A 9 to 6 job, which is generally extended to more hours, is not everyone’s teacup. Therefore, people are attracted to starting something of their own – their own idea that can lead to profits. However, people are scared of the high risks involved in a new venture – high investment, operational inefficiencies, handling multiple tasks, and being accountable for every loss or wrong happening in the business. However, an entrepreneurial mindset gets fun out of it! That is probably what excites people to leave their jobs, venture into unchartered territories of exploring their interests, and test their risk-taking abilities.
An entrepreneur in a small town has different opportunities and challenges than a business in a large city. The best part is that it requires small capital and the competition is less. However, few challenges exist, such as a lesser population, which will form the potential customer base and lack of facilities required for a business idea. Nonetheless, the most important decision is to select the right business idea, which is proven and practical, and work on it with the educational background and professional experience to convert it into a successful business.
Some of the small-town retail businesses that can be considered include:
A grocery store can always be a sustainable idea for a small town. It does not sound attractive but can always earn you enough money. It requires knowledge in food, finance, handling point-of-sale, and a bit of management of tasks along with the focus on customer services.
Coffee shop and juice bar
Beverages form an important part of our daily life. Be it tea, coffee, juice, milkshakes, or other kinds of beverages; people are ready for it any time of the day. Such a coffee shop or juice bar requires a small investment and a bit of skill to make these beverages, and the shop is ready to start.
If you have baking skills, you can think of starting a bakery. It is a booming business, but the competition is high in this industry. There is a possibility of bringing uniqueness in taste and looks of the bakery items, and hence, a bakery business can turn out to be a profitable business.
This may be a risky choice because it requires a strategic location, building up a good place, tasty food, a hygienic place, talented cooks, and dependable staff. The risk also lies in the fact that people generally do not eat at the same place. Therefore, even if all the factors are taken good care of, it may be difficult to find loyal customers, and hence, profitability suffers. However, if it becomes famous among the townspeople, you may just be enjoying good profits.
Ice cream parlour
Ice cream shop is a good business idea if there are not many shops nearby or there is a dearth of quality and different flavoured ice creams. It can be started on a small scale and requires only an ice cream machine, ice cream dipping cabinets and blenders, and a willingness to handle the seasonal fluctuations in demand.
Poultry farming is a good business idea that can always generate revenue. However, there is high competition in the market, and it requires a strategic location where meat production or egg production can be placed. Clean water supply, proper hygiene, and a good network of suppliers are the key requirements for this business. A professional must be involved in taking care of all the operations and animals/birds on the farm.
Organic food or health food shop
Organic food and healthy food are the newest trends in any town or city. The concept of staying healthy has gained traction in the last few years, and this fad can be leveraged by opening a food shop, providing all of these options. You need to invest in setting up a shop and find a good network of suppliers for the regular supply of food options. Moreover, you need to remain updated on all the new fads of healthy food options available in bigger cities so that you get the first-mover advantage in your town.
Providing tuitions is one of the most sustainable business ideas in small towns or big cities. However, it requires investment in setting up an office and effort to find the right teacher or tutor for the subjects you intend to include. It is best to hire professional tutors with expertise in one or two subjects. A big requirement for this business is advertising and having strong word-of-mouth publicity for getting a good number of students, resulting in earnings.
Hair salon or beauty salon
A hair salon or a barbershop will never go out of business. Everyone needs a trim frequently, regardless of age or gender. If the beauty services and other additional services are added, then the clientele increases, and hence, the earnings rise. However, you require investment in a shop and a few employees with skills in these services. Quality is the biggest differentiator in these services; therefore, focus on obtaining competitive advantage and customer loyalty.
If you own carpentry skills, it can be a good income source for you. You can do on-demand jobs when someone hires you for some specific woodwork, or you can invest in buying wood and make your designs to sell in the market. So, use your creativity and flourish in the market.
Repairs and renovations business
Repairs and renovations can find customers anywhere and everywhere. There is always a demand for this: repairing some electronic item, unclogging a blocked sink, or renovating the roof to correct the leaking problem. It does not require a physical office, just some knowledge of the equipment and practical experience of handling such repair and renovation. There are not many expenses in this business, and there is always a high demand from residential and commercial complexes requiring a basic repairperson.
If you have a sense of fashion and remain in trend always, you can use this skill to guide others in your town to look fashionable. You require a good location, a network of suppliers from the wholesale market, and good knowledge of customers’ needs. You must use your knowledge of clothes to understand the clients’ requirements and suggest to them the best clothes in line with their taste and market trends.
Clothing alterations business
If you have the skills of sewing clothes and handling all kinds of alterations for all kinds of clothes, then this is the right business opportunity for you. It does not require a big investment, just the sewing equipment, and you are good to go even from your home. An expert tailor can be hired for sharing work. The business can grow a lot through word-of-mouth publicity.
In small towns, there is a possibility of having a large house with large gardens. Therefore, gardening services can be a good idea for someone with little knowledge and more interest. It includes cutting grass, fertilizing the lawns, treating for weeds and bugs, and regular care. It does not require any investment except for the equipment costs. However, customer satisfaction through quality services at reasonable rates is the top requirement for customer retention.
Fitness or yoga centre
Health and fitness is the new trend everywhere – be it metros, big cities, or small towns. This trend can be leveraged by opening a fitness centre with various fitness activities available depending on the skills of the founder/s. There can be Gym training, Yoga, Pilates, Dance, Zumba, Kickboxing, or any other fitness activity that has a demand in the town. However, it requires a good investment and longer schedules from early morning to late evening to make it successful.
This can be a good side business or second income source for entrepreneurs in small towns. It does not require a time commitment; however, the start-up costs are high. Entrepreneurs require business skills to create a demand for these services and assure the best quality services for retaining their customers.
A pharmacy store is a good idea; however, a pharmacy degree is a key requirement for this business. It requires a big investment in setting up a store and stocking up inventories. You also require a point of sale for billing purposes. Once you start earning, there is unlimited potential in this business, specifically if the store becomes famous for providing all kinds of medicines.
People celebrate many events in their life – be it birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, and many other days and events. All these events involve a basic tradition of gifting, and hence, a gift shop business will always generate revenues. Investment in setting up a shop and keeping various gift options is big. You must understand the demand well to find the right mix of gift options to keep in your store. Moreover, the premium is also high, thereby resulting in high revenues.
A second-hand store is a good business idea for small towns. For this, you can buy the goods online, or you can purchase from some customers and sell it to other customers. Some customers are interested in buying used, old, and second-hand products, as they are cheaper than buying new products.
Book reading is an evergreen hobby. Therefore, bookstores will always have customers. It requires an investment in having a store and ordering many books of various categories. Moreover, an interest in reading books and knowledge in different book genres is essential to help the customers in the bookstore. There are also options for combining some events in the store or having a coffee shop, gift shop, craft shop, along with the display of books.
Car wash services
A business idea that does not require any specific educational qualification or skill set is providing car wash services. The only qualification required is to pay attention to every small place in the car that has dirt, clean it, and make it look like a new one. The size and type of car wash services can be decided based on the capital, market demand, and unique features that you want to provide.
The houses in small towns might be big, and it gets difficult sometimes to do the complete clean-up of the entire area. Therefore, such cleaning services would find takers in small towns. It just requires investment in the cleaning equipment, and everything is set for the business.
Technology support services
Technology support will always remain in demand. People use computers, laptops, phones, printers, and other technology items that require repair or check when the problem arises. It does not require a physical office, just starting from your home would also do. If the demand rises and you are recruiting another person, you can buy a small shop.
Dry cleaning services
Dry cleaning becomes necessary for some clothes, specifically for suits, jackets, sweaters, and dresses. Although many such dry cleaners exist in small towns, you can choose a location where there is no dry cleaner nearby to cater to that area’s houses. Such a business does not require any specific skill set or education; it requires only the passion for providing high-quality services.
Such pet care stores exist in big cities. It is a requirement in small towns since pet grooming, walking, and boarding services are in demand. The competition is not so huge in small cities; therefore, the chances of success are huge.
Therefore, do not get scared of the big business world. There are many opportunities for small-town entrepreneurs to plan, start, and sustain a successful business. The key lies in making a perfect choice, conduct a complete analysis of the market demand, set up the requirements, and commit your full time to it to earn profits and be successful in the future.