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.
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:
|Bookkeeping||Basic financial record-keeping for businesses.|
|Tax Preparation||Assisting businesses and individuals with tax filings.|
|Payroll Services||Managing employee payroll and related taxes.|
|Auditing||Conducting financial audits for businesses.|
|Budgeting and Forecasting||Assisting businesses in creating budgets and forecasts.|
|Financial Consulting||Providing expert financial advice to businesses.|
|Small Business Setup||Assisting entrepreneurs with setting up their businesses.|
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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