How to Find the Best Small Business Opportunities

If you’ve been dreaming of breaking out of a daily 9-5 job and branching out to start a small business of your own, you have more small business options than ever this year.

In addition to the traditional storefront or franchise small business startup, you also have a lot more online small business opportunities.

Starting a small business doesn’t only help realize the owner’s entrepreneurial dreams; small business ideas are also a huge benefit to the economy. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), small firms accounted for 63 percent of the net new jobs created in the U.S. between 1993 and mid-2013 (14.3 million of the 22.9 million net new jobs).

People are enthusiastic about their great small business ideas, but they are often not sure where to start. Starting a small business can be complicated, and the direction you take depends not only on what you love to do but also how much capital you have to invest to start your small business off right.

Small Business Ideas

Image Source: Pixabay

The good news is that a small business online can cost a lot less to start than a franchise or storefront business. So, you definitely have several options for realizing your best small business ideas.

The main ingredients for success are the same for all small business startup companies:rt passion, hard work, and dedication.

In this article, we are going to take a look at several great small business ideas to consider this year. Three of the six small business ideas are franchises and three are online small business options.  We will also review some of the steps for how to start a small business online or offline and resources you can tap to help you along the way.

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Top 6 Best Small Business Opportunities | Brief Comparison & Ranking

Best Small Business Opprtunities

Online or Franchise

Estimated Small Business Startup Costs

Company in Business Since

Amazon Associates – Amazon Affiliate Marketing


$0 to sign up, costs would be for your website and any advertising you do


Healthy You Vending – Vending Machines


$30,000 – $225,000 investment


Molly Maid® – Maid Service


$89,200 – $137,200 investment


Teespring – T-Shirt Design & Sales


$0 to sign up, costs would be for any advertising you do


Upwork – Virtual Assistant


$0 to sign up, costs would be for any advertising you do


(merger of Elance® & oDesk®)

Visiting Angels – Eldercare Services


$63,750 – $104,500 investment


Table: Top 6 Best Great Small Business Ideas | Above list is sorted alphabetically

Start a Small Business FAQ | What Steps Should I Take to Start My Small Business Successfully?

Once you have some small business ideas, it’s natural to want to jump right in and get started, but there are a few steps you should take first in order to ensure the best success when starting a small business.

Even the best small business opportunities need thorough research, planning, and a gameplan for execution if you want to do well.

Here are some key steps to take before you start a small business that can boost your chances:

Evaluate how much money you can invest. Before you begin a business plan for your new small business, you need to understand the costs and affordability. Evaluate how much you have to spend and where you can possibly find financing to meet your needed investment costs.

Decide on your best small business opportunities. Once you know how much you can afford, it’s a good idea to choose 2-3 great small business ideas, so you’ll have a backup or two should one not work out.

Write a business plan. When you are writing your business plan to start a small business, you’ll get a better idea of the costs and potential profits you can make. This step is very important, because it’s your gameplan for making your new offline or online small business ultimately work.

Research training and resources available. There are many free or low-cost resources available to you when you’re reviewing small business opportunities. Take some time to research what is out there both online and locally, because often they can save you a lot of time, money, and effort.

Decide how you’re going to register your small business legally.  You have a variety of options when setting up your business entity and registering it with both federal and state agencies. You’ll want to choose a name (make sure that name is not already being used by someone else) and decide whether you want to incorporate or be an LLC.

Register for necessary tax ID’s, licenses and permits. Depending upon which type of best small business ideas you choose, you may need a business license or special permit. You may also need to obtain an Employer ID Number (EIN).

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Start a Small Business FAQ | Resources to Help You with Starting a Small Business

Many people just starting out with a small business online or franchise can feel overwhelmed at all the initial responsibilities that come with owning your own small business startup. But there are several resources available, most of them free of charge, from organizations and other entrepreneurs to help small business owners succeed.

SBA Small Business

Image Source: Small Business Administration

You don’t have to navigate starting a small business alone. You can find templates for your business plan, funding opportunities, and tips on how to market and expand what you’ve chosen as your best small business opportunities.

If you’re commited to starting your small business ownership successfully, here are several resources you can use:

Detailed Review – Best Small Business Ideas

Below, please find a detailed review of each product on our list of best small business opportunities. We have highlighted some of the factors that allowed these great small business ideas to score so highly in our selection.

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Amazon Associates – Amazon Affiliate Marketing

You may have heard the term “Amazon Affiliate” or “Authority Site” while researching a small business online. This is currently a very popular way to earn money through an online small business by taking advantage of the huge marketplace that Amazon has become.

If you know your way around building and running a website or blog and like the idea of working at your small business online, then joining Amazon Associates and earning a commission in advertising fees is one of the perfect small business opportunities for you.

There is no cost to sign up with Amazon’s advertising program, but as any website or blog owner knows, you’ve got to build your traffic. You can’t just start small business websites and expect people to find them immediately. So you may need to make an investment in advertising through a platform like Google Adwords.

Important things to know about this online small business:

  • Advertising fees range from 1% to 10%
  • You can sign up for free and be running in a day
  • Amazon provides the tools and linking banners to use
  • Payment can be by direct deposit, Amazon Gift Card, or mailed check
  • Research tips from others that have been successful at this small business online

If you don’t have a lot to invest in small business opportunities and enjoy marketing and blogging, then this is one of the great small business ideas you should consider. What people earn can vary widely, but many make more than enough to support themselves. Learn more about Amazon Associates here.

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Healthy You Vending – Vendine Machine Franchise

How To Start A Small Business like Healthy You

Image Source: Healthy You Vending Small Business Ideas

If you are interested in the more traditional small business opportunity and have at least $30,000 to invest, then you may want to check into owning a Healthy You Vending franchise. It’s also one of the lower cost franchises to get into.

This is one of the best small business ideas that capitalizes on the move toward healthier foods and snacks for both kids and adults. The vending and automatic merchandising industry has been growing and is over $43 billion.

The company is a unique franchiser in that they do not charge licensing, trademark, or other ongong fees/royalties for this small business startup. The initial investment and ongoing costs are in purchasing the equipment and items that are sold inside.

Important things to know about starting a small business with Healthy You Vending:

  • An investment of $30,000 to $225,000 is required
  • They have a 2-day training for new operators
  • You do not typically need a truck or special vehicle
  • Servicing machines can be done part-time at first
  • They help you find locations for the machines

How much does a typical vending machine earn? According to the Houston Chronicle, the average profit is $25 per machine each month. So a key to making this small business work is owning multiple machines. Learn more about Healthy You Vending here.

Molly Maid® – Maid Service Franchise

A lot of folks have thought that the best small business ideas would be opening a maid or cleaning service. However, if you’re starting from scratch with no name recognition, it can be slow going to earn decent profits.

Molly Maid® is a well-known name in the cleaning industry, and those wishing to start a small business cleaning can get a head start by investing in this trusted franchise. The company has a 30-year record of promoting small business ideas that succeed.

As part of their process, you first speak with their Franchise Developer and if qualified, you’re invited to visit their company headquarters in Ann Arbor, MI for orientation. They advise that you research thoroughly before starting a small business to ensure you understand what’s involved.

Important things to know about great small business ideas at Molly Maid®:

  • The initial full investment is from $89,200 to $137,200
  • You can bring on any existing business you’re doing
  • They can help you find financing options
  • They offer franchises in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Portugal, and Japan

This is one of the best small business opportunities if you like the security of working with a company that has a long track record in the industry. Learn more about Molly Maid® franchise opportunities here.

Teespring – T-shirt Design & Sales

Using Teespring to design and sell T-shirts and similar logo items is another of the small business opportunities that you can do online from the comfort of home. The company was founded in 2011, and since then has shipped over 19 million products globally.

This online small business does not have any upfront fees to sign up; your only costs are your time and any advertising you may want to do. You may have noticed on your social media feed T-shirt advertisements that usualy target some of your interests. Many of these are advertising for Teespring and similar logo-item small business ideas.

If you chose this type of design and online sales as one of your best small business ideas, you’ll want to take advantage of the many online tips and resources to ramp up the learning curve faster.

Important things to know about small business opportunities on Teespring:

  • There is no cost to get started; you earn a percentage of the sale
  • Teespring ships directly to your buyers
  • You have to hit your preset minimum campaign quantity, usually from 20 and up
  • Facebook advertising goes hand-in-hand to be successful

You’ll want to review the Teespring guide to start a small business selling items on their platform. In order to be successful, you need to find your niche and keep designs fresh. Learn  more about selling on Teespring here.

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Upwork – Virtual Assistant

While Upwork itself has only been around since 2015, it was created from a merger of two other online freelancing platforms, Elance® and oDesk®. It offers several great small business ideas for those who want to work virtually.

Starting A Small Business

Image Source: Online Small Business Opportunities

You can do multiple types of freelancing work on the platform, but for this article, we are focusing on using it for small business opportunities as a virtual assistant because this position usually provides more regular work with the same clients and can easily become a full-time online small business.

This is one of the best small business opportunities if you enjoy doing multiple tasks, because the jobs can include research, travel scheduling, correspondence, and a variety of just about everything else you can think of.

Important things to know about Upwork best small business opportunities:

  • There is no fee to sign up for Upwork
  • They keep a percentage of your earnings, 20% to start, then as low as 5% the more you work for the same client
  • You can work with people from around the world
  • You have the flexibility to work as much or little as you want

If think this may be one of the best small business ideas for you, you’ll be interested to know that the pay can vary according to client, but some offer in the range of $400-$700 per week for approximately 30 or more hours. You can research Upwork virtual assistant jobs here.

Visting Angels – Eldercare Services

Another of our top six best small business ideas is the franchise Visiting Angels. The need for in-home eldercare services is only increasing because the Baby Boomer generation (ages 53-71) are both getting older and prize their independence.

This small business startup taps into that market by providing companion care and personal care services that allow many seniors to remain in their homes. They state that the average Visiting Angels franchise makes nearly $1 million in revenue each year, with a 35-40% profit margin.

You will want to read through all the fees and royalties information carefully to understand the financial investment required when you start small business plans with their senior care model. If you enjoy helping people and making new friends, this could be a perfect small business for you.

Important things to know when starting a small business with Visiting Angels:

  • Estimated needed investment is $63,750 to $104,500
  • They have a full training program, including ongoing conferences
  • They offer a co-op advertising program
  • Their ongoing royalty rates start at 3.5% and reduce as you generate business

This is one of the great small business ideas for nurses or other types of caregivers who want to become entrepreneurs, but you don’t need any medical experience to be a senior home companion. Learn more about Visiting Angels here.

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Conclusion – Top 6 Best Small Business Opportunities

You may have a large nest egg saved to invest in your favorite small business ideas, or you may just be starting out without a lot to spend. Either way, there are plenty of opportunities to start a small business and become your own boss.

There are also financing options out there for great small business ideas, so you may be surprised to find you can afford something you thought was out of reach. Tips and tools from other entrepreneurs are also readily available for just about any best small business opportunities you can think of.

If you’re decidated and work hard, there is a decent living to be made with either a small business online or a traditional franchise model. We hope that our top six small business opportunities have opened your eyes to the wide diversity of choices you have to fulfill your entrepreneurial dreams.

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