If you are an aspiring entrepreneur who intends to start a new business in the United States, one of the best pieces of advice you will get is to start small and grow big. With that, you will be able to experiment with your business idea, learn, and then grow the business.
So, the best way to start a business is to start a small business, and that is the reason why most entrepreneurs choose to start small businesses. in 2023, the number of small businesses in the US reached 32.5 million, making up nearly all (99.9 percent) US businesses.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), a small business has no more than 1,500 employees and less than $38.5 million in average annual revenue, depending on the industry. While these numbers seem enormous, it’s crucial to note that nearly 90% of small businesses have fewer than 20 employees.
Having said that, here are the best small-scale business opportunities in the USA that an aspiring entrepreneur can start.
Small Scale Business Opportunities for Foreigners
Table of Content
- Open a Small Art Studio
- Open an Animation Studio
- Open a Bridal Shop
- Open an Etsy Shop
- Open a Buko Juice Shop
- Business Coaching Firm
- Open a Calligraphy Shop
- Coffee Vending Machine Business
- Start a Coin Dealer Business
- Start a Coin Laundry Business
- Start an Online Shoe Store Business
- Start an Indoor Flea Market Business
- Start a Charcuterie Business
- Start a Coffee Van Business
- Start a Cotton Candy Business
- Start a Fruit Juice Shop
- Open a Funnel Cake Shop
- Start a Hot Dog Vending Business
- Open a Popsicle Shop
- Acai Bowl Bar Business
- Start a Dog Treats Business
- Start a Fish and Chip Shop
- Start a Cake Decorating Supplies Business
- Start a Cigar Shop
- Start a Daiquiri Shop
- Start a Pearl Party Business
- Start a Pet Sitting Business
- Open a Lemonade Stand
- Start a Travel Agency
- Start Makeup Artist Business
- Open a Comic Book Store
- Counseling Private Practice Business
- Education Agency
- Open Electronics Repair Shop
- Firewood Delivery Business
- Start a Food Kiosk Business
- Freelance Writing Business
- Open a Frozen Custard Shop
- Fruits and Vegetable Retail Store
- Homemade Chocolates Retail Business
- Kettle Corn Production Business
- Open a Candy Store
- Handyman Business
- Open a Pet Store
- Wedding Photography Business
- Open a Bubble Tea Shop
- Landscaping Business
- Open Hot Sauce Shop
- Knife Sharpening Business
- Start Face Painting Business
Open a Small Art Studio
If you are an artist, as well as have a penchant for business, then you may want to open your art studio. It is important to point out that the art studio business is one of the businesses that can’t go out of fashion because people would always appreciate good artwork.
Depending on the scale you want to start, the startup capital for this type of business can range from small to moderate. It is advisable to run an art gallery alongside your art studio if indeed you want to maximize profits in this business.
Open an Animation Studio
An animation studio is a company that is involved in the production of animated media. Such companies conceive products to produce, own the physical production equipment, employ operators for that equipment, and hold a major stake in the sales or rentals of their animation works.
This type of business is not capital intensive and you can start the business from your savings and your home office. If you are hardworking and you have the right network in place, you can generate your start-up capital from one business deal.
Open a Bridal Shop
Bridal Shops are retail outlets that predominantly retail bridal wear and other accessories such as shoes, ties, gloves, and jewelry. Stores also typically provide alterations, such as hemming, taking in or letting out seams, and lengthening or shortening sleeves.
Some of them also go as far as renting wedding gowns and other wedding accessories. One good thing about this type of business is that you don’t need to enroll in a conventional school to learn how to start and run the business.
Open an Etsy Shop
If you are into handmade or vintage items and craft supplies, and you are considering taking your business to customers beyond your location, then one of your options is to open a shop on the Etsy online platform. Etsy shop just like most online businesses thrives on creativity, branding, and good business skills.
Any aspiring entrepreneur can open a shop on the Etsy platform, as long as they are creative, they can get people to promote their brand and they have good business skills. The starting size of this type of business doesn’t matter as long as the business is built on the right foundation and with the right product supplies.
Open a Buko Juice Shop
Buko juice shake is a simple mixture of fledgling coconut water, fledgling coconut meat, and milk. It contains easily digested carbohydrates in the form of sugar and electrolytes. Please note that it is not the same as high-fat coconut milk or oil, coconut water is a clear liquid in the fruit’s center that is tapped from young, green coconuts.
Buko juice shake business is one of the businesses that an entrepreneur can successfully start on the corner of a busy street or a mobile shop without breaking the bank for cash.
Business Coaching Firm
A business coaching business is one of many business ideas in the consulting industry that someone with certification in training and management can successfully launch in the United States of America. Business coaching firms offer business, leadership, and management training courses, including courses to enhance knowledge in particular areas, such as information technology and change management amongst others.
One good thing about business coaching is that it is not restricted to an industry. As a matter of fact, in a business coaching firm, you can choose to train people irrespective of the industry that they belong to.
Open a Calligraphy Shop
Calligraphy is a visual art related to writing. It is the design and execution of lettering with a broad-tipped instrument, brush, or other writing instruments. It is a set of skills and techniques for positioning and inscribing words so they show integrity, harmony, some sort of ancestry, rhythm, and creative fire. Modern calligraphy ranges from functional inscriptions and designs to fine-art pieces where the letters may or may not be readable.
If you intend to start a calligraphy services business, then you must take out time to learn the trade because the truth is that it only takes someone who has the technical skills and one who is creative and can truly pay attention to details to be able to make it big in this line of business.
Coffee Vending Machine Business
A vending machine business is a retail business that does not require face-to-face interaction with customers and can be run 24 hours a day depending on the location. This business offers flexibility because it can be tailored to suit the lifestyle of the owner, thereby creating a balance between work, life, and family. Entrepreneurs can also go into other businesses, while others can decide to make it a part-time business venture.
Start a Coin Dealer Business
Coin dealership business or coin collecting is the collecting of coins or other forms of minted legal tender. Coins of interest to collectors often include those that circulated for only a brief time, coins with mint errors, and especially beautiful or historically significant pieces.
It is important to point out that the coin dealer business is one of the businesses that can’t go out of fashion simply because people would always appreciate ancient stuff. Depending on the scale you want to start, the startup capital for this type of business can range from small to moderate.
Start a Coin Laundry Business
Starting a coin laundry business requires that you purchase or lease equipment that is needed to run the business. Beyond the skill set, you will be bringing to the table; equipment is also instrumental to starting and running the business. So, part of what you need to know before starting your coin laundry business is the required equipment that is used in a standard coin laundry shop.
Start an Online Shoe Store Business
An online shoe store is an e-commerce website or an online retail outlet that sells different types of shoes and related products. Please note that an online shoe store can be a brick-and-mortar shoe retail business with a website. So also, an online shoe store could be an eCommerce website or app where buyers can see a catalog of products (shoes) and electronically purchase them.
An indoor flea market (or swap meet) is a type of indoor market that provides space for vendors to sell previously-owned (second-hand) merchandise. This type of market is often seasonal.
However, in recent years there has been the development of ‘formal’ and ‘casual’ markets which divide a fixed-style market (formal) with long-term leases and a seasonal-style market with short-term leases. Consistently, there tends to be an emphasis on sustainable consumption whereby items such as used goods, collectibles, antiques, and vintage clothing can be purchased.
Start a Charcuterie Business
Charcuterie is a display of prepared meats paired with cheeses and plain vegetables on a traditional board. In essence, charcuterie is the culinary art of preparing meat products such as bacon, salami, ham, sausage, terrines, galantines, ballotines, pâtés, and confit. Interestingly, charcuterie remains a popular way to feed guests on a budget for small parties or wine tastings.
Start a Coffee Van Business
A coffee van business sells coffee from a van and coffee vans are designed to service areas where it might be difficult to quickly construct conventional coffee bars or coffee cafés, such as carnival sites, construction sites, sporting event centers, campgrounds, beaches et al. Coffee vans also take advantage of places like campuses, office complexes, military bases, mechanical village, industrial parks, farmer’s markets, cinemas, etc.
A cotton candy business is a business that makes and sells cotton candies most especially in children’s parties, parks, stadiums et al. Cotton candy, which is also known as fairy floss and candy floss, is a spun-sugar confection that resembles cotton. Cotton candy has no fat, no preservatives, or sodium and is about 115 calories per serving. It usually contains small amounts of flavoring or food coloring.
A fruit juice shop is a small, informal restaurant where fruit juice and in most cases, smoothies are made and served to customers. Fruit juice is ideally 100 percent pure juice made from the flesh of fresh fruit or whole fruit, depending on the type used. It is not permitted to add sugars, sweeteners, preservatives, flavorings, or colorings to fruit juice.
A funnel cake business is a business that essentially bakes (fry) and sells funnel cakes. Funnel cake, which is also known as a fried-dough dish is popular at fairs, carnivals, and boardwalks and among street vendors. To make funnel cake, the batter is swirled around in hot oil using a funnel, creating a lattice of deep-fried dough, and then served with heaps of powdered sugar.
A hot dog vending business sells different hot dogs and drinks from a shop, cart, or food truck. Hot dogs are prepared commercially by mixing the ingredients in vats where rapidly moving blades grind and mix the ingredients. This mixture is forced through tubes into casings for cooking. Please note that a large percentage of hot dogs sold in the United States of America are “skinless” rather than “natural casing” sausages.
Open a Popsicle Shop
A popsicle is a water or milk-based frozen snack on a stick. Unlike ice cream or sorbet, which are whipped while freezing to prevent ice crystal formation, an ice pop is “quiescently” frozen—frozen while at rest—and becomes a solid block of ice. A popsicle is 90 percent water. Its other ingredients are sugar, corn syrup, gum, and stabilizers. These ingredients give the popsicle a texture called “mouth feel” that makes it pleasant to eat.
Acai Bowl Bar Business
Acai bowl bar business is one of the businesses that an entrepreneur can successfully start on the corner of a busy street or a mobile shop without breaking the bank for cash. Acai bowl bars can be located in any part of town as long as people are living or working there.
Generally, Acai bowl bars are located in airports, seaports, shopping malls, hotel lobbies, railway stations, bus stations, campuses, hospital lobbies, sports centers, and any public facilities as long as you are given the permission to locate your acai bowl bar there.
Start a Dog Treats Business
A dog treat business is usually a pet-related business that prepares and sells dog treats. A dog treat business can be as small as a single location or as big as a national chain.
Please note that dog treats typically have high amounts of fat, oil, and carbohydrates, giving them stronger flavors and smells than most dog foods. The textures, sizes, and variety make treats an exciting change in your dog’s diet, but selecting the right treats and amounts to give your dog is crucial.
Start a Fish and Chip Shop
A fish and chip shop is usually a small limited-service shop that prepares and sells fish and chips, coffee, and other breakfast items. A fish and chip shop in the United States of America can be as small as a single location or as big as a national chain. Usually, fish and chip shops provide takeaway service, although some have seating facilities. Fish and chips is a popular hot dish consisting of fried fish in crispy batter, served with chips (French fries or wedges).
A cake decorating supplies business is a business that is involved in the sales and supply of everything that is used in the decoration of cakes. Cake decorating supplies are in high demand because no baker will bake a cake without decorating it.
Examples of cake decorating supplies are food coloring, cake turntable stand, cake decorating brushes, fondant and gum paste cake tool, gum paste wire and tape, fondant imprint mat, pastry bags, piping bags or decorating bags, piping tips (or tubes), decorating bag holder, cake airbrush and piping nozzles.
Start a Cigar Shop
A cigar shop can be considered a small-scale business in the United States of America. A cigar shop or smoke shop is a retail outlet where smokers go to buy their preferred cigar brand and smoke freely without the fear of being embarrassed, arrested, or fined. Not all cigar shops are open to the general public. In some cigar shops, you would be required to sign up as a member before you can have access.
A Daiquiri shop is a business that prepares and serves different flavors of Daiquiri and other drinks. Daiquiri is a family of cocktails whose main ingredients are rum, citrus juice (typically lime juice), and sugar or other sweeteners.
These drinks can also be combined and poured from a blender, eliminating the need for manual pulverization and producing a texture similar to a smoothie. On larger scales, such drinks are often commercially made in larger machines, and come in a wide variety of flavors made with various alcohol or liquors.
Another small-scale business you can start in the United States of America is a pearl party business. A pearl party business is a business that organizes pearl parties where attendees pay large sums of money to their hostess in hopes of finding a matching-sized pearl. The hostess will whip everyone into a frenzy as she frantically cracks open oyster after oyster in hopes of satisfying her customer’s whim.
A pet sitting business is a business that takes care of other people’s pets either in their home or on business premises that are dedicated to accommodating different types of pets.
The Pet Sitter’s responsibilities include preparing special meals for pets, reporting behavioral issues to pet owners, as well as playing with pets to encourage mental and physical stimulation. You should also be able to vacuum pet hair and dander off carpets and furniture.
A lemonade stand or a QSR (quick-service restaurant) is a business that prepares and sells lemonades from a stand. A lemonade stand refers to a small, temporary, stand-alone booth used in high-traffic areas to sell lemonade and a lemonade stand may be manned by one or two people. Please note that a lemonade stand is a business that is commonly owned and operated by children.
A travel agency is a business that provides travel and tourism-related services to the general public. Please note that a travel agency can also provide outdoor recreation activities, airline booking, car rentals, cruise trips, hotels, railways, travel insurance, package tours, insurance, guide books, VIP airport lounge access, arranging logistics for luggage and medical items delivery for travelers upon request, public transport timetables, car rentals, and bureau de change services.
Start Makeup Artist Business
Starting a makeup artistry business from your home, especially if you have the space to use as your studio, is one of the easy-to-start small-scale business ideas in the United States of America. You will be amazed at the high level of response you will get if you list this service online. Besides, you have the option of teaching people right there in your home how to become makeup artists and also operate a mobile makeup artist business.
Open a Comic Book Store
A comic book store is a place where different types of comic books are sold. Comic books which are also known as comic magazines or simply comics are publications that consist of comic art in the form of sequential juxtaposed panels that represent individual scenes. Starting a comic book store will require start-up capital (money), planning (feasibility studies, market survey, budgeting), and of course time.
Counseling Private Practice Business
Starting a counseling private practice business is yet another small-scale business that can be started in the United States of America. This business covers areas such as clinical psychology, industrial-organizational psychology, all other psychology, mental health social work, marriage, and family therapy, child, family, and school social workers, online counseling services, and retailing of self–help books and materials et al.
Education agents help clients handle all their educational concerns, help them gain admission to colleges or universities of their choice, help them process admission and help them package their applications and documents among other services.
They also help their clients (international students) obtain work permits in their new country of residence/studies. Interestingly, starting an education agency business is not too expensive except for the money required to rent and furnish office space, acquire the relevant licenses and permits et al.
Open Electronics Repair Shop
Opening an electronics repair shop is another money-spinning business that an aspiring entrepreneur who is looking towards starting a business in the United States of America should explore. One good thing about this type of business is that you can learn technical skills from someone who is already in the business or from a technical school.
All you need to do is to rent a shop in a good location and then advertise your electronics repair business. If you are lucky to be one of the few electronic repair technicians in your community, you will surely make good money from this business.
Firewood Delivery Business
A firewood delivery business delivers firewood to people in their homes or offices. With this type of business, you can choose to own a firewood store if you have the financial capacity or you can operate without a store. The bottom line is that you should know how to source firewood and how to get them delivered to your customers.
Start a Food Kiosk Business
Another small-scale business that you can start in the United States of America is a food kiosk business. Although this type of business is profitable, at the same time you can run at a loss if your food kiosk is not well positioned and managed.
It is important to state that loads of food kiosks close shops simply because they failed to conduct detailed market surveys and feasibility studies before opening. Your ability to always up your service deliveries will help you stay competitive.
Freelance Writing Business
The freelance writing business is yet another small-scale business that you can start in the United States of America. Please note that if you are planning on making a career running a content mill or freelance writing company, you’ll need to have a good sense of responsibility toward your clients or employers and yourself.
There are writing groups and freelance writing associations and it is a good idea to belong to them so that you can meet other writers, get information, seek career advice, and establish your credentials as a writer. A quick search using search engines and social media should find organizations in your local area or country.
Open a Frozen Custard Shop
Frozen custard is a cold dessert just like your usual ice cream, but it is made with eggs in addition to cream and sugar. It is usually kept at a warmer temperature compared to ice cream and typically has a denser consistency. Both ice cream and frozen custard are made with milk, cream, and sugar.
There is no major difference in ingredients and the machine used to make the frozen dessert and ice cream. Please note that if you intend to start a frozen custard business, you are expected to launch the business in a location with the right climatic condition; a place where there is some measure of fair weather.
Fruits and Vegetable Retail Store
If you are considering starting a fruit and vegetable retail store business, the good news is that you can’t get it wrong because various types of vegetables and fruits are consumed by people all over the globe.
It is important to state that starting a vegetable and fruit retail store business comes with its fair share of challenges, but that does not rule out the fact that it is indeed a profitable business venture, especially if you locate the business in a good location and you know how to source fresh fruits and vegetables.
Homemade Chocolates Retail Business
Homemade chocolates are chocolates that are made at the home and not mass-produced in a factory. Those who are into homemade chocolate retail business ensure that they target locations where they can easily attract children because children are the major consumers of chocolates and candies. A homemade chocolate retail business is very easy to start and it can be started with very minimal start-up capital.
Kettle Corn Production Business
Kettle corn is made from regular popping corn. The difference between regular popcorn and kettle corn is how the corn is popped. Traditionally, kettle corns are made in a large, cast-iron kettle that has been oiled. The popcorn is popped before it is tossed with a little salt, and of course, some sugar, to give it that addictive flavor. Depending on the scale you want to start, the startup capital for this type of business can be quite low.
Open a Candy Store
A candy store is a retail outlet where different candies, chocolates, chewing gum, and toffees et al are sold. Candy stores ensure that they target locations where they can easily attract children because children are the major consumers of such products. A candy retail store is a very easy small-scale business to start and it is not so capital intensive.
A handyman business provides a wide range of services needed for the maintenance of buildings and properties. The services provided by a handyman include plumbing, electrical works, carpentry, painting, heating, and cooling services, and other building and property maintenance and repair works.
A handyman business can be set up by almost anyone. It is not only men that can be found in this industry as there are also a lot of women that are involved in the business. Whether you are well versed in facility/property management or you have no such experience, it is a business that can be conveniently done.
Open a Pet Store
A pet store is a store that sells a range of pets, such as dogs, cats, fish, and birds, and also sells pet foods and supplies. Some stores also offer pet services, such as grooming and training.
Starting a pet store is not as difficult as other businesses that involve detailed technicalities. Once you can secure a store in a good location, stock your store with the right products, and can market your products, then you should be rest assured that the business will grow.
Wedding Photography Business
Wedding photography is a photography business that is a subset of the broad photography industry. As the name implies, it is a photography business that covers wedding events; it covers pre-wedding photoshoots, wedding ceremony proper, and also post-wedding photoshoots (usually honeymoon and special wedding thanksgiving services et al).
Starting a wedding photography business is not a difficult task and it requires moderate start-up capital to set the business up. No doubt wedding photography business is a profitable venture especially if you have the right link that will ensure that you have a steady flow of clients. People you can partner with to make it big as a wedding photographer are wedding planners, churches, magistrates et al.
A bubble tea shop, bubble tea café, or bubble tea bar is a small, informal restaurant where bubble tea and light refreshments such as light snacks, sandwiches, muffins, fruit, or pastries are served to customers.
Bubble tea shops sell bubble tea, a Taiwanese tea-based drink with a variety of toppings, such as chewy tapioca balls. Bubble teas are described as “sweet teas in a thick Styrofoam cup, mixed with non-dairy creamer, ice, and a spoonful of black tapioca pearls.
Another small-scale business you can start in the United States of America is the landscaping business. Any entrepreneur who intends to start his or her own landscaping business and make huge profits from it must be very creative and must be ready to go the extra mile to convince clients that he or she can deliver an excellent job and he or she must prove beyond every reasonable doubt that they are competent.
A hot sauce shop is a business that produces and sells different types and flavors of hot sauce. Most hot sauce is a combination of chili peppers, vinegar, and salt. Many hot sauces are fermented to add that funky flavor element. They can be liquid or paste, green, red, or even brown. It’s often added to dishes like burgers, burritos, tacos, eggs, and marinades.
Knife Sharpening Business
Knife sharpening business is a business that helps clients sharpen their knives, scissors, and other sharp edges/blade-like tools and instruments. They can operate from a shop/kiosk or their truck as a mobile knife sharpening operator.
If you are looking for a small-scale business to start in the United States of America; a business that is less stressful, less challenging, and with pretty low start-up capital, then you may want to consider starting a knife sharpening business.
Start Face Painting Business
Lastly, facing the painting business is yet another small-scale business that an aspiring entrepreneur can start in the United States of America. Interestingly, face painting is not just restricted to kids and teens. Adults also love their faces to be painted during parties and carnivals.
This type of business is not capital intensive and you can start the business from your savings. Usually, party or carnival face painters charge based on their discretion but on average, they charge about $100 per hour. One good thing about this type of business is that you can combine it with other businesses without overworking yourself.