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Top 151 Small Business Ideas-Hot New Opportunities in 2024

January 5, 2024

So you've either decided to take the leap of faith and become an entrepreneur, or you're still trying to figure out if it's the right move for you.

I've been there. It's exciting and daunting at the same time. 

One crucial element to your financial success is determining what business ideas are profitable and offer the best opportunity to secure impressive ROI.

Business ideas which will allow you to dominate the market and your net profit margins.

To show you how much we appreciate you stopping by, we did more than just give you a list of the top 10 small business ideas.

We have compiled 151 of the best small business ideas to make you money in 2021, sure to bring in impressive revenue if you're willing to put in the legwork.

But before we dive in, let me give you the inside scoop on my story.

But FIRST a lil' bit about me... My name is Ippei...

Hi, my name is Ippei.

Several years ago, I found that I was tired of the grind (I'd be willing to bet that's where you're at right now too.)

Tired of making money for someone else.

I wanted to take the leap and become an entrepreneur, but wasn't sure I could make it.

Then in 2014, I found this course.

This business model gave me the tools I needed to work from home. 

Designing and ranking websites on Google that generate leads for small business owners.

I quit my job and am now a self-made entrepreneur with a dope pad in San Francisco, making more money than I ever thought possible.

That tree service site above has been making me $2,000 per month for the last six years.

IMO this biz model is one of the best opportunities on the internet, and I'm going to show you why.


Chapter 1

For The Foodies

Fancy yourself a bit of a culinary whiz?

Have a way of fusing unique tastes to entice and delight fellow food critics?

If you can create an exceptional experience with an interactive element, there is potential for you to make considerable coin in the food industry.

Highly competitive, market revenue equals $924,289 million in the USA and is expected to see an annual growth rate of 1.8% between now and 2025.

With the average American spending roughly $2,792/year on food, despite a 'cut-throat kitchen' atmosphere, the food industry offers some of the best business ideas in 2021.

Here are a few of our favorites for you to consider:

1. Olive Oil Pop-Up Shop

graphic of an olive oil store

It's no secret that the olive oil is only gaining popularity as people endeavor to consume more high-quality, healthy fats.

Globally, the olive oil market is worth an estimated $2 billion and is expected to see a CAGR of 2.9% from 2020-2027.

With tantalizing olive oil infusions with flavors such as rosemary and garlic basil to citrus habanero, connecting with a wholesale distributor is crucial.

You can opt to sell olive oil online or in an establishment.

The beauty of pop-up shops is that your business is a novelty-it's only there for short time creating the FOMO (fear of missing out) effect which is an excellent marketing strategy to boost sales and your bottom line.

You can also add a ticket component where people can engage in an olive oil tasting--like wine tasting, but safe for shoppers under the age of 18--to maximize your profit potential.

This article advertises its wholesale olive oil brand, but also offers insightful tips on how to start an olive oil business.

2. Gourmet Popcorn Kiosk

graphic of a popcorn stand

The Boy Scouts no longer own the gourmet popcorn niche.

The beauty of popcorn is that it is a relatively low-cost venture that travels easily.

With $1.5 billion in sales in the USA this year alone, ready-to-eat popcorn is a healthier alternative for people looking for a quick snack.

The result?

The popcorn market is exploding, which you can read about on this post.

You can open a cart or kiosk and determine the ideal district to set up 'shop for the day.'

Location is key. 

Think about high-traffic areas such as:

  • Parks & Schools

  • Shopping Malls

  • Public Transit Stations

  • Sport Facilities

This article outlines how to start a gourmet popcorn business from home and scale accordingly to capitalize on this small business idea in 2021.

graphic of a cookie shop

Americans love cookies.

An often underrated dessert, if you have the baker's touch and an ability to whip up batches of decadent morsels, you may want to consider selling gourmet cookies.

This small business idea is better suited to an online or home enterprise until you build your client base and establish your brand.

Leverage social media and online platforms by offering customized, diet-specific, and special event cookie options.

Since these treats typically have a limited shelf life, your profit margins will be significantly higher if you go the made-to-order route in your baking business.

(and you won't end up with batches of stale confections.)

Check out this post for ideas on how to generate success with a gourmet cookie business.

4. Smoothie & Juice Bar

picture of fruit-blender and smoothies

Who doesn't love a great smoothie?

It's no secret that Americans are making a concerted effort to be more health-conscious and incorporate more nutrient-dense foodstuffs to their diets.

Enter the smoothie and juice bar craze.

Worth an estimated $3 billion in the USA, the smoothie and juice industry has experienced consistent annual growth of 1.3% over the last five years, and the future continues to look promising.

A retail establishment is ideal for maximizing profit potential despite higher start-up costs than those of the kiosk or food truck style options.

There are also numerous franchise options available, which you can check out here.

Setting up shop in affluent areas where individuals have a higher disposable income is also worth considering.

This post offers additional insights and suggestions on how to start a smoothie and juice bar.

And is one best business to start in 2021.

5. Ice Cream Shoppe

Ice cream tastes delicious no matter what the season.

With a projected growth rate of 2.83% from 2020-2025, this $8 billion industry offers some of the top ROIs for entrepreneurs interested in the best small business ideas-hot new opportunities in 2021.

These days, an increased demand for innovative flavors and more plant-based or health-conscious options is really driving the market.

It's a very competitive space, but has the potential to reap huge rewards if done right.

The ice cream market is segmented into three distinct types as per this article which includes:

Ice Cream Hot Sellers
1

Artisan Selections

2

Impulse Purchases

3

Take-Home Options

Whether you opt for a food truck style or parlor, you can make a considerable profit with ice cream.

This publication offers some additional tips on how to start an ice cream shop.

6. Sandwich Bar

Fresh-made-to-order and unique ingredient combinations are the keys to profitability in the sandwich industry, which saw an annual growth rate of 3.4% in 2019.

Consumers are looking for mobile options that mesh with both their dietary nuances and budget.

There are numerous franchise options available, but if you are interested in starting your own enterprise, do your homework.

Where will you set up shop?

What can you offer that your competitors don't?

How will you market your brand and generate excitement around your creations?

You can offer delivery options, workplace lunch deals, or incorporate daily specials to further capitalize on this best small business idea.

Here is an article outlining the steps to starting a sandwich shop.

picture of a food truck

Popular and versatile, food trucks offer venture capitalists like yourselves the opportunity to break into the insanely competitive restaurateur industry without the staggering costs associated with an actual sit-down establishment.

In 2020, the food truck market raked in revenues of around $1.1 billion.

Your level of culinary expertise and food style you enjoy preparing will be the drawing card for patrons.

Here are a few of the hot trends for food trucks in 2021:

Food Truck Trends 2021

  • Burgers & Fries

  • Indian Street Food

  • Pizza

  • Grilled Cheese

  • Middle Eastern Cuisine

  • Mac N Cheese

This article offers additional suggestions and a more detailed analysis of each.

It comes down to marketing, establishing your brand, and offering a one-of-a-kind culinary experience that will set you apart from your competition.

But this small business to start checks all the boxes.

Check out this post for more information on how to start a food truck.

8. Meal Planning

We all know the scenario.

It's Tuesday night, you turn to your significant other and ask..."what do you want for dinner?"

They turn and stare at you blankly, shrug, and utter the dreaded words, "I don't know...what do you want?"

It's enough to drive someone crazy.

Meal planning is a chore for many who have grown tired of the age-old question and are looking for a better life.

Planning meals is a career that encompasses many skills such as nutrition knowledge, food costs, dietary specifications or restrictions, and culinary variety.

If you get excited about food, you might be the perfect choice for planning menus for individuals, restaurants, events, or corporate functions

Consider incorporating a website or mobile APP where people can purchase and download menu plans and supplemental grocery lists for the week to max out your profit potential with this small business idea.

This article gives a more detailed description of the skills needed as a meal planner.

9. Cafe & Tea Salon

cartoon of a cafe with people sitting at tables outside

Coffee bars and tea salons are no longer about just grabbing a cup of joe to-go.

The social atmosphere-ambiance and enticing aromas of freshly brewed beans or leaves keep American patrons coming back for more.

With revenue in the coffee industry worth $67, 663 million, and a CAGR of 8.7% between 2020-2025, tea is a worthy opponent.

Revenues in tea production in the USA for 2020 was $1.5 billion, so it really comes down to personal preference.

Offer variety and never-ever skimp on quality.

Equipment can be costly for both endeavors so consider rental or used options when first launching your venture.

This post outlines how to start a coffee shop, but if tea is your thing, check out this article on the best way to launch a tea salon.

10. Catering Company

Catering is one of the best small business ideas-hot new opportunities in 2021 because it offers the luxury of scalability and profitability.

The revenues of $13. 4 billion in 2020 sound pretty sweet, not to mention the fact that you have the option to launch your catering business from home until you build a client base and are generating sufficient revenue to warrant an industrial style kitchen.

In my book, that makes this one of the best small business ideas from home.

Americans are increasingly interested in where their food comes from and exploring new ingredients while embracing cultural trends.

Interactive and hands-on events have seen tremendous success when paired with unique experiences and uncompromising taste.

Despite being competitive, if you can hone in on your target market and offer a niche-specific style, there will always be room for a new player.

A few trendy catering suggestions include:

Destination-Specific Cuisine

Infused Cocktails & CBD

Handheld Options & Inclusive Dietary choices

Sustainability & Farm-to-Table

This post offers additional information on the top catering trends for 2021.

If you love the social aspect and enjoy sharing your culinary creations with others, this article provides tips on starting a catering company.


Chapter 2

Laptop Lifestyle

The advancement of technology has afforded many Americans the luxury of working remotely.

Online business choices offer budding entrepreneurs interested in the best small business ideas-hot opportunities for 2020 a chance to carve out a piece of the lucrative online pie and generate substantial profits margins.

There are numerous laptop enterprises to consider but here are our top contenders.

11. Copywriting & Content Creation

Ask anyone who knows anything about leveraging social media platforms and the all-powerful Google the number one strategy to ranking well and they will all say the same thing...

Content, copy, and blogging.

With a projected CAGR of 7.6% between 2020-2026, apparently the secret is out.

A few good things to keep in mind when getting started, though:

  • How you market your brand and your business will be the catalyst to your success
  • You need to determine your niche--what topics do you enjoy writing about?
  • You need to determine your ideal market--What do they sell, and how can your writing increase their ROI?

A competitive playing field, you need to be able to produce enticing and descriptive documents that captivate an audience and sell whatever product or service your client offers.

This article outlines in detail how to start a copywriting-content creation business.

12. Freelance

Many years ago, it seemed like "freelancer" was just code for not having any job in particular.

Times have changed, though, and people are now realizing that freelancing is a legitimate profession.

Today's freelance market accounts for 4.8% of the USA's GDP and employs over 57 million people.

Revenues from freelancing are upwards of $1.3 trillion in any number of professions.

Business owners love the cost-effectiveness and flexibility.

And for anyone who has any in-demand skills that companies are desperately searching for (I've listed 4 of them below) this small business idea can be downright lucrative.

Some of the top postings for freelancing in 2021 include:

Top Freelance Contenders
1

Marketing & PR

2

Video & Photography

 3

Content & Social Media

4

Software Developers & IT Support Techs

This article gives a detailed run-down of freelance positions worth investigating in 2021.

You can find gigs on platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, or Freelancer to get you started as you build your brand and client base.

Who knows-your cash cow could be looking for your skills right now.

When you're ready to start your freelance agency, check out this post on how to glean profitability and long-term success with this small business ideas recommendation.

graphic of designers with paint palettes

13. Graphic Designer

Graphic design is a $13 billion industry that offers some of the best small business ideas and hot new opportunities in 2021.

Creative and technical talent is the name of the game.

Business owners are looking for designers who can take their vision and build a unique brand that will propel sales and increase their profit margins.

They know that strategic planning, implementation, and marketing campaigns generate client trust and help to establish themselves as leaders in their various industries.

This article offers excellent suggestions on how to start a graphic design firm.

14. Proofreading & Editing

Meticulous attention to detail, a solid comprehension of the English language, and super fast typing speeds are the skills you'll need to excel at proofreading and editing.

Two distinct yet highly profitable small business ideas, the combined market is slated to experience an annual growth rate of 6.1% in 2021.

Build your client base through platforms like:

  • Craigslist

  • Facebook

  • LinkedIn

  • Freelance Platforms-think Upwork, Fiverr, etc.

The going rate in the United States is $45+/hour or up to $1.00/word-so there is definitely potential to generate lofty returns with this suggestion.

Here is an article outlining how to start a proofreading/editing business.

15. Transcription

Technology continues to advance at a rapid rate, but there is still something to be said for the human touch.

Transcription software can only do so much before a live person needs to step in to ensure that documents are accurate and grammatically on-point.

Worth $19.8 billion in the USA, transcription is expected to experience a CAGR of 6.1% from 2020-2027.

Numbers that confirm if you have the skills, you also have the ability to generate a substantial income with this small business idea.

If you're looking to break into this industry, you should be detail-oriented, a great multi-tasker, and extremely self-disciplined to meet the stringent deadlines that are typical in this industry. 

Check out this post for specific steps on how to start a transcription service.

cartoon of a man stressing over an empty bag of money

16. Landing Page Creator

Landing pages are an elusive yet critical component to driving sales.

But so many business owners miss the mark when it comes to their landing page.

The premise of a landing page is to drive potential clients to your site or sign up for a service, yet many are failing miserably.

If you have the skills to create landing pages that build trust and brand recognition--namely, elevating conversions and improving SEO.

You possess a coveted skill set that has the potential to earn you some hefty payouts and the rights to consider this best business to start.

Build a website and establish an online and social media presence to build a client base.

Make use of platforms like LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, etc. where you can connect and network.

If you can produce a track record of results, word of mouth from satisfied clients may be all it takes to keep your services will be in constant demand.

Here is a post outlining how to build the perfect landing page for reference.

17. Digital Media Conversion

If your glory days are encased in cassette and VHS tapes, it may be time to revamp your technology and put 'the Boss' on high-def electronic files.

Digital media conversion is the art of converting analog and digital media formats to this century's automated technology.

With new tools and state of the art systems, it is now possible to edit, color, encode, and reinforce audio to create quality and accessible copies of those memories.

Does this sound like your kinda thing? Well, the demand for your skills is increasing. 

A few of the current trends in digital media conversion include:

Digital Media Conversion Trends

Augmented & Virtual Reality

Mobile Video

Online Media Platforms

This article offers some additional information regarding current trends and the opportunity presenting itself in the world of digital media conversion.

Here is an example of a company generating impressive success with this small business idea to help get your wheels in motion.


Chapter 3

Scholastic Services

Education and e-learning offer so much more than instruction for students. 

With more Americans taking the plunge to return to school or learn a new skill, there are a plethora of opportunities in the academic market.

The e-learning industry is expected to grow to $12.81 billion between 2020-2024.

If you are well-versed in a subject or skill and have a passion for teaching others, now is an opportune time to consider this market. 

We have listed our number one recommendations in the educational sector, which promise to be some of the small business ideas to start in 2021.

18. Grant & Financial Assistance Agency

The price of education is no joke.

With rising tuition costs, the majority of Americans need all the financial assistance they can get.

The problem for many is often twofold.

People either don't know what funding is available, or where and how to access it.

With both grants and scholarships available to students as per this article, if you excel at research, possess the ability to write compelling arguments, and understand the system, you can sell your skills to students starting or returning to post-secondary education.

Build a website and leverage social media platforms.

Connect with Facebook groups geared to students to build relationships and network while you establish your brand and credibility.

You need to demonstrate that you can land money for people and have a proven track record of success.

This article lists a few places to find funding to help you expedite the process.

19. Tutor

Make no mistake. 

The tutoring/online tutor industry is one of the most advantageous, best small business ideas for 2021.

Online tutoring in the USA alone is worth $6333.3 million and is projected to see a CAGR of 6.2% by the end of 2021.

People like this industry because it often affords them the ability to have a flexible schedule.

If you have the educational background or are well-versed in a particular study, this is a suggestion that will generate substantial profits and allow you to scale your empire.

Core subjects in K-12 are always in need. 

However, there is a rise in demand for the following studies:

2021 Tutoring Trends
01

STEM development

02

Language classes

03

SAT & college prep courses

Check out this post on how to start an online tutoring business.

20. SAT/ACT/College Prep Instructor

We mentioned SAT and college prep in the tutor section. 

However, this facet of the education sector is in a class of its own.

More than just the study and application required to write and obtain high scores on college entrance exams, consider offering a full-service college prep agency like the ones found in this article.

A resource for soon to be students and parents to understand the nuances and better navigate the college entry process.

An overwhelming task for many, the competitive landscape of college in 2021 is the driving force behind students needing a leg up to trump competing students and secure a place in a coveted ivy league school.

If you can guarantee admission and the desired results, you will be paid handsomely for your service.

Check out this post on the requirements for becoming an SAT/ACT tutor.

21. Online Courses

Are you a problem solver?

Do you have life experiences that may benefit others?

Are you willing to learn something new and document the process live to share with viewers?

Just a few requirements for online and ecourses.

The key to creating a fortuitous online course is the ability to engage your audience and offer value.

First you must determine your target market--what is their pain point, and how can you positively impact their lives?

The more niche-specific, the better with this unique business ideas sector.

You can choose literally anything that interests you or know well as long as you can demonstrate strategies to help your audience achieve their desired outcome.

If you've done it correctly, once your course is completed, it will continue to sell over and over again, generating the passive income that everyone's looking to produce.

And that is without question the goal of  any best small business ideas.

Here is a post outlining in detail how to construct an online course.

22. Webinars

Webinars continue to be a popular method not only to educate but secure significant monetary endorsements.

Live events-the real money is made in the replay and upsell options.

You need to entertain-captivate and engage your viewers-provide a level of expertise that is not found through free  Google searches.

Value, value, value!

Over-deliver and WOW your audience while giving them actionable strategies and tools that they can implement in their lives to achieve goals.

The webinar topic market is vast so determine your target market and develop an online gold mine specific to their needs.

A few of the hot webinar topics in 2021, as per this post, include:

  • Personal Development

  • Online Marketing Strategies

  • Business & Career Advancement

  • Technology 

Check out this article on how to create a webinar that sells and lands you serious coin for your efforts and why it's one of the small business ideas in 2021 worth considering.