The 35 Best Small Business Ideas For Small Towns

If you're looking for small business ideas for small towns, you've come to the right place. Whether you're looking for a new venture to start up or want some inspiration, these 35 businesses are sure to get your creative juices flowing. From food trucks to pet grooming, there's something here for everyone! So what are you waiting for? Start brainstorming today!

two women with small town business ideas with clothing
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Small Town Business Ideas

Looking to start a business in a small town? You're not alone. Many entrepreneurs see the appeal of running a business in a close-knit community. There are several advantages to starting a small town business, including the potential for lower overhead costs and a built-in customer base.

Of course, before you open your doors, it's important to choose the right business for your town. To get started, here are a few small-town business ideas to consider:

1. Rental Properties 

If you think that investing in the rental property business in a small town is a bad idea, think again. Small towns are the perfect place to start a rental business; everyone needs a place to live so housing is always in demand.

Properties are available in every condition and every price range. There are sweet bargains if you know where to look. You only need a small percentage (usually 10-20 percent) of the property's selling price to buy it. The rest of the money comes from a bank or a private lender. Just ensure to research banks with reasonable interest rates.

To decrease your deposit, even more, you can use equity from a previous purchase. If your business does well, your tenants' rent will cater to the remainder of the loan. You can learn almost everything you need to know to buy rental properties from the Bigger Pockets website.

person with their own business in grooming
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2. Pet Grooming And Boarding 

According to the 2019-2020 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA), 85 million US families (67 percent of households) own a pet. Dogs and cats make up the majority of pets.

Pet parents are increasingly treating their furry companions as their children. From dressing them up to holding parties for them, people want the best care for their pooches. 

But with our busy lifestyle, not every pet owner has the time to groom and pamper their pets. When leaving town for a family or business trip, they need someone they can trust to look after them; this creates a major business opportunity if you love pets.

People are willing to pay handsomely for such kinds of services. The average American spends approximately $120 on pet-related expenses every month. With the right pet grooming and boarding business, this money could be lining your own pockets. 

Proximity matters a lot for your business to thrive, so ensure you set up your business near your customers. Imagine how happy pet owners will be to have a pet grooming facility located nearby instead of driving for hours for a simple trim.

If there's no pet specialty chain like Petco or PetSmart in your town, you can become the one-stop-shop for all things furry. Consider selling pet food, clothing, and toys.

3. Handyman 

Are you the one your family, friends and neighbors call when the roof is leaking, or the sink is clogged? One of the profitable small business ideas for men is being a general handyman that can perform repairs and finish home projects.

In recent times, it appears that handymen are hard to come by. The available ones are not enough to service the whole community. Homeowners are forced to hire professionals well outside of their area.

So if you're in the market for a home improvement business to start in a small town, you know what services to offer. You need tools and equipment for the jobs, but considering how easily you can set up a shop in your basement or garage, other overhead costs could be low.

Just like pet grooming and boarding, this is a business where convenience and distance matter. You can run your business alone or with one or more employees. Marketing is important for this business. Create service packages to meet your client's needs and advertise them.

4. Cleaning Homes Or Businesses

Cleaning service is another small town business idea that will thrive. Homeowners and businesses need to hire cleaning companies to handle the types of regular cleaning jobs they don't have the time or inclination to do.

But cleaning companies don't operate in small towns. Even without hiring employees, you can make a solid living on your own. Projections show that the cleaning industry will be a $74 million industry by 2022. 

The cleaning service requires minimal overhead. You don't need to rent out office spaces or other facilities. To start this small town business, you just need cleaning supplies, a car to move around, and a website to advertise your services. 

To have a thriving business, you just need to take pride in your work and have a passion for success. With time, you can charge enough to hire an assistant or employee.

5. Painting Contractor 

Painting your house is one of the best ways to improve the appearance of your home and many people are willing to pay to have it done.

You can start your own business as a painter with just a few steps and about $500:

  • Register your painting company – $100
  • Create a Facebook page or website – Free
  • Get business insurance – $100 per month
  • Painting equipment – Free (I’ll explain here)
  • Bid on jobs
  • Getting your first painting customer – $100
  • Make a profit

6. Hair And Nail Salon

People need to do their hair, nails, facials, waxing, and makeup all the time.

The demand for these services is always there, so if you have a creative flair and enjoy helping your community members look their best, a hair and nail salon is among the exciting small business ideas for women.

There are three main ways to start setting up a shop for this personal care business, depending on how ambitious you are.

If you have the skills but are working with a tight budget, you can convert an unused room in your house into a salon. Just ensure where you live is easily accessible to people in your small community. You don't want to struggle to attract customers.

Alternatively, you can rent out a booth at a larger hair salon and start offering your services. If you go this route, pick a salon that already has loyal customers and a great reputation.

Thirdly, you can open your hair and nail salon and hire hairdressers/stylists as employees. These services may require special licensing or certification, so ensure you check the state requirements.

small town yoga business
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7. Gym Or Yoga Studio

There are always going to be locals looking to get in shape. Odds are, a few fitness buffs live in your town.

Now more than ever, the gym and yoga studio business is gaining more ground. There's an increased transition from remedial care to a preventive care approach. This awareness has created opportunities for initiating a yoga studio for entrepreneurs.

If you're passionate about health and fitness, you will help the locals improve their lifestyle, stay healthy and live longer. Find a unique gym name and purchase the required fitness equipment. You don't have to own a big gym or studio with rows and rows of cardio and weights equipment. 

Boutique fitness is the new trend. Simply put, a boutique fitness studio is a small gym (usually 800 – 3500 sqft) that specializes in a few fitness areas. 

Although a gym or yoga studio business is not the easiest to start, it can have a large payoff. Consider selling refreshments and workout supplements as a side hustle.

8. Ice Cream Shop

You probably remember your favorite ice cream shop or the ice cream man as a kid. There's something particularly charming about a small-town ice cream shop.

Ice cream is an $11 billion industry. According to the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), the average American consumes more than 23 lbs. of ice cream annually.  

There is a ready market for ice cream, and this specialty food service thrives well during summer. Most ice cream sells from March through July. But if you live in a warmer climate like California, Texas, or Florida, your operation time will be much longer. 

If your neighborhood isn't already filled with all kinds of dessert options, step up! You can provide treats for local community members of all ages. You're guaranteed to pull a crowd.

Folks living in small towns have a limited number of entertainment options. When it comes to weekend meetups with friends and family days outs, you can get lots of customers.

An ice cream shop is an ideal low-investment venture. All you need is an ice cream machine, ice cream dipping cabinets and blenders. 

This business requires little training and skills to start and manage. It won't take you two weeks to learn how to whip different flavors of ice cream. The more the ice cream variety, the better as people can pick whatever flavor they like.

You can operate a mobile ice cream shop if you don't have the required capital to rent a shop. A mobile shop is more cost-friendly and much less risky to open than a brick-and-mortar shop.

It will enable you to visit areas that are more likely to generate sales like cinema theatres and public parks. 

9. Landscaper 

Unlike big town people who live in big serviced apartments, people in small towns usually live in big houses that come with lots of outdoor space. Where there are lawns and gardens, there's a need to care for them. 

If you enjoy investing time outdoors, landscaping can be the business for you! Landscaping is all about designing, planning, rehabilitation and preservation of land and property. Your work is to beautify the environment. 

All you need for this business is the necessary tools, supplies and some expertise. A lawnmower, wheelbarrow, pruner, shovel and rake are the basic tools needed. Landscaping lets you work at your own pace and time.

Convince homeowners that you're the best person for the job, and they'll turn into repeat clients. The advantage of a continuing business is that you're likely to keep the same customers for years.

10. Small Town Catering Business

Everybody loves good food, but most folks have no idea how to put it together. Catering has been growing in popularity over the last few years.

If there's no catering service in your area, and preparing food appeals to you, this could be a profitable business idea. You need to have a knack for the culinary arts, be personable, and enjoy interacting with all people.

Leverage partnerships with community gatherings and other businesses where catering services are needed. Just ensure you obtain the necessary food handling certificate in your state.

One good thing about the catering business is that you have the sole right to determine the price you want to sell your menu regardless of what your competitors are charging; this is especially true if you're good at your job.

man who runs photography small town business
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11. Photography Is A Lucrative Business

Say cheese!

Photography is another profitable hobby that will pretty much always have customers. People will always have babies, get married, graduate, and want to capture all those sweet memories.

Offer photography workshops and framing services as extra revenue streams. 

Keep a well-designed business card for your photography business so that prospective clients can call you when they need your services.

If you're a serious-minded entrepreneur, open your own studio and website.

12. Tattoo Parlor

Body modifications, especially tattooing, have increased in popularity over the last few years. A recent IPSOS survey revealed that 30 percent of Americans have at least one tattoo.

Just like photography and landscaping, you can't get tattoos online. Opening a tattoo parlor is a great business venture if you have the talent. 

Unlike haircuts, tattoos are permanent. People will want to be tattooed by someone they know and trust. Let your work do the talking. If well managed, your tattoo parlor can comfortably stand the test of time.

13. A Coffee Shop Can Be A Profitable Business

A coffee shop is just about the most reliable low investment and high-profit business you can start in a small town in you're a coffee connoisseur. It will thrive irrespective of the season.

America is obsessed with coffee. The average American drinks 3 cups of coffee per day. You're probably reading this with a cup of coffee in your hand.

You can make a decent income serving up hot cups of cappuccino or pulling shots of espresso. One thing, people love coffee in the morning. You should be comfortable working early morning hours. 

To help combat slow periods in the afternoon and evening, you can add other sweet treats like fresh juice, tasty buns, or doughnuts to your roster. This way, you'll be able to target other people who are not big coffee fans. 

While you don't need expert training or formal education to run a coffee shop, you should at least be familiar with inventory management. 

Startup costs will depend on your shop location and business model, but they are generally moderate.

14. Small Town Auto Repair Business 

Just like other machines, car repair is inevitable. Using cars regularly means that at some point, they will develop a mechanical issue. Living far away from a dealership makes routine servicing a hassle.

Car engines are becoming more and more complicated, and very few people repair cars on their own. The rest would rather go to the nearest special auto repair shop and entrust a professional.

Auto repair business is one of the highest thriving small town business ideas, but it takes skills.

You can start with services such as diagnosing, emergency repair, servicing, tire changing, and towing services. 

15. Laundromat 

Everyone needs clean clothes. While people in small towns have to do laundry, not all of them have access to washers and dryers in their own homes. Even those who own laundry machines occasionally go to laundromats to wash specialty items.

Since there's a constant demand for self-service laundromats and coin wash facilities, you can start one. Laundromat businesses may have a high startup cost but are fairly low maintenance with relatively high returns on investment. They don't need a large time commitment from you. You might also consider adding your own ATM machine to your laundromat.

Many successful business ideas for small towns boil down to offering great service while providing a gathering place for the local community.

16. Computer Services

Our lives are so wrapped up in technology. We rely on computers for just about everything – storing media files and business records, doing assignments, playing games. 

You're probably reading this post from your PC. So what will happen when it breaks down or gets a virus? You'll need to repair it. But not everyone has the skill to upgrade the software or repair their laptops or PCs when they need to.

With computer repair skills, the required repair tools and a repair shop in a good location, you can make a decent income repairing other people's computers. If you work from your home, consider offering a pick-up and drop-off service; this is a relevant business all year round.

You can also offer tech support as the demand for this service is growing. We live in the age of data breaches. All businesses and individuals need technology support. Your customer base could include school boards, colleges, churches, local governments, hospitals, and other small businesses. 

two women at small town bakery
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17. Small Town Bakery

The bakery business might appear to be an obvious idea, but if your town doesn't have a good bakery, you have the opportunity to fix it.

The smell of freshly baked cookies in the morning will wake up even the laziest person on earth. Small-town people are just as passionate about their bread and pastries as they are about their morning cup of coffee.

Whether you sell freshly baked croissants or beautiful art cakes for birthday parties and weddings, there's a ready market. Just ensure that they taste good and are well packaged. Some of the items you'll need for this business include ovens, bowls, mixers, pan racks, scales, etc.

But much like owning a food truck or coffee shop, owning a bakery is not something to go into halfheartedly. You not only need to be knowledgeable about baking but also passionate. 

The bakery business is highly sustainable, and there is a good chance for growth. Besides individual customers, you can supply your products to other businesses such as local retail chains, restaurants and coffee shops. 

Try to connect with event and wedding planners; this will help you expand your business faster.

18. Bed And Breakfast 

Do you live in a small town that is popular with tourists? Is hosting visitors, cooking meals, and meeting new people something you enjoy doing?  

A B&B is one of the small-town businesses that work. You can cater to people who don't have hosts ready to accommodate them for their stay.

There is no shortage of hotels in big cities. A good number of them are part of larger chains. But most small towns are just too small to support an entire hotel.

Every small town has a favorite bed and breakfast. While these small inns do best in areas with tourism, you can cater to locals looking for a special night. Have Valentine's Day and Anniversary Day offers.

Your town may be small, but there's always someone visiting and needing somewhere to spend the night. If you live near a college, you can offer accommodation to visiting parents, professors, speakers, prospective students and alumni.  

You can also set up a small gallery or a souvenir shop in your B&B.  

19. Gift Shop

Some rural small towns either don't have a gift shop or have a poorly stocked one. Your community will appreciate a well-stocked gift shop where they can stop in and browse, instead of waiting and parting with hefty delivery charges for out-of-town orders. 

Make money selling unique gifts for special occasions. Once you start selling locally-made jewelry, crafts, postcards, and gift sets, you will make good sales if your gift shop is well located.

If your area is or is near to a popular tourist destination, you can benefit big time.

20. Small Town Residents Love A Food Truck

People need to eat as much as they need to drink. It's almost impossible to come across a small town without at least a handful of restaurants.

While they originated from larger cities like San Francisco and New York, food trucks have made their way to plenty of small towns in America.

A food truck means food on wheels. It requires less money to start than a full-fledged brick-and-mortar restaurant, but you need to have the passion and drive. If you're starting the business for the first time, it's better to rent a food truck.

But it's more than just “Park, Sell, and Drive Away.” Selecting the right foods and proper marketing strategy are key in this business. Familiarize yourself with how to price foods.

Luckily, a food truck will allow you to test the market to see what type of meals resonate with the locals. Start by offering unique cuisines at reasonable prices.

You can take your business anywhere there's demand. Most small towns are vibrant communities. You can try amusement parks, markets, festivals, football games, and local community events. 

21. Appliance Repairman For Local And Surrounding Towns

The repairman may seem like one of the obvious small-town business ideas, but sometimes the obvious choices are overlooked.

Appliances break all the time—toasters, microwaves, kettles, iron boxes, vacuum cleaners, washing machines, dishwashers, etc.

In big cities, there is almost a gadget repair service on every corner; this is not the case in small towns. People don't have a place to have their appliances repaired after voiding or the expiration of the warranty.

Opening a repair shop is not capital intensive, and it's usually one of the more profitable businesses. Learn the technical skills from a repairman who is already in the business or from a technical school.

22. Grow And Sell Christmas Trees In A Small Town

If you're looking to escape city life and earn a living, why not grow and sell Christmas trees? They are a low-maintenance crop and can yield a good income for the foreseeable future.

Growing and selling Christmas trees may not sound like the most exciting idea, but it's one of my most practical recommendations and one that people are guaranteed to need.

Christmas tree farms are beloved destinations every November and December.

So how much money can you make selling Christmas trees? Well, it depends on the size. For instance, an 8′-9′ tree would cost you $35 and make you a profit of $45-$85; a 9′-10′ tree would cost you $40 and make you $50-$110 in profit, etc.

If you have lots of outdoor space, you can run this type of business from your home. Using the standard 5′x5′ spacing, 1 acre can yield 1500 trees. Consider fast-growing trees like the Leyland cypress and Fraser fir.

Registering every location where sales are made and obtaining a temporary seller's permit is a prerequisite. 

small town business ideas car detailing
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23. Car Detailing Business 

Another small town business idea that an entrepreneur who gets satisfaction from making cars look good can explore is to open a car detailing business. As long as people still use cars on roads, the need for car detailing will always be there. 

People prefer shiny modes of transportation. You can do interior vacuuming, surface polishing, window cleaning and exterior wash/wax. 

Small towns don't usually have those big car detailing shops you find in large cities. If there is no car detailing business in your town already, starting your own might be your perfect small town business opportunity. 

Although there are no big requirements for this type of business, you will need informal training. Working as an apprentice is a great way to learn the tricks of the trade.

Also, you need to be a conversationalist and have a keen attention to detail. If you're a teen looking for a job, you might consider starting your own car detailing business.

24. Thrift Shop

The resale market is quickly taking over fashion. One thing that's common about most people is that they're always on the lookout for a bargain.

According to the thredUP 2019 Annual Resale Report, the fashion resale market is growing 21 times faster than the retail market over the last three years. People may be few in your town, but it doesn't mean that they don't buy new furniture, toys or clothes.

The lack of shopping options is a real concern for most residents of small towns. Locals have to drive significant mileage before they can get clothing necessities.

Setting up a thrift shop is a great small-town business idea if you're a fashionable individual among your friends and family and possess good sales and marketing skills. Have stuff related to every age of people, and you will always have a flow of customers.

More and more consumers are becoming environmentally aware. A thrift shop is well-suited for a small town. You'll compete against non-local businesses by recycling unwanted items. How cool is that?

You don't have to worry about bulk ordering or complicated supply chains like normal retailers with a thrift store. You can focus on specific products and styles and get all your stock from your local community.

Besides the environmental upside, running a thrift shop will help you offer cash-strapped customers a chance to purchase clothing at reasonable prices; this will help create long-lasting connections within the local community. 

25. Pawn Shop

If you are looking for a simple but highly thriving small business to start in a small town, you need to consider opening a pawn shop.

Regardless of which state you live in, there's a need for a pawn shop. People will bring you watches, jewelry, gold, musical instruments, cameras, television sets, video game consoles, power tools, firearms, etc. 

You can base the value of an item on its current condition, current appraised value and the ability to sell it. You'll lend the owner 25-60 percent of the item's resale value.

You don't need a ton of experience to launch a pawn shop. Doing prior market research and investing in technology like surveillance systems will ensure your business stays open. You can set up your pawn shop in your garage, be your own boss, and meet interesting people.

26. DJ

If you have good knowledge of music trends, and the know-how to study and entertain crowds, launching your DJ business is a great way to kick-start your entrepreneurial independence.

Demography matters a lot when it comes to positioning this type of business. If you're thinking of starting a DJing business, it will pay you to perform extensive market surveys and feasibility studies before picking a location.

For instance, you won't land many gigs in a small town full of retirees and aging people. Go to a neighborhood with a large population of young people. You should have decent equipment to keep your audience entertained.

Before you start to perform, you'll be required to have a local business permit and a state tax registration certificate.

27. Used Car Lot

If you know cars and have a way with people, starting a used car lot business can be incredibly rewarding. The used car dealership business is very competitive. There are over 129k used car lots in the United States

To succeed in this business, you need to attract and work with buyers and sellers and treat them as customer groups. You don't have to franchise through a major automotive manufacturer to sell cars. 

Don't be a jack of all trades. Identify a niche like a specific price point or brand and run with it. 

If there's one thing that small towns have over big cities, it's space. Rent and overhead are normally lower in small towns, so this can work to your advantage. Look for a location that is easy to access.

Hiring unemployed youth from your town is a great way to give back and stay connected to your community. Remember to comply with the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) Dealer's Guide to the Used Car Rule.

28. Bookkeeping

Talented, professional accountants seem to be in high demand everywhere these days; this is especially true in small towns where the workload may exceed the few bookkeepers working in an area.

Many small businesses in small towns might be great at production or marketing, but terrible with numbers. Such businesses don't need a full-time employees. Your part-time bookkeeping services as a CPA will always be in demand.

If you want to become your own boss with little capital investment, you can start this business and help business owners do invoices, file taxes, and prepare and keep detailed accounting records. To make even more money, consider becoming a notary public.

29. Porta Potty Rental Business

Porta-potty rentals are not an entirely alien concept to small American towns. If you're looking for a small business that requires low startup capital to set up, open a porta potty rental business. The price of a standard portable restroom starts at $700.

The portable toilet industry is lucrative. The average cost to rent a portable toilet for a day is 75-100 dollars. Be ready to go out and sell your services to prospective clients. There might already be a few porta-potty rentals, but don't fret. Just check out if they're covering the necessities of your town or not.

Remember to service your portable toilets at least once a week. Replace hand sanitizer and toilet paper, clean walls and surfaces, and refill the restroom deodorizer when the need arises.

30. Tree Service

A tree service business might not have been top of your list of successful business ideas for small towns, but depending on your town's location and the weather pattern, starting a tree service business can be a great investment.

Tree service is a lucrative and promising niche if you're knowledgeable in tree trimming and removal practices. Also, it doesn't require a lot of investment. A lift truck and specialized equipment like ladders, chain saws and pruning shears are great to get you started. 

However, you will need a warehouse, a business license, and the following insurances: equipment, auto, general liability, disability, umbrella, and worker's compensation. Shop around and get quotes from different insurance companies.

You can take care of households and businesses alike. You will be required to provide services such as tree pruning/trimming, stump grinding, tree removal and much more.

For this business, however, safety is key. Remember to wear protective gear at all times. These can include helmets, eye care, ear protectors, and climbing boots.

31. Wedding Venue Business

Do you enjoy organizing parties, events and weddings? Then this might be the best small town business idea for you. People will pay good money for a wedding venue that excites them! Be the person who brings excitement!

Your friends, relatives and neighbors will appreciate hiring someone they know and trust to be in charge of important life events. Special events like weddings come once in life (sometimes twice ☺).

You have to do it right the first time. Focus on making your clients happy on their big day.

Create a website that showcases your wedding venue business. Also, partner with the local photographer or florist to develop a referral network. 

32. Storage Buildings

Storage buildings are all the rage right now. No real estate venture favors entry-level investors to get into the game like storage buildings. Reason? They involve little initial capital.

Storage units are like apartment buildings without tenants. Running them is easier, safer, and more profitable than most startup businesses. People move and downsize all the time. Most of them rent extra space to store the overflow.

Formal business education isn't required for this business, though it can be helpful. You just need a little previous experience. No experience? Don't worry; operational training is readily available. 

33. Moving Service

If your town doesn't have a moving company, take this business idea into consideration. Moving service is simple to set up and is profitable. You should understand how to manage inventory and possess some general business skills.

When run correctly, moving services can be a very profitable business. Give your customers exceptional services to turn them into referrers. Consider offering storage services as a part of your moving service options by securing a warehouse.

Requirements for moving companies vary by state. Depending on what type of moving services you want to offer, you will need to apply for certain permits. Get more information on registration and licensing here

dog trainer small town business ideas
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34. Dog Trainer

Being a dog trainer is a good picture of what it means to run a business in a small town. Most dog training services are in high demand in small towns. More and more dog parents are showing an inclination to invest in the well-being of their pooches.

Some people just don't like to train their dogs, and there's a good chance a good number of them live in your town. Why not capitalize on that by starting a dog training business for them? There are classes available to learn how to train dogs quickly.

As an aspiring trainer, you can learn the business and gain hands-on experience by completing an apprenticeship with a seasoned dog trainer. The startup costs associated with this type of business are very low. You can go to the client's home, train from your home or rent a commercial place.

Dog training is another business idea that grows by word-of-mouth referral system. You can build relationships with pet sitters, dog walkers or vets who can provide referrals.

35. Electrician 

Skilled electricians are always crucial in small towns. You can service electrical systems in homes and businesses. Startup costs generally include equipment costs, licensing, insurance and fees for union dues.

You might not make huge profits offering electrician services initially, but at least you'll maintain a steady cash flow daily. With time, expand your team with 2-3 entry-level electrician helpers to handle simpler jobs, enhancing your overall efficiency and helping you take on more jobs.

Small Town Business Ideas: How to Choose the Best One for You

With all the options discussed above, how do you know the safest choices?

Focus On Your Skills And Experience 

As you can see, there are several small-town business ideas offering an exciting opportunity to improve communities and earn an income. 

The qualifications required to start a small business in a small town vary depending on the industry. For this reason, it's vital to consider your skills, goals and background.

Most people spend a good deal of time working for big corporations, and they fail to realize that they can put that experience to good use.

For example, if you previously worked as an accountant, you can offer a less costly bookkeeping service option.

Is There A Demand For Your Business 

Small towns offer great opportunities to entrepreneurs who know their community well. Every small town is unique. Before starting a business, do extensive research about the ideas that make sense. 

Don't get caught up in the big-city ways of thinking. Know how things in your local community work, and the products and services in demand. You can even search social media to see what locals wish for. Every problem or threat is an opportunity.

For example, opening a milk shop in your town may not be the best idea if many people have their cows. Small-town populations have specific needs that are often unmet. Look at online reviews for different local businesses to see what people complain about.

It also pays to know that certain business niches depend on seasons and crises. To be safe, go for a business that addresses people's principle needs and daily routines. For instance, people will always get dressed, eat and drink, do laundry, do their hair, etc.

Analyze The Competition

A small business is a firm with less than 500 employees. Based on this definition, there are 30.2 million small businesses in the United States. They represent 99 percent of all businesses. 

Due to the huge competition, your small town business idea needs to be an innovative one. Be the only one in town. The population in small towns is limited and cannot sustain multiple businesses offering similar products or services. Know your competitors and find out if there are any relevant services they are not offering. 

Find out if your competitors are keeping up with consumer trends. If, for instance, you want to venture into the restaurant industry, find out if your competitors offer delivery services. Something new will attract more customers.

Entrepreneurs can thrive anywhere. If you're new in town, it might take a while for locals to warm up to you. In a small town where everybody knows each other, a good reputation is everything. 

Both criticism and compliments can spread fast. Make sure to be reliable, courteous and friendly in both your personal and professional dealings.

Prepare A Business Plan

The whole idea of starting a small business in a small town might be discouraging at first. Small towns have their own set of infrastructure, which is different from the cities. A business that can thrive in a big city with a large, diverse population might not be practical for a small town.

Every business, whether big or small, needs a business plan. The right planning and paperwork will help you make it big while still living small.

Develop a business plan that is fresh and relevant, easy to implement, desired by the community and cost-effective. Consider the following costs: capital, property, equipment, employees, utilities, inventory, etc.

If you have no financial background, download your free modern, professional business plan template from Bplans. The template will guide you and help you avoid common mistakes at the business plan creation stage.


Small businesses are here to stay, and it would be a shame if you didn't turn your business idea into reality. If you're stuck, picking one of the small town business ideas above can make your job easier.

The U.S. Small Business Administration and Business Licenses websites will help you understand the cost, stages, and registration sequence for your type of business and location. 

While there are no guarantees, to succeed, stay client-oriented, and keep quality at the highest level possible. If you have success with your small business you might consider being a mentor to a kid or teen wanting to start a small business.

Do you run a business in your small town? Share your successes and challenges in the comments below.