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35 Small-Town Business Ideas That Every Community Needs
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Big business can happen in small towns. Small towns offer a unique opportunity of a concentrated market, as well as the challenge of a limited population. Finding small-town business ideas that will stick is all about meeting a current demand with a great product or service.
In order to start a business in a small town, you'll need to perform background research into the local market, as well as the specific geography of the physical location. In a small town, you’re much more dependent on a smaller group for business, so choosing the right location is crucial to optimize store traffic. Even if your business plan is service-based, it’s still a good idea to have a firm grasp on how big your market is.
Once you have an idea of the consumer marketplace in your town, you can lay the groundwork for different small-town business ideas, ultimately deciding on the one that you think will work best. Once you find out more about the resources available and other businesses in your area, you can talk to other business owners and evaluate the costs and requirements of starting a business in a small town. For inspiration, we've gathered this list of 35 small-town business ideas that every community needs. You can use this list as a starting point for research, or perhaps, find just the right idea for a business in your small town.
Small-town business ideas
Starting a small-town business requires careful research and understanding of your community. Once you have a sense of the existing businesses in your area and local demand (more on that below), you’re ready to decide which enterprise is right for you — and the community.
Try to find an industry or service where profitable small businesses, the community’s needs and your own interests intersect. Here are a few small-town business ideas you might consider:
Diner, fine dining or somewhere in between, a successful small-town restaurant is all about providing people what they want, but don’t already have. When starting a restaurant, it might be tempting to copy a popular place in town, but consider catering to a need — or desire — that locals can’t find nearby, and an attraction worth traveling over from the next town.
For example, a farm-to-table restaurant is a great small-town business idea, but if you’re not in an agriculturally rich area, or that already exists in your town, consider an alternative. Think about what your family looks forward to when leaving town. Maybe it’s the experience of an elegant meal, or maybe it’s a slice of New York-style pizza, but there’s a good chance there’s a market for a new restaurant. You just have to figure out what people want — and will eat.
2. Hybrid bar/coffee shop
Make up for slower business traffic by serving the beverages people want all day. If coffee shops aren’t a “thing” in your town, serving coffee all day at a place where people do go — like a bar — can slowly start to normalize the activity and encourage crossover business. A local small-town bar might be your dream business, but a coffee shop can start bringing in money at sunrise; there’s no need to compromise, as long as you create an environment that works for both day and night.
3. Liquor store
Depending on county laws and state taxes, opening a liquor store can be one of the most lucrative small-town business ideas. Particularly in areas where grocery stores aren’t permitted to sell alcohol , liquor stores control the alcohol market in small towns. Be sure to read up on how to start a liquor store, because securing the documentation you need (like a liquor license) can be tricky.
4. Handyman or contractor
A good handyman will always be in demand, even in small towns. If you’re frequently getting calls from friends, family and neighbors to come and take a look at a leaky pipe or wobbly board, you might be well on your way to starting a small-town business that works.
Starting a contractor service will be relatively straightforward if you already work odd jobs, and have an idea of who will hire you. If people in the area are unfamiliar with your work, try to get in touch with a general contractor who’s willing to offer a small project, and hopefully pass on your name to future clients. In a word-of-mouth business like service work, repairs and construction, the people you already know, and who know your work, are your strongest salespeople.
5. Automotive repairs
You’re pretty much required to have a car if you live in a rural area or a small town, but being far away from a dealership can make routine servicing a hassle. Auto repair services fill an obvious need for small towns and make life more convenient for locals, so you might consider whether there’s an opportunity in your town to open up shop.
Likewise, cars break down everywhere, and most tow trucks charge per mile. So, if your town is a significant distance between major cities, there might be an opportunity for you to start towing cars — even if you don’t have a proper repair shop.
6. Home cleaning
Some people just don’t like to clean, and there’s a good chance a few of them live in your town. Why not start a cleaning business for them? This is another service that benefits from a word-of-mouth referral system, and can even be paired with other services, like babysitting or yard work. Expert cleaning is a valuable skill, but not one that requires you to spend tons of money on courses or certifications, so this a great option if you’re looking for a side hustle with low overhead.
7. IT and computer services
All businesses and individuals need technology support, wherever they’re located. No matter how big or small the town, there will always be folks using technology — and having trouble connecting their WiFi.
This service will require slightly more advertising to get the word out since it’s less visible than a business with a storefront and less regular than a service like housecleaning. But if you don’t plan on doing major repairs, it won’t require much in the way of equipment, so you’ll keep overhead costs low too.
8. Pet store, grooming and boarding
Opening a pet store in your town is one of the great small-town business ideas if there isn’t already a local supply shop or a large chain, like PetSmart or PetCo. Depending on the pet population in your area, there might be a demand for pet grooming and boarding services.
If you’re interested in opening a pet store or pet service business in a small town, ask local pet owners where they currently get their food and grooming. An existing pet shop owner in your town might also be a good resource if you’re interested in offering grooming, walking or boarding services.
9. Salon or barbershop
Chances are, your town has at least one barbershop or salon, but that might actually help you if you’re looking to open a successful hair salon. If one demographic is underserved — i.e. there’s only a barbershop that caters mainly toward men — figure out whose hair needs aren’t currently addressed on Main Street.
If your town is already served by full-service hair salons and barbers, you might consider a more niche hair care business, like a blow-out bar or a salon that offers makeup, eyelashes and tanning in addition to hair services.
10. Gas station
They may not be the most glamorous businesses, but filling stations are absolutely essential in communities where most people rely on cars and trucks for transportation. Small towns located on or near major highways can get considerable through-traffic, and unlike most businesses, a gas station might actually benefit from a location far between cities. Lottery and tobacco sales can also generate substantial revenue, especially if you’re the only vendor in the area.
11. Grocery store
When a town that could sustain a grocery store doesn’t have one, there’s a probably good reason: Maybe most people commute every day and use other stores, or there isn’t a large enough population to support a big-box chain.
If you want to go the independent route (i.e. not open a franchise store), try to find a way to specialize your store so that you don’t overspend on a huge inventory. Use local products, trends and tastes to help inform this decision.
In agricultural areas, farmers market-style stores that carry local produce and seasonal goods are usually popular with both locals and tourists. A town that already has a major chain grocery store, but few available options for organic, local, gluten-free or vegan choices, is a great candidate for a specialty food store.
A drugstore or pharmacy requires more legwork — from hiring a pharmacist to buying insurance, to installing security precautions — but if your town isn’t locally served by a pharmacy, it could be a great opportunity to open a long-lasting business in your community.
This is one of the small-town business ideas that might be a good option for individuals who are trained pharmacists themselves or involved in the local medical profession. A pharmacy is definitely an essential business in every community, but if you decide to open an independently owned pharmacy, be wary of competing with large chain drug stores.
13. Antique or thrift store
Particularly in touristy areas, quaint gift shops can turn a profit on finds from local flea markets, junkyards and estate sales. Although turnover for an antique store may be slow, your inventory won’t expire or require much upkeep. If there are several shops like this in your town already, you might consider specializing in retail consignment and second-hand clothing, or artwork from local craftspeople.
14. Fitness studio or gym
More and more, people are getting into fitness and taking care of their bodies. Odds are, a few fitness-junkies live in your town. If you think this is the case, starting a fitness studio or gym is a great small-town business idea. You can focus on a boutique fitness theme, or just offer a general fitness space for your community to work out.
Of all of the small-town business ideas, though, this one requires a bit of overhead to startup — namely in the gym equipment. However, granted you gain some new members early on, you should be able to make that money back very quickly, especially if you have a corner on the small-town fitness market.
15. Tutoring business
Every town has children who need to go to school, and if there are students who need additional help outside of school hours, a tutoring business can be helpful for children and parents alike. If you're looking for one of the small-town business ideas that allows you to give back and grow your community, you might consider a tutoring business. You can start your tutoring business to cater to kids at any level — elementary, high school or college prep. Just think about a subject that you're knowledgeable and passionate about, and you'll easily connect to kids who need help. This small-town business idea is also a great option for parents who have a large network of other families in their town.
16. Ice cream shop
Food-related businesses can be some of the most popular in a small town, and if you don't want everything that's involved with running a full-fledged restaurant, you might consider opening an ice cream shop. Ice cream shops can be hot-spots for locals, as well as people from surrounding towns, especially in the warm weather. If your town doesn't have a business that's currently operating in the dessert market, an ice cream shop is certainly worth thinking about. Plus, if you find success with ice cream, you can also consider expanding into candy, cakes and even kids birthday parties.
17. Dry cleaner
Although no one likes finding out the new sweater they bought is "dry-clean only," sometimes dry cleaning is a necessity, especially when it comes to items like suits, dresses and jackets. If your town is currently without a dry cleaner, this may be the small-town business idea for you. Once again, a dry cleaner can be a useful business for any type of person, especially if your town has many business workers who commute into the city for their jobs. Having a local dry cleaner will give people the ability to properly care for their clothes, without having to go too far out of their way.
With the popularity of big online sellers like Amazon and Walmart, you might think that opening a bookstore is ridiculous. In small towns, however, you might be able to corner a specific market of readers who would frequent a local bookstore. As a small-town business idea, a bookstore can be successful in more than one way. In addition to selling books, your bookstore could serve as a town historical institution, hold events, like readings with local authors, and even incorporate TV and film into your offerings. If your town is missing a location for reflection, discussion and reading, opening a bookstore might be the perfect business plan.
19. Bed and breakfast
Regardless of the size of your town, you'll always have visitors, whether family visiting from out of town for the holidays or tourists just passing through. This being said, offering visitors a place to stay, like a bed and breakfast, can be a great small-town business idea. A bed and breakfast can service a variety of clientele, operate all year round and doesn't require too large of a space or staff. If your small town is close to a major highway or city, a quaint, affordable bed and breakfast can be even more appealing to visitors or even locals looking for a weekend away.
20. Floral shop
Flowers can be a go-to gift for any holiday or event, from Valentine's Day to graduations to a "get well" present. If your town doesn't currently have a floral shop, this might be the small-business idea for you. Flowers are extremely versatile, not only for gifts but for other events, like local proms or weddings, as well as simply for brightening a kitchen table. Although you might need to learn how to source and arrange flowers, this business doesn't require expensive machinery, long days or a large amount of staff. A floral shop is a small-business idea that can fulfill a local need, without the complications involved with some other businesses.
21. Gardening and landscaping
Just like cleaning, gardening and landscaping are somethings that people just don't want to do or feel like they're not good at, and therefore, are willing to pay for. Although similar to a floral shop in terms of industry, starting a landscaping business fulfills a different kind of small-town need — and yet, can be just as popular. Gardening and landscaping can extend to any type of town resident, especially when the weather gets warm, and even more so if your town has home communities with lawn requirements.
Like handymen or contractors, gardening and landscaping recommendations can be passed down by word of mouth and success can easily be spread around a small town, especially if you're capitalizing on a currently empty market.
22. Nail salon and spa
Another personal care business to explore, especially if your small town already has a hair salon and barbershop, is a nail salon and spa. Although this business may cater to a similar demographic, it fulfills a slightly different need and can draw a substantial amount of business during warmer weather, especially with local graduations, proms or weddings. Compared to some of the small-town business ideas on this list, a nail salon and spa would require more staff and perhaps more supplies, but generally, it can be a relatively sustainable endeavor, especially if there isn't currently a nail or spa business operating locally.
There will always be a market for creative professionals, especially photographers. People will always want professionals to photograph events, like weddings, engagements and graduations. Additionally, people may seek the service of a photographer for specific portraits or family studio shots. If your town doesn't have a photography business, you might jump on this small-town business idea, especially if you have a creative background. Although photography equipment can be on the expensive side, you can keep costs low by sticking with the essentials and trying to capitalize on your local market as much as possible. School photos, especially for high school seniors, can be a surefire way to extend your services on an annual basis.
24. Clothing boutique
Everyone needs clothes, and even with the prevalence of online shopping, sometimes it's just better to try on clothing in person, especially if you don't have to go far to do so. If your town doesn't have a large clothing retail store, you might consider opening a small boutique. With clothes, you can consider a variety of different avenues, from a T-shirt business to items that are unique and locally made. Depending on the location of your town, a clothing boutique can not only service locals but any visitors or tourists from nearby cities as well.
If you have any background in teaching or childcare, starting a daycare might be the perfect endeavor on our small-town business ideas list for you. Parents, especially working parents, are always going to need childcare services, especially before their kids reach school-age and even for after school hours. A local daycare, of course, is going to be all the more convenient, enabling parents to drop their kids off before work and pick them up on their way home. Certainly, if your town doesn't currently offer daycare services, this can be an easily sustained business.
26. Brewery or winery
Although a brewery or winery may require more research and investment than some of the other small-town business ideas on this list, either of these business options can be extremely successful. Breweries and wineries can serve as town gathering spots, not only for drinks but for events and simple get-togethers, especially in warm weather if you have outdoor space. It seems that the frequency and popularity of small-town breweries and wineries have grown in recent years, and even though these businesses might involve more initially, they'll definitely leave opportunity for growth and development.
27. Hardware store
Even if your town has a grocery store, residents will probably need a more specialized place to go when they're completing home upkeep or projects and need supplies, without having to wait for online delivery. With the versatility of items you can sell, starting a hardware store can meet many different needs for your town, from painting to gardening to pool maintenance. A hardware store is the perfect business idea for anyone who has an inclination for fixing or building things; plus, maintenance and repair are markets that will always be around.
28. Catering company
If you have experience with food and cooking but want more flexibility than a restaurant business can offer, you might consider starting a catering company. Although this may be a more niche market, word of mouth and working town events can be a great way to get your name out there and grow this kind of business. Certainly, a catering company can come in handy for individuals hosting parties, as well as servicing neighboring towns in addition to your own.
29. Real estate agency
When people in your town are looking to buy or sell a house, or other types of property, who do they turn to? Perhaps, they should turn to you — if you start your own real estate business. Even in the smallest of towns, individuals and businesses alike are going to want to buy and sell property every day and a local real estate agent who knows the area and the market can serve as an indispensable resource and facilitator. Plus, as you develop your real estate operation, you can easily venture into other towns and take advantage of neighboring markets, better servicing your clients and your business.
30. Event venue and planner
As we've discussed with many of these small-town business ideas, people are always going to want to celebrate certain happenings, which means everything from small get-togethers to parties and events. To fill the celebratory inclination in your town, you might consider opening an event venue and planning business. An event venue can service all kinds of needs and encourage individuals, your town and other towns alike to take advantage of the space. Plus, if you can offer the added value of event planning with your space, you'll be able to grow your customer base as well as expand even further by offering this service outside of the venue itself.
31. Tattoo and piercing shop
Out of all of the small-town business ideas on our list, this may be the most unique. But just because it's out of the box, doesn't mean you shouldn't consider it. Although setting up a tattoo and piercing shop will require finding the appropriate employees and permit, it can be a solid business — especially if you're the only shop within a small community. Plus, if you have a business inclination and a creative streak, this type of small-town shop can fulfill both of those needs. Remember, of course, this business will also require a storefront, equipment and marketing, so you'll want to be sure you have the necessary funds upfront to get started.
32. Veterinary office
If you're a veterinarian, or you know one looking for a practice, you might consider opening your own office right in your small town. Once again, this is one of the small-town business ideas that will require licenses, permits and educated and skilled staff. But if you have the funding (or can get a veterinary business loan), time and dedication to commit to it, it can easily become the place for families to take their pets in your small town. After all, families with pets will need to take them to the vet for annual checkups and emergencies, which means proximity is often key. Therefore, if you open up a reliable, local office, you'll be able to capitalize on this pet-related need.
33. Food truck
Why be limited by location in your small town? Take the opportunity to travel with your food business by starting your own food truck. Food trucks are not only mobile, meaning you can service multiple towns in your area, but they're also perfect for parties, graduations and town events. If your food truck can serve a wide range of good, affordable food, you'll be able to take advantage of a specific market without the time, resources and money hassle of running a full-on restaurant.
34. Health clinic
Again, this is one of our small-town business ideas that will require the most funding and specific resources — but, if your small town is without a health clinic, this could easily become a lucrative business, especially during cold and flu season. After all, everyone gets sick and needs access to the necessary diagnosis and medications. This is another example where proximity is key; when you or a family member is sick, you're not going to want to travel to a health care business that's far away to get care, you're going to want the place that's closest to home.
There's nothing better than a small-town bakery — a place for residents to go for a good cookie, slice of cake or croissant. If you have a talent for baking or can work with someone who does, this could be the perfect small-town business idea for you. By starting a bakery, you can appeal to the sweet tooth of your small town, as well as service those looking for a quick pastry and cup of coffee in the morning before work. You also have the opportunity to make cakes, cupcakes or any kind of specialty dessert for events and parties. Starting a bakery is even better if your small town doesn't currently have one, plus, it's perhaps less involved than a full-service restaurant.
How to find the right business idea for your small town
Now that we've explored our expansive list of small-town business ideas you might consider, let's discuss how you can find the right one for your community.
Overall, you'll want to get involved in your local community, networking with other small businesses, as soon as you can — the more informed you are about local consumers' needs and opportunity — the sooner you'll be able to determine what kind of business is best to start in your town. Here are some tips to get started in this process:
Meet a local demand
If you're the only type of a specific business in town, you're in a position to control the local market, which is great, as long as there's demand for the good or service you offer. As important as it is to set your business apart, it’s also crucial to fill a need within the local community. Therefore, you'll not only want to think about what is missing in your small-town market but also about the kind of business people in your town want, and can support.
Additionally, you might consider whether your immediate community is truly the optimal location for a new business. You may also look into nearby towns to see if they have a greater need for certain businesses or a larger population that can support multiple vendors.
Ultimately, however, in a small town — particularly one with a static population and little visitor traffic — generating and sustaining demand for your business is crucial to your growth and success. The ideal small-town business, then, is both essential to the business community and offers something consumers can’t find locally.
Another important step in determining the right business for your town is looking at the locations that are available to you. You'll want to explore the town where you intend to start your business, taking note of locations where businesses have been successfully operating for years, as well as areas that have struggled to support businesses. You'll also want to observe traffic patterns around any potential properties, as well as factors like visibility and neighboring businesses already attracting customers to a particular area.
Picking a business based on what you’re good at or have experience doing makes sense, especially if yours will be the only business like it in town. However, choosing an appropriate location can also be integral to your business's success, especially in a small town.
Calculate the costs of starting a business
Before you make any decisions regarding your new business, you'll want to consider the startup costs — thinking about the cost of the property, utilities, inventory, equipment, employees, etc. — and how much capital you have right now. Although the cost of running a business in a small town might be lower, depending on factors like taxes and real estate prices, you'll still need to consider what it will cost you to get started and how fast you'll be able to make back the money you've invested. Plus, although you may feel inclined to open one kind of business, you may find that certain types of businesses require greater startup investments than others.
The bottom line
If you’re thinking about opening a business in a small town, there are several considerations to make before getting started. Before you dive deep into various small-town business ideas, you'll want to do thorough research about the town, as well as think more personally — considering what kind of businesses you're interested in, what finances you have and are willing to invest and how you're going to go about getting your business off the ground.
One of the best ways to determine the right business for you and your small town is to take the time to understand how businesses currently operate in the community, investigate local demand and talk to local business owners who can offer insight. At the end of the day, essential goods and services — like restaurants, gas stations and pharmacies — are probably the safest choices for small-town businesses. However, with the right planning and community environment, you may also be able to find success with more original small-town business ideas.
On a similar note...
Small Business Trends
72 small town business ideas.
Small towns provide entrepreneurs with opportunities to launch and expand their thriving small businesses. Small communities can be great places for prospective entrepreneurs because they offer relatively little operating costs, less competition, and a close-knit community that values local companies.
Finding the ideal company concept, though, can be difficult. We’ve collected a list of 72 small town business opportunities to help you get inspired and learn how to successfully start a business in a small town .
Table of Contents
Should You Set up Your Own Business in a Small Town?
Some of the best towns for startups are in rural areas . There are several reasons for these benefits, such as lower costs, less competition, stronger ties to the community, a slower pace of doing business, and a dependable workforce are a few of these factors. It should come as no news that living well in a big metropolis requires money.
Aside from workspace rental fees, even the most basic products and services tend to be more costly in large towns. Smaller markets are typically much more budget-friendly for businesses working on a modest budget. A reduced cost of living enables you to afford to take more chances that might help to advance your company. In addition, local governments might provide financial benefits to new companies to establish themselves in the form of low or no-cost rent.
72 Business Ideas for Small Towns
There are numerous business opportunities to look into in small towns across the nation, ranging from coffee stores and eateries to marketing companies and bookkeeping firms. There is bound to be a business concept to try out for your new small business, whether it be in retail, services, or something in between. Below are 72 best small business ideas for small towns:
1. Coffee Shop
Opening a coffee shop in a small town can be a great opportunity for entrepreneurs, as small towns often have a strong sense of community and a demand for local businesses. A coffee shop can serve as a meeting place for locals, offering a warm and inviting environment in which people can interact, unwind, and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea.
Because there are fewer coffee shops and cafés in small towns, there is usually less competition, making it simpler for a new coffee shop to establish itself and draw clients. Starting a coffee shop in a small community can provide reduced administrative costs and a more inexpensive site, making it simpler to get started and expand the company in the long run.
2. Ice Cream Shop
For a variety of reasons, opening an ice cream shop in a small town can be a lucrative business venture. For starters, tiny towns frequently lack varied food choices, making an ice cream store a distinct and appealing addition to the community. Second, regardless of the season, ice cream is a famous treat that can be savored all year.
Small communities frequently have a strong feeling of community, which can result in repeat customers and word-of-mouth marketing. Finally, running a modest company in a close-knit neighborhood can provide a feeling of accomplishment and connection to the locals. All of these variables combine to make starting an ice cream store in a small town a possibly profitable and rewarding venture.
3. Local Grocery store
Opening a local grocery store in a small town can be a wise business decision for several reasons. It can provide a convenient and accessible option for residents, offer fresh and locally-sourced produce, foster a sense of community, and provide opportunities for partnerships with other small businesses. Additionally, it can meet a critical need for the community while also providing a unique business opportunity.
4. Food Truck
Opening a food truck business in a small town can be an investment option. Food trucks are typically less expensive to start and operate than traditional brick-and-mortar restaurants, making them a great option for those with limited capital.
They can offer unique and creative food options that may not be available in the area, make them a popular attraction for residents and visitors, and provide a convenient and exciting alternative to traditional dining options.
Additionally, owning a food truck can offer flexibility in terms of location, allowing business owners to attend local events and festivals for increased exposure and sales, making it a potentially lucrative and enjoyable venture.
5. Small Town Shop
For several reasons, opening a small town shop in a small town can be a wonderful business opportunity. With a small town shop, you can offer unique and customized products that bigger chain stores may not have, making them a popular location for consumers looking for one-of-a-kind presents and experiences.
Finally, small-town stores frequently have lower overhead costs than bigger city companies, making them a possibly profitable and sustainable endeavor.
6. Bed and Breakfast
Owning a bed and breakfast allows you to provide a personalized and one-of-a-kind experience for your visitors, while also providing a welcoming atmosphere and a feeling of home away from home.
Typically bed and breakfasts have lower operating expenses than bigger hotels, making them a possibly profitable and long-term company.
Bed and breakfasts can be found in beautiful or historic areas, allowing visitors to learn about local culture and sights. Having a bed and breakfast can provide a relaxed work schedule as well as chances for ingenuity and invention in design, services, and customer service.
7. Car Wash
Having a car wash business can provide numerous advantages. For starters, car washes can produce a consistent trickle of income from repeat clients and regular customers.
Second, car washes have minimal overhead expenses, which makes them a possibly profitable and sustainable company. Car washes can provide free timing as well as the potential for development and growth, such as the inclusion of additional services such as detailing or oil changes.
8. Food Business
Starting a food business in a small town can be a great entrepreneurial opportunity due to limited dining options, a loyal customer base, lower overhead costs, a strong agricultural industry, and the flexibility and creativity of menu options and atmosphere.
It can also be a profitable and fulfilling venture for those with a passion for food and community.
9. Auto Repair Shop
Starting an auto repair business in a small town can be a lucrative business due to the limited number of auto repair options in the town. In addition, it offers a reliable income, taps into a strong sense of community and loyalty, and lower overhead costs.
It can also provide opportunities for partnerships with other automotive businesses and a potentially profitable and sustainable venture for those with expertise in the automotive industry and a passion for customer service.
10. Hair Salon
Starting a hair salon in a small town can be a great entrepreneurial opportunity for those with a passion for the beauty industry and customer service. It can offer personalized and high-quality services, provide a sense of fulfillment and creativity, and offer lower overhead costs than businesses in larger cities.
Additionally, it can provide a flexible work schedule and opportunities for growth and expansion, such as adding additional services or hiring additional staff.
11. Cleaning Services
Starting a cleaning service in a small town can be a smart entrepreneurial decision, especially in areas with limited cleaning service options. With this business, there are low overhead costs, a strong sense of community and loyalty, flexibility and autonomy, a high demand for rural and agricultural clientele, and the potential for expansion and growth. These features can make it a potentially rewarding and successful venture for those with a passion for customer service and cleaning.
12. Gas Station
Opening a gas station in a small town can be a profitable and sustainable entrepreneurial venture for several reasons. It can provide a steady and reliable income stream, as gas is a necessary commodity for vehicles, as well as other services such as convenience stores, car washes, or repair services.
Additionally, owning a gas station can provide opportunities for growth and expansion, such as adding additional services or partnering with other small businesses in the automotive industry.
13. Wine or Cheese Shop
Owning a wine or cheese shop in a small town can provide a sense of fulfillment and creativity, as well as opportunities for networking and partnerships with other small businesses.
It can also provide a flexible work schedule and opportunities for growth and expansion. Finally, it can provide an enjoyable and unique work environment, allowing entrepreneurs to share their passion and expertise with others.
This can be a rewarding and successful entrepreneurial endeavor for those with a passion for the food and beverage industry and customer service.
14. Pet Grooming
Small towns often have limited pet grooming options, creating a demand for additional services. Pet grooming services can be profitable and sustainable with low overhead costs, providing opportunities for expansion and additional services like pet sitting or dog walking.
Opening a pet grooming business in a small town can be rewarding and successful for those with a passion for animals and customer service.
15. Local Flower Shop
There are numerous reasons why someone might want to start a local flower shop. Some of these reasons include the ability to showcase your creativity through flowers, the chance to interact with customers during significant life events such as weddings and birthdays, and the ability to generate multiple income sources such as bouquets, centerpieces, and complete bridal flowers.
16. Lawn and Gardening Services
There are several reasons why someone might want to open a lawn and gardening services business. Some of these reasons include growth opportunities, such as the local real estate industry growth, and recurring customers.
This line of business offers you a client base from small households to resorts, hotels, and even corporations. Starting a lawn and gardening service comes with many perks. For one, you can commit as much or as little time to the business as you want and let your family business ideas grow organically.
17. Clothing Boutique
Opening a clothing boutique in a small town can be a great business opportunity. Often, those living in smaller towns and communities have to drive significant mileage just for basic clothing necessities.
Opening your own boutique can help address this gap while at the same time putting you on the map by making you a popular destination for most residents in the area.
18. Thrift Store
Running a thrift shop can provide a sustainable and cost-effective choice for customers seeking to buy gently used things at a reduced price range. Additionally, small towns may have a lower cost of living than larger cities, making it more affordable for entrepreneurs to purchase and stock inventory.
Owning a thrift store can provide flexibility and autonomy, allowing entrepreneurs to set their own hours and choose the types of items to sell.
19. Sports Bar
Opening a sports bar in a small town can be a great opportunity for entrepreneurs, as small towns often have a strong sense of community and a demand for local gathering places.
A sports bar can serve as a fun and exciting spot for locals to watch their favorite teams, enjoy a drink, and connect with fellow sports fans. With fewer bars and restaurants in small towns, there is typically less competition, making it easier for a new sports bar to establish itself and attract customers.
20. Specialty Food Shop
Opening a specialty food shop in a small town can be a great business opportunity. When people are looking for specialty foods or ingredients that can’t be found at the corner store or neighborhood supermarket, they typically will head to your specialty food shop. This means that your shop could become a popular destination for residents in the vicinity looking for unique and hard-to-find food items.
21. Catering Business
Starting a catering business in a small town can be a great business opportunity. Catering businesses are often an ideal, flexible alternative to opening and operating a restaurant. They give you the creative flexibility of operating a culinary business without the constraints of normal hours or a strict timetable. Catering businesses frequently require less startup money and financial risk than full-service eateries.
22. Clothing Alteration Business
Opening a clothing alteration business in a small town can be a great business opportunity. Clothing alterations are a service that many people need but may not have easy access to in a small town. By providing this service, you can help residents save time and money by not having to travel to a larger city for alterations.
Opening a bookshop in a small town can serve as a community meeting space where readers can come together, discover new ideas, new books, and celebrate their local community. By providing this service, you can help foster a love of reading and learning in your community while also building a loyal customer base.
23. Retail Pharmacy
Opening a retail pharmacy in a small town can be a great business opportunity. It can provide essential healthcare services to residents who may not have easy access to these services otherwise. By providing this service, you can help improve the overall health of your community while also building a loyal customer base.
24. Computer Repair
Many people rely on their computers for work, school, and personal use, and when something goes wrong, they need someone with the technical expertise to fix it. By providing this service, you can help residents save time and money by not having to travel to a larger city for computer repairs.
Key Advantages of a Small Town Computer Repair Business:
- Local Convenience : Residents no longer have to travel to bigger cities or wait for extended periods to get their computers fixed.
- Cost-Effective : Without the overheads of big-city rents and other expenses, services can often be provided at a more affordable rate.
- Personalized Service : Being in a small town allows for a more personalized touch, understanding individual client needs and building trust.
- Diversified Services : Apart from basic repairs, services can be expanded to software installations, malware removal, and system upgrades.
Opening a handyman business in a small town can be a great business opportunity. Nearly everyone needs help with home repairs and maintenance but may not have the skills or time to do it themselves.
By providing this service, you can help residents save time and money while at the same time building a loyal customer base by providing high-quality repairs and excellent customer service. Learn how to start an electrician business or generic handyman business here.
26. Event planning
Opening an event planning business in a small town does come with lots of perks. Firstly, small towns may have limited options for event planning services, creating a demand for additional services. Additionally, small towns may offer unique and picturesque event venues, creating opportunities for creative and personalized event planning experiences.
Event planning services also allow you to further sprout your entrepreneurship skills by offering additional services like catering and decorations.
Potential Business Ideas and Services Related to Event Planning:
- Venue Rental : Locate or create spaces that can be rented out for various events like weddings, birthdays, and corporate retreats.
- Catering Services : Offer tailored food services for different events. This can range from gourmet meals to local delicacies.
- Decorations and Supplies : Provide rental services for chairs, tables, linens, and other essential event supplies. Include themed and custom decoration options.
- Photography and Videography : Capture the essence of the events. Offer packages for photo and video services, including editing and album creation.
- Entertainment Booking : Collaborate with local bands, DJs, or entertainers to provide entertainment options for events.
- Floral Services : Design and provide floral arrangements tailored to the theme and preference of each event.
- Bakery and Cake Design : Offer custom cake and pastry services for birthdays, weddings, and other celebrations.
Microbreweries have become increasingly popular in recent years, and many small towns have thriving beer scenes. By opening a microbrewery, you can provide residents with locally brewed craft beer and help put your town on the map as a destination for beer lovers.
Owning a bakery can provide a sustainable and enjoyable career for those with a passion for baking and customer service. Small towns may have limited options for fresh baked goods, creating a demand for additional services.
Owning a bakery can provide flexibility and autonomy, allowing entrepreneurs to set their own hours and choose the types of baked goods to sell. Additionally, small towns may offer unique and local ingredients for baking, creating opportunities for creativity and personalized products.
29. Gift Shop
Gift shops come with several benefits that include having the opportunity to be creative, gifts always being in demand, and having a wide variety of product areas to choose from. Gift shops are one of the few brick-and-mortar businesses that can be customized to a large degree to suit the interests of their owners.
30. Farmer’s Market Stand
Owning a farmer’s market stand can provide a sustainable and enjoyable career for those with a passion for agriculture and local food production. Small towns may offer unique and locally grown produce, creating opportunities for creativity and personalized products. Starting a farmer’s market stand can provide opportunities for growth and expansion, such as offering additional products like fresh baked goods or homemade jams.
31. Art Gallery
Opening an art gallery in a small town can be a great way to combine your love of art with your business flair to turn your creative interest into a profitable venture. An art gallery can add culture to the community and provide a space for local artists to showcase their work. It can also provide a unique and creative shopping experience for residents of the town.
32. Jewelry Store
Opening a jewelry store can provide a profitable and enjoyable career for those with a passion for fashion and design. Small towns may have limited options for high-quality jewelry, creating a demand for such services. Additionally, small towns may offer unique and locally sourced materials for jewelry making, creating opportunities for creativity and personalized products such as offering additional services like jewelry repair or custom designs.
A barbershop is not just a place for haircuts; it’s a community staple where stories are exchanged, bonds are formed, and generations come together. Especially in a small town, opening a barbershop can help strengthen the community spirit.
Residents appreciate the personalized service, the consistency of getting a trim from someone they trust, and the familiar atmosphere that only a local barbershop can offer. Additionally, many traditional barbershops have expanded their services to offer grooming products, beard maintenance, and even spa treatments to cater to a broader clientele.
With the right blend of services and a touch of nostalgia, a barbershop can quickly become a cherished spot in town
34. Craft shop
A small-town craft shop can serve as both a retail outlet and a creative hub. Locals and tourists alike are drawn to unique, handcrafted items that tell a story — be it through pottery, textiles, jewelry, or other forms of art.
You could also host workshops, DIY classes, and art sessions, making it a center for learning and innovation.
For the entrepreneur with a passion for arts and crafts, this is more than a business; it’s a platform to showcase talent, support local artisans, and enrich the community with cultural and artistic vibrancy.
36. Hardware Store
Small towns often have a high demand for hardware stores because many residents may not have easy access to larger chain stores. A hardware store can offer tools, building supplies, plumbing, and electrical supplies, gardening equipment, and more to make it a one-stop shop for customers and differentiate it from other local businesses.
37. Fitness Center
A fitness center can provide gym equipment, classes, and personal training to the local community.
38. Dry Cleaner
A dry cleaner can provide dry cleaning and laundry services to the local community. This type of business can offer a steady flow of income and is relatively easy to scale up.
39. Dental Office
A dental office can provide oral services such as checkups, cleanings, and treatments.
There is often high demand for quality childcare in small towns, as there may be limited options available for working parents.
41. Photography Studio
A photography studio can offer photographic services to people and events.
42. Dance Studio
A dance studio can offer dance classes for both children and adults.
43. Personal Trainer
Personal trainers can help people get fit and feel good about themselves by providing wellness advice, nutrition, and reducing stress.
A laundromat can provide cleaning solutions for residents in a small town. Additionally, laundromats can be highly profitable, recession-resistant, and flexible businesses.
45. Tutoring Services
If you are good at teaching you can offer tutoring services for students in your local community.
46. Pet Grooming Services
If you have a love for animals and the proper training, you can offer pet grooming services.
47. Sporting Goods Store
By opening a sporting goods store you can make money by selling sports equipment and accessories.
48. Music Store
A music store in a small town can let you sell musical instruments and accessories in a unique market that is not already saturated with big-box retailers or online retailers.
49. Plumbing Services
By opening a plumbing business you can offer plumbing services for homes and businesses.
50. Massage therapy
Massage therapy is becoming increasingly popular due to increased health consciousness and people seeking alternative forms of healthcare. This trend is expected to continue, which means there is a growing demand for massage therapy services in both small towns and larger cities.
51. Balloon and Party Supply Store
Opening a balloon and party supply store in a small town can be a great opportunity due to the high demand for party supplies and event planning services.
In addition to selling party supplies, you can also offer event-planning services to customers who need help planning their celebrations. This can include assistance with choosing decorations, arranging catering, and coordinating entertainment.
52. Furniture Store
Small-town communities frequently have distinct populations and lifestyle requirements, which can open up possibilities for specialty furniture marketplaces such as rustic, country, or vintage furniture.
53. Airbnb business
Opening an Airbnb business in a small town can be a great opportunity. By offering an Airbnb in a small town, you can provide guests with a unique and authentic experience that they may not be able to find elsewhere.
54. Accounting services
Starting an accounting service business in a small town can be a great opportunity. It comes with a relatively small start-up cost while helping other businesses thrive.
Here are some of the accounting services you could offer:
In small towns, there may be few or no other gyms in the area. This means you can offer a unique and much-needed fitness option that is not currently available, which can be a competitive advantage in attracting members and building a loyal client base.
56. Electronic Store
By starting an electronic store can provide a one-of-a-kind product assortment that is not presently accessible, giving you a competitive edge in attracting customers and developing a loyal client base. You can also offer repair services for electronics that are out of warranty or have small issues that can be repaired in addition to offering new electronics.
57. Nail Salon and Spa
A nail salon and spa and similar personal care businesses can draw a substantial amount of business throughout the year, especially with events like local graduations, proms, or weddings.
58. Real Estate Business
Opening a real estate company in a small town allows you to build strong community connections, offer unique properties, compete with less competition, and possibly profit from increased demand for real estate services in smaller towns.
59. Veterinary office
Opening a veterinarian clinic in a small town can be a fantastic chance for animal lovers who want to provide excellent treatment to their community’s pets.
60. Health Clinic
Opening a health center in a small community allows locals who may have few choices in their region to receive convenient and cheap healthcare. It can also create job chances for local healthcare workers and possibly draw patients from neighboring regions, resulting in increased revenue for the company.
61. Bowling alley
Opening a bowling alley in a small town can provide the local community with an enjoyable and distinctive entertainment choice. It can also serve as a hub for local activities and meetings, fostering a feeling of community and social involvement.
62. Antique Store
Opening an antique store in a small community can provide both residents and visitors with a one-of-a-kind shopping experience. It can also contribute to the community’s historic and cultural identity, enhancing its appeal and character.
63. Mini golf course
Opening a mini golf course in a small community provides a fun and inexpensive entertainment choice for families and parties. It can also help to boost the local tourist industry by highlighting the town’s distinct personality and attractions.
Opening a chiropractic clinic in a small town can provide residents with accessible and personalized healthcare services.
65. Collectibles Store
Collectibles stores offer a unique shopping experience for collectors and enthusiasts. They can contribute to the local culture and character of the community, adding to its overall appeal and charm.
66. Corner Store
Opening a corner store in a small town provides an essential service to the local community by offering a convenient and accessible location for residents to purchase everyday essentials.
Opening a greenhouse in a small town provides an opportunity to offer fresh and locally-grown produce and plants to the community.
68. Hauling Truck Service
Starting a hauling truck company in a small town provides a valuable service to the community by providing transportation for products and machinery that may not be easily accessible in the area.
69. Local blogger or YouTuber
Starting a local blog or YouTube channel in a small town can provide a platform to showcase the unique character and offerings of the community. You can contribute to the community by promoting local events, businesses, and attractions, and helping to build a sense of pride and identity for the town.
70. Local Tour Guide
Becoming a local tour guide in a small town can provide an opportunity to share the unique history, culture, and attractions of the community with visitors.
71. Pottery Store
With a pottery store, you can provide a unique shopping experience for locals and tourists alike, offering handcrafted and locally-made ceramics and pottery.
72. Website Designer
Starting a small business website design service in a small town can provide a much-needed service to local businesses that may not have the resources to design and manage their own website. This can be one of the top solopreneur business ideas for small town residents.
Finding The Right Small Town Business Idea
Finding the right small town company concept can be difficult, but here are some pointers to help you find the right small town business ideas :
Research the Services in the Local Community
Researching the services available in your community can assist you in identifying any gaps or opportunities that may influence your small-town business concept. Conduct market research, talk to the locals, and attend local gatherings to get more insights.
Find a Niche Market
Finding a niche can help your small town business idea stand out and attract customers who are looking for something unique or specialized. Think about your personal interests, skills, and experience. Ask yourself if there is a way to turn these into a business opportunity that would be relevant and appealing to the local community.
Research the competition
Look at what other businesses are operating in the area and identify any gaps or opportunities. Is there a way to differentiate your business from the competition and offer something new and unique to the market?
Consider the potential profitability
Finally, assess the potential profitability of your business idea. Consider factors such as the size of the local market, competition, and overhead costs to ensure that your business idea is financially viable.
The Bottom Line
Starting a small business in a small town can come with numerous benefits, such as reduced overhead costs, a feeling of community, and the possibility of less competition.
However, it is critical to conduct a study and identify a small town business idea that is likely to succeed in the local market. Consider the local economy, competition, and the requirements and goals of the community.
A small-town company can provide a fulfilling and rewarding job route while also positively impacting the local community with careful preparation and a strong business strategy.
Small Town Business Ideas FAQs
Some small town business ideas might require little capital, while others will need a robust budget. While some can see success through offline business ideas , others can make a killing by pursuing online business. Below are some small town business ideas frequently asked questions:
What Business can I Start with $1000?
Starting a small town business with $1000 or less may appear difficult, but there are several low-cost business concepts to consider. These may include online tutoring, freelance writing or editing, social media management, home cleaning services, pet-sitting, and dog walking services.
What Business can I Start with $5000?
Starting a business with $5000 can give you a bit more flexibility in terms of the types of businesses you can start. With 5K, you can start a food truck business, an online store, home renovation and repair, event planning, photography, and more.
What are The Top 5 Small Businesses to start?
The top five small businesses to start can vary based on factors such as market demand, personal skills, and interests, location, and budget. However, the five small business ideas that have a track record of success include online businesses, the food industry, personal services, health and wellness, and professional services.
What Businesses Do Small Towns Need to Thrive?
Small towns have unique characteristics and need that differ from larger cities. Some businesses every small town needs include grocery stores, health services, childcare services, home repair services, and entertainment options.
Ultimately, the specific needs of a small town will depend on its unique characteristics and demographics. Conducting market research and understanding the local community can help identify which businesses are most needed to help the town thrive. You should also consider questions like “ how much does it cost to start a business ?” before getting started.
What is the Most Profitable Business for a Small Town?
Some of the most profitable business for a small town depends on several factors, including the local economy, the community’s needs, and the competition. However, some businesses that tend to perform well in small towns include online businesses, health services, food businesses, home services, and niche retail stores.
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29 BEST SMALL TOWN BUSINESS IDEAS FOR 2023
If you're thinking about starting your own successful business for 2023, keep in mind that entrepreneurs can thrive anywhere. The following small town business ideas are great opportunities to start a successful business today. In fact, it’s important to recognize that some businesses are actually better-suited for small towns.
The business ideas below are profitable and ideal for entrepreneurs who appreciate the charm of small towns and wish to provide a service to their community.
Ready to form your LLC? Check out the Top LLC Formation Services Recommended: Use our Business Name Generator for help brainstorming your new venture’s name Learn how to form an LLC , one of the best business structures for small town businesses Use our free business plan generator to start planning your business today Get your unique logo with our free Logo Maker and start branding your business After finding your perfect idea learn how to start a business
We’ve broken down our top small town business ideas into a list of four categories and assessed each one based on startup costs, required skill level, and earning potential to help you decide which business is best for you.
Customer Service Businesses
- Food & Dining Businesses
- Health & Beauty Businesses
- Specialty Businesses
Small town entrepreneurs should only consider opening a bank if they already have, or are prepared to obtain, extensive knowledge of the banking industry and regulations surrounding financial services. This is a demanding job that will require long hours and a passion for working with numbers.
Bank owners must be highly skilled and have a solid business sense. Startup costs are very high and most business owners will solicit investors for the $12 to $20 million they will need in startup capital. Profits will help offset initial costs, as most banks see a 10% to 15% net profit. There is a large potential for growth in this industry and successful business owners can open additional branches in other locations.
Learn how to start a bank .
2. CAR WASH
Opening a car wash in a small town can be a good idea for entrepreneurs who get a lot of job satisfaction out of making cars look their best. There are several different options when it comes to the size and type of car wash you open, each with their own unique features and requirements.
Owning and operating a car wash doesn’t require specialized education or work history, though being a good conversationalist and having a high attention to detail will be to your benefit. Startup costs are typically high (around $500,000) for larger operations, but profit margins are very high for larger businesses as well. Some moderately successful car washes can yield over $6,000 in profits each month. If you so choose, you may consider opening additional locations if your first car wash is successful and you enjoy the line of work.
Learn how to start a car wash .
3. FUNERAL HOME
Funeral home businesses are best for those who have the capacity to help people through some of the most difficult moments in their lives. Although these aren’t the most popular businesses in small towns, they are very important to the communities they serve.
Funeral home business owners should be compassionate, have good people skills, and be able to market their services in an effective, yet tasteful manner. Startup costs are high, but so is the earning potential depending on the demographics of the community you work with. This industry can expect to see continued growth as America’s aging population grows.
Learn how to start a funeral home .
4. GAS STATION
Every small town needs at least one gas station. This type of business can be great for entrepreneurs who enjoy working with people and have a solid understanding of how businesses work. We suggest that gas station business owners have some knowledge about running a business, whether that comes from experience or from taking a few formal classes.
This will provide knowledge on how to source products and maintenance services, manage employees, and ensure they are following local permitting laws. Startup costs for gas stations are high (around $300,000 to get started), as are the ongoing expenses. Business owners will make around $70,000 per year until their loans are paid off. Depending on your business goals and the success of your gas station, there is an opportunity to grow your business and open up additional stations in the area or surrounding towns.
Learn how to start a gas station .
Laundromats can be great businesses for people who want to start a business in their spare time, as laundromats do not require a large time commitment from their owners early on. Business owners should ideally be somewhat mechanically inclined, should they need to service the machines, and they should have some basic business skills.
Laundromats have very high startup costs ($100,000 minimum), but they have an average profit margin of 20% to 30%. Businesses can increase their profits by offering additional services or selling laundry-related products. Growth potential is practically unlimited and business owners can decide if they want to expand their business by opening additional laundromats.
Learn how to start a laundromat .
Entrepreneurs with a deep understanding of how pharmacies and pharmacy benefits work may consider opening a pharmacy in a small town. This line of work requires highly-skilled business owners, preferably with Doctor of Pharmacy degree, deep knowledge of how insurance companies process pharmacy benefits, and an understanding of FDA rules and regulations.
In addition, pharmacy startup costs are high and these businesses typically require a multi-million dollar investment. Once you start to see steady business, you can make around $300,000 per year. When you’ve made a name for yourself in your community running this profitable business, there is the potential to expand to additional locations.
Learn how to start a pharmacy .
Find a Web Domain For Your Small-Town Business Ideas
Securing a web domain and creating a quality website is important for the overall success of a small town business. You can search for an available domain below:
Find a Domain Now
Powered by godaddy.com, food & dining businesses.
Entrepreneurs may find that a bakery is a good option for a small town business, especially if they are already passionate about baking. Good bakery owners are not only knowledgeable about baking, but they are also willing to work odd hours, and can make food that looks appealing and tastes great.
Bakery owners should be very good with people and be able to produce fantastic baked goods. Startup costs for bakeries tend to be under $40,000 (unless they are started out of your home) and these profitable businesses can bring in $30,000 to $60,000 in profit annually. This is a highly sustainable business and there is a good opportunity for growth, depending on your business goals. Successful bakery owners may branch out to neighboring small towns or work with local retail chains to sell their baked goods.
Learn how to start a bakery .
Small town entrepreneurs interested in the food and dining industry might consider opening a bar. These business owners need to be very personable, enjoy interacting with the public, and have a passion for their business.
Formal education is not required to run a bar, though some business or management classes or work experience in a bar or restaurant will definitely be helpful. Startup costs are typically $100,000 to $1 million, but bars can bring in an average of $25,000 to $30,000 per week. Your ability to grow your business will be based on the economy and health trends at the moment, so it will be vital to create a popular niche environment if you wish to expand.
Learn how to start a bar .
9. COFFEE SHOP
If you are a coffee connoisseur and enjoy working with the public, a coffee shop can be a great small town venture. Owners should be comfortable working early morning hours and passionate about creating great refreshments and an appealing atmosphere.
Coffee shop owners don’t require formal education or training, but experience working with inventory management or in a shop will prove beneficial. Startup costs are generally moderate but can be quite high depending on your business model and shop location. Expect to pay a minimum of $5,000 for a small kiosk and over $200,000 for a shop with seating. Profits will be directly tied to the number of cups you can sell, though your profits will usually be between $32,000 and $52,000 per year. There is decent growth potential in this line of work and many popular coffee shops will have multiple locations.
Learn how to start a coffee shop .
Diners can be very popular destinations in small towns, especially if they offer great food and beverage options to their guests. Successful diners typically offer a friendly atmosphere, good food, and set their restaurant apart based on features such as price, specialty menu items, or theme.
Diner owners should be good at working with people and have some knowledge about running a restaurant. No formal training or work experience is required, though these experiences will only help you to understand how to run your business better. Startup costs for diners are anywhere from $275,000 to $425,000 and profits tend to be in the 5% to 6% range. There is decent growth potential, with many owners either expanding the size of their current restaurant or open additional diners.
Learn how to start a diner .
11. FARMERS MARKET
Farmers markets play important roles in communities and small towns by bridging the gap between farmers and consumers and providing an invaluable service to the communities they serve. Business owners should be able to effectively work with local governments, be personable, and understand the allure of locally-sourced ingredients.
These businesses do not typically generate a large profit, and most are actually run as non-profits. Startup costs are generally moderate for farmers markets and business owners should know a bit about sales, farming, and working within the local bureaucracy. Entrepreneurs who own a farmer’s market and want to grow their businesses typically either increase the size of their current location or add additional locations.
Learn how to start a farmers market .
12. ICE CREAM PARLOR
Running your own ice cream parlor requires a lot of hard work, but it can be very rewarding as well. These businesses are quite popular in small towns and have the potential to open up additional sites in neighboring towns as well. Growing this type of business can prove to be profitable.
Business owners should provide great-quality ice cream and enjoy engaging with their customers to be successful. Ice cream parlors' startup costs are around $25,000 to $50,000, depending on your location and interior design. Although profits tend to be between $19,000 and $49,000 per year, business owners can increase these profits through careful marketing and diversifying how they sell their products.
Learn how to start an ice cream parlor .
Microbreweries are ideal businesses for creative entrepreneurs who have an affinity for crafting their own beer and sharing their creations with their local community. Business owners can take advantage of a flexible schedule and keep whatever hours are best suited for their business.
The best microbrewery owners typically have worked in one previously, have some experience in at-home brewing, or have taken some courses online. These businesses have high startup costs (around $500,000), but can yield around a 9% profit. Business owners can choose to start off small and eventually widen their distribution or open an on-site restaurant or beer tasting room to bring in additional profits.
Learn how to start a microbrewery .
Orchards are popular additions to small towns and they can provide great products and activities for the local community. These side-businesses are good for people who enjoy working with the earth, who don’t mind long hours during the growing season, and who have the patience to stick with their business after a difficult season.
Successful orchard owners should have a basic understanding of business, understand food safety standards, and ideally have a background in agriculture or one of the natural sciences. Startup costs for orchards are typically moderate (a minimum of $50,000) and your earning potential will usually remain low for smaller orchards. The growth potential of an orchard is dependent upon the size of your land and how successfully it’s cultivated. Orchard owners rarely expand beyond a single location, so finding a way to best utilize your land will help you succeed.
Learn how to start an orchard .
Start a Small Town Business in Your State
Health & beauty businesses, 15. barber shop.
Small town entrepreneurs who enjoy working hard and helping members of their community look their best may consider opening a barber shop. Your target market will typically be adult males, but you will also see young men, young boys, and even the occasional female client.
Barber shop owners need to have good business sense, be certified barbers, and possess excellent people skills to run a successful business. Barber shops come with high startup costs ($150,000 to $200,000) and generally carry low-to-moderate earning potential ($35,000+). Businesses can increase their profits by offering additional services and retail products. There is also great potential for growth, as a successful business model can easily be replicated in other locations.
Learn how to start a barber shop .
16. BEAUTY SALON
As disposable incomes have risen, so has the popularity of beauty salons. These profitable businesses provide small towns with services that standard hair salons do not, including manicures and pedicures, facials, waxing, and sometimes makeup services.
These businesses are great for entrepreneurs who have an interest in building relationships with their clients as they help them look their best. Other than solid business and marketing sense, a strong understanding of the beauty industry will help business owners tremendously. Startup costs are around $60,000, depending on the location and size of the business, and profits tend to be right around 15%. You will also need to take into account the cost to acquire all necessary licenses and certifications for the services you provide. Beauty salons typically grow their business by adding additional services or opening additional locations.
Learn how to start a beauty salon .
17. DENTAL OFFICE
Every small town needs at least one dental office to provide routine and corrective dental services. You will need to have completed dental school and be properly licensed to be eligible for this business, but as a small town dentist, being friendly and personable will also help you tremendously in starting a profitable business.
Startup costs are very high in this profession ($250,000 to $500,000), but you have the potential to have a successful business and earn over $1 million per year. Your growth potential will depend on your business goals and the size of the town where you work. There is the possibility to open another location or add an additional dentist to your roster as your success builds.
Learn how to start a dental office .
18. HAIR SALON
Hair salons differ from beauty salons in that they focus solely on hair. Entrepreneurs who love helping people look their best and who have a creative flair might enjoy opening a hair salon in their small town.
Successful hair salon owners typically have a strong work ethic, great people skills, and the ability to select the perfect location for their business. Hair salons can be a smart and profitable, small town business idea with startup costs between $95,000 and $200,000. Your earning potential will depend on your location, but you can expect to bring in around $50,000 in smaller towns. There is high growth potential in this business and successful owners can expand the size of their salon or even open additional salons in neighboring towns if they wish.
Learn how to start a hair salon .
19. NAIL SALON
Small town entrepreneurs may consider opening a nail salon, especially if they are knowledgeable about the beauty industry and possess great people skills. These business owners can choose their own business hours, but they will need to make sure they can meet their clients’ needs.
Nail salon owners should have good business and marketing sense. In addition, if you plan to perform services yourself, you will need to be licensed to operate in your state. Startup costs are usually between $75,000 and $100,000, and profits are moderate ($40,000 to $75,000) and will depend on your location and number of clients you regularly see. Although you will start with a single location, there is always the opportunity to open an additional salon should your first shop prove successful.
Learn how to start a nail salon .
20. VETERINARY PRACTICE
Veterinary practices provide essential services to the furry family members of a small town. Although it takes a lot of skill and education to become a veterinarian, the work can be very fulfilling for the right person.
Veterinarians must complete a rigorous education and obtain a license. In addition, successful business owners in this industry are compassionate, have good business sense, and strong observational and interpersonal skills. Startup costs for this line of work are very high (over $100,000), but veterinarians can earn around $88k per year. Your growth potential will depend on the success of your business and if you wish to expand your practice or open additional locations. Regardless, veterinary practices are highly sustainable.
Learn how to start a veterinary business .
21. WALK-IN CLINIC
Walk-in clinics are usually ideal for small-town entrepreneurs who are already physicians looking for different methods of treating patients. Many states prohibit corporations from practicing medicine , so be sure to check your local laws if you are not a licensed physician.
Walk-in clinic owners are typically physicians and some insurance companies require that clinics obtain a certification or accreditation as well. Startup costs can quickly reach $1 million, but this small town business idea is highly profitable and worth the price. Earnings will be directly tied to the number of patients the clinic sees and once you’re successful, you could eventually open another clinic with other physicians in surrounding areas. Walk-in clinics are highly sustainable and have very good growth potential. If you have the startup capital, this could be a worthwhile investment.
Learn how to start a walk-in clinic .
22. bed & breakfast.
Small town entrepreneurs who enjoy hosting guests, cooking meals, and meeting new people may enjoy opening a bed and breakfast. Bed and breakfast owners should be comfortable having guests in their home and be willing to stay open on weekends and holidays.
Successful owners are gregarious, know how to cook, have an eye for interior design, and can perform maintenance on their homes. Bed and breakfast startup costs are quite high (over $200,000), but prove to be highly profitable at around 6 figures per year, depending on your rates and how often your rooms are booked. If your small town business is successful, you can look to expand by purchasing another home to operate a second bed and breakfast, however, growth for these businesses is typically minimal.
Learn how to start a bed & breakfast .
23. CLOTHING BOUTIQUE
Clothing boutiques can be an excellent and profitable business idea for small-town entrepreneurs who have an affinity for fashion, a discerning eye, and are great with people. These businesses are well-suited for small towns as they tend to be smaller than other retail stores and focus on specific products and styles.
Clothing boutique owners should be self-starters, have a good understanding of business and fashion, and possess good sales and marketing skills. Startup costs in small towns can be moderate (minimum of $50,000) and your earning potential is high (profit margins around 80%) especially if you choose the right products and location. The popularity of clothing boutiques is on the rise, especially if they serve often overlooked demographics.
Learn how to start a clothing boutique .
24. FLEA MARKET
Small town entrepreneurs may consider opening a flea market to serve their communities and neighboring towns. This profitable business idea can be great for people who have experience working at flea markets, craft fairs, or the retail sector, and who don’t mind working more during the peak season.
Business owners need to have solid sales and marketing skills and the ability to work well with local governments. Outdoor flea markets can be started with a minimal investment, though indoor facilities can cost quite a bit more. Your earning potential is good for this small town business idea, especially if you adjust your vendor rent according to your operating costs. Your best chance for growth is carefully selecting a location to start a flea market since markets in oversaturated areas won’t do very well.
Learn how to start a flea market .
25. NOVELTY STORE
Novelty stores can be fun business ideas for small town entrepreneurs who have the charisma and personality to match the products they sell. These stores typically stock unique gift ideas and attract a wide variety of customers. Formal business education isn’t required, though it can be helpful.
Regardless, store owners should understand how to manage inventory and possess some general business skills. Startup costs are moderate and you stand to make up to a 50% profit margin. Your growth potential will be slow at first with this small town business idea, but you can build a solid client base by providing a unique experience that customers can’t get elsewhere.
Learn how to start a novelty store .
26. SKYDIVING BUSINESS
Small town entrepreneurs interested in starting a skydiving business should be passionate and very knowledgeable about the sport and have the basic marketing and business skills needed to run and promote this business.
Startup costs for skydiving businesses are very high (over $100,000) unless you already own a plane, and owners also need to be able to sell their business plan to a local airport, investors, and the local community. You stand to make a good profit with this small town business idea, though the margins are highly variable depending on the number of customers and your business model. There is good growth potential for your skydiving business, as you will most likely bring in repeat customers and word of mouth will be your best source of marketing for a successful business.
Learn how to start a skydiving business .
27. SOUVENIR SHOP
If you live in a small town that is, or is near to, a popular tourist destination, you may consider opening a souvenir shop. Successful business owners know how to select and price the right inventory to entice customers. Business owners should be good salesmen and come up with a solid plan for their stores.
Startup costs are generally moderate, but this will definitely depend on your location. A souvenir shop’s earning potential is modest, but that will also depend on location, popularity, and cost of goods. There is good growth potential when the economy is doing well, but you can still be successful if you stock lower-priced items when budgets are tight.
Learn how to start a souvenir shop .
28. USED BOOK STORE
Book lovers are the ideal people to open used book stores, especially in small towns. Owners can typically start these as part-time businesses and can increase their hours as their business becomes more successful. Successful owners should know a lot about books and how book stores operate.
Though no formal training is required, it would be beneficial to have some experience working in a bookstore and possess at least basic business skills. Used book stores typically have low-to-moderate startup costs ($8,000 to $18,000), and 29% of business owners make less than $50,0000 per year. Although many of these businesses solely operate on a part-time basis, some grow to become regional chains - this will all depend on the location and popularity of your business.
Learn how to start a used book store .
29. WINE TOUR BUSINESS
If you enjoy educating your community and are passionate about wine and vineyards, then opening a wine tour business in your small town may be perfect for you. Good wine tour owners and operators will need a thorough knowledge of the wine-making process and be able to explain the history of the region and vineyards they are visiting.
The startup costs and your earning potential for your wine tour business will vary greatly depending on your business model and if you choose to partner directly with any of the local vineyards. Regardless, no matter how you choose to run your business, there is plenty of room for growth, especially in vineyard-rich areas.
Learn how to start a wine tour business .
Low-Cost Business Ideas
In this article, we outline our top 40 business ideas with low startup costs to help you find a low-cost business idea that aligns with your interests and goals.
Online Business Ideas
Whether you’re looking to build an online empire or earn a little money on the side, one of the best things about owning an online business is having the ability to work as much or as little as you want -- from whatever location you prefer.
Side-Hustle Business Ideas
If you’re looking to scratch the entrepreneurial itch without giving up your day job, you’re probably on the hunt for a side-hustle that aligns with your personal interests and your schedule. These 40 side-hustles satisfy a range of interests and can easily turn into full-time careers.
Teen Business Ideas
Our top 30 business ideas for teens include ideas for kids who are looking to make a little money after school, as well as those with a desire to start something from the ground up and watch it grow.
How to Start a Business
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Top 100 Small Town Business Ideas
Conclusion:, related article, 61 most exciting entertainment business ideas, top 74 food business ideas with low investments, top 52 profitable winter business ideas, 50 best cash flow businesses ideas, top 53 passive income ideas for students to make money, 73 best high profitable business ideas for men, top 100 service business ideas, top 30 drop service business ideas, top 34 box truck business ideas to start in 2023, 40 best drone business ideas for 2023, 50 best business ideas for couples in (2023), 33 best business ideas for mobile businesses in (2023), top 14 profitable ecommerce business ideas, 33 profitable consulting business ideas for 2023, 28 creative food truck ideas for your new business, startup business ideas for women, 100 lucrative small town business ideas, food truck business.
You can start a food truck business in a small town if you have the right strategy in place. Restaurants are great, but they tie you to one location.
As the seasons change, you can participate in local events, move your business to the locations that attract the most foot traffic or even look for opportunities in neighboring towns. Your flexibility can help you solve a number of problems.
Food truck businesses, on the other hand, require marketing and audience knowledge.
You can succeed quickly and sustainably if you have a passion for a particular cuisine. Having built a reputation in the neighborhood, happy customers will return time and time again.
- 25 Food truck business ideas
- How to start a food truck business
- Food truck business plan template
Small towns have a good demand for coffee joints, but coffee shops are more common in cities. If you own a retail location with good visibility, this could be one of the best small-town business ideas.
You can also add a bar that serves beer and wine in the evening if your local authority permits. You will generate more revenue this way.
Helpful Content Related to Coffee Shop:
- Coffee Shop Business Plan
- Coffee Shop Business Plan Template
Grocery Store Owner
A reliable convenience store is easily one of the top items on the list, as grocery stores account for over one-third of all brick-and-mortar stores. As it is said, necessity is the mother of all inventions.
You probably already have some in your town. If there is a location where adding a grocery store could attract a lot of customers, embrace it.
Although 7-11 is the most familiar, independent stores dominate 60%. In addition, convenience stores are one of the easiest businesses to set up, since they know there is a market for them. You can make them one of the best rural town business ideas when you also sell gas.
Suggested Resources or Grocery Store
- How to start a grocery store business
- Convenience store business Plan Template
Start a Restaurant
A restaurant business is growing in small towns and it is possible to find the food items that are in high demand in the community.
You can also come up with a different theme, like a farm-to-table restaurant if you are sourcing agricultural products from the local area.
Pro Tip: A business plan is essential for a successful restaurant business, Download this free restaurant business plan template to write your plan.
The residents of your small town will be eager for someone to take good care of their pets.
Pet grooming accounts for 42% of all pet care services, so it makes sense to start with that. For increased returns, you could also consider dog walking, cat sitting, and related services.
In a small town with just a few thousand residents, you can reach hundreds of potential clients even if you live there.
In the case that starting a salon is too expensive, you could run it from home or use a mobile service. It is possible to serve people in surrounding towns, too, if your small town doesn’t attract enough customers.
- How to start a pet grooming business
- Pet grooming business plan template
IT and computer services
If you’re the only tech-savvy person in town, you’re a gold mine of information! Most people, even in small towns, own some form of technology. Understanding how to troubleshoot will make you a valuable resource.
Additionally, it doesn’t cost as much depending on the services you offer. In contrast, troubleshooting over the phone or in person does not have many upfront costs.
If you plan to do physical repairs, you’ll need to spend some money upfront. Before you start this business, make sure there isn’t already a resident techie!
A lot of small-town business ideas involve helping other companies. You probably have a few small businesses in your town that don’t have marketing departments.
Whether you help them build mobile-friendly websites or design storefronts and printed materials, marketing expertise can be invaluable. You can run your business as a one-person operation or collaborate with other creatives in the area.
Used Clothing Store
Clothing stores that sell used clothes will always have a steady stream of customers in search of new items.
Locals, especially families with growing children, tend to come through constantly.
You can save old clothes from the landfill by finding a new home for them.
Automobile Repairing Service
Small towns have a high demand for skilled automotive repairers. If you have experience in repairing automobiles, you will not have trouble finding customers for this business.
Lemonade is actually a lemon-flavored very popular soft drink. The principal raw materials required are sugar, citric acid, flavour & essence, food colour, and sodium benzoate.
Although lemonade-making is a capital-intensive and management-intensive business, it is one of the best summer season business ideas for small towns.
Christmas Tree Farm
Growing and selling real Christmas trees to consumers who are willing to go out of their way for a real tree can also be a seasonal business if you have a lot of outdoor space.
Open a Gas Station
If you open a gas station in a small town, especially along a highway, you will have no shortage of customers for filling up cars and other transport vehicles.
Vacation Check-in Services
The service of watching over a family’s home while they’re on vacation is on the rise, and it does not always require that the family stay at the house.
You may need to feed the animals, check the house, pick up the mail, and mow the lawn.
All these chores help out and keep families from feeling overwhelmed when they come home.
Start a Local Paper
Many small towns still have traditional newspapers, but online papers are doing well. In addition to getting paid by advertisers, you might even get funding from the city.
The importance of having a local paper, whether printed or online, is widely recognized.
A juice bar has become a trend even in small towns in America, with an increase of 4%-8% in the last ten years. You can review several franchise opportunities online, ranging from $47,000 to $400,000.
Although the initial investment is quite high, owners earn average revenue of $100,000-$400,000, so you won’t have to wait long to recover your investment.
Pro Tip: Having a business plan is great for a successful juice bar business, download the free juice bar business plan template to create a plan yourself.
Tissue Paper Making
In recent years, household paper products have seen a large increase in demand. You can produce tissue paper, facial tissues, and paper towels by using simple machinery. You could begin by focusing on just one or two allied products.
Making household paper products is one of the most profitable and trending paper business ideas for small towns today.
The bowling alley is not the cheapest business on this list, but it can be very profitable and can appeal to a wide range of patrons in a small town.
The bowling alley is an essential part of a town’s social life. In addition to bowling, food and drink (especially alcoholic beverages) can also bring in lots of money.
Bowling alleys in small towns can also be rented out for additional income. A quality business plan is essential for any business, no matter how small or large.
A woodworking business can be very profitable and rewarding in a small town. You will find many technologically advanced machinery. However, you must select the right product. Additionally, you must focus on the right niche.
There are many advantages to being a caterer, including the ability to cater to different cuisines and dietary conditions (e.g., gluten-free recipes) as well as targeting your service at a variety of events. Special occasions like birthdays, weddings, funerals, graduations, and others are commonplace.
Pro Tip: You will need a business plan for starting or running a successful catering business, download this free catering business plan template to create a plan yourself.
Ice Cream Shop
In small towns, ice cream is another product that is in high demand throughout the year. An ice cream shop is a good way to start a food retail business on a low budget. Ice cream shops are usually hangouts for local residents. To make more money, one can add food items to the business, like cakes, candies, fruit juices, etc.
Alternatively, you can sell ice cream from a truck if you do not have the budget to rent out retail space.
Pro Tip: A business plan is essential for a successful ice cream shop, download this free ice cream shop business plan template for building a perfect plan.
In small towns, daycares for working families are few and far between, but the child care industry is worth $58.6 billion, and you can get a slice of that pie.
It will be most important for you to decide whether you will operate from home or if you need to rent a space when calculating the costs of starting your business. As soon as their small-town startups reach the desired level, most will switch to the latter.
No one likes finding out their new sweater needs to be dry-cleaned, but sometimes it’s necessary, especially when the clothes are suits, dresses, and jackets.
It’s a great business idea for a small town if your town doesn’t have a dry cleaner. A dry cleaner can be an excellent business for people of any type, especially if your town has a lot of people who commute to the city for work.
People will be able to properly care for their clothes if they have a local dry cleaner.
A variety of industries use aluminum foil in different ways, including pharmaceutical tablets, bulk & unitized tea and coffee, prepared meals, bakery products, frozen meat, fish, milk bottle caps, wine, lube oil, greases, powdered milk, confectionery, biscuits, photographic film, gift wraps, household wraps, butter, margarine, and cigarettes.
There is a huge opportunity for your small town if it does not offer tours! Find out if your town has any tourist attractions or landmarks. Find out what spots tourists like to visit most.
Based on what you find, you may already have a tour route planned. Depending on your town, you can even set up fun attractions for your tour.
Bicycle rentals and repairs
There is a great deal of variation depending on your town when it comes to this niche business. How bike-friendly is your town? Do a lot of people own one? Do people bike the trails in your town? If so, you may have an opportunity to start a bike shop in your town.
Bike rental shops provide visitors with the opportunity to ride bikes without bringing their own. It is also a good idea to offer bike repair services in your town if there are many cyclists, but no shops to assist with repairs or parts.
Now is the perfect time to do something a little off the beaten path. Would you consider becoming an electronics dealer who specializes in drones and drone accessories? If this sounds a little off the beaten path, trust us, it’s worth a shot.
According to DRONEII’s Drone Market Report , the commercial drone market is expected to grow over US$55.8 billion by the year 2030,” writes Alvarado. You have the opportunity to disrupt a huge, profitable market by getting in early.
ATM Space Renting
The banks usually rent ATM space for a certain amount of time and renew it every two or three years. If you are looking for a stable income, ATM space renting is a good retail business opportunity.
Pet and grooming store
In a small town with many pet owners, you may have a big business opportunity. Nobody wants to drive an hour away for a haircut. If you don’t have a pet supply store in your town, you could have another one.
You can stock up on their preferred pet food and supplies by asking the pet parents around town what they wish was close by.
The idea of opening your own veterinarian office right in your hometown might appeal to you if you are a veterinarian or know someone who is looking for a practice.
This is another small-town business idea that will require licensing, permits, and qualified and educated employees.
It can, however, become a place where families in your small town take their pets if you have the funding (or are able to get a veterinary business loan), time and dedication.
Families with pets will need to take them to the vet for annual checkups and emergencies, so if you open a local, reliable office, you can capitalize on this pet-related need.
Small Business website creation
It is now common knowledge that practically every business owner needs to be online – even those in small towns and rural areas.
Knowing that and getting a website that works for them are two different things.
Having a great WordPress site and knowing some basic SEO will allow you to build beautiful business website designs in your town and possibly the entire region.
The mushroom farming business can be an excellent way to make a lot of money in suburban areas. If he knows a bit about mushroom growing science and technology and has their own building for establishing a mushroom farm, he will be able to start a mushroom farm.
An arcade is a great place for children and for adults who enjoy playing games.
Especially in small towns with limited entertainment options, this can be a profitable and fun business.
In large cities, we take multi-department grocery stores for granted. Small towns benefit from gift shops since these items might be hard to find. You can offer gift cards, custom gifts, and gift wraps.
You should buy stock based on what your neighbors want. Is it difficult to get greeting cards in your neighborhood? Can they get special items engraved? Don’t buy teddy bears everyone won’t want.
In small towns, the bakery business is one of the most profitable. You can start the bakery business by buying or renting a space.
In order to get success in the bakery business, you have to choose the right product and use a proper marketing strategy. For your bakery business, you must choose specific products based on the demand and financial aspects.
Bakery Business Recommend Resources:
- How to start a bakery business
- Bakery business plan template
Start a Landscaping Business
An easy-to-start landscaping business is another thriving and profitable business in a small town.
The purpose of landscape architecture is to beautify our environment by designing large man-made constructs and planning, designing, managing, preserving and rehabilitating the land.
Like lawn care, landscaping is not one of those businesses that someone can start and make big money from without really working hard and smart.
If your small town attracts many tourists or business travelers, you can break into the market with an Airbnb business. If you own an unused property, this is a potentially lucrative environment. Expanding to several properties is straightforward as well.
It’s been stabilizing recently, and you’ll only need to fill the property for a portion of the month to cover mortgage and business expenses.
Hauling Truck/Large Truck Rental
In some cases, you just need someone who can haul stuff: moving in and out of storage, delivering raw materials to an artist, delivering supplies to a business or school.
If you have the truck, training, and license to pick up things like car bodies, then you have an even greater chance of making money.
- Top 34 box truck business ideas
- Trucking business plan template
- Hotshot trucking business plan template
A lot of dogs need grooming services, regardless of the place they live, so you might be able to open your own grooming business in a small town or rural area.
Off-The-Grid Power Installation
To work with larger companies to help rural areas switch to green energy is one thing, but to build an off-grid system is quite another.
You can set up self-sufficient farmsteads and cabins if you can do that!
Traditional smoking has declined in most developed countries, such as the United States, as the use of e-cigarettes and similar devices has increased. Vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling aerosol. It is popularly known as vapor.
In recent years, there has been an increase in demand for vapor products. In the United States alone, there are over 11, 000 vape shops operating.
If you reside in an area with many traffic patterns, you might be able to make a good living by opening a vape shop.
A tracksuit is popular with people of all ages. In addition, men, women, and children wear this item as sportswear or as casual wear.
The dress is very comfortable and functional. There are numerous colours, sizes, patterns, and designs available for the item. Also, there are different tracksuits available for men and women.
In a small town, where many tourists come for business or pleasure, Airbnb is a viable business opportunity.
If you own unused properties, it is a potentially lucrative business. It is easy to expand to use two or more properties.
In recent years, the number of Americans booking domestic vacations has increased considerably, and the market has stabilized, so you will only need to fill the property part of the month to cover mortgage and business costs.
A popular small-business idea for generations, ride-hailing has been transformed by the digital age to become one of the most popular small-business ideas.
There are now several options available to you, including starting your own taxi company in your rural area or joining an existing service such as Uber or Lyft.
This gives you a wide range of choices and allows you to take on as much responsibility as you can.
As a result of the pandemic, the taxi industry’s market share has increased by 8.8%. Many people prefer to avoid public transportation in times of pandemic. Among your services would be minibus driving for airports, company events, or bachelor and bachelorette parties.
Massages are one of the best ways to unwind and relax, aren’t they?
It doesn’t matter if you are looking for therapeutic massage, deep tissue massage, or if you just want to relax and de-stress on the table, a massage business in a small town will find it easy to find customers.
In the future, the solar business has a great deal of potential.
It is therefore possible to harness both the technology routes for converting solar radiation into heat and electricity, namely solar thermal and solar photovoltaic, to provide huge scalability for solar energy. Small towns can benefit greatly from this business idea.
Gym and Exercise Studio
In small towns, starting a gym might seem like a bad idea, but it isn’t. Fitness businesses are great small-town businesses, but they are especially lucrative for areas with colder temperatures most of the year.
Moreover, the boutique fitness trend is booming at the moment and does not appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.
The popularity of massive gyms with rows of weights and cardio equipment is waning. Therefore, there is no better time than now to capitalize on boutique fitness.
Generally, a thrift store sells low-cost and second-hand products to customers and can be one of the most profitable small business ideas because there are a lot of customers out there looking for cheaper products.
Build a Mini-Golf Course
A game of mini golf is fun for everyone, regardless of their age. Make money helping others have fun by taking a small patch of land (or creating one indoors).
While running a low-maintenance local business, you can even work on your niche sites on a laptop.
Local Blogger & Youtuber
There are plenty of opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs to make money online by sharing where they live in the online world.
Show rural life. Give an in-depth glimpse into small-town life. In addition to making money, you also build skills that will allow you to do more valuable freelance work in the future.
It is also possible to create your own museum dedicated to the history or culture of your small town if your small village has an interesting or unique history.
If you live in a small town with a considerable tourist industry or if you can adequately promote it outside the area so that it becomes a destination of its own in its own right, then this would be the most effective method for you to use.
Beauty Salon Owner
Small-town entrepreneurs can open their own salons or share the space with other local business owners to offer professional hair and beauty services.
Alternatively, you can be mobile – you can visit clients in their homes and render your services there, saving on overhead costs for space. This is particularly advantageous in rural areas.
You still have to analyze your small-business competition as a hairstylist or beauty technician to make sure there is enough demand to accommodate another service or expert in your salon.
- How to start a hair extension and wig business
- Hair salon business plan template
For entrepreneurs with charisma and personality to match the products they sell, novelty stores are fun business ideas. Formal business education is not required, but it can be helpful.
These stores typically stock unique gift ideas and attract a wide variety of customers.
The startup cost is moderate and you can make up to a 50% profit margin. Store owners should know how to manage inventory and have some general business skills.
This small-town business idea will have slow growth potential at first, but if you provide a unique experience that customers can’t find anywhere else, you’ll build a solid client base.
A t-shirt design business is simple and can benefit many people in your neighborhood.
You don’t have to sell and take care of clothes, you can make them! If you live in a neighborhood with potential opportunities, ask around to find out what opportunities are available.
Students may need t-shirts for class trips or neighbors may need t-shirts for family reunions.
Custom designs can also be sold, but there’s a little more risk involved since you’re not being commissioned.
However, you can make some money if the town likes your designs! Custom designs can also be sold online through sites like Redbubble and Teespring.
Pro Tip: A business plan is essential for a successful T-Shirt business, Download this free T-Shirt business plan template to help you write a plan yourself.
Every household and building construction company needs tools, gardens, hand tools, building materials, etc., so you are likely to find a hardware store in your town already.
Even though the market is competitive, there is still a constant demand for these items throughout the year because the market is so large.
You can build cabins that can be rented, an RV campsite, or even just a primitive camping area.
Opening up land that is not being used for camping on land that is not being used.
Pro Tip: To start a successful campsite business you need a business plan. You can download our free business plan templates to create a stunning business plan.
- Campground business plan template
- RV park business plan template
Bedsheet with Pillow Cover
It is one of the best business ideas for small towns since it is a very good consumer product that can be started with little capital investment.
A good understanding of the textile industry is important. In the beginning, you can operate on a small scale and then move on to larger ones.
Small-town entrepreneurs interested in the food and beverage industry may consider owning a bar.
Entrepreneurs should be sociable, enjoy interacting with the public, and have a passion for their business.
Although formal education is not required to operate a bar, working in a bar or restaurant will definitely be helpful.
Startup costs are usually $100,000 to $1 million, but bars can generate $25,000 to $30,000. Depending on the economy and health trends at the moment, you will be able to grow your business, so creating a popular niche environment will be vital if you wish to expand.
ProTip: A business plan will help you get funding to start a bar business. For assistance in writing your own business plan, you may download our business plan pdf .
In cases where you live in a small town that is a popular tourist destination or close to one, you may want to open a souvenir shop.
A successful business owner knows how to select the right inventory and price it in such a way that will attract customers. Business owners should be excellent salesmen and come up with a solid strategy for their stores.
Junk Hauling/Junkyard Operator
If you live in a small town, such as a rural area, you may find it challenging to haul junk. There may be no good option available. There may also be options that are extremely expensive.
It’s surprisingly profitable to haul junk and run junkyards if you have a lot of empty rural land.
Freelancers can work anywhere in the world. Although this may seem like an odd small-town business idea, starting a writing business can be a great idea.
Everything that you need to do can be done online, so you can work from home, the park, the library, or wherever else is convenient for you!
In small towns, diners can be very popular destinations, especially if they serve great food and beverages.
A successful diner offers a friendly atmosphere as well as good food and sets itself apart from its competitors by offering features such as price, specialty menu items, or theme.
A diner owner should be good at working with people and knowledgeable about running a restaurant.
No formal training or work experience is required, but this will help you understand how to run your business. A diner’s startup costs are between $275,000 and $425,000, and profits are between five and six percent.
Pro Tip: A restaurant business plan can help you to plan your dinner business for the next 3 to 5 years and get finance.
Wine Tour Business
A wine tour business in your small town might be perfect for you if you enjoy educating your community and are passionate about wine and vineyards. An owner or operator of a wine tour must have a thorough understanding of the wine-making process and can explain the history of their region and vineyard.
Water Refill Station
Water refill stations can be a profitable small town business for people who live in an area where there is a scarcity of water. This business requires little investment and can be started with a small amount of storage space.
Start an Adult Education Center
It is true that there are a lot of men and women out there who, for a variety of reasons, have not attended formal schools as a result of which they are unable to read and write.
The idea of starting an adult education school is one of the options you have if you are interested in starting a business in a small town or if you are in the education sector.
In order to award recognized certificates/diplomas in your adult education center, you will need to apply for accreditation and license with the education board of your country.
There are a lot of countries worldwide that grow sugarcane as a cash crop. Sugar cane is used as a sweetener and as a feeding supplement for livestock.
It is the most important and cheapest source of refined sugar available. If your soil is adequate for sugarcane farming, you must look into this business in small towns or rural areas.
A small town’s orchard can provide great products and activities for its residents, making it a popular addition.
Side businesses like these are ideal for people who love working with the earth, don’t mind long hours during the growing season, and have the patience to stick with it after a tough time.
A successful orchard owner must have a basic understanding of business, food safety standards, and an agricultural or natural science background. The startup costs for orchards are usually moderate (a minimum of $50,000), and the earning potential for smaller orchards is usually limited.
Home Painting Business
A small-town entrepreneur with a desire to make money should consider starting a home painting business as one of the most lucrative and profitable home improvement businesses.
Painting your house is one of the easiest ways to improve the appearance of your home. This shows that professional painters are indeed in a good position to grow their businesses.
The service-based business of accounting thrives in spite of the rise of online accounting solutions.
It takes care of people’s tax returns, and personal and business financial matters. Most people prefer to deal with their finances with a local company and someone they can talk to in person.
This is a great opportunity to make big money as long as you’re great at client support and compassionate. An accountant can make $70,000+ per year if they have the right skills and qualifications.
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Handmade or craft business
A storefront is an excellent way to show off your creations if you’re passionate and crafty. You can also start selling products on Etsy to broaden your market. Use local supplies or create something inspired by your community to take advantage of the uniqueness of your town.
Alternatively, you can sell handmade crafts from local artisans if you’re not crafty or don’t have enough items to fill a store.
Pro Tip: Here is Step by Step guide on how to start a craft business.
Open a Carpentry Shop
If you’re looking to start a business in a small town, you should also consider opening a carpentry shop. Of course, you can find at least a few carpentry shops in any town.
Since carpenters are needed in most communities, starting a carpentry shop is one of the best options for you if you intend to start a business in a small town.
A dental office is essential in every small town to provide routine dental care and corrective care.
Having completed dental school and being properly licensed will be necessary for you to begin this business, but being friendly and personable can also help you tremendously in starting a successful practice in a small town.
It is very expensive to start a business in this profession ($250,000 to $500,000), but with a successful business, you may earn over $1 million per year.
If you don’t have a lot of shoppers in your local area, it might not be feasible to set up a full retail store.
However, you could start your own mobile retail store that you could transport around and then sell items at fairs and events in your area where you know there will be a lot of shoppers.
Open a Cosmetic Shop
An entrepreneur can start another profitable and thriving business in a small town by starting a cosmetic shop.
The cosmetics market is large and good enough. Cosmetics are not just for women but for all genders as well. Considering opening a cosmetic shop in a small town would be a smart move if you are considering starting a retail business.
Location is one of the most important factors determining whether a retail business will succeed. To start your cosmetic retailing business, you should conduct a thorough market survey and feasibility study before choosing where to rent or lease a store.
A lot of small towns rely on the services of electricians who are located 40 miles or more away, which might surprise you.
If you are a certified electrician in a town, that’s a great job for you.
The entrepreneurs of small towns may wish to open a flea market to serve their communities and neighbouring ones.
It is a great business idea for people who have worked at flea markets, craft fairs, or retail, and are willing to work more during peak business hours.
Outdoor flea markets can be started with little investment, but indoor flea markets are often more expensive. Successful flea market entrepreneurs need solid sales and marketing skills.
Pro Tip: Here is a step-by-step guide on how to set up a flea market booth .
When considering starting a business in a small town, an aspiring entrepreneur may consider launching an agro allied related services business.
Insects, weeds, and other unwanted pests are eliminated with fumigation. It is a highly profitable business venture that is easy to start and manage.
The required chemical handling permits and licenses must be obtained from the appropriate authorities in your country if you plan to start a fumigation services business.
Podcasting is becoming more popular than local radio, but local stations aren’t what they used to be.
A wide range of opportunities still exists, whether you want to target a local audience, provide a glimpse of rural issues, or target a broader audience.
The business can have a global reach even though it’s in a small town.
A bridal store specializing in speciality wedding attire with allied wedding supplies products is a profitable retail venture in the clothing and fashion industry.
Since weddings are unforgettable once-in-a-lifetime events, brides-to-be and their wedding parties spend a lot of money on bridal attire and wedding accessories even in a poor economy.
As a small-town contractor, you can offer painting, interior design, furniture assembly, or a full-service package for redecorating.
As Americans spend over $400 billion on home renovations each year, there should be no shortage of work if you can help homeowners or landlords get their dream homes, or raise their property prices.
In this field, you can also consider roofing and double-glazing installations.
Pro Tip: Here is a step-by-step guide on how to start an interior design business .
Spice Powder Making
The business of grinding and packaging spices is one of the most profitable food processing businesses.
Additionally, it is small and medium-scale scalable. Spices are essential items for food preparation and processing. Additionally, they are taste enhancers.
The processing of mixed spice powders is more profitable than processing individual spice powders such as chilly, cumin, and turmeric.
In small towns, professional photography offers a variety of business opportunities. Portraits and commercial photography are just two examples. You can stay open to a variety of styles, depending on what your town needs.
It is possible to get predictable income on the calendar by photographing annual events like community festivals. Ask local businesses and organizations about upcoming events that might be of interest to professional photographers.
Pro Tip: A business plan is essential for a successful photography business, Check out this free photography business plan template to write a stunning one yourself.
The opening of an exclusive liquor store in a small town can be a profitable business if the local laws do not allow the selling of alcohol in grocery stores.
It is one of the most popular small-town business ideas for people with a reasonable investment to start a liquor store. You need to consult local authorities about the license and permit requirements.
Pro Tip: If you are looking to start a liquor shop, this guide on how to get a liquor license can be helpful for you.
Open a Book Store
People in small towns tend to buy books more from shops than from online marketplaces if you look closely.
By adding some creative additions like creating an eatery, hosting events, workshops, etc, you’ll bring in more profits as well as more footfall to your bookstore.
Bonus Tip: You will need a business plan for starting a successful book store, You can write a plan using this free bookstore business plan template .
Open a Smartphone Repair Shop in a Small Town
In small towns, the sale of mobiles, specifically smartphones, has risen as never before. Most mobile companies are now focusing on expanding their market in small towns. Therefore, it is evident that the demand for mobile phone repairs will rise.
As a new technology, tire retreading is able to make old tires serviceable and usable again.
The tread is the part of the tire that comes in contact with the road. In terms of technology, this is one of the most popular business ideas for small towns. The tread provides traction and is an integral part of a tire.
Car Repair Service
Small-town businesses that offer mobile mechanic services and local garages can be a great way to earn good money from completing regular repairs or annual servicing.
Everyone loves their vehicle, but they will inevitably run into maintenance problems from time to time.
A car mechanic can earn approximately $69,000 per year from the spare parts they use, while the owner of a larger service may earn even more.
It is possible to build a monopoly in your local area with a small-town auto repair shop, especially once the community trusts you and you don’t rob them blind. This is the key to sustainable success.
In the past three decades, poultry farming has evolved into a techno-commercial industry from backyard farming, which is the fastest-growing part of agriculture.
Small towns, villages, and rural areas are ideal for poultry farming. Poultry farming is a business that is growing rapidly around the world.
A milling business involves a wide range of manufacturing operations. It is possible to start milling businesses at small and medium scales depending on the type of product and raw material you use.
PVC Pipe Manufacturing
The demand for PVC pipes and fittings is directly correlated to the consumption of PVC pipes than fixtures. It is expected that due to the trend of using PVC pipes for a wide range of applications, fittings will grow significantly in demand as well.
Flowers are a great gift for any occasion – anniversaries, promotions, and those forgotten birthdays! Local flower shops can be more convenient than online floral delivery services since residents can speak directly with the florist and get their flower arrangements promptly.
At most, you’ll need to learn a bit about flower care and arrangement for this small business idea.
Kids Garment Manufacturing
You may want to start your own infant garment manufacturing business as the infant clothing industry is growing rapidly across the globe.
Furthermore, this business has excellent export prospects. You might also consider starting a company that manufactures infant garments for export.
In small towns, you might be able to find a large enough location for a reasonable price to brew your own beer if you’re tired of big brands.
There might be a market for it in your small community with a significant tourist influx, or you may be able to sell it in larger markets with greater consumer demand.
The candle market is a big market for aromatic decorative candles, as they are used as gifts as well. It is a business that can be started on a small scale. Women especially can take part in this business.
Bonus Tip : A business plan is essential for a successful candle-making business, You can write a business plan using this free candle-making business plan template .
You can open a medical store in a small town if you are a chemist or have years of pharmacy experience.
This business offers many kinds of business opportunities that go beyond simply selling medicine. Medicine and related health care products and supplements are on the rise because of the increasing demand for them.
Construction Related Business
In many areas of the globe, it has been observed that construction has seen a big increase in small towns. If you are associated with the construction industry, opening a real estate business can yield good financial returns.
Yoga studios are a profitable and lucrative small-town business in the health and wellness industry.
In addition to creating the immense potential for entrepreneurs, yoga studios can be one of the most lucrative small-town business ideas, as consumers are transitioning from remedial care to preventive care.
Tour Operating Business
It may be the ideal business for you to start a tour operating a business if you have a tourist attraction.
Set up a travel service-related company to provide tourist guides who will guide visitors around and educators who will provide historical facts and information about what tourists will see.
Detergent Powder Manufacturing
A detergent and washing powder are both surfactants. And washing powder plays an important role in cleaning and washing solutions. Generally, there are two different types of manufacturing technologies available. The first one is spray drying, and the second is mixing raw materials.
A consignment shop’s success depends a lot on the quality and range of products it offers customers. Starting a consignment business is much more likely to be successful if you have a good retail location and a network of quality suppliers in an area with high footfalls.
Buying a Franchise
A franchise with a built-in customer base can come with the advantage of a more established brand in your small town if you have more funds at your disposal.
More than 10% of all companies in America are franchises, and you could join this thriving market. Over 90% of all companies in America are franchises.
Bonus Tip: Learn why to consider franchises Instead of trying to Go It alone
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54 Profitable Side Business Ideas to Start in 2023
Yes, electrical companies require proper certifications and licenses to operate legally. Research the specific requirements in your area and ensure compliance with all relevant regulations. This typically includes obtaining an electrical contractor license and ensuring your team members have appropriate certifications.
Networking and building relationships are key in the electrical industry. Connect with local contractors, builders, and real estate agents who can refer clients to your business. Additionally, invest in online marketing strategies, such as search engine optimization (SEO) and targeted advertising, to reach a broader audience.
Differentiate your electrical company by focusing on exceptional customer service, quality workmanship, and a commitment to staying up-to-date with the latest technologies and industry standards. Offer specialized services, such as energy-efficient solutions or home automation, to cater to specific client needs.
Safety is paramount in the electrical industry. Ensure your team follows all safety protocols, including wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and adhering to electrical codes and regulations. Conduct regular safety training sessions and keep updated with industry best practices to minimize risks.
To expand your electrical company, consider diversifying your services or targeting new market segments. Explore opportunities in areas such as renewable energy installations, smart home technology, or commercial projects. Continually assess market trends and customer demands to identify potential growth areas.
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Top 30 Small-Town Business Ideas for Success
By Julija A.
June 19, 2023
You needn’t focus on big ventures to earn big bucks: The SME sector is currently thriving, and this guide to small-town business ideas will show how you can build your success story.
With 30 fantastic options for small-town startups included, the guide should provide something for everyone. Let’s get started.
Why Focus on Business Ideas for a Small Town?
The growth of eCommerce opportunities has opened the door for SMEs to target a global audience. However, small-town communities can be a breeding ground for profitable businesses that don’t need a worldwide reach to thrive.
Instead, small-town startups allow you to tap into a concentrated local audience, keeping your shipping expenses down, while capitalizing on your knowledge of their pain points to generate greater conversions. Many entrepreneurs who take this path also enjoy a better work-life balance.
Statistics back up the anecdotal advantages:
- Small businesses account for 99.9% of all firms in the US, with the majority being nonemployer firms – i.e., companies run by one person, without a payroll.
- 91% of consumers prefer to use a small local business whenever it’s convenient to do so.
- 84% of small business owners feel optimistic about the future of their companies.
- Prior to the pandemic, statistics showed that over half of all small local businesses could launch without financial borrowing.
- The average small-business owner can expect to make, on average, a little over $71,000 per year.
Furthermore, 2022 promises to be a hopeful year for small towns and their businesses, as we seem to be at the start of “a positive cycle of greater economic vibrancy in small towns and rural America, leading to more people wanting to move and start businesses in small towns.” In short, if you are looking for business ideas, small-town startups have become a standout choice. If you want to launch one – now is the time.
Coming Up with Good Business Ideas for a Small Town
There are plenty of unique business ideas to consider for your small-town venture, but your first priority is to align them with your needs. The following questions can be used for analyzing any candidates:
- Convenience: Picking the easiest businesses to start removes some of the risks, and shortens the wait before seeing a return on your investment.
- Costs: Calculating the costs of starting a business is tricky. For example, the average micro business takes around $3,000 to launch, or at least somewhere between $2,000 and $5,000. If your idea is more ambitious, you might even have to take out a loan.
- Enjoyment: The whole purpose of starting a business is to build a better future. Your happiness should be part of your business plan, not least because your passion for the work will be the driving force throughout the potentially rocky startup process.
- Sustainability: The average SME lifespan is around 8.5 years; in other words, you need a small-town business idea that has a realistic shot at long-term success, at least for a decade.
- Demand: For any business to work, there must be a demand from the local audience without impenetrable competition. Once you’ve found an opening like that, you’ll have your idea.
If your small-town business venture can tick all of the above boxes and feels right for you, there’s every chance it will deliver positive returns.
Top 30 Small-Town Business Ideas for 2022 & Beyond
Earning in a small town isn’t reserved for mom-and-pop shops with decades of history. In fact, entrepreneurs from various backgrounds and across multiple industries can make use of these top 30 ideas for a thriving business:
1. Restaurant Owner
There are almost 150,000 single-location full-service restaurant businesses in the US, and it is arguably the most obvious business idea of all. Eating out is the perfect way to celebrate special occasions or take a break from the monotony of modern life. Visitors from other places need a place to eat in your small town, too. You can cater to these needs, either with a fine-dining spot, food stand with homemade specialties, or something else entirely.
When opening family restaurants, though, small-town entrepreneurs need to account for the existing eateries in the area. Finding a gap in the market, perhaps serving the type of foods you look for when going out of town, can work wonders. And don’t forget to add a takeout option!
2. Coffee Shop Bar Owner
Coffee shops account for over 37,000 businesses in the U.S., and most of them don’t belong to major franchises. The thousands of small chains and independent coffee shops testify that opening a coffee place might be the best business for people in small towns. After all, the average person drinks nearly two cups of coffee per day, meaning there is a considerable opportunity for regular customers.
A coffee shop can also sell snacks and become a place for digital nomads to work. With the right interior design, your setting can transform into a bar for the evenings. By working the daytime and evening crowds, you should have an excellent chance of success. However, catering to both audiences will be more costly, as you’ll have to get a liquor license, employ more people, etc.
3. Buying a Franchise
Those with more funds at their disposal might consider what franchises in their small towns are for sale. An already established name brand often comes with the advantage of a built-in customer base. Many other aspects of the business will already be settled, too. Over 10% of all companies in America are franchises, and you could become part of this thriving market.
4. Decorating Services
Home decorating is incredibly lucrative. As a small-town contractor, you can focus on painting, interior design, assembling furniture, or offer a full-service package for redecorating. If you can help homeowners or landlords get that dream home, or hike up their property prices, respectively, there should be no shortage of work. After all, Americans spend over $400 billion on home renovations each year. You can also look at roofing and double glazing installations as alternative services in this arena.
The fact that you don’t need a commercial office can save you a lot of money, too. Outside of that, your biggest concerns would be getting all the business permits from your small town’s local licensing office and finding a way to spread the word about your new venture.
People need accountants to handle their personal and business financial matters, particularly their tax returns. It is one of the many service-based businesses that thrive despite the rise of online accounting solutions . Most people prefer a local company and people they can talk to in person to trust with their finances. As long as you provide excellent client support and genuine compassion, this is a phenomenal opportunity to earn big.
In fact, the average accountant can expect to earn $70,000+ per year. Of course, this is only possible when you have the necessary skills and qualifications. Nonetheless, if you’ve relocated to a rural area or no longer wish to commute for your current accountancy role, starting a firm of your own can work wonders. You only need a few clients to thrive.
6. Cleaning Company
A lot of small-town entrepreneurs may look down on the prospect of opening a cleaning company. However, this industry is expected to show an average CAGR of 6.5% in the following decade. Moreover, it’s a career you can start with minimal experience and without significant expenses. You simply need the cleaning equipment and transportation.
Cleaning companies may offer services for home, office, and commercial cleaning, or various other niches. The desire to maintain cleanliness is at an all-time high in the wake of the pandemic, and most clients will require repeat services. Whether it’s a weekly visit to their shop or a monthly visit to a residential property, their value to you will be tremendous.
7. Car Repair Service
Every driver loves their vehicle, but they will inevitably face a few maintenance issues from time to time. Small-town businesses in this arena can include mobile mechanic services and local garages. Either way, you can make good money from completing regular repairs or annual servicing.
There is also a chance to gain a markup from the spare parts you use. A car mechanic can make around $69,000 per year, while the owner of a larger service may see even bigger returns. A small-town car repair shop could create a monopoly in your local area, especially once the community trusts you to get the job done and not rob them blind. This is the foundation for sustained success.
8. Food Truck Business
While restaurants are great, they will tie you to one spot. With the right strategy in place, starting a small-town food truck business may be the better solution. It offers you the chance to participate in local events, move your business to the areas that attract the most foot traffic as the seasons change, and even look for opportunities in surrounding towns. This flexibility can help you overcome many problems.
On the other hand, starting a food truck business will require you to master marketing and know your audience. However, if you have a passion for a specific cuisine, it can be your ticket to quick and sustained success. Once you’ve built your reputation in the local area, happy customers will keep coming back for more.
9. Taxi Service
Ride-hailing services have been a popular small-business idea for generations, and the digital age has transformed this arena for the better. You can now start a small taxi company in your rural area or look to join an existing service like Uber or Lyft. This gives you multiple options to choose from and allows you to take on as much responsibility as you can handle.
The taxi industry market share has grown with a CAGR of 8.8%; this has much to do with the fact that many people want to avoid public transportation in the pandemic world. Your service could include minibus driving for airport transport, company events, or social activities like bachelor and bachelorette nights.
10. Airbnb Operator
If your small town attracts many tourists or business visitors, you can take advantage of this with an Airbnb business . If you own an unused property, it is a potentially lucrative environment to break into. The expansion to using two or more properties is straightforward too.
The number of domestic vacations booked by Americans is far higher than before. The industry has been stabilizing recently, and you’ll only need to fill the property for a part of the month to cover mortgage and business costs.
11. Beauty Salon Owner
Everyone needs some professional hair and beauty time occasionally. Small-town entrepreneurs can open up their own salon or share the space with another local business owner. Alternatively, your business can be mobile – you can visit clients in their homes and render your services there, thus saving plenty in overhead costs for space. This can be particularly beneficial in rural areas.
As a hairstylist or beauty technician, you still have to analyze your small-business competition to ensure there is enough demand to accommodate another service or expert. Assuming that there is, you can start earning money immediately. All you need is a toolset, and potentially rental space, and you’ll be good to go.
12. Pet Caretaking
People in your small town will be eager to have someone look after their pets. Pet grooming accounts for 42% of all pet care services, so this will naturally be the best place to start. However, you can also look at dog walking, cat sitting, and related services to boost your returns.
Even if you live in a small town with just a few thousand residents, there will be hundreds of potential clients for you to reach. If starting a salon is too expensive, you could run the venture from your home or consider a mobile service where you visit clients. If you struggle to create a regular flow of customers in your small town, you can serve people in surrounding towns, too.
13. Grocery Store Owner
They say necessity is the mother of all inventions. Therefore, you should ask: “What business does every small town need?” A reliable convenience store is easily one of the top items on the list, as grocery stores comprise over one-third of all brick-and-mortar stores. Of course, your town will already have some. But if there’s a location where adding a grocery store could attract many customers, embrace it.
You might be most familiar with 7-11, but independent stores dominate 60% of this market. They are also one of the easiest businesses to start, because you know that there is a market for them – even if there’s one nearby, convenience stores can never be too close to home. When you also sell gas, they can be one of the best rural town business ideas.
14. Personal Trainer
A career in personal training can be appealing for many reasons. It is one of several business ideas that help the community, as you would be helping clients live healthy lives. Not to mention that getting paid to stay fit and connect with people is wonderful.
The average annual salary of a personal trainer is over $68,000, and you can add to your earnings by becoming a certified nutritionist. As well as targeting your local audience, a strong online presence can open the door to additional services like online training and making exercise programs for apps.
People need help in many aspects of life. With the right education and experience, you can be the person to provide it. As well as being one of the most profitable businesses, beginning a counseling firm allows you to help others. Four in ten Americans (42%) have sought counseling for mental health issues at some point in their lives.
However, accessibility is one of the biggest obstacles to getting adequate support for people in small towns and rural areas. On the bright side, this means you can quickly establish yourself as a valuable resource for the people in your area. Your focus can be marriage and relationships, addiction, anxiety and mental health, or even financial coaching. There are as many areas of counseling as there are of life.
Photography and videography are incredible skills to possess, and accessibility for amateurs is greater than ever. The stills and videos you take can capture magical events like weddings and birthday parties or be used to help local businesses promote their companies. Either way, perfecting your craft should be the first step toward creating a success story.
The average professional wedding photographer can earn over $60k . If you have a monopoly in your small town, though, you may be able to increase those earnings. However, camera and photography equipment – as well as editing tools – won’t come cheap. So, you will need to get some initial funding, and follow tips to save as much as possible in the beginning, while you make a name for yourself.
17. Moving Company
People move around less frequently in rural areas than they do in cities. Considering that the population is also much smaller, you may be excused for thinking that moving companies aren’t a great idea. However, every book of entrepreneur tips will teach you that there is always room for success as long as there is an audience. And there is, as people will often want to move away from that town, and into a more populated area.
In the same vein, professional movers in rural areas may find that they have a higher number of interstate moves, so individual clients may be worth more. Besides, you can look to complete commercial building relocations and refit services.
18. Real Estate Agency
Even if fewer people are buying and selling homes in the area, there are also fewer agents. Roughly two-in-three Americans own property, and the ratio is even higher in rural areas. So, your small-town real estate agency business can still find a fair-sized audience. Depending on your commission, you won’t need to facilitate many sales for a profit.
The only real issue you’ll have compared to a city agency is that you may not be in a position to focus on one property type. You may need to deal with houses, apartments, and commercial real estate. Still, people will turn to you when buying a property, and your ability to help them while also aiding the local economy will be a nice bonus.
Working families need daycares for their children, but they can be few and far between in small towns. Childcare is a $58.6 billion industry, though, and you can enjoy a slice of it. When you’re calculating the costs of starting your business, the primary factor in your balance will be whether you operate from home or a rented space. Most will start with the former before moving to the latter once their small-town startups reach the desired level.
20. Catering Service
Catering is one of the most flexible industries to get into. Aside from the ability to focus on different cuisines and dietary conditions (e.g., gluten-free recipes), you can target your service at multiple events. Birthday parties, engagements, weddings, funerals, graduations, and other special occasions are all commonplace.
Starting a meal-prep business is another form of this idea, and you can integrate it with other small businesses. For example, personal trainers can prepare and deliver healthy meals to help clients with their weight loss or strength-building routines. Catering services can start as micro-businesses, but have excellent growth potential, either by becoming franchises or turning into restaurants.
21. Funeral Director
It’s a harsh fact of life that we will all die, and funeral services are never out of place. If your village or rural area doesn’t have a good service for this, it could be the ideal business opportunity. While this may seem a little morbid, it’s one of the business ideas that help the community by supporting families through their most difficult times. Doing your job with compassion is extremely important, too.
On a more sobering note, the average funeral costs $7,848. In other words, you won’t need to handle too many of them each month for your small town business to become profitable.
One of the first things to do in a small town as far as your career is concerned is to think of ways to turn the skills you already have into a business. Tutoring is one of the easiest ways to do this, as it allows you to establish a work-life balance you prefer.
Tutoring can include teaching art, music, a secondary language, confidence, or a host of other skills. Again, you can use your online presence to offer your services outside your immediate location.
23. Clothes Store Owner
The value of the fashion industry in the US is $409 billion. As well as fashion items, you can look to take advantage of the local climate conditions by selling attire and accessories suited to rural life.
As far as good business ideas for a small town are concerned, clothes stores that reach a broad demographic are great. Don’t limit yourself to a specific age range, gender, or size. Keep in mind that a small town will probably benefit more from affordable fashion over luxury lines, so make your clothes reasonably priced, and you’ll be well on your way to profit.
24. Book Store Owner
Amazon is the biggest online retailer on the planet, but it started as a bookstore. That alone is evidence of the potential for book stores to thrive. They are some of the most popular small-town shops, especially when managed by an owner who cares about reading and finding just the thing for their audience to read.
Over 900 million books are sold in America every year. To give your local store a chance of thriving, you can focus on books relevant to your local area and the bestsellers for customers in your target range. Stationery and craft materials can take your sales to another level, and you could also start a reading club to build excitement.
Like cleaning, gardening is a job that many people simply won’t do. Homeowners may not know where to start or simply feel unmotivated. Meanwhile, business owners probably don’t have the time to take care of landscaping by themselves, too. If you love making outside spaces look beautiful, a gardening service could be one of the best small-town startups for you.
In fact, it is one of the few sectors where small-town business owners may have easier opportunities than city workers. The average homeowner in a smaller community boasts more land with their property. Therefore, each client may require more work or a greater level of service. Your earning potential goes up to $50k , on average.
26. Jewelry Maker
Making accessories is a chance to be creative while keeping the materials and small-business marketing costs fairly low. As well as making online sales, you can show your wares at your local market, too.
There are almost 20,000 jewelry stores in the US, and most consumers actively look for products that come with a high level of customer care. If you can describe the designs, material choices, and other key features with passion, people will appreciate the handmade aspect even more. You can also offer repairs or jewelry cleaning to maximize your earnings.
A candle business may not be the first thing you think of if you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, but the market for it is certainly there. After all, seven in 10 households use candles, and they also make inexpensive yet thoughtful gifts.
Making candles does not require huge starting capital, and you’ll probably be able to avoid taking out startup bank loans. This is another solution that can begin as a local venture before growing into something larger. You could attend trade events or markets a few towns over, or launch an Etsy store to gain more sales.
28. Marketing Consultant
Some of the best small-town business ideas focus on helping other companies. Your town is probably blessed with dozens of small businesses without in-house marketing departments. From creating mobile-friendly websites, to helping them design storefronts and printed materials, marketing expertise can be invaluable. Whether you run a one-person operation or team up with other creatives in the area is your choice.
29. Selling Cars
Small-town entrepreneurs who know about cars will discover that selling them is one of the most profitable businesses, especially if you become the primary vehicle vendor in your area. The key is to know the type of vehicles suited to the rural lifestyle and your clients’ preferences.
For example, even though the electric vehicle marketplace is growing rapidly, these cars won’t be as appealing to drivers in rural areas, where charging stations are not readily available. As with all business ideas, understanding your customers’ pain points will be pivotal to your success. Of course, you can also upsell shoppers on accessories, insurance, and finance.
30. Electronics Repair
Waiting for parts deliveries or support for faulty devices is always frustrating. However, it creates a window of opportunity for running an electronics repair store. You can fix anything from smartphones to household appliances, so long as you have the skills – or hire someone who does.
The role can be a lot of fun for anyone who enjoys tinkering, not least because each project presents unique challenges. The industry is worth $18.9bn, and your work could save your neighbors a lot of time and money. In turn, this makes you a valuable member of your local community; better yet, it’s probably a service that will never go out of business.
The Final Word on Small-Town Business Ideas
Many good business ideas for a small town are the same as those in a big city. However, the approach to managing your startup may be different. The key is to be authentic and honest in every aspect of care, while also calculating the costs to keep your venture viable.
As long as you focus on something practical, enjoyable, and financially lucrative (at least in theory), nothing can hold you back.
What is the best business to start in a small town?
The answer depends on your skills, experience, and budget. However, service-based jobs that give back to the community and improve the lives of the locals will serve you well. Car repairs, daycares, and food delivery services are all excellent choices.
What shops do small towns need?
Some of the best ideas for shops in small towns include convenience stores, hair salons, pharmacies, book stores, clothes stores, and repair shops.
What small business can I start with $5,000?
Most home-based businesses can be started for well under five grand, and you could also look to service-based options, ranging from tutoring to counseling. If you don’t need commercial spaces, your only costs will usually be licensing and materials.
Which is the best business idea after lockdown?
A business that focuses on something people need, rather than luxuries because disposable income levels may be lower. If you can do this while turning a passion into a hobby, you should be set for success.
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25 of the best small town business ideas to get you inspired
Starting a small business can sometimes seem daunting. From developing product or service ideas to executing the business model, entrepreneurs must also find the funding, pull all the elements in place, and hope their customers appreciate what they offer.
Starting an SMB in a small town is just as challenging as starting a business anywhere else, but it also has its own set of unique opportunities. Here are 25 small town business ideas that can help you carve out your niche in the local community.
1. Hybrid Coffee Shops
With the growing trend of hybrid work culture, hybrid coffee shops are a great idea to initiate a small business as many people are turning towards the hybrid nature of working and thus can greatly utilize a hybrid coffee shop.
Read now: Why are coffee franchises so popular? [ + 5 brands to consider]
The reason that small towns don’t have a great deal or number of contractors can give you a great profit margin if you open a small business as a contractor and take building and renovation contracts of people.
3. Home Cleaning
As most people do not have the time and energy to clean their homes after a tough and busy schedule, a home cleaning business is also an ideal option to do as a small-town business.
4. Pet Grooming Store
People love to have pets, and having them also calls for a lot of grooming and maintenance. A pet grooming store with many different grooming facilities and accessories will automatically attract many people to the town.
Read now: 20 Small Business Ideas for Animal Lovers
5. antique store.
An antique store will not only help you have a successful business but will also help in keeping the spark of antique things alive. While not all, many people still love to collect antique stuff as it is unique and valuable, so this will also help you earn a lot of bucks.
6. Fitness Studio
Fitness is not only a profitable business idea but can also be counted as a gift for the people of your small town. A fitness studio is a great small-town business idea as it serves a fit and healthy population and great profits to the owner.
7. Children’s Products
Not all small towns and cities have shops or stores designated only for children. So, if you open a small business of exclusively children’s products, you will surely excel in that.
8. Ice Cream Shop
Who doesn’t like ice cream, after all? Ice cream is a great way to unwind your day and calls to be a part of every celebration. So a small ice cream shop in a small town is an amazing business idea.
Bookworms are found in every corner of the world and every town of every country. A bookstore is a great business idea and an essential and much-needed requirement for an intellectual generation.
10. Floral Shop
Flowers hold great importance for refreshing the environment and surrounding. A floral shop is a much-underrated business idea but can hold an important place in the town.
11. Gardening and Landscaping
Not many people are aware of and associated with gardening and landscaping as a business, which gives you a mileage of opportunity to excel in your financial capabilities in this department.
12. Nail Salon
Ladies love their nails and, similarly, love to maintain them. Nail salons are an essential part of any grooming industry now. So a nail salon is one business that can never run out of profit.
13. Clothing Boutique
Subsequently, clothes are also a compulsory part of defining anyone’s personality. The reason that clothes never go out of demand makes a clothing boutique a forever-green small-town business.
Wine is crucial to any celebration or even for most corporate events. Setting up a winery in a small town is a great business idea as you won’t have much competition for your business in a small town.
15. Real Estate Agency
Talk about low competition, and you get a real estate agency as an answer. A real estate agent is bound to provide you with success, whether in a small town or a big city.
Read now: 30 small business ideas that take less than $10K to start
16. tattoo shop.
Though not many people are fond of tattoos, it is still a small-town business that won’t let you fail as it tends to still earn you a fair amount of profit share.
17. Veterinary Office
Where there are pets, there are pet issues. So a veterinary office is a must-have in a small town with pets. This business can get you many dollars and will only flourish with time.
A bakery is not a special place for people with a sweet tooth but for people of all kinds and age groups. Opening a bakery in a small town is a wonderful idea with very less competition.
19. Tutoring Service
Rendering your tutoring services is another great way to offer your skills and earn a lot of money, as a small town calls for educated and helpful people to uplift others.
20. Sports Bar
For people into sports, a sports bar is nothing less than heaven and a must-have place to have in their small town. Opening a sports bar again requires little to no competition for your business.
21. Home Improvement
A home improvement service is nothing less than a blessing for people who improve and upgrade their homes. Home improvement is a unique business and a profitable one as well.
22. Bowling Alley
Talk about a game that is all fun all the time. You guessed it right; it’s a bowling alley. Open a bowling alley shop and earn every day with people coming to refresh themselves each day.
23. Electronics Dealer
An electronics dealer is a must-have business for small towns where people constantly try to upgrade themselves. So, open an electronics dealer shop as a small town business.
24. Feminist Brands
Females are forever buying and looking for new and exclusive products. A feminist brands shop open exclusively for women is a great business idea for all types of towns.
25. Organic Cosmetics
As women love cosmetics, they love their products to be organic and natural. So opt for an organic cosmetics shop for the best small-town business.
There are many different kinds of small town business ideas that can launch your career as an entrepreneur. Explore the ideas mentioned above and see which one is right for you.
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