records of its finances and report to SARS. Some businesses cannot afford to hire a full-time bookkeeper or accountant to do this function so there is no shortage of need for freelance bookkeepers. If you have a bookkeeping course under your belt then you are ready to market your services as a bookkeeper.
Sometimes small business ideas don’t need to be new. A bookkeeping business is hardly new but if you can create a better service or streamline the purchase process for your customers using something like eCommerce then your business ideas may flourish into a successful business.
A business consultant deals in essential business information. They would be able to provide a company with information on how to better handle a certain area of their business, ie, Recruitment, Management, Accounting, Marketing, etc.
In order to offer this service you would have to have done some course, have experience in or studied in the area you want to consult in.
Business Plan Writing
Getting business ideas off the ground the right way can make all the difference. To do this correctly an honest, well researched Business Plan is key. Some new businesses are too caught up in getting things started up to really take the time to get a good plan together.
If you are good at planning, then writing business plans or consulting on business planning could be on your business ideas shortlist.
As with the baking service, you could start this with just a little capital, some culinary skill and preferably a way to deliver your goods.
Food is an essential item. If you are catering to events or switch to meal deliveries during the lockdown, your service will be in demand.
Cloth Nappy Making
Do you have a talent for sewing? There is a growing demand for cloth nappies as these are far more environmentally friendly than the disposables. They also do work out cheaper in the long run when you consider that a child will be on nappies until they are 2 – 3 years of age.
If you have a sewing machine and the appropriate fabrics then this could be a business for you.
Not all companies want to turn their debtors over to lawyers right away as this can be costly. If you are persistent and help companies collect in money that is owed to them, you can collect in a tidy commission for yourself as well.
There are no set up costs required here other than having a landline and cell phone to make phone calls from.
Computer Repair & Maintenance
More and more businesses are going online and need computers. Most people don’t like the idea of opening up their computer and fiddling around in there. It terrifies them. But for anyone who knows how a computer works and how to put it together, you know that is actually fairly simple and straight forward.
Considering that pretty much everyone who works today has a computer to work from, you could be very busy providing this service and ensuring that people’s computers are running as they should be.
There are no start-up costs here other than some very basic tools and finding a couple of reliable suppliers for parts.
As business ideas go, computer repair is a really good one considering there are currently shortages of computers and the need to keep costs down and make existing computers last a bit longer is high.
People have a need to improve their computer skills and use of common programs. Giving them access to a computer and these programs requires just a space to teach, some computers as well as the programs people use most often.
This does require some investment but if marketed well should turn a profit fairly quickly.
There is so much potential for a business like this. One could teach cooking for domestics, for people wanting to improve their everyday cooking skills or as a fun date-night cook up.
This is another business where you could teach online if need be. You will need to set up a website that has lessons functionality and allows for courses.
Otherwise, all you will need is a place for people to come to in order to learn, as well as the cooking equipment needed, then this could be a fun (and profitable) business for you to invest in.
Delivery / Courier Business
With the steady rise of eCommerce business, there are many opportunities in the delivery / courier space. If you have a car, bakkie, mini van, scooter or motorbike you could start your own delivery business.
Sometimes smaller delivery services are able to offer better more personalized services and for some delivery routes offer better rates than bigger companies. My wife and I have both used both established courier companies and smaller start up courier companies for deliveries in our own eCommerce businesses.
You can be part of one of the most precious moments in any family. Being a doula is a very special job where you will assist an expectant mother to prepare herself for the delivery of her child. You will be her support and offer guidance.
There are a few courses you will need to complete in childbirth education as well as attending a few births. A doula can also provide postpartum assistance for the new mom. This would require an additional course on postpartum support.
Dropshipping is a business idea that has grown from strength to strength in the eCommerce space. Basically, it removes the need for you to carry stock in order to sell online.
The way it works is that you sign up with a supplier that allows dropshipping and you sell their products with a markup. When someone buys from you, you then order the item from your supplier who then ships it to your customer in unbranded packaging.
This is a great way to get into selling online. At this time South Africa does not have a wide range of opportunities but I think this is likely to change with the events of 2020. So this is definitely a small business idea worth watching, just don’t watch too long or you might miss out on the action when it booms.
If your business ideas involve eCommerce then take a look at some eCommerce basics.
As mentioned earlier, if you like working with your hands you can create just about anything and sell it online. Etsy is a very popular online store selling all kinds of handcrafted goods.
https://www.etsy.com/ Take time to do some research on what is popular that you can provide and get started making and selling your goodies. You can start this up with virtually no upfront costs.
Are you good at writing? Have a good command of language and grammar?
Then you can make income as a freelance writer. Write for magazines, online publications, etc. The more diverse you can be, the more you can potentially earn. Here is a great site and how to make money writing: www.makealivingwriting.com/what-does-a-successful-freelance-writer-do/
This is another small business idea you can start from home with just a computer and internet connection.
This little business would require some initial startup costs. You need a truck to remove garden refuse, gardening and lawn equipment as well as gardeners who will be assisting you.
But we know how quickly gardens grow. Not everyone has time to work on their gardens every week to keep them looking good. Also, there are many complexes which have several units, each with a small garden that needs upkeep. There is plenty of work to keep a garden service very busy.
A gifting service can be a service that repackages and resells gifts or one that creates gifts from scratch to sell. It’s up to you on how you want it to run.
The startup costs here would be minimal – especially if you decide to use a courier to deliver gift packages for you. Just work out what gifts you want to create and sell and get to work marketing them.
Google Adwords Marketer
Google offers this training for free! But a lot of people don’t have the time to do this training. They are happy to pay someone like you who has done the Google Adwords training and can get the results for their marketing budget.
This is where you go to become a Google partner and earn your Adwords certificate: www.google.com/partners/about/join.html
When it comes to design not everyone has talent. If you have a keen eye for good design, a computer and design software then you already have everything you need to become a graphic designer.
People are in need of things like logos, Social media banners, posters, etc. You can design a few elements to show off your talent and get busy marketing yourself.
As business ideas go, graphic design has opportunities for recurring revenue. Creating design templates for marketplaces is a great idea and if you are very productive you might even look into creating your very own niche marketplace for your designs which could be quite profitable in the right niche.
Some business ideas are good and some are really good. Within the health sector there are certainly many opportunities.
Business ideas related to health usually require substantial investment but there are niches that can be entered into at lower start up costs if you can find them and you’ve done your research. Any investment health related business ideas should pay for itself in the long term as people become more away of the need to stay healthy. So this would be a very worthwhile investment to make if you can get it together.
You would need a physical shop in a busy mall or strip mall and stocks to fill up your shop OR you could have an online-only store which may be easier to start with. As with any of the other businesses, the better you can market your business the more successful you will be.
Going the online store route and selling online reduces the investment considerably and if you are able to find dropshipping suppliers or negotiate for a dropshipping option this could be a very lucrative business.
Home Theatre Designer
This would be a niche business and would require a good knowledge of audio/visual setups. With people spending more time at home this could become very popular. The more you learn in this area the better service you can provide for your clients.
There are courses available on AV, as well as electronic setups, and design of the room itself.
If you love design then becoming an interior designer could be right for you. There are basic design courses you can do to get you started, but other than that there is really no investment needed.
Corporate interior design is an additional area to look into as well.
Home IT Networking Specialist
As with computers, people can be terrified about networking and setting up computers and the internet. But for anyone who knows how these things work, you know that is actually fairly simple and straightforward.
Considering that pretty much everyone who works today has a computer to work from and will need internet, you could be very busy providing this service and ensuring that people’s computers are connected up as they should be.
There are no start-up costs here other than some very basic tools and finding a couple of reliable suppliers for parts.
Another crafty small business idea that can be profitable. Even if you haven’t made jewellery before, you can learn with the hundreds of free tutorials online. You can market your product online, sell on Etsy, in jewellery stores or at markets.
Startup costs are minimal as you only require a few simple tools and a few supplies to make some pieces and start selling.
With the tourist industry being hard hit in 2020 and drops in imports, local jewellery manufacturers, especially small craft jewellers could do well to make local designs popular and sell online using eCommerce.
Jumping Castle Rentals
Renting out jumping castles does have some initial cost in order to purchase the castles as well as having a vehicle to transport. While hard lockdowns have placed limitations on gathering, sooner or later people will be back to having birthday parties and having a jumping castle is always a fun idea.
The beauty of this small business idea is it is not very time consuming as you simply need to market your product and deliver it. There is also no training or lengthy studying needed. If you have the money to invest you can get started immediately.
A life coach would help people move forward and set personal and professional goals that will give them the life they really want. A lot of people need help keeping their eye on the target – and this is where you would come in.
There is no degree for this job but you can do certain training to improve the service you provide. Find out more about this field of work here: www.sacap.edu.za/blog/coaching/how-to-become-a-life-coach/
With the number of new businesses starting up there is plenty of work for someone just designing logos. As mentioned earlier, the key is marketing your service. If you can get known by enough people you will be busy.
This is a business idea that can be started up with nothing more than a computer and some design software. As mentioned in the graphic designer business idea, you could also build a good income by creating your own niche online store where people can browse many designs and choose one to have customized.
Mobile Spa Treatments
This would require some training. As mentioned earlier, you need 2 years of training to become a licensed massage therapist. If you offer manicures, pedicures, facials, etc. you would need some further training there.
But this could be a popular business with people choosing to go to crowded places less and less. Moms and daughters wanting to have a treatment in the comfort of their home, or have treatments for a girl’s party at their chosen venue, etc. This means no venue and minimal setup costs for you.
Today many parents both have to work in order to pay the bills. So oftentimes there arises a need for additional care for the children when they are not in school. If you can provide a professional service where parents are confident their children will be well looked after then you can make this a profitable business.
An investment in a CPR course would go a long way in easing parent’s minds. Other than that there are almost no startup costs needed here.
To become a professional dietitian or nutritionist you need a degree in dietetics or a related field. You will also need a professional place to see clients and advise them.
As mentioned before, people are becoming more and more concerned with the need to look after their health so you could be very busy with some good marketing. This is a rather rewarding line of work to get into as you can help improve people’s lives through a healthy diet.
Organic Food Seller
Organic food is still growing in popularity. People are becoming more and more aware of the dangers of GMO foods and are looking for natural alternatives. A lot of people don’t know where to get everything they need or have not researched all the options.
If you can find trustworthy organic farmers, bakers, etc. you can resell their products from one convenient place. Package people’s food purchases and courier it off to them. No startup costs needed just a lot of research to find good, reliable suppliers.
This is going to be an important business idea as going forward many people are going to look towards healthier lifestyles.
Organic Cheese Maker
Here again, people want a healthier alternative to what is available to them in our mainline stores.
A simple cheese making course would give you the basics. Then you need a good supplier of organic raw milk and you’re away. You can sell online directly to the public as well as to health food shops and health restaurants.
Organic Herb and Micro Green Grower
Herbs and microgreens don’t take a huge amount of space to grow. With smart garden design (or even inside design with the right lighting) you could grow plenty of herbs in a small space. There are ways to grow these and keep them pesticide-free.
Once you have your herbs sell at organic markets, health restaurants, health shops or even offer home deliveries. This is a great small business idea for so many reasons.
Generally training to be a chef takes 2 years. This again can be a very rewarding field to work because of the personal nature of the job. Providing healthy, tasty, good looking food can make someone’s day.
If you enjoy food and cooking then this could be a great way to make a living. As a personal chef, you could also quite easily transition to food blogging and food styling. Offering online courses, recipe downloads and more. So here again is a small business idea that can transition to become a digital business or at least have a digital component.
To be a personal trainer you would need to get a few health and fitness courses under your belt.
Once you have this you can provide your service at the gym and have no need for space where clients come to you. You could see several clients a day making this fairly profitable.
Here is another small business idea that can make the transition into a semi-digital business. Online consultations and coaching sessions along with online fitness courses could help fitness instructors and personal trainers expand their client base by landing clients who would have otherwise been too far away.
Phone Case Business
Pretty much everyone owns a phone these days. They need cases to protect them. If you can find and create interesting designs that people would be after then you can turn this into a profitable little online business.
Pool Cleaning Service
Apart from using HTH most people don’t know how to properly care for their pools. Once or twice a year once would need a professional to assist in this area.
There is no formal training required but you would need to be knowledgeable in restoring the correct water levels and balance for pools and spas, maintaining and repairing pool equipment, including filters, pumps, chlorinators, heaters, etc. So some basic equipment and supplies would be needed to start.
Are you really good at Maths, Science, a language? You could offer assistance to students as a private tutor. Sometimes a student needs a little extra guidance and instruction to catch up in an area of learning.
Offering this as a private tutor means you can offer assistance in the person’s home and have no need for the cost of office space.
Here then is yet another small business idea that is set to go online in a big way. Using a learning management system, tutors and educators will be able to reach a wide market online. Through online courses or private online tutoring or selling digital learning materials, there is a huge opportunity here.
Another job with a fair amount of responsibility and challenge. If you are good at spelling, grammar, etc. then you would do well as a proofreader.
A writer has to have a second pair of eyes to check work and ensure that it goes out as a perfect piece. In an age of information, there should be plenty of work to keep a proofreader busy.
This involves making sure that a rented property is being maintained and used as agreed upon. You would deal with the communications, disagreements, marketing of rentals, collection of rentals, etc.
The benefit of a business like this is you could manage many, many units each month which could make it a very profitable business.
Public Relations Agency
With a public relations course you could assist businesses to improve their PR and in turn, increase their sales and viability.
There are no startup costs other than any training you might do in order to be confident in offering a professional service.
A needed function in our country’s current economic climate. With an unemployment rate of 26.6%, you can see why.
If you are willing to do a lot of networking and hunting for good potential staff you can earn very well in this industry. Companies usually pay 15% – 25% of the new staff members annual salary if they are a successful placement.
A variation of this business idea is to create a freelancing marketplace. There is sure to be an increase in freelancers in 2020 so additional marketplaces can always add value as established ones get crowded and freelancers seek new places to share their work.
Satellite Dish Installer
For this business, you can get in touch with the satellite companies offering free installation. They give customers a voucher for free installation which you collect when you install the dish. You can then collect on that voucher.
There is still a lot of demand for dishes getting installed. If you can market yourself you can get ahead of the rest and make a tidy profit for your efforts.
Security Camera Installation
As mentioned earlier, security is a big business in South Africa. Security camera installation is just one aspect of upgrading security in one’s home or business. Security camera installation is easy to set up once you know-how and have the required tools for the job. People spend an average of R10,000 on home camera installations – but this amount does vary quite a bit.
Start-up costs for this business are also be minimal and should include an installation course.
Elderly Care Provider
Many elderly need some degree of additional care as they get older. This would include simple tasks such as bathing and grooming, dressing, toileting, and exercise, preparing meals, shopping, housekeeping, laundry, and other errands.
If you enjoy helping out and providing friendly company then this is a great business to start as you could begin immediately with no startup costs.
A Search Engine Optimization Specialist analyzes, reviews and implements changes to websites so they are optimized for search engines. This means maximizing the traffic to a site by improving page rank within search engines.
This is a skill needed for one’s own business as well. There are also no startup costs here, just a lot of research and learning which could all be done online for free or minimal cost.
Take a look at the ingredients in a shop-bought bar of soap. Were there at least two items you couldn’t even pronounce? Today there is a growing market for more natural products and soap is definitely on the list.
Soap is also a key hygiene element which is in high demand. In fact, according to a lot of research, soap is far more effective than sanitizers.
There are plenty of free online tutorials on how to make natural soap and it is fairly simple. There are a few basic supplies you need, as well as some very basic equipment. This could be among the best small business ideas in 2020.
Sanitizer Maker or reseller
Now here is a business idea that is booming at the time of writing. Will the boom last? Perhaps not but more than likely the market has grown and this will be a good business going forward. New ideas such as natural sanitizers might also carve out small but profitable niches, especially when research data suggests regular sanitizers are not as effective as we once thought.
People are concerned with health and hygiene. Hand sanitizer is in high demand and not about to fall away any time soon.
It is easy to make and you will need very little capital to start it up. A good website, social presence and well-presented marketing will ensure your little business does very well.
Face mask maker reseller
If you have a sewing machine you can make reusable masks to sell. Otherwise, you can find a good supplier and simply resell the masks as they are in high demand.
Again, this business needs very little capital to start it up. A good website, social presence and well-presented marketing will ensure your little business does very well.
This is probably not a business that will have great long term value as sooner or later people will stop wearing masks. Though it is likely that some people may continue wearing them and this may be were a small market remains.
Social Media Marketer
Social Media has really grown in the last few years. Many people use it to promote their businesses as it has a minimal cost. However, it is very, very time-consuming. Some small businesses prefer to spend time on their product or service and pay someone for this service who has more knowledge on the subject.
The beauty of providing this service is that you can do marketing for several businesses at the same time.
No setup fees here – just lots of research and study on what works and what you can do to drive home leads for as little cost to your client as possible.
This could be fairly profitable if you have a good camera and can get the type of photos people pay for. The beauty of this is the photos can be purchased many, many times without any additional work from you. The images you have up, the more chance you have of getting lots of downloads.
If you are able to identify micro niches that are profitable it might even be worth creating your own stock site dedicated to that niche. More profits for you if you can get this right.
Here are several sites you could provide your images to www.ShutterStock.com, www.iStockphoto.com, www.dreamstime.com, www.123rf.com and www.fotolia.com. There are many more out there you can find to provide images to.
This position does require significant investment in terms of your training. This would be several years depending on your dedication.
But if you enjoy working with numbers and are able to earn the degrees needed then this can be a very profitable line of work to go into. Every business out there needs to have their financials signed off by an accountant. So you will never be out of work.
This is a bit of a niche business as not many people of ability to provide this service. However, if you are already fluent in two or more languages then you could begin to offer this service with no startup fees.
The trick here would be in finding potential customers. There are some businesses who deal with overseas clients or need books, manuscripts, articles, etc. translated.
Have you started a vegetable garden during lockdown? Have you thought about expanding it and selling the extra produce you grow? There is a growing need for healthy foods that are good for our immune systems. If you grow organic vegetables, fruits, herbs, etc. without using pesticides and chemical fertilizers you could provide immune boosting food to help improve peoples natural defenses against illnesses and disease.
You will also have the opportunity to educate people about healthier and more sustainable eating which can have a major positive impact on not just a community or town but the world too.
This is a service which allows a business owner some executive assistant functions without having to hire a person full time which may prove too costly. The benefit for you as a virtual assistant is that you could provide your service to several businesses at a time.
As a virtual assistant, you will need to be able to offer services such as Database entries, Data presentations, managing emails, travel research, etc.
Virtual Call Center
This is a business you could start almost right away. Some businesses hire agents to operate their call centre while still allowing them to work from home.
You would need to have good communication skills as well as data capturing for this line of work. You would need a computer, phone and internet at all times to provide the service.
There are many platforms out there now which allow you to build a website visually without the need for knowing code.
Here again, this is a business you can start with nothing more than a computer and internet connection. There are plenty of free online tutorials which show you how to build a website. To provide really good service, you should research and keep abreast of current internet trends which keep your client’s sites ahead and well optimized.
While this is among the list of seriously popular small business ideas, there is a very large market. Once again, finding a niche could be what is needed to be profitable.
This is a once in a lifetime experience that the new couple wants to have perfect. There is a lot that goes into a wedding so hiring a wedding planner to assist is becoming more and more popular.
You can start this business with no upfront costs. However, you will need a very good list of suppliers of products and services that you know and have networked with. In order to assist with costs as the planner, you will need to have a good idea of what your suppliers charge and what they can provide exactly.
Weight Loss Coach
Weight loss seems to be a big issue these days, in fact, weight loss as a business idea has and always will be popular. People who have tried everything may turn to a coach who can offer an outside opinion and additional knowledge.
You would need to have some training as a dietician or nutritionist in order to safely help your clients lose weight. Other than the training there are virtually no start-up costs as you can see your clients in the comfort of their homes.
People are always looking for something new. With no startup costs needed you could start a career as a writer for Amazon, a local self-publishing company or a traditional publishing firm.
There are many, many popular genres that you could write in. The more you write the more your potential earnings.
If you are looking to write short-stories or ebooks, especially educational ones, this may be one of the top small business ideas for 2020, especially as a side hustle.
Passionate about being fit? Then this could be a very enjoyable line of work to get into. As a yoga instructor, you would need to be knowledgeable in yoga and have completed a course in yoga instruction.
This is another one you could offer at a client’s home, in a studio or do online with the right type of website. In fact, like personal training, online yoga classes or courses could prove to be one of the best small business ideas to start in 2020.
Do you have any small business ideas you want to share? Feel something is missing from this list? Leave your comment below.
We want to provide the most comprehensive small business ideas and resources list we can. So keep an eye out for regular updates.