Small business ideas are all about the ideas that use skills that you already have. Meaning that, you don’t necessarily need to enrol for any short course to start these businesses. But you can enrol to just polish your skills if you have time and money.
In the world of business, it’s not about coming up with good business ideas, but coming up with solutions for problems. It’s not about starting to build your product and take your last savings for workspace setup for something that you’re not even sure that it will work.
I know, it may work on paper (mind) but in real world it could be something else. This means you can have a great business idea, and think that it can generate a lot of money in no time. But still fail in real life.
So, it’s all about doing a research. You start that by identifying a problem and come up with alternative solutions.
That means, the first step of becoming a successful entrepreneur is finding a business idea that works for you. An idea that will help people from their challenges.
So, in this article I will show you a number of small business ideas that you can start from home and scale up as your clientele grows.
22 Small Business Ideas that use the skills you have
1. Start a non-profit business
Before I start, you need to know what a Non-Profit Business is.
What Is a Non-Profit Business?
A non-profit business or not-for-profit organization is an organization that is registered for not generating a profit. It is a tax-exempt organization formed for religious, charitable, or educational purposes.
If you like making a difference then there are many ways that you can help others by starting a non-profit business. What problem are you passionate about fixing in your community? This small business idea can be a rewarding life path, as it can enable you to both make money and make a difference.
Starting a non-profit requires critical thinking, commitment, patience, and a lot of hard work. So you need to be prepared to work for free for few months or years before you can start enjoying the fruits of being a Non-Profit organization director.
Please note, there organization must be registered first in order for potential sponsors to take you seriously.
2. Start a construction business
What is a construction business?
It is a business for general contracting, construction management, engineering and design building services.
Construction companies are responsible for building homes and commercial buildings to make sure that they’re safe, well built, and structurally sound.
Construction is the vastly growing industry that could be a great fit for someone who enjoys hands-on work. So if you have been working for someone and you know the job you can start your own construction business.
It’s only about having the knowledge and skills in order to be your own boss and call the shots.
If you have no work experience, then you can start looking for construction jobs. Searching for “construction companies near me” online could help you speed up the process.
You will start from the bottom up but don’t worry because you just only need the basics. You will need to be curious and work very hard so that all the experts could like you. In that way you could be their first choice to work with.
There would be times for you to take your chances when the experts are busy with some other things. At times they would come late from lunch or busy answering calls. And this is when you can start taking over and continue from where they have left off. But please, don’t mess up. In time, they would give you a chance to learn.
Alternatively, you can enrol for a construction course at a construction college or university. Searching for “construction schools near me” online could help you speed up the process of getting a school quickly.
You need to start by marketing your business to big construction companies for sub-contracting jobs. This is the easiest way to put your foot on the construction industry because you won’t need much capital (money) to start. You would only need to bring your team, and basic tools to get the job done.
3. Start a sewing and alterations business
A sewing and alterations business is a business that uses a range of tailoring skills to customize the fit of any readymade clothes.
Sewing and alterations business is another business that is in demand these days. So if you enjoy sewing and have a work experience in sewing and alterations, this is your chance to start your own.
Even though you don’t need a specific degree or training, but you’ll need some skills to get started if you’re an amateur.
The best thing about this business is you can work at home. But you only need a sewing machine and a good iron. Then you can start generating money for yourself and grow the business.
4. Start a beauty salon or spa
What is a beauty salon? A beauty salon is a business that provides a variety of cosmetic treatments and cosmetic services for men and women. These services include professional hair cutting and styling, manicures and pedicures, and often cosmetics, makeup and makeovers for clients.
Who doesn’t want to look good?
This kind of business has different kinds of specialities and they are all in demand. You can be a massage therapist, hairstylist, or nail technician, it’s up to you. If you enjoy working with people and meeting new people every day, then start a beauty salon or spa business.
This kind of small business idea requires minimum capital to start off. But you can grow it when you have more clients.
5. Start an event planning business
What is event planning? Event planning is the process of planning and coordinating the event. This include budgeting, scheduling, site selection, acquiring necessary permits, coordinating transportation and parking, arranging for speakers or entertainers, arranging decor, event security, catering, coordinating, etc.
You can start an event planning business if you are an organised person. There are plenty of clients that want professional events and they are looking for someone like you to help them.
You can start from weddings to parties to corporate events, if you can rise above the competition. Event planning is an ideal small business idea for creative people just like you.
6. Start catering business
What is a catering business? A catering business is a business that provides food and beverages for a wide range of events. Just like an event planning business, there are plenty of opportunities in this business. So if you know your story in kitchen, this could be your chance to start generating money for yourself.
You can also start from weddings to parties to corporate events, if you can rise above the competition. And you can employ people to help you cook and serve your audience.
If this small business idea is for you, then start polishing your cooking skills by searching online for cooking skills on YouTube. If you are not happy about your current skills, then you can look for jobs and search for “catering companies near me”.
Then when you have basic skills and knowledge, you can start preparing your marketing strategies by also searching for “catering business proposals” on Google. Then voilah!
7. Start a cafe, bakery, or a coffee shop
This kind of business idea is also wide, but depending on your choice and skills. You can have a successful business in this industry. But the cheapest way is to start by opening Amagwinya (fat cakes) business.
You can either open it at your home or go to busy areas such as schools, companies, and taxi ranks.
You can add coffee, drinks, hot dogs, kotas, and plates when your business grows. Opening your bakery shop and supply local entrepreneurs when things go well is also an option.
8. Start a day-care center
What is a day-care center? A day-care centre or crèche, is an institution that provides supervision and care of infants and young children during the daytime.
If you’re good with children then starting a day-care center is for you. This kind of small business is always a needed service for busy parents when they are at work. You can start looking after kids from as early as four (4) months.
Register your center as a non-profit company so that you can look for sponsors to fund your business. And you can also charge parents less prices to cover basic needs as well.
This kind of business idea needs certificates for hygiene and safety. Looking after kids is a sensitive business and you could be in trouble if something bad can happen to any kid.
You also need to attend training for Early Childhood and Development (ECD) but depending on your country rules.
9. Start a handyman business
What is a handyman business? A handyman business is a business that provides a variety of home/office repair services. Based on your skills and clients’ needs, this can include both interior and exterior trade skills, maintenance, and repair.
This kind of business is for you if you like solving problems using your hands. Depending on your skills, you can start a tiling, painting, plumbing, electrical business, etc.
Some of these business ideas might need a formal certificate like the Trade Test for electricians. Some needs a work experience or training if you are an amateur. These jobs are in demand and can make you rich if you are passionate about it.
10. Start a mechanic business
What is a mechanic? A mechanic is someone who is responsible for inspecting and repairing vehicles, machinery, and light trucks.
Start this idea if you’ve previously worked as a motor mechanic and you’re unemployed now or not happy about your current job.
Even if you aren’t an expert on cars, but you can achieve most basic maintenance and repair work on cars. With a number of new car owners every day, this is your chance to start your workshop.
If you’re not sure about your skills, you can search for “car repair near me” on Google and apply for vacancies. This is the quickest way to get practical experience in this industry. But if you prefer the long way, you can check mechanical schools near you. You will find different mechanical colleges and universities that offer mechanical courses.
Another way is to look for mechanical tutorials on YouTube and learn online. This is a DIY method that you can use to learn theory fast.
You need a complete toolbox in order to be able to repair cars. Car owners love quality services and affordable prices. So, if you are the one, then the sky is the limit.
11. T-shirt printing
What is a t-shirt printing business? A t-shirt printing business is a business that prints on t-shirts. This refers to the art or process of printing on t-shirts.
If you’re creative and love beautiful things, then this is your time to start this business. This kind of small business idea needs a small capital to buy the t-shirt printing machines and a pc/laptop. You can print promotional items for both individuals and organisations and generate income.
I started this business with no t-shirt machines in 2016. I negotiated a partnership with t-shirt printing companies in Cape Town and two companies were happy to work with me.
The deal was simple, I was going to teach them basic design skills and they allow me to bring my work for printing with a flat fee.
Then I started using aggressive marketing and the sales were high. It’s when I started buying the machines one-by-one. Then, boom, the business was doing great.
I’m trying to say that whatever position you’re at, but you can start what you’ve always wanted to do. You might not have the designing skills that I have but you can negotiate for something else. And most small business owners like people who are trying to make means of living. You may never know until you try it.
12. Start an accounting business
What is an accounting business? An accounting business is the business that helps clients with a wide range of services, such as accounts payable or receivable, bookkeeping and payroll processing.
It ensures that all financial transactions are both accurate and legal, and it helps individuals and businesses to use financial statements to understand the health of their finances.
Do you enjoy bookkeeping, preparing taxes, and managing money? If the answer is “Yes” and you have the basic accounting skills then start the accounting company now.
Most people dislike numbers and it’s when you come in. Most start-ups fail within the first 12 months and one of the reasons is that they lack basic accounting skills.
Entrepreneurs tend to overspend and they end up with no funds to run their businesses.
You could never go wrong in the accounting industry because there are many business accounting opportunities for small businesses out there. There are millions of people searching for “accounting services” on Google every month.
So those people need your services. You can even help your clients for business registrations, CIPC annual returns, SARS and labour complaints.
13. Start a personal training business
What is a personal training business? A personal training business is a business that assesses their customers’ bodily strengths and weaknesses and creates customized workout plans for them.
It provides physical and mental guidance and monitors customers’ progress on a regular basis. And the most important thing is that it also ensures that customers don’t get injured while training.
A personal training business is very wide and depending on your skills you can open any business of your choice. This is the right time for you if you’re great at motivating people to start this small business.
If you’re into fitness then you can open a gym or a personal training. There are many people who need motivation to shape and maintain their bodies.
This small business idea doesn’t need much capital to start. But depending on what you will be doing of course.
14. Start a consulting business
What is a consulting business? A consulting business is a business that provides planning, implementation and educating businesses about their services.
These kinds of businesses work directly with business owners on developing business plans, identifying marketing needs and developing the necessary skills for business owners.
Based on your skills, you may want to evaluate what you currently excel at, and see if it would make you a good consulting company.
You can help other businesses and individuals archive their goals. Your job would be analysing their problems and come up with solutions whilst they are busy focusing on running their companies. Depending on your skills, it can be IT, Accounting, Marketing, etc.
You just need to be best at what you do. Period!
15. Start a tutoring business
What is a tutor? A tutor is someone who contributes to educating children and guides them to educational success, whether you are a student that excels, stay-at-home parent, teacher or retired teacher.
In this business you just need to be good in one or more subjects. Or if you’re good at explaining concepts in a way that is easy to understand, consider starting a tutoring business.
There are many students that need help in various subjects and they need you to help them boost their passing rates.
16. Start a security business
What is a security business? A security business is a business that provides armed or unarmed security services and expertise to clients in both the private and public sector.
The crime rate keeps on increasing and this makes many people and organisations to seek for security help.
You can start this business idea in either way, whether you provide unarmed security officers, armed response, alarms or you open your own security training institution. You can do it all if you have financial muscles.
This business idea will give you massive rewards when implemented correctly. But you need to first have some accreditation certifications in order to run it the right way.
Then you will need to market your service to potential clients and provide them your trained officers.
17. IT Support business
What is an IT Support Business? IT support business is a business that provides businesses with expert guidance and management for a variety of information technology needs.
It’s not a secret that we live in a digital age. Almost everything is about technology in nowadays and every business is adapting to the Technology of Things (ToT). The world has been in the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) where most human jobs are performed by robots. Yes, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) has long arrived where human tasks are performed by machines.
Shops are using cards for points to gather your shopping behaviour. Yes, I have just said, those cards are not meant for you as a consumer but for the companies or shops.
So, this is the perfect time for you to make sure that individuals and organisations are not left behind the technology. Help them by repairing and maintaining their devices and networks in order for them to have a peace of mind and be productive.
18. App design business
What is an app design business? An app design business creates programs for smartphones, tablets and computers. They work in a range of industries and across a number of platforms, including Apple iOS and macOS, Google Android, Windows and Huawei App Gallery.
These companies design games, weather apps, social networking tools, maps and navigation programs, and much more.
It is no longer a secret that everything is almost mobile these days. Who wants to be left behind, huh? I knew that no one wants that…. hence every business wants to go mobile. It’s because 08/10 people have smartphones and 09/10 people have cell phones.
These people are doing almost everything from the comfort of their offices and homes using their phones.
So, it’s not late for you to start because there are still a lot of individuals and companies that need these services.
Anyone can design a basic app just just by following YouTube tutorials. Then you need to invest a lot of time and money to learn to design sophisticated apps.
We have designed various apps at Tera Zama Solutions for our clients and we also designed Tera Zama App which is available on Play Store.
19. Web design business
What is a web design business? A web design business is a business that plans, creates and code internet sites and web pages. These web pages normally combine text with sounds, pictures, graphics and video clips.
This leads us to another question about websites.
What is a website or web design? A website or web design is a collection of web pages and related content that is identified by a common domain name and published on one web server.
And this also leads us to another question about who creates them. Websites are designed by web designers.
What is a web designer?
A web designer is someone who designs the visual appearance, organizes the layout, and ensures the easy navigation of a website.
You need to know the basic web design skills in order to develop a web site.
What skills are needed to be a web designer?
These basic skills include
- Java Scripts, etc.
HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language, which is a standardized system for tagging text files to achieve font, colour, graphic, and hyperlink effects on World Wide Web (www) pages.
What is CSS?
If you like programming, this is the business idea for you. Then you will need to have a basic computer or laptop, and internet.
Fortunately, there are plenty of web design platforms these days such as WordPress, Joomla, Magento, Wix, etc that you can use to speed up the process.
These platforms are easy to learn and even if you’ve never used them before but you can start learning right away.
WordPress is the (CMS) that is mostly used by most designers around the world. It’s because it is the best platform and is very easy to use.
Joomla is another web design platform that gives you the chance to quickly and easily make changes to your website.
If you want a web design as a career, then you can start searching for “web design colleges near me” or website universities on Google and study programming.
Then after finishing your programming certificate, diploma or degree you can look for a job to get experience.
Alternatively, you can do a DIY (Do It Yourself) by searching for “web design tutorials” online and read them. The best thing about internet now is that you can get a lot of YouTube tutorials which you can watch and learn fast. And you can learn it anywhere and at your own time.
Then you can start looking for jobs after completing the course. Search for “web design jobs near me” from Google and get a list of local web design companies around your town.
Start your own web design business when you’re ready.
20. Start a blog business
What is a blog business? A business blogging is a marketing tactic that uses blogging to get your business more online visibility. A business blog is a marketing channel that helps support business growth.
For example, terazama.co.za is a blog. In this blog, we are both offering our services and share free content at the same time.
We generate income through our services and through Adsense. And we would be doing Affiliate Marketing soon.
So, if you’re like us, and you like to write about the things you like, then blogging is the right fit for you. This is only if you are passionate about it.
The best thing about blogging is that you don’t have to quit your 9 to 5 job. But you can do this business when you have time and write about whatever comes your mind.
The nice thing about blog is that you can generate passive income while enjoying expressing your point of views.
You need to first identify your niche and focus on it. You don’t want to confuse your audience, do you? It’s because this could be a big disaster.
So, if you like this business, and you want to make a living from it, then you need to be patient. There is no quick money in blogging. Expect to start generating money in few months or years depending on your commitment.
You need to be consistent and write quality content that is optimised. So you need to know the basic (Search Engine Optimization) SEO.
What is Search Engine Optimization?
SEO is the process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic (visitors) to a website from search engines (organic traffic).
What is organic traffic?
Organic Traffic is when the search results are earned through effective SEO, not paid for (i.e. not a
The spiders would crawl your site and rank it to number one (1) for the keywords or key phrases you’ve used. In order to rank high on Google, it is recommend using optimised Meta Descriptions and Title Tags.
Meta Description and Title tags increase chances of your website to rank high because these are what your audience see. If you have written an interesting Title tag and Meta description, then you will drive more traffic to your website. This will increase a Click Through Rate (CTR) for your website.
Please remember the Rule of Thumb that is speed and mobile first. No one will wait for a site that takes too long to load. That means your visitors will leave your site if it is slow.
Another thing is mobile first. Your blog should work excellent on smart phones because most people use their phones to search for information on the internet.
It’s no longer about the SEO only these days to rank high on search engines. It’s about the users, the people that visit your blog every day. So if they don’t spend much time on your website then there is something wrong about it.
And then the search engines (Google) will drop your rankings. It is about the users, what they like. So, if your blog generates too much traffic then the search engines would rank it high. This is what we called it user experience (UX).
Then if your blog can generate thousands or millions of traffic, then you can generate a lot of money through various methods. Most companies would want to work with you and advertise their products on your blog.
So, these are the things that you need to take note of, if you’re serious about starting a blogging business.
21. Start a copywriting business
What is a copywriting business? A copywriting business is a business that uses the art and science of writing copy (words used on web pages, ads, promotional materials, etc.) that sells your product or service and convinces prospective customers to take action. In other words, it’s like hiring a salesman to reach all of your clients.
Like blogging, this business idea is all about writing unique content. Write a content that your users would love to read and keep coming back to your site for new articles. You need to choose your niche and write something interesting about it.
You can make a lot of money in this business because there are plenty of bloggers who don’t have time to write new contents for their blogs. Even webmasters for companies don’t really have time to write quality content. So this is your time to help them by writing contents for their sites.
It’s all about the eye balls onto their websites, so if you’re the person for them, you need to grab such opportunities by/with both hands. I know plenty of copywriting people/companies that are doing this business for their living. They are making lots of money through their contents.
So if you want to be like them, then start thinking out of the box now and come up with new ideas that you can write about. It doesn’t need to be new ideas but be creative and spice your content so that your audience can get juicy articles.
22. Become an online investor
I’m sure you are scared now and you’re thinking of scams because there are plenty of them these days.
Please note that there are plenty of scams in the online investment industry so you need to be careful and do a thoroughly research before starting.
Most people or companies pretend to be online investment companies and they take funds from investors and never give them back.
There is no need to be scared because I’m talking about legit businesses that are well researched. And, I’m personally involved in some whether directly or indirectly.
So, relax and continue to read.
First of all, what is an investment business?
Here, I am talking about the investment business that registers itself to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) in South Africa or any other country’s stock exchange to let the public investors to invest their money to get profits from their capital.
Why do the companies list their shares on the Stock Exchange?
It’s because these companies want to raise additional funds by issuing more shares for public investors to buy.
How do the investment company make money?
The investment company generates money in two (2) different ways.
(a) Through Bank Loans
It borrows money from the banking institutions and repay it with interests.
(b) Issuing Shares to the Stock Exchange
This is the good way for them (companies) to list their shares to the Stock Exchange for the public investors to buy.
These ccompanies use these funds to grow their businesses and pay debts when they make profits.
The money that is left after paying the debts is shared amongst the investors and directors in the form of dividends.
The board of directors decide how much to pay per share to their investors.
Then what is an online investor?
An online investor is someone who saves money to invest on the investment companies. This person buys and sells shares to the public through brokers.
What is a broker?
A broker is a person or company that arranges transactions between a buyer and a seller. A broker gets a commission when the deal is executed because it is the one that facilitates everything for both parties. An example of a broker is the Easy Equities.
How do you start investing?
Depending on the investment company (broker), you start by creating an account (profile) on a specific investment company. You do this by clicking on Create Account/Sign Up.
You do this by writing your personal and contact details such as Names, Surname, ID number, Date of birth, Nationality, Cell Phone number, Physical Address and Email Address.
After clicking on Submit/Register, you would get an activation email to confirm. Then you would be able to get access to your profile once you have activated your account via the activation code sent to your email.
You will see different kinds of investments once you have successful logged in. Then you would see different kinds of investment and choose your preferred method of investment.
But before you proceed, start by topping up funds to your account.
It is always best to Do Your Own Research (DYOR) before getting yourself into investments.
What is it that you invest on?
You invest on the Stock Market.
What is the Stock Market?
A stock is a collection of exchanges and other venues where the buying, selling, and issuance of shares of publicly held companies take place. This is the Johannesburg Stock Exchange here in South Africa (JSE).
How do the investors make money from the investments?
There are two (2) different ways of making money from the stock market.
(a) Through Profits.
Let’s say for an example as an investor you bought 1000 shares for R2 per share for Company A in 2017 and you sell them in 2022 for R60 per share.
That means you bought 1000 shares in 2017 for R2000 altogether. It was R2 per share multiply by 1000 shares which was R2000.
= 2 x 1000, then the money that you spent was R2000.
It’s 2022 now and the share price has increased from R2 to R60 each share.
That means it’s 60 x 1000 = 60 000. So, you would have made R58 000.00 in profits.
The company has performed well so everyone is happy and the board of directors dicide to pay dividends as they normally do in each year.
Please remember that this amount varies depending on the company’s performance for each year.
They decide to pay R12 per share this year and you have 1000 shares.
12 x 1000 = 12 000.00 in dividends. This is what you have been getting for each year in every after 12 months if this company pays dividends after 12 months.
NB: Companies may pay dividends in different periods like quarterly, semester, yearly or no dividends at all.
Sometimes the things may not go well to Company A so your investments may fail.
This is why there is a RULE that says you should invest what you’re willing to lose.