With millions of businesses already in existence, it may seem like there’s no room for an aspiring entrepreneur to create an innovative startup idea. However, the truth is that there are many paths to success in business. You might not need a new idea for a startup business. Instead, you can focus on improving existing products – or just putting a new spin on an established idea.
The benefits of entrepreneurship certainly make the effort involved well worth it. You’ll enjoy the freedom of becoming your own boss, and, creating your own startup company can bring you more satisfaction than traditional employment along with the potential to increase your income.
Contrary to what you might believe, there are a number of easy startup business ideas that don’t necessarily require a large upfront investment. The first step, of course, is to come up with an idea.
15 of the Best Startup Business Ideas
Below are 15 startup ideas that make for a great way to create your own business, even if you already have a busy schedule. We've also included estimated startup costs – the initial expenses that you can expect to incur when first starting your business as they're essential to include in your financial planning.
1. App Development
New mobile apps that help people solve problems or organize their lives are always in demand. If you have some coding skills, or are willing to learn, you might be able to create the next killer app. Start by doing some research to see what’s in demand and make sure your idea hasn’t already been done. Even if it has, it’s possible for you to do it even better.
Average startup cost: The majority of your costs will be in the development of the app if you can't do so yourself, which can easily range from around $10,000 to $500,000 to develop.
2. Online Courses
There’s always a need for great teachers who are able to transfer their knowledge in special skill sets. Developing an online course can be an easy startup business idea if you have the depth of knowledge in an in-demand field. If you have skills in SEO, coding, marketing or design, you might be able to create an online course that will become popular. Personalize it by developing your own curriculum and be sure to create lessons that are interesting and engaging – and this could be a winning idea.
Average startup cost: Hosting your course on a reputable e-learning platform and marketing yourself won't be cheap. Expect to spend about spending from $200 to $5,000+ to launch your course.
3. Virtual Assistant
Do you love organizing, but hate going to the office? A business as a virtual organizer is the perfect fit for those who are task-oriented and love organization. And this is an easy niche to get started with little cost and plenty of sites that can help you find your first client. Want to get an edge over your competition? Diversify your skill set and make yourself invaluable to others.
Average startup cost: Your ability to do your job well will heavily depend on having a good quality computer, phone and headset. If you don't already have those, expect to spend about $2,000-3,000.
4. Ebook Writing
If writing is a passion of yours, why not put it to good use by launching your own writing business? Writing ebooks costs nothing but your time, and with easy delivery through platforms such as Amazon, you can easily publish without an agent or publishing house. As more people discover your books you might be able to gain exposure and grow your revenues.
Average startup cost: Though Amazon doesn't actually charge any cost to self-publish, for your book to succeed, you'll need to invest in a quality editor (or grammar editing software like Grammarly), and consider paying a cover artist and formatter. Luckily, these upfront costs can be kept quite low at around $150-2,000.
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- Regular payments help to build business credit profile
5. Graphic Design
If you have artistic talent, a graphic design business could be your perfect startup. A talented graphic design artist can really make the branding for any company. Beware of competition, though. Graphic design is a competitive space, and to really stand out, you’ll need your own style and niche. Focusing your design work on a specific industry can be a great way to stand out in the space and own it as your own.
Average startup cost: You'll need to invest in a quality computer, as well as access to stock image libraries like Shutterstock and creative software like Adobe Photoshop, licenses for which can run quite high. All things considered, you can launch your business anywhere from $2,000-10,000.
6. Website Development
A website is a requirement for every business these days, but most new business owners are far too busy to put the necessary time and effort into creating a website that really stands out. A website development business can take the burden of creating a website away from entrepreneurs. To really stand out in this niche, you can offer your clients unique website templates or tools that make updating the site simple and easy.
Average startup cost: This is another field where startup costs can be kept quite low - you just need a computer and an internet connection. Your cost will come in marketing your services, such as running ads online. That can cost you around $2,000.
7. Food Truck
Do you have a passion for food and cooking, but no capital to open your own restaurant? Why not consider launching a food truck. The startup costs are far lower, and you’ll also gain flexibility. People are always looking for great new food options, and you could be the one to excite their taste buds. Plus, with a mobile food business, you can travel to where the customers are rather than being tied to one location.
Average startup cost: Like restaurants, food trucks require a lot of upfront investment - from the truck itself to gas, food costs, equipment and permits. Expect to spend a hefty $30,000-115,000+ to get started.
8. Interior Design
Everyone loves their living spaces to be a reflection of their personality, but most people don’t have the eye for design that’s needed to make a space unique and attractive. If you do have that skill, you can turn it into a business in interior design. Because this industry tends to be very network-based, finding a mentor who can guide you through your first year can be a great way to bootstrap the business.
Average startup cost: Unique to interior design are mandatory insurance costs - which you'll need to take out to protect against damages in people's homes. Policies will run you about $500-1,000 on average.
9. SaaS Startup
If you love to code and are good at solving problems, a business creating Software as a Service could be your ideal niche. The key is in finding a business problem that you can solve by building software. If you can nail that, then you’ll be able to easily sell your new software solution. And if you are the lead developer in your business, this can be a very lean startup model.
Average startup cost: Getting into the field of software can be pricey. Launching a quality SaaS product can cost between $150,000-400,000+ depending on the features you'd like to build. And if you plan to sell to highly regulated industries, cybersecurity costs will be another thing to consider.
10. Snack Company
Everyone loves a tasty snack, and if you have a homemade snack that everyone loves, you could turn that into a business. Start out small by selling your snack at farmers markets and other local events and soon you might be the next Mrs. Fields.
Average startup cost: Unlike running a restaurant, baking or making food out of your home luckily has far lower startup costs, anywhere from $3,000-5,000 for ingredients, equipment and marketing yourself.
11. Cybersecurity Startup
Technology is now in nearly everything we do, and that means keeping our personal information safe is more important than ever. The people keeping our data safe are the cybersecurity experts, and if you are good at protecting online systems and data, you can turn that skill into a very lucrative business model. If you can offer exceptional protection and services, you can turn this into quite a profitable career.
Average startup cost: You'll need a high quality computer, relevant software and an education budget to keep up with the ever-changing developments in cybersecurity. Expect to spend between $5,000-20,000.
12. SEO Services
We mentioned the need for website development above, but what good is a website if people can’t find you in search engine results? Enter search engine optimization (SEO), a discipline that’s focused on making websites more attractive to search engines. If you have skills in optimizing websites to be found in search, you just might have a great business foundation. Every website needs this service, so your potential customer base is immense. Just remember that to create a successful SEO services startup business, you need a deep understanding of SEO, and will also need to keep up on the ever-changing search trends.
Average startup cost: Like other fields on this list, your main cost will come in marketing your services to differentiate yourself from the competition, which can cost as little as $500-1,000 to start.
13. Fitness Startup
The fitness industry is one of the largest demands and isn’t likely to stop growing. While trends in the industry change, there will always be the need for people to achieve their fitness goals. If you have a good understanding of how they can do this and a unique approach to fitness, you can become a leader in the space.
Average startup costs: The biggest cost to fitness gurus is renting space in a gym where you'll be able to conduct your classes. And if your aim is to launch your own gym from scratch, beware of real estate and equipment costs that can run from $10,000 all the way up to a whopping million dollars.
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14. Business Consulting
If you already have some experience in creating and growing a business, you might be in a position to help others do the same. Focus on a specialty like business marketing and provide exceptional service and you could soon turn your business startup into a powerhouse.
Average startup costs: Similarly to the other consulting positions on this list, marketing your consulting services can cost as little or as much as you're willing to spend. Starting with a $500-1,000 ad spend is a good bet.
15. Pet Services
Research shows that 70% of U.S. households have a pet of some type. All of these pet parents want the best for their furry friends – and you could be the one to deliver that. Not only does it help the pet owners, it is also very rewarding for you as the business owner. There are a number of niches to consider, such as pet grooming, pet sitting, or dog walking. Or create pet treats to sell, or even a line of pet clothing. Gain the trust of your customers and you’ll never lack for new clients.
Average startup cost: Pet services is an area where you can start from nearly zero investment - but be sure to account for pet first aid classes and other required certifications at, around $50-500.
How to Choose a Startup Idea
The first thing to do when considering new ideas for startup business is your homework. Don’t just jump right into the business before making sure there’s a demand for your business. It’s estimated that 35% of new businesses fail simply because there’s no demand for their product or service in the market they serve.
The small business startup ideas we’ve highlighted above can be approached or even combined in a number of ways to make them uniquely yours. If you are short on capital, choose a business that doesn’t require large amounts of inventory or a huge marketing budget. Start small and grow your business over time.
Speaking of growth, you should also take the time to write a business plan. This plan should include your business objectives, financial projections, market analysis, and your sales plan. Having a solid business plan can not only help to keep your business on track, it can also help later if you decide to seek out investors or apply for a business loan.
If you are still struggling then be sure to consider any skills you possess and see how those align with the business ideas we’ve presented. There’s a business idea for everyone, you just need to find it and make it your own.