Looking to launch a business this year? Welcome to our list of the best small business opportunities for 2020, chosen from across a variety of industries. To make the list, these businesses must:
- Have the potential to be profitable now and for many years in the future
- Be resilient in uncertain economic times
- Not require a Ph.D. or decades of experience. Some require trade school training, a university degree, or an apprenticeship, while others need only some prior experience and a passion for the industry
- Not demand large amounts of startup capital, but only what every startup business requires: dedication, hard work, perseverance, and a desire to succeed
Most of these are also great opportunities for home-based businesses.
None of these is a get-rich-quick scheme. If your goal in life is to become very wealthy, chances are you won’t get there as a small business owner. But you’ll have a chance to generate a healthy income, be your own boss, and make all the decisions. You could potentially have a more flexible lifestyle. Building something from the ground up can make starting a business very rewarding in itself.
Here are our picks for the best small business ideas based on current trends in business and demographics, in no particular order.
Fulfillment by Amazon Sales
The Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) program allows sellers of products to market their wares through Amazon, the largest online retail platform in the world.
Amazon takes most of the headaches out of running an online retail business. In exchange for fulfillment and monthly storage fees, it handles storage, packing, shipping, returns, and customer service queries.
Sellers are responsible for shipping their products to an Amazon fulfillment center and for creating their product listings on their Amazon store. Once listings are live and sales are made, the seller begins receiving their portion of the proceeds on a weekly basis.
FBA sellers source products for their Amazon stores in a variety of ways, such as:
- From original product ideas that the seller gets manufactured to specifications
- From local or national wholesalers
- From overseas bulk discount suppliers such as Alibaba
- By arbitrage — purchasing discounted items online or from retail stores and reselling them for a profit
If you wish to start a product sales business, the Amazon FBA program is an ideal way to get into the online retail marketplace.
It’s unfortunate that nowadays many neglect considering skilled trades as a career choice, in part due to the erroneous belief that trades are poorly paid. In fact, skilled tradespeople are generally well paid and enjoy satisfying careers.
In manufacturing alone, it’s estimated that almost 53% of job openings left by boomers will go unfulfilled by 2028. These shortages will reach across many trades, and create a huge demand for talented workers in trades, such as:
- Carpentry and general construction
- Plumbing, pipefitting, and steamfitting
- Electrical and electronic control systems
- Heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC)
- Machinists and metalworkers
The nature of skilled trades makes them ideally suited for self-employment:
- Many have fairly high salaries and strong demand for experienced tradespeople in most locations.
- Most trades can be operated as home-based businesses as the work is performed at the customer job site.
- Compared to many businesses, startup capital costs are relatively low for most skilled trades, and most cannot be automated to any degree, ensuring future job security.
- Demand exists everywhere. Many experienced tradespeople take advantage of opportunities in remote or overseas locations to command much higher levels of compensation.
Why not take advantage of the demand and consider one of the skilled trades as your next business opportunity?
Software engineers and developers create, test, and maintain software on a variety of platforms, from mainframes to mobile devices. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for software developers is expected to increase by 21% through 2028, and the median pay in 2018 was $105,590 per year.
The nature of the software development industry makes it ideal for contract employment. Many software engineers start out as salaried employees and eventually become self-employed contractors. Cloud computing and ease of remote access make software development an ideal home-based business.
Other high-demand, well-paid opportunities in the information technology sector include:
- Systems analysts
- Hardware and software technicians
- Network engineers
- Security specialists
Meal kit services are becoming increasingly popular with busy people who don’t have the time to shop and prepare healthy meals and wish to lower their environmental footprint by reducing food waste. The meal kit industry in the U.S. is expected to reach $11.6 billion in sales by 2022.
Customers select recipes online, and meal kits with pre-chopped and measured ingredients, along with instructions for cooking and final preparation, are delivered to their homes on the chosen date. Listed information such as calorie counts allows consumers to adhere to dietary requirements.
Meal kit suppliers often avoid large wholesalers and source ingredients from local farms, creating business opportunities for small to mid-size growers, ranchers, and seafood suppliers. Opportunities may also be available for delivery-service providers to collect ingredients from producers and deliver the end product to customers’ homes.
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) represent a huge leap forward in immersing the user in a realistic sensory experience. Hardware and software vendors are working furiously to bring new VR products to the marketplace, and the industry is growing rapidly — the global market is expected to expand by 34.5% from 2019 to 2025.
The potential uses of virtual reality for business or pleasure are practically limitless. For example:
- 3D movies: Movies are already being developed in 360-degree VR.
- Real estate marketing: Imagine searching for a new home and being able to take an online VR walkthrough of an advertised house from the comfort of your desk chair.
- Gaming: VR is revolutionizing the gaming industry, with new VR titles being released on an almost-weekly basis.
- Team-building exercises: Shake up team building events with a group VR experience.
- Social media VR interaction: Friends will be able to interact in a virtual online space.
- Training: VR can inject a much higher degree of realism into training scenarios. Businesses such as UPS are launching new delivery driver training programs using VR.
- Meditation: VR is ideal for customized meditation
VR “escape rooms” and lounges (where groups of people get together to play VR games or go on VR adventures or solve group puzzles) are experiencing phenomenal growth. If you are tech savvy and interested in the technology, virtual reality could be the business opportunity for you.