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How to Write a Business Plan, Step by Step

Rosalie Murphy

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money .

1. Write an executive summary

2. describe your company, 3. state your business goals, 4. describe your products and services, 5. do your market research, 6. outline your marketing and sales plan, 7. perform a business financial analysis, 8. make financial projections, 9. add additional information to an appendix, business plan tips and resources.

A business plan is a document that outlines your business’s financial goals and explains how you’ll achieve them. A strong, detailed plan will provide a road map for the business’s next three to five years, and you can share it with potential investors, lenders or other important partners.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to writing your business plan.

» Need help writing? Learn about the best business plan software .

This is the first page of your business plan. Think of it as your elevator pitch. It should include a mission statement, a brief description of the products or services offered, and a broad summary of your financial growth plans.

Though the executive summary is the first thing your investors will read, it can be easier to write it last. That way, you can highlight information you’ve identified while writing other sections that go into more detail.

» MORE: How to write an executive summary in 6 steps

Next up is your company description, which should contain information like:

Your business’s registered name.

Address of your business location .

Names of key people in the business. Make sure to highlight unique skills or technical expertise among members of your team.

Your company description should also define your business structure — such as a sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation — and include the percent ownership that each owner has and the extent of each owner’s involvement in the company.

Lastly, it should cover the history of your company and the nature of your business now. This prepares the reader to learn about your goals in the next section.

» MORE: How to write a company overview for a business plan

The third part of a business plan is an objective statement. This section spells out exactly what you’d like to accomplish, both in the near term and over the long term.

If you’re looking for a business loan or outside investment, you can use this section to explain why you have a clear need for the funds, how the financing will help your business grow, and how you plan to achieve your growth targets. The key is to provide a clear explanation of the opportunity presented and how the loan or investment will grow your company.

For example, if your business is launching a second product line, you might explain how the loan will help your company launch the new product and how much you think sales will increase over the next three years as a result.

In this section, go into detail about the products or services you offer or plan to offer.

You should include the following:

An explanation of how your product or service works.

The pricing model for your product or service.

The typical customers you serve.

Your supply chain and order fulfillment strategy.

Your sales strategy.

Your distribution strategy.

You can also discuss current or pending trademarks and patents associated with your product or service.

Lenders and investors will want to know what sets your product apart from your competition. In your market analysis section , explain who your competitors are. Discuss what they do well, and point out what you can do better. If you’re serving a different or underserved market, explain that.

Here, you can address how you plan to persuade customers to buy your products or services, or how you will develop customer loyalty that will lead to repeat business.

how to plan a small scale business

» MORE: R e a d our complete guide to small business marketing

If you’re a startup, you may not have much information on your business financials yet. However, if you’re an existing business, you’ll want to include income or profit-and-loss statements, a balance sheet that lists your assets and debts, and a cash flow statement that shows how cash comes into and goes out of the company.

You may also include metrics such as:

Net profit margin: the percentage of revenue you keep as net income.

Current ratio: the measurement of your liquidity and ability to repay debts.

Accounts receivable turnover ratio: a measurement of how frequently you collect on receivables per year.

This is a great place to include charts and graphs that make it easy for those reading your plan to understand the financial health of your business.

» NerdWallet’s picks for setting up your business finances:

The best business checking accounts .

The best business credit cards .

The best accounting software .

This is a critical part of your business plan if you’re seeking financing or investors. It outlines how your business will generate enough profit to repay the loan or how you will earn a decent return for investors.

Here, you’ll provide your business’s monthly or quarterly sales, expenses and profit estimates over at least a three-year period — with the future numbers assuming you’ve obtained a new loan.

Accuracy is key, so carefully analyze your past financial statements before giving projections. Your goals may be aggressive, but they should also be realistic.

List any supporting information or additional materials that you couldn’t fit in elsewhere, such as resumes of key employees, licenses, equipment leases, permits, patents, receipts, bank statements, contracts and personal and business credit history. If the appendix is long, you may want to consider adding a table of contents at the beginning of this section.

Here are some tips to help your business plan stand out:

Avoid over-optimism: If you’re applying for a business loan at a local bank, the loan officer likely knows your market pretty well. Providing unreasonable sales estimates can hurt your chances of loan approval.

Proofread: Spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors can jump off the page and turn off lenders and prospective investors, taking their mind off your business and putting it on the mistakes you made. If writing and editing aren't your strong suit, you may want to hire a professional business plan writer, copy editor or proofreader.

Use free resources: SCORE is a nonprofit association that offers a large network of volunteer business mentors and experts who can help you write or edit your business plan. You can search for a mentor or find a local SCORE chapter for more guidance.

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Development Centers , which provide free business consulting and help with business plan development, can also be a resource.

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How to start a small business: A step-by-step guide

Eric Rosenberg

Alana Rudder

Alana Rudder

“Verified by an expert” means that this article has been thoroughly reviewed and evaluated for accuracy.

Updated 12:36 p.m. ET Aug. 25, 2023

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andresr, Getty Images

Starting a small business can be as simple as selling a product or service to a customer. Businesses are considered sole proprietorships by default, which means the company operates under your name. If you want to form a separate business entity for legal or tax purposes, follow these steps to form your small business.

How to start a small business

1. decide the type of business entity you want.

Business entities come in several varieties. The type of business you choose influences your legal liabilities, taxes and requirements to maintain the business. Common business structures for small businesses include limited liability, corporation and S corp structures.

Limited liability company (LLC)

An LLC structure separates your personal assets from your business assets, allowing you to protect your personal assets if the business is ever sued or files for bankruptcy. While you must pay self-employment taxes to Social Security and Medicare under an LLC, you can avoid corporate taxes on profits and losses. However, LLCs offer some inflexibilities. For example, in some cases, to add or remove a new member, some states require LLCs to be dissolved and reformed. 

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Corporations, or C corps, must pay income taxes on profits when they’re made and when they’re divvied out to shareholders, a process called double taxation. They are also more costly to set up and require more extensive record keeping and reporting than LLCs. 

However, they offer the strongest personal liability protection and make it easier to raise capital through stocks. They also offer more flexibility than a limited liability company in that new shareholders can be added or removed without reformation.

S corporations

An S corp is a type of corporation that allows profits to pass through to an owner’s personal income, meaning they aren’t subject to double taxation like a C corp. State laws differ on how this structure is taxed, with some states taxing profits above a state-specified limit. Some states tax an S corp as a corporation, offering little benefits for this structure. There are eligibility requirements that must be met for your business to qualify as an S corp. It’s best to check with your state regarding the specifics of this structure and its benefits.

However, S corps offer the same flexibilities, similar to a C corp, such as the ability to add or remove members. To enjoy these flexibilities without the double taxation of a C corp, you must qualify for S corp status. To qualify, your shareholders cannot be partnerships or corporations and you cannot have more than 100 shareholders. You can also only issue one type of stock.

If you need help deciding which business structure is right for you, check out our business formation services guide to find a company that can advise you. 

2. Choose an available business name

Small business owners will need to choose a business name that’s available in their state and not trademarked by another company at the national level. Here are resources to help you appropriately choose a business name and verify its availability: 

  • Your secretary of state’s website. To ensure your business name is available within your state, check your state’s secretary of state website. Most offer naming guidelines and tools to verify your business name is available for use. 
  • The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office: A trademark protects your business name at a federal level, preventing other businesses nationwide from using the same name. You can check whether your desired business name is already trademarked by heading to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website and entering the business name into the trademark electronic search system (TESS). If another business in your industry uses the name you want, you must choose a new one. 

Once you’ve chosen a business name, you can reserve it with your state to protect it from use until you’re ready to form your business. While the rules vary state by state, you can typically reserve your business name online through your secretary of state’s official website for an average of 120 days. Name reservation fees can range from $10 to $50 . 

3. Pick a registered agent

A registered agent is an individual or business responsible for accepting legal notices on your business’s behalf. You can generally act as the registered agent for your business, but many small business owners choose a professional registered agent service instead of performing the duty themselves since the responsibilities can be time-intensive. 

Benefits of acting as your own registered agent:

  • No additional cost for registered agent services.
  • Documents delivered directly to you.
  • No new processes or software to learn.

Benefits of choosing a professional registered agent service:

  • Keep your personal contact information private.
  • Assistance receiving and organizing your documents.
  • Assistance keeping track of filing deadlines.
  • A registered agent is always available during regular business hours at the listed registered agent address (a requirement for serving as one).

Serving as your own registered agent can lead to the inability to manage your own business schedule as needed, higher risks of penalties and an inability to expand your business to other states. To decide whether it is in your best interest to serve as your own registered agent or hire one, learn more about the registered agent’s role in our guide. 

If you choose to hire a registered agent, read our best registered agent services list to find the best fit for your needs.

4. Create an operating agreement if you have partners

While not required in most states, we strongly recommend businesses create an operating agreement. This important document acts as a contract among your members and outlines the business’s important financial and operational aspects. 

Operating agreements are essential to protecting your personal assets in the event your business is sued or files for bankruptcy, overriding state default rules that may not be in the best interest of your business and clearly communicating business arrangements between partners to prevent member disputes. It is also often required by investors when opening a business bank account and for performing other key business tasks.

There are several resources available for creating an operating agreement. Companies like Rocket Lawyer and Northwest Registered Agent offer free templates to help you get started. Once you’ve drafted an operating agreement, consult with a business lawyer to ensure it meets your business’s unique needs before your members sign it.

5. File articles of incorporation or articles of organization with your state

To formally create your business within your state, you must fill out and submit a form that’s often called articles of incorporation (if your business is a corporation) or articles of organization (if your business is an LLC). This legal document outlines the basic components of your business, such as your business name, registered agent and business purpose. 

You can complete the articles of incorporation or articles of organization form yourself by visiting your state’s secretary of state website. Most states require you to fill out their pre-prepared form. However, some states, like Iowa , require you to make your own. Paper submissions may incur additional processing fees and take longer, so most business owners use the online system. 

You should be prepared to pay a filing fee when submitting your documents. This fee ranges from $40 to over $500 , depending on the state and your business type. 

If you don’t feel confident in your ability to file the articles of incorporation or articles of organization, you can use a business formation company, such as Rocket Lawyer or ZenBusiness . While some of these companies charge an added service fee on top of your state’s filing fees, you can find several to help you form your business for free using our best LLC services list.

6. Get an employer identification number (EIN)

An employer identification number (EIN) is a tax identification number that works like a Social Security number for your business. The IRS issues it for tax-administration purposes and it’s often required for hiring employees, opening a business bank account and applying for required business licenses. 

The fastest way for a small business to get an EIN is through the IRS website . The IRS operates this service weekdays from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET. When approved, you’ll immediately get a confirmation page, which includes your new EIN. Print this document and keep it with your other important business documents.

7. Obtain business licenses and permits (if required)

Depending on what your business does, you may need additional licenses or permits from your city, county or state government to operate your business. For example, businesses involved in the food service or healthcare industries may be required to get licenses or permits. You may also need a sales tax license if you sell products.

Most states offer a resource online for determining which licenses or permits your business may be required to obtain. Here are some examples of how different states guide you through this process using online resources: 

  • If your small business is in Idaho , fill out a form on the state’s business wizard page to determine which licenses you need and who to contact to apply for them. 
  • In Maryland , you must visit the state’s types of business licenses page. Once there, scroll through to find any licenses relevant to your industry and whether they apply to you. 
  • In Delaware , you have to reach out to your local authorities or visit the state’s county, city and town licensing and permits page to find out what licenses or permits you may be required to obtain to operate your business.

8. File your annual reports

Congratulations, you’re now in business! But you’re not done with paperwork forever, unfortunately. Most states require you to file annual business reports, which often come with a filing fee. Deadlines vary by state, so check your state’s secretary of state website for more details on when you need to file and what’s required. 

For example, New Jersey requires every business in the state to file an annual report by the last day of the month in which they completed their business formations. So, if your business officially formed in April of 2018, you need to file your annual report by April 30 each year, along with a $75 filing fee.

Connecticut only requires LLCs, corporations, limited liability partnerships and limited partnerships to submit an annual report, but filing fees range from $50 to $435 depending on the company’s structure and whether it is a foreign or domestic entity. Businesses can file their report online by logging into their business one stop account and following the instructions as prompted. 

What is a small business?

The Small Business Administration (SBA) defines what qualifies as a small business with factors such as revenue and employment. According to the SBA, a small business:

  • Is independently owned and operated.
  • Doesn’t dominate its industry on a national level.
  • Operates mainly in the United States.
  • Seeks to make a profit.

The SBA also defines small businesses by their revenue and employment. Depending on the industry, a business can earn a maximum of $1 million to $47 million per year in revenue and employ a maximum of 100 to 1,500 employees to qualify as a small business under the SBA guidelines.

Unlike the SBA, most people tend to think of small businesses as local, lesser-known and, well, small. Sole proprietorships and partnerships are common small business structures, and the max revenue and employment numbers outlined by the SBA are far larger than most small businesses will ever reach. For example, according to the Census Bureau’s County Business Patterns survey , 54% of businesses employed fewer than five people in 2018. 

Funding options for your small business

If you don’t have enough cash on hand to fund your new small business, you’ve still got options. You may be able to take out small business loans or use a credit card to cover business expenses. These often come with a personal guarantee, which requires you to pay the debt in the event your business can’t. 

Here are some small business funding options: 

  • Small Business Administration (SBA) loan: With an SBA loan , you borrow from a lender and the SBA partially guarantees the loan. Businesses that can repay, meet size standards and have a solid purpose for the loan may qualify. This is a good option for businesses that may not have the best credit and could benefit from extra guidance on running the business.
  • Credit cards: You can use a personal or business credit card to buy inventory and pay for other needs. However, annual percentage rates (APRs) on business credit cards often range from 18% to 26% or more. Learn more about the best business credit cards for new businesses .
  • Online business loans: Online business loans offer quick approval, so you may be able to access funds as soon as the next business day. Interest rates and fees vary by lender.
  • Crowdfunding: Crowdfunding websites allow businesses to raise funds from a large audience of potential customers. Sites like GoFundMe, Kickstarter and Indiegogo are among the most popular crowdfunding platforms.

Best places to start a small business in the U.S. 

For a less complicated process, most business owners should register their new small businesses in the state where they live or operate the business. Some states, such as Delaware, Nevada and Wyoming, have a reputation of being business-friendly. But you’re generally required to register your business with your state’s secretary of state.

By starting your business in your own state, you may enjoy the following benefits: 

  • Fewer fees: You must pay certain fees in both the state where you formed your business and the states where you operate as a foreign entity. For example, when you file in your state, you have the option of serving as your own registered agent at no cost. If you file in another state, you will have to hire a registered agent or set up a physical address in the state, both of which cost extra. 
  • Foreign legal requirements: When you file an entity in another state, you have to learn that state’s laws and rules. Local lawyers may not know other states’ laws as well as they know your state’s laws. This means that it may be more difficult to adapt your operating agreement or file your articles of organization in a foreign state with the assistance of a local lawyer. 
  • More paperwork: If you register your business in another state, you must adhere to the maintenance requirements of that state, in addition to those of the state where you formed your LLC, such as filing annual reports and tax returns in all states in which your business is registered. 

The best LLC services can help you form a business in any state in addition to managing the added complexities, such as maintaining a registered agent in multiple states.

Tips for starting a small business with no money

If you’re starting a business with no money, you may need to use your own assets and keep costs down. Here are some quick tips on how to grow your business with minimal costs: 

  • Buy refurbished business items: While you may be tempted to invest in pricey and brand-new equipment, there are ways to get the same quality equipment for a fraction of the cost. Ebay’s refurbished program, for example, can offer the technologies you need in new condition for up to 50% off.
  • Establish a budget — and stick to it: While starting a new business may be exciting, you don’t need all the bells and whistles from day one. Wait to buy that second monitor or $2,000 tablet until you don’t have to go into debt to do so.
  • Track your income and expenses closely: Some popular accounting software suites include QuickBooks, Xero, FreshBooks and Wave Accounting. Many of these suites offer free trials for their plans, while Wave offers free invoicing and accounting tools.
  • Explore ways to reduce costs: Review your business practices to understand what’s working well for your business and what may be unnecessarily costing you. For example, you may change your operating agreement to allow members or shareholders to meet virtually instead of in person, thereby saving on business travel costs.
  • Use free services: Take advantage of free business formation services, legal document templates, registered agent services and more. Find a list of business formation providers and their complementary services here . 

Most businesses don’t need permits to get started. However, permits are required in certain industries, such as food services, construction and many professional services industries. Check with your local and state governments to determine if you need permits for your new business.

Every small business has unique needs and goals. For most small businesses, starting as an LLC is a good choice because it offers an easy-to-manage tax structure and operational flexibility. When managed appropriately, an LLC can provide legal protections and tax benefits for the business owner.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2018 Occupational Outlook for Self-Employed Workers report, the personal care, cleaning and construction industries are projected to have the highest new job growth, with childcare workers, carpenters and construction laborers serving as the leading occupations. The report also shows that self-employed workers in occupations requiring a higher education degree typically earn a much higher wage, with dentists, personal financial advisors and lawyers making the highest median incomes in 2016. 

Service-based businesses are often the easiest to start, as you likely need less equipment and inventory to get off the ground. On a personal level, businesses with little training requirements are the easiest to start. For an easy launch, consider the skills you have to offer, including those related to your education and past work experience, to pick a business that suits your abilities and resources.

Blueprint is an independent publisher and comparison service, not an investment advisor. The information provided is for educational purposes only and we encourage you to seek personalized advice from qualified professionals regarding specific financial decisions. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

Blueprint has an advertiser disclosure policy . The opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Blueprint editorial staff alone. Blueprint adheres to strict editorial integrity standards. The information is accurate as of the publish date, but always check the provider’s website for the most current information.

Eric Rosenberg

Eric Rosenberg is a financial writer, speaker, and consultant based in Ventura, California. He is an expert in topics including banking, credit cards, investing, cryptocurrency, insurance, real estate, and business finance. He has professional experience as a bank manager and nearly a decade in corporate finance and accounting. His work has appeared in many online publications, including Business Insider, Nerdwallet, Investopedia, and U.S. News & World Report.

Alana is the deputy editor for USA Today Blueprint's small business team. She has served as a technology and marketing SME for countless businesses, from startups to leading tech firms — including Adobe and Workfusion. She has zealously shared her expertise with small businesses — including via Forbes Advisor and Fit Small Business — to help them compete for market share. She covers technologies pertaining to payroll and payment processing, online security, customer relationship management, accounting, human resources, marketing, project management, resource planning, customer data management and how small businesses can use process automation, AI and ML to more easily meet their goals. Alana has an MBA from Excelsior University.

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70 Small Business Ideas for Anyone Who Wants to Run Their Own Business

Meg Prater

Published: July 31, 2023

A good business idea may seem hard to come by, but with some planning and preparation, you can easily launch a small business to supplement your income — or become your own full-time boss.

Small business ideas symbolically showing the spirit of a small business

Maybe you already have an idea of the business you’d like to start. But while you might feel ready for a new venture and passionate about your idea, you might be looking for some direction.

Download Now: Business Startup Kit [Free Templates]

To help get you started, here's a list of small business ideas separated into a few sections:

Best Small Business Ideas

Best businesses to start with little money, home business ideas, easy businesses to start, how to start a small business at home.

The first step to becoming a successful entrepreneur is finding a business idea that works for you. In this article, you’ll find dozens of small business ideas you can start from home and scale up as your clientele grows. Let’s get started.

how to plan a small scale business

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Fill out the form to get the free business startup kit.

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Fill out this form to build your business plan today., what makes a good small business idea.

Not all small business ideas are made equal: Some require more effort and funding than others, while some can be launched with few resources — or resources you already have. As a potential small business owner, you’ll want to save as much money as possible on training, rent, supplies, and other necessities.

Let’s go over what makes a good business idea:

  • Requires little to no training . A good small business idea will ideally leverage your existing field of expertise and require little to no training. That will not only shorten your time-to-launch, but also lessen your expenses, since training courses can cost a significant amount of money. Plus, you’ll be more confident offering services that you feel prepared to deliver.
  • Requires low setup costs. Your business should be cheap to start. Maybe you only need to purchase a website domain or buy a desk for your garage.
  • Requires little hands-on inventory or supply management . A great business idea needs few supplies and little inventory management. If you want to sell physical goods, you can either try drop-shipping and manually make goods in small batches.
  • Is based online . The best small business ideas are based online and can be carried out from your personal computer. This will automatically lower your commuting costs and give you greater flexibility over your personal and work life.
  • Can sustainably be managed by few people . As a small business owner, you won’t have the funds to hire other people to help you run your business — at least not at first. A good business idea should give you the ability to run your business on your own.

Airbnb Co-founder, Brian Chesky, said, "If we tried to think of a good idea, we wouldn’t have been able to think of a good idea. You just have to find the solution for a problem in your own life."

If you’re like Brian and you’ve already thought about a solution for a problem you encounter in your life — or you’re on the path to doing so — then starting a small business may be in your future. It may also be for you if you dream of clocking out of your nine-to-five job for the last time and becoming your own boss.

Below, we include the absolute best ideas for you to start your small business — with resources and examples to help you get started.

1. Handyman

small business idea example: handyman

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Are you always fixing things around the house? Often on-call when friends need small projects completed? Create a website , conduct a competitive analysis to determine what your time and expertise are worth, and turn to the friends you’ve helped before for referrals.

A handyman business is a good idea if you’ve already built a robust set of skills to help others fix up their homes. Consider specializing in what you feel well-prepared to do — for instance, if you know your way underneath a sink and water system, then you might provide sink fixing services to start, then expand your offerings once you earn more skills.

No certifications are needed to become a handyman, and there are no special education requirements. You might need, however, a license if you’re planning to undertake jobs worth more than a certain dollar amount. Some states might not require this license.

To start your handyman business, we recommend the following resources:

  • Handyman License Requirements by State
  • The Most Requested Handyman Services
  • Association of Certified Handyman Professionals

2. Woodworker

Similarly, if you have a passion for crafting beautiful furniture or other home goods out of wood, that could be a small business niche for you. Get started by listing a few of your pieces on sites like Etsy . Once you build a following, consider starting a website, accepting custom orders, or expanding to refinishing work and upholstery.

A woodworker small business is ideal if you already have a passion for woodworking, as well as the tools to begin fulfilling orders as they begin to come in. Since delivering a well-made product is key to keeping your customers happy, you don’t want to be “training” as you create a custom shelf or a custom storage box. It’s recommended to have at least one year of experience as a woodworking apprentice.

To start a woodworking business, there are no special education requirements, but there are a wide range of woodworking training certifications online, so we suggest starting with a certification. The Woodwork Institute , YesTomorrow , and The School of Fine Woodworking are potential places to start.

3. Online Dating Consultant

Dating consultants usually charge for their time. They help people create successful online dating profiles, source possible matches from outside the typical online channels, and offer a level of personalization that a site like Tinder can’t. Think you’ve got a knack for the match? This might be the business for you.

Online dating consultants need to have strong communication and interpersonal skills, as well as heightened levels of empathy. The good news is that there are no special education or licensure requirements, though we recommend getting a certification such as IAP College’s relationship coach certification or Hart Academy’s online dating coach certificate .

To start an online dating consultant business, you’ll need a website that shares all about you and offers free dating resources your customers might benefit from. Once they download a resource, you can loop them in for a free consultation.

4. Sewing and Alteration Specialist

small business idea example: sewing and alterations

People will always need clothing hemmed and buttons mended — and you could be the person to do it. If you love sewing and have a sewing machine at home, start by offering simple services like those mentioned above and expand your repertoire to dressmaking and design as you build a customer base and demand.

You don’t need a special license or degree to begin a sewing and alterations business, but it’s essential to build your skills so you can take on more complicated projects. High-value clients will want to customize complicated items of clothing such as suits, pants, gowns, and dresses. That’s where you’ll see the highest potential for profits.

Altering these items require special skills, however. A few courses you might consider include:

  • International Open Academy's Tailoring Course for Beginners
  • Jackson Sewing Academy’s Basic Alterations Course
  • American Bespoke Tailoring Academy’s Programs

You’ll also need to shop for sewing supplies of all colors to accommodate your clients.

5. Freelance Developer

From building websites for other small businesses to providing technical support for certain projects, quality web development is in high demand right now. As a web developer, you'll naturally have a technical skill set. Distill your knowledge and expertise so customers who don't have your experience are able to understand what it is you'll be helping them achieve.

To help with this, test your messaging on friends and family who don’t have a firm understanding of the work you do. If they’re able to summarize what you do, your messaging is likely effective among people outside of your industry. You can start finding your first freelance contracts by visiting different freelance websites .

Unlike a few other options in this list, a freelance developer does need some training to launch a successful business and start taking on projects, but if you’re a beginner, don’t worry. There are plenty of boot camps to get you up to speed with either full-stack or front-end web development. Some of these boot camps are even offered through accredited tech schools.

Some boot camps you might consider include:

  • Coding Dojo
  • Fullstack Academy
  • Georgia Institute of Technology Coding Boot Camp

These vary in price, so be sure to do extensive research to find one that fits you and your budget.

6. Personal Trainer

Offer in-home consultations, personalized nutrition and exercise regimens, and community boot camps to get the word out. Don’t forget to populate an Instagram feed with inspirational quotes, free exercise videos, and yummy snack ideas as well — it’s a common way for fitness gurus to build their brands in our digital world.

If you choose to go this route, it’s OK to start small at first, then scale up. For instance, MOURfit is a personal training business in Indianapolis that started in a shared gym, then grew to a private gym that offers group fitness, personal training, and nutrition services.

To start a personal training business, you’ll need a certification. If you already earned a degree in an unrelated discipline, we recommend starting with the NASM-CPT certification , which is nationally accredited and only requires a high school diploma or GED. You can also get a Bachelor’s degree in physical and exercise science — here’s one example from Emory & Henry College .

7. Freelance Graphic Designer

Set your own hours, choose your projects, and build a portfolio and business you’re proud of. From website design to blog graphics and more, many companies seek out experienced graphic designers for support on a variety of projects.

The good news? There are no special education requirements for becoming a freelance graphic designer, though we recommend seeking a credential (like SAIC’s graphic design certificate or RISD’s graphic design certificate ) or an Associate’s degree in design so you can confidently present your portfolio and complete your first few projects.

If you’re just starting out with graphic design, try these tips and tricks that are ideal for beginners. If you’re more experienced but need to build your portfolio to attract clients, these prompts will get your creativity flowing in no time. We also recommend reviewing other people’s work on portfolio websites to get a feel for what is “trendy” and receive feedback as you grow your small business.

Free Download: How to Hire and Work with Freelancers

8. Life/ Career Coach

If you have experience navigating career, personal, and social transitions successfully, put it to good use as a life or career coach. Many of us are looking for guidance in our careers — and finding someone with the time to mentor us can be tough.

Life/career coaches don’t come cheap, but they are able to offer clients the intense and hands-on training and advice they need to make serious moves in their personal and professional lives. After all, everyone needs some uplifting advice from time to time.

To start your life/career coaching business with confidence, you can look for a certification program (like the Life Coach School’s or Diane Hudson’s ), then apply your skills as you acquire new clients.

small business idea example: Career Coach Nariah Broadus

A resume writing business is economical, has few overhead costs, and has few educational requirements. We still recommend having an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree and a few resume samples on hand. If you still feel that you need to brush up on your resume writing skills, you can take a course like Coursera’s or LinkedIn Learning’s .

Once you’ve gotten resume writing down, you can expand your business to include cover letter writing, and even offer career coaching services in conjunction with these services.

10. Freelance Writer

If you have writing skills , there’s someone out there willing to pay you for them. Write blog posts, magazine articles, and website copy galore — just make sure you have a body of work built up to share with potential clients. Even if you create a few sample pieces to have on hand, they’ll help exhibit your work and attract new business.

To become a freelance writer, it’s essential to choose a specialty. For instance, you might choose to only write for publications in the healthcare industry (maybe because you were previously a healthcare worker), or focus on lifestyle publications. Whatever the case, specializing will help you find your niche market and gain confidence as a new freelancer writer.

There are no educational requirements to freelance writing, but you do need strong writing skills. It also helps to enjoy writing. While a certification may beneficial, getting practice and writing every day is more important. Try these writing prompts to start.

11. Landscaper

Mowing, tree-trimming, and seasonal decor are all neighborhood needs. If you have or can acquire the equipment, a landscaping business can be a lucrative affair. It’s also a great choice if you enjoy doing it for your own home and have a good eye for landscape design.

The good news is that you can start small. For instance, you could offer your neighbors seasonal planting services and start with a few perennial plants, or simply offer mulching services.

To grow your landscaping business, you should consider taking some formal training. The following organizations offer courses:

  • New York Botanical Gardens

After completing a course and getting enough experience, you can apply for a certificate from a landscaping organization. While a certificate isn’t necessary to work in the field, it can build your credentials and help you make industry connections to take your landscaping business to the next level. The Association of Professional Landscape Designers offers one potential certificate you could pursue.

Some states require licensure, especially if you’ll be using pesticides and fertilizers. Be sure to review the requirements for your state.

Learn some of the basics now with this video on landscape design from Lowe’s:

12. Videographer

Video production requires you to have invested in the equipment up front, which can be quite expensive. But that’s also what makes your services so valuable. Make sure you have a reel of your work to share or create a website with several selections of your work available for interested viewers.

There are no educational or licensure requirements for starting a video production business. As with writing and other creative arts, though, it pays to specialize. Real estate videos differ radically from wedding videos, and wedding videos differ radically from in-studio interviews and testimonials. By specializing, you target a highly specific customer who’ll benefit the most from your services, and you can also skill-up more effectively in one shooting style.

While you can find general classes on videography, you should consider taking a class in the type of videography you’d like to do. For instance, you could take The Complete Wedding Videography Course , if that’s the route you’d like to take.

Hot tip: If you’re interested in specializing in video marketing, check out The Ultimate Guide to Video Marketing and download our starter pack below.

→ Access Now: Video Marketing Starter Pack [Free Kit]

13. Photographer

Start by conducting photo shoots for your family and friends. As you build a body of work, ask for referrals and reviews. Photography businesses often grow by word of mouth, so create a Facebook page where you can tag recent clients. Photos where you tag those clients will show up in their friends’ newsfeeds, where they can view your work. You can also ask them to leave reviews on your Facebook business page.

Like with a video production small business, you’ll want to specialize. Will you do product shoots or portraits? How about wedding or fashion photo shoots? Once you specialize, you’ll be able to create a body of work that most accurately represents your strengths.

There are no educational or licensure requirements for starting a small photography business, but we recommend investing in a few photography courses, especially if you haven’t used your camera in a while. Some courses you might start with include:

  • Cornell’s Digital Photography Certificate Program
  • New York Institute of Photography’s Course

From there, seek courses that help you build skills in your chosen specialty.

If you’re not sure where to start with freelance photography, take a look at Erica Clayton’s journey into the business below. Her advice? Give yourself a firm deadline to turn a profit.

14. Bed and Breakfast Owner

small business idea example: bed and breakfast

This is another business venture that will require you to research the correct licensure from your state, but it will be well worth it to see your dreams come true. Consider what guests will be traveling to your area and create special packages and themed stays that coincide with their interests in your locale.

To start a bed and breakfast business, you’ll need a physical business location and a small staff for maintenance, customer service, and upkeep. For that reason, we recommend it if you have startup funds to start your business. (Don’t have any? Here’s how to start crowdfunding to launch your new business .)

A successful bed and breakfast business will also need an SEO-optimized website with a hotel booking system. If you create your website on the WordPress platform, you can easily create a B&B website using a hotel booking plugin — so there’s no need to code the booking form from scratch.

With Airbnb and hotels stealing market share, the competition is tough in the bed and breakfast space, so we recommend providing a unique angle to the stay. As mentioned, the stays can be themed — maybe your B&B is a vintage home with all original furniture, or maybe you offer traditional fare from your homeland.

15. Clothing Boutique Owner

If you dream of building your own fashion empire, why not start with a local boutique? Build buzz with impressive clothing styles, inspiring social media accounts, and heavy community involvement. While you can open a physical store, you can easily start online — and if that proves profitable, you can open up a local shop.

There are a few ways you can start a clothing boutique. First, you can make the clothes yourself if you already have experience in fashion design or know how to sew, knit, and curate colors and patterns.

Alternatively, you can design certain aspects of the clothing — such as a graphic or a logo — then send it to be printed on-demand at a local print shop when orders come in.

Lastly, you can dropship the items from a warehouse you’ve partnered with. This method is less reliable because there’s less quality assurance for each item, especially if you never visit the warehouses yourself. Regardless of the method you choose, starting a clothing boutique is highly doable, and you don’t need to have a fashion degree (though it certainly helps).

Take some inspiration from Sleep Ova , a luxury loungewear boutique based in Los Angeles, CA.

small business idea example: sleep ova

16. Specialty Food Store Owner

small business idea example: specialty food store

Gourmet foods, cheeses, sake, wine — you name a food, there’s a specialty food store out there for it. Put your passion for exotic olive oils to good use and open a store like American Provisions where you offer the kind of expertise and selection your audience couldn’t dream of getting from their local grocer.

To start your specialty food store, you’ll want to curate and source the items from makers that you love and trust. Ask around your community to find local makers of the food you want to sell, and the makers will likely be open to a partnership, especially if they get a cut of the profits.

When it’s time to sell, you’ll want to find a physical location, but if that investment is too high, you can start by setting up stalls at food festivals and local markets. Or you can go the ecommerce route and sell the products through your website, taking care to carefully pack perishable items.

17. Food Truck Owner

Always dreamt of owning a restaurant but not quite ready to take the plunge? Test out your concepts with a food truck. It’s a great way to become familiar with food and restaurant licensing in your state, see what people like and don’t like, and build a ravenous following before ever opening or investing in a brick-and-mortar location.

Food trucks will require a larger investment, but thankfully, you can rent the truck itself — the Food Truck Group and Roaming Hunger are two potential leasers you could look at. The cost will be high, so we recommend renting one in preparation for an event such as a food festival or concert. There, you’ll get to test out the popularity of your cuisine and see if the food truck business is right for you.

Taco Nganas , a taco truck in Memphis, TN, started with one food truck and expanded to three, building a loyal customer base along the way.

18. Car-detailing Specialist

small business idea example: car detailing

The devil is in the details, and you can be too. Car-detailing services that travel to the client are convenient for busy people who can’t find the time to run through the car wash. With this business, your clients only have to pay and the service will be done for them before they know it. Just make sure you have the flexibility, transportation, and equipment to take your business on the road.

There are no educational requirements for car detailing, but you should still take a course such as Auto Finesse’s detailing training to learn core concepts and brush up on your skills.

To get your car detailing business off the ground, you’ll need an SEO-optimized website and a way for customers to book online with you. Before you take that step, however, consider listing your services on websites like Angi , Thumbtack , and even so you can get your first local clients.

Don’t have a lot of money to start your business? Check out the ideas below.

1. Translator

Speak a foreign language? Start a translation service. Consider specializing in a specific genre of translation, like medical or financial translation, as you might be able to fill a niche need in your community.

small business ideas: translator

To become a translator, you should have a rock-solid grasp of two languages — ideally, you’ll be near native level for both. You don’t need special credentials to become a translator, but a certification (such as from the American Translators Association ) will legitimize your business and help you get clients.

Prior to gaining a certification, you can also pursue an online certificate, which will teach you the basics of translation. Some providers include:

  • University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • The University of Arizona
  • University of Georgia

2. Garden Designer

Many people have the willingness to do the dirty work in their backyards, but few have the know-how to complete the first part of this process — designing and planning the backyard space. Draw up the designs for your clients’ outdoor spaces and let them do the actual digging.

But you can also offer installation services, or hire your own contractors to fulfill the design.

small business ideas: garden designer

To become a garden designer, you should seek at least one credential so you’re well-versed in the basics and prevent damage to a client’s landscape. The American Academy of Garden Design offers courses and certificates that start at $450. A cheaper option is New Skills Academy’s Garden Design Certification ($120).

Remember, the goal is to start a business for cheap, and a certification can have a high ROI after you book your first few clients for garden design.

3. Travel Planner

The time of the travel agent might be passing, but people are still looking for those with a knack for more nontraditional travel coordination. If you always plan the perfect vacations complete with beautiful hotels, the ideal location, and a bevy of delicious restaurants lined up for every evening, consider advertising your services as a more modern approach to travel planning.

You don’t have to only plan trips for individuals, either. If you’re experienced enough, you can even start a group travel company, like Art N Soul Escapes .

You can become a travel planner by first volunteering to plan a few trips for your family and friends. Try it and see if you like it. Once you feel like you’ve gotten a good taste, attend a travel planner program and get certified. Some options include:

  • The Travel Institute Training & Certification Program
  • Penn Foster Travel and Tourism Specialist Diploma

You can also seek employment at a travel agency first, then strike out on your own once you’ve learned the basics.

4. Home Inspector

A home inspector examines a house’s drywall, electrical wiring, energy efficiency, and structural integrity to find potential issues on behalf of a home buyer. Home inspectors work in the field. They visit homes in person and provide a written inspection report. Alternatively, some home inspectors offer virtual inspections, which may be a good fit if you’d prefer to work from home.

small business ideas: home inspector

Working as a home inspector requires certification and a great deal of expertise, but it can offer a flexible work schedule and stable income. Confirm the licensing requirements in your state before getting started with this type of small business. You’ll want to make sure you’re providing the best service to your clients by having all of your credentials in order.

To become a home inspector, you should invest in a certification program, such as:

  • International Association of Certified Home Inspectors
  • ATI Home Inspector Academy

Be sure to check local authorities and universities for a course.

5. Personal Chef

We all love to eat, but few of us have the time or energy to cook healthy, delicious meals. Advertise your services to local families and businesses alike. To save on start-up costs, consider scheduling certain groups of clients together — say, vegetarians — so you can cook larger quantities of the same dish.

You can also begin by selling food in batches at local farmer’s markets or via a food truck. Once you’ve generated some awareness, you can begin taking on clients. Alternatively, you can start a delivery meal prep service by cooking 5-7 days’ worth of meals for clients.

small business idea example: personal chef

Chef Paul’s mouth-watering dishes are available to clients across the country. His clientele niche consists of athletes, corporate businesses, and local gyms.

6. Property Manager

Many people maintain properties they don’t live in — often based in different cities or states. As a property manager, you can help a property owner ensure their home is well taken care of, handle small fixes as they arise, and serve as a liaison to renters. It’s helpful if you have a background in real estate.

This option is a great fit if you have stupendous organizational, administrative, and customer service skills. As a property manager, you’ll be handling everything from screening potential tenants to collecting rent.

To become a property manager, you must first complete coursework in your desired state. We recommend working at an existing property management company to get your foot in the door. Once you’ve learned the basics, you can then start your own property management business.

7. Massage Therapist

Soothe aching muscles and promote peace for your clients as a massage therapist. As a massage therapist, you’ll offer targeted, personalized care that’s an edge above in-shop or mall massage services. To start this small business, you should invest in customer service courses, as well as a massage therapy certification.

small business idea example: massage therapist

Be sure to look into training and certification courses in your city and state, and to invest in a portable bed to take on client visits.

8. Interior Designer

Similar to landscape design — there are many people who have the ability to buy the furniture and home decor they need to fill their rooms, but few who know where to start. It might take some time to build a portfolio, but documenting your projects and sharing them online can build a fanbase beyond your wildest dreams.

To start an interior design business, we first recommend trying your hand at decorating your friends’ homes and working with their vision and specifications. One big aspect of interior design is providing fantastic customer service and knowing how to fulfill a client’s design vision while employing your interior design expertise.

You can then take an interior design course to round out your knowledge, such as the one offered by The New York Institute of Art and Design .

Need inspiration? Check out Sandra Cavallo’s interior design Instagram account.

small business idea example: interior designer

9. Nonprofit Owner

If you dream of devoting your life to a cause you believe in, it might be time to start a nonprofit. You’ll need to incorporate your business and file for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status — and then you’ll be required to meet ongoing standards of compliance, but the payoff is making a meaningful impact on a cause you believe in.

The best thing is that you can begin a nonprofit easily from your home, even before filing for 501(c)(3) status. First, create a non-profit website (ideally with a .org top-level-domain). Define your mission and goals, and figure out how you’ll execute your non-profit activities. For instance, if you’re raising money to buy books for local schools, who will deliver them? Which retailer will you use? Start small, then expand.

Thereafter, apply for exempt status so that you’re not taxed like a regular business. The profit margins may be smaller, but the job is endlessly rewarding.

Whether you’re a math whiz, piano master, or Shakespeare aficionado, there’s someone out there who needs a little help in your area of expertise and is willing to pay for it. Advertise your services through local schools, community colleges, community centers, and even social media to get the word out and build a customer base.

To start a tutoring business, you should first gain experience educating others by either volunteering or even teaching friends and family. But you can begin straight away by listing your services locally and online and launching a tutoring website.

Be sure to define your niche. Will you be tutoring students in their homes? Or opening a local tutoring location? Which subject will you teach? Create handouts, use textbooks, and know which online resources will be best for your tutee’s learning style.

11. Consultant

If you have significant experience in or knowledge of a specific subject, consider becoming a consultant. Perhaps you’re an expert at hiring practices, have a knack for SEO , or have led multiple sales teams to six-figure success. Identify your expertise and market yourself as a consultant and charge the going rate.

Download Now: Free Consultant's Success Kit

Some consulting industries are more competitive than others, so be sure to complete your research prior to starting a small consulting business. One way to find out how competitive a consulting niche is by doing keyword search . If your target niche is highly searched or already is dominated by big companies, you may have a harder time breaking in. You can use keyword research tools to uncover keyword volume and local demand.

12. Event Planner

An event planning business is an excellent choice if you have great organizational and interpersonal skills, and it’s relatively cheap to start. You might choose to specialize in a specific type of event — like weddings or company meetings — or set yourself up as an event planner of all trades.

The good news is that event planners are always in demand. It’s not a job that can be easily automated, so this small business idea is set to thrive regardless of the digital landscape. To start, you’ll want to look for a platform that will easily allow you to advertise your availability, such as event planner directories like Eventective and WeddingWire .

If you’re highly organized, are detail-oriented, and have experience planning large events, it might be time for others to benefit from your skills.

13. Personal Assistant

Personal assistants help business owners and executives take care of administrative tasks. To launch a freelance personal assistant business, you should leverage networking opportunities on LinkedIn and attend small business events at local chambers of commerce. Most local business owners might not even know they need a personal assistant until you market your services to them.

If you’re an organized, highly-detailed person, the life of a personal assistant might be for you. Don’t want to be tied to one office or person all day, every day? Consider becoming a virtual assistant, which allows you a more flexible work environment.

To become an assistant, choose a niche — will you be helping women business owners specifically? Do you have a specific field of expertise, like bookkeeping? A website can also go a long way, and be sure to print business cards for you to hand out during networking events.

14. Consignment Shop Owner

If you have an eye for style but don’t want to invest in the inventory of a brand-new boutique, consider starting a consignment shop. It will allow you to curate a collection of clothing that matches your goals and aesthetic, without the overhead of a boutique selling entirely new garments.

The beauty of a small consignment business is that you can now start one online. You can sign up on a platform such as Poshmark , Depop , and even Etsy , then easily start selling your own used fashion from home.

Once you’ve defined your niche — such as vintage clothing, unique locally made art, or colorful shoes — you can begin sourcing new products from your local stores and thrift shops.

15. Caterer

If the personal chef gig is too restrictive for your schedule, consider catering instead. Pick your projects, work on fewer but larger events, and hone in on your time management skills.

Becoming a caterer is a natural step for those who are used to cooking for large events — for instance, you may have already catered your friend’s wedding, or brought a 20-person meal to a potluck (that counts, too!).

It’s essential that you have enough temperature-regulated storage for the meals prior to each event, and that you arrange for reliable, temperature-controlled transportation to and from your home kitchen. Alternatively, you can lower your costs by inviting customers to pick up their order at your home.

16. Gym Owner

Kickboxing gyms, yoga studios, CrossFit, oh my! Turn your passion for fitness into a community for others by creating your own gym — start one from the ground up, become an affiliate, or open a franchise location.

Available franchise opportunities include Anytime Fitness, Orangetheory Fitness, Pure Barre, Planet Fitness, Crunch Fitness, and more. Be prepared to take out a loan to finance your franchise — most agreements start with fees upward of $20,000. But the payoff can be tremendous due to brand recognition. You’ll have no trouble recruiting new members as long as you use local marketing strategies .

Alternatively, you can create a local studio, but ideally, it should be for a specific activity instead of general fitness. Yoga, pilates, bootcamp-style gyms, and martial arts perform well as independent fitness studios.

17. Boutique Agency Owner

What’s your specialty? Whether it’s marketing, social media, or PR, it might be time to start your own agency. Many other small businesses need this type of help but don’t have the resources or volume to necessitate a full-time position.

To start an agency, you would ideally have worked in your specialty for a number of years. You should also be prepared to interface directly with clients, fulfill their requirements, and temper their expectations (if they want results in an unreasonably short amount of time).

Consider building a small team and learn from other entrepreneurs who’ve successfully started their own agencies, like Duane Brown of Take Some Risk .

18. Coffee Shop Owner

Turn your caffeine addiction into something a little more lucrative. Opening a franchise or buying an existing shop are lower-risk entry points to the coffee game, but they usually require a little more cash upfront. Starting a shop from scratch requires more planning and work — but it also maximizes your earning potential in the future.

A coffee shop is an excellent fit if you already have a full-time remote job and wish to supplement your income with a small business. You can manage the coffee shop as you work at one of the tables, but be sure to have the budget to hire an experienced barista who can pick up the slack.

If you would like to open a coffee shop and run it full-time on your own, you’ll need to undertake barista training, understand worldwide coffee sources, and have excellent customer service skills.

19. Moving Company

A truck, moving equipment, manpower, and the correct permits and insurance are the building blocks of starting your own moving company . Before you buy your first fleet of trucks, however, start small with a moving van and keep your costs low.

Still sound like too much of an initial investment? Consider offering packing services only, which have a much lower financial barrier to entry. You can partner with moving companies and offer to do their packing, or have them refer clients to you.

You could even take a niche approach to the industry as Astro International has by offering international moving services.

small business idea example: moving company

20. Home Staging

If you have a flair for interior design, a staging service might serve as your creative outlet and professional calling. You can build a portfolio with little initial investment by staging homes using the owner’s existing furnishings and decor. Most stagers eventually build up an inventory of furniture as they become more established and network with area realtors.

To get your first home staging clients, you should first rely exclusively on networking. Find your local realtors’ association and attend their events with business cards handy. Once you’ve gotten your first clients and built your portfolio, you can begin posting your designs on your home staging website.

small business ideas: home staging

If you don’t yet have enough experience, be sure to pursue an interior design course before opening this small business.

These home business ideas give you a few more business options that are either based at home or online.

Frontend, backend, and every type of code in between, this skill requires no in-person interaction with your clients. But one skill you’ll want to carry over from the in-person world for this type of business is active listening. It can be easy to zone out while building a product, but developing a connection with the client is just as important as developing the code for their website.

If you keep the client top of mind when you can’t be around physically, you can ensure that you’re meeting their development needs with your coding work.

Download Now: 25 Free HTML & CSS Hacks

2. Vending Machine Owner

Since 2015, the growth rate for vending machine businesses has increased 1.4%. Even as social distancing restrictions are still in place, this business can still be lucrative if you choose the right locations. High-traffic is key — places like hospitals, schools, and community centers are smart places to start placing your machines to generate enough revenue to cover cost and turn a profit.

small business idea example: vending machine owner

3. Social Media Manager

Do you have a knack for social media? As a social media manager, you can use your skills to manage the social media accounts for companies and even individual people. Influencer marketing has become more common and many influencers rely on marketing agencies or employees to help them run their social channels.

→ Free Download: Social Media Calendar Template [Access Now]

4. Data Entry Clerk

Many businesses seek data entry clerks to help them enter information into their computer systems and spreadsheets. If you have strong computer and typing skills, this might be the business for you.

5. Audio or Video Editor

As of March 2021, there are 1.75 million podcasts available to listeners. For this reason, brands are turning to audio and visual content to connect with consumers. The catch is that many don't have the time to invest in the production of this content, or they don't have the skills to do it. Audio and video editors are in demand when it comes to producing quality content for hungry audiences.

6. Voiceover Artist

Speaking of podcasts and videos, many content creators recognize the value and level of professionalism that great voice talent can bring to a project. There are gigs out there for podcast intros/outros, narration for explainer videos, or even voice work for audiobooks. Learn how to get started with no experience from Kat Theo below:

7. Dog Walker, Groomer, or Trainer

Licensing and insurance will be the two most important factors in opening a dog walking, grooming, or training business, but your canine colleagues will surely make up for the initial red tape. To test the waters before jumping in, consider walking dogs through companies like Rover. Ready to run your own show? Consider a franchise like Dogtopia .

8. Candy Seller

If you grew up in a close-knit, southern neighborhood, you're probably familiar with the " Candy Lady ". This home business can be started by anyone who's trustworthy in the community. Aside from selling the most popular snacks, a candy seller can provide the neighborhood with fresh fruit and produce that may be harder to find if you live in a food desert.

Online Business Ideas

If you want a business idea that you can run entirely online, check out the ones below. These ideas are ideal for those looking for a passive income stream. In other words, you shouldn’t need to do too much manual work to launch these businesses from your home or preferred business location.

1. Become an online reseller.

To become an online reseller, all you need is some business savvy and some funds to invest in product stock from manufacturers — or, of course,the willingness to sell your own used items. Generally, this is a low-touch but high-performance way of creating a passive income online business.

Online resellers usually use a platform, such as Facebook Marketplace or Amazon Sellers, to sell either their own or manufacturers’ stock. The benefit of using Facebook Marketplace is that you can begin today with your own Facebook account, and simply list items that you already own.

Interested buyers typically drive directly to your home for pick-up — but if you’re not interested in human interaction, you can leave it outside and have the buyer pay via an online platform.

online business ideas: amazon seller

Amazon Sellers requires a little more up-front investment, but the yield is usually higher and you can turn your Amazon reselling business into a more passive income stream. Amazon allows you to buy stock from various manufacturers, which they then keep in their warehouses. When an Amazon user buys from you, Amazon will fulfill that order and then give you a substantial cut.

2. Try affiliate marketing.

An affiliate marketing business is a great fit if you already own a website or a blog you wish to monetize. We’ve already shared how blogging is a great business to start — if you’ve already bought a domain name and begun writing content, then using it to start your affiliate marketing business is a great option.

Affiliate marketers create blog posts and content that contain affiliate links. When a user clicks on that link, a cookie is added to their browser that tracks their activity for a specified period of time. If they make a purchase at the affiliate website, then you get a commission — usually recurring, if you’re selling subscription products.

There are countless affiliate marketing programs for you to start your online business. These programs come with many benefits, such as pre-made advertisements and lazy copy for you to use.

To create a viable affiliate marketing online business, you should choose the right blog niche , such as technology, household decor and organization, or fitness, and then find affiliate marketing programs that offer products your readership would be genuinely interested in.

3. Become a content creator or influencer.

Instagrammers, YouTubers, podcasters, and TikTokkers with more than ten thousand followers can eventually turn their accounts into a small online business that generates passive income.

As a content creator or influencer on social media, you can not only earn money from sponsored partnerships, but you can monetize your audience in other ways, such as creating Subscriptions on Instagram , allowing companies to advertise on your YouTube channel, or creating a paid-only newsletter.

online business ideas: content creator

Becoming an influencer or content creator takes hard work, but it can be a fun way to create a small online business, assuming you’re posting content that you enjoy creating. First, you should choose a niche, such as thrifted fashion, work-from-home hacks, or even industry tips. Then, you should learn how to become a social media influencer and digital creator , then create a social media content calendar .

Most importantly, have fun with this online business idea as you give it a try. The good news is that it has little overhead — all you need is a willingness to spend time on social media content creation.

4. Open a dropshipping store.

We’ve mentioned dropshipping a few times already, but this is such a great online business idea that it’s absolutely worth mentioning again. Dropshipping businesses don’t manufacture what they sell, or even buy stock from manufacturers in advance. Instead, wholesalers fulfill the order directly after a buyer places an order through your website.

Opening an ecommerce store can be forbidding for those who don’t want to deal with inventory management or supply chain logistics . Dropshipping is the best alternative.

The only thing you need is the willingness to invest in an ecommerce website builder and the ability to manage relationships with local or international manufacturers. From there, you need to only publish your site and advertise your brand via ecommerce marketing .

Learn how to start a dropshipping business here , with examples.

5. Sell print-on-demand products.

Print-on-demand (POD) is another way to start a dropshipping business, except it’s a little more frictionless because most POD services allow you to create a storefront right on their website, instead of you needing to look for a separate ecommerce site builder.

With a POD online business, you design unique artwork. The print-on-demand provider will allow you to place that design on t-shirts, hats, tote bags, phone cases, and more. You do not keep any inventory; instead, the POD provider will print it only after a buyer makes an order, then ships it directly to them.

online business ideas: print on demand shop

The only thing you need to start this small online business is a penchant for design and the budget to pay for a print-on-demand subscription (although most providers are free, and they simply take a cut of the sale). Get acquainted with design principles and color theory , and you can get started with this business in no time.

6. Become an independent author.

Think becoming an author is only for those who are extremely lucky? Think again. Whether you write historical epics or self-help guides, chances are that there’s a market to read your work, and you can now easily publish it online .

We recommend editing and proofreading your book, or hiring someone to do it, before self-publishing it. Then, it’s as simple as signing up on a self-publishing platform such as Kindle Direct Publishing or Barnes & Noble Press , uploading your file and cover, and pushing it live. You’ll enjoy benefits such as large royalties (up to 70%) and the ability to unpublish the book at any time, in case you find a typo or another change you’d like to make.

To get this online business idea off to a strong start, invest in an author website , spend some time doing social media marketing , and learn the basics of book marketing .

7. Sell downloadable digital products.

Downloadable journals, templates, art prints, designs… Some people would simply prefer to print these at home, instead of paying for the full price of the paper and the design. Downloadable digital products can be a profitable small business idea for those who are already design-savvy or who are willing to learn how to use an online design tool .

online business ideas: digital products

But if you’re not too crafty, you don’t need to create full-on journals or beautiful art prints, either; you can create templates for marketplaces such as Canva’s . There, people are able to customize a base design to their specifications, so you don’t have to worry too much about creating something specially beautiful — it’s more about functionality and customizability.

If you plan to create digital products that buyers can print at home, think about printing specifications, such as recommended paper size, paper weight, PPI (pixels per inch; a higher PPI results in better print quality), and so on. It’s essential to create a positive customer experience, even if users are ultimately responsible for what the final result looks like.

8. Publish a subscription-based newsletter.

We’ve already discussed becoming an independent author, but if long-form writing, such as novels, seems out of reach, you can always go for something much shorter and simpler: Newsletters. And the best part about paid newsletters is that you typically don’t need to have a separate website and blog; instead, you can sign up on a platform and begin publishing right away.

A website can, of course, benefit you, but the core of your revenue will come from the newsletter itself.

online business ideas: paid newsletter

With newsletter monetization platforms such as Substack or even Patreon , you can publish shorter content that features your opinion, experience, and expertise. We recommend pairing this small business idea with a robust social media marketing strategy , where your followers can learn more about you and be swayed to subscribe to a gated newsletter.

Choose a niche you’re passionate about, and this online business idea can feel less like work and more like a profitable hobby.

9. Create an online course.

If you want to monetize your expertise a little further for your online business, then creating an online course is the best choice.

To create a course, you’ll need to sign up on an online course platform such as WordPress or Teachable , sketch out a curriculum, film your lectures, and create worksheets and guides. You can be as hands-on or as hands-off as you’d like, but to make this online business as passive as possible, you’d ideally record all your lectures at once and allow users to access them by paying a premium fee.

If you’d like to try your hand at it first, you can try publishing a course on a platform such as Udemy and see if it feels viable to you. To become an online course teacher, you don’t need a specific level of education, but you should have a strong grasp on the material you’re teaching and a strong set of customer service skills to handle inquiries or course refunds.

10. Transcript videos, shows, and podcasts.

A freelance transcription business is an excellent idea for those who speak only one language and are passionate about improving communication. Transcribers listen to speech, write it out — usually verbatim — and deliver it to the original publisher in an organized document.

This small online business is a good fit for those who are looking for a part-time side business. You should be able to type quickly and have a good listening ear. Indeed has listed the top transcription companies where you can get your foot in the door.

Once you understand how the industry works, you can consider opening your own small transcription business and offering services on freelancer marketplaces such as Fiverr or Upwork .

Whether you’re looking to start your venture today or you simply don’t want to jump through the normal hoops of launching a small business, the below ideas are extremely easy to start — so easy, all you’ll need to do is sign up on a website or tell your friends about your services.

1. Vacation Host

Have you ever used a home-sharing service instead of a hotel? You could make a living by hosting visitors in your own home or renting out a room. Consider becoming a host with companies like Airbnb .

To become a vacation host, you don’t need any special skills except friendliness, courteousness, and agility (in case of guest emergencies or language barriers). A customer service course will prepare you to welcome guests and give them a pleasant stay.

You’ll need to invest in supplies and toiletries, such as new bedding and one-time soaps and toothbrushes, but the overhead is relatively small, and you can stop at any time.

2. Pet Sitter

Do you have a passion for pets? Consider becoming a pet sitter. While the pet's owners are away on vacation, either host their pet at your home or make visits to their home. Join a pet sitting service like Wag to get started.

small business idea example: pet sitter

If you start a pet sitting business, be sure to have some experience with dogs, cats, and other household pets. You should also choose a niche based on timing. For instance, do you prefer long-term arrangements? You can market yourself as an excellent vacation pet sitter. Do you only do single afternoons, or only on weekends? You can pull in clients by telling them you’ll take care of their pets during their dates or weekend trips.

3. Daycare Owner

Childcare continues to be in high demand. While nannies and nanny shares are popular right now, a good daycare is hard to find. Fill a need in your neighborhood by opening your own. And, as always, make sure you’re complying with your city and state’s zoning, licensure, insurance, and inspection requirements.

Home daycares are especially a good fit if you’re an experienced parent and have all supplies ready at home. But be warned that you’ll also need to buy more supplies to accommodate the additional children you’ll need to take care of.

We recommend getting a soft start with this business by advertising it first to your friends, families, and close neighbors. That way, you can better gauge whether it’s a good fit for you and whether you want to make the full investment.

If there’s a topic you have a heavy interest in, then there’s an audience out there with a heavy interest in it too. A blog can be used to build an online community whose engagement can be monetized. Affiliate marketing , sponsored content , and co-marketing are some ways to make money once your blog develops a following.

→ Download Now: 6 Free Blog Post Templates

Blogging is one of the most accessible small businesses to start, and there are countless niches to choose from. That said, because there are many blogs online, you’ll need to learn blog SEO and keyword research to ensure your audience finds you. That way, you actually make money out of your blogging efforts.

The great news is that a small blogging business has a ridiculously low overhead. All you need is a custom domain and your time for writing blog posts.

5. Home-Baked Goods Seller

Warehouse-made, store-bought chocolate chip cookies will never compare to a batch made with love in someone’s home. Simple desserts can be easily baked and packaged to sell at local events or around your neighborhood. Use custom labels and watch the word spread about your goods!

You can begin a baked goods business easily by opening a Facebook and Instagram profile. Facebook and Instagram are both excellent platforms to market your goods, show pictures of your previous baked products, and even showcase happy clients.

Build a loyal following slowly, and save on costs by asking clients to drive to your home to pick up their order. Choosing a niche can be helpful here, or baking in a specific style that can’t be found at grocery store bakeries. The overhead can be especially low if you already have most essential baking supplies.

6. Ecommerce Store Owner

Do you create, collect, or curate anything special? Consider starting an ecommerce store and turning your hobby into a full-time job. Whether you need somewhere to sell all that pottery you’ve been making, or an excuse to search for the sports memorabilia you love tracking down, an ecommerce store can make it financially viable for you to pursue your passion.

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Starting an ecommerce store is simple and easy. You can set up a shop using an ecommerce website builder , all of which start at a minimal monthly subscription (some even start at free). Be sure to take good photos of your products and write descriptive product pages .

If you don’t have inventory, you can always own an ecommerce store by using dropshipping . Instead of creating and shipping your products yourself, you’ll instead partner with a dropshipping website and have them mail out the orders directly to your client.

7. House Cleaner

With a low barrier to entry, house cleaning can be a great way to start doing what you love — soon. Consider advertising to homes in your neighborhood and get more bang for your buck by earning a few small businesses as clients as well. They’ll usually bring in a higher paycheck for a similar amount of work.

To become a house cleaner, you should be prepared to invest in cleaning supplies and accessories, or be willing to use your own. If you plan to serve small businesses, you should buy industrial janitorial supplies so you can get work done more effectively.

Need some inspiration? This small business cleaning service grew virtually overnight on Instagram after their content went viral during the pandemic.

small business idea example: go clean co

8. Packing Services Facilitator

Moving is always a pain, and many people hire the entire packing process out. As a packing services facilitator, you’ll be going to people’s homes and packing up their smaller items into organized boxes. To start this business, you must be comfortable with face-to-face contact and with manual labor.

small business ideas: packing services facilitator

You can begin this business by advertising in your own neighborhood. Once you’re ready to expand, consider partnering with a local moving service that will refer new clients to you. That way, you’ll have a steady stream of clients, and you won’t have to invest in a moving truck (the moving service will take care of that for you).

Business Ideas for Students

1. etsy shop owner.

Creating novelties by hand is a fun and unique way to start a small business, and you can easily sell them via Etsy . Whether you make jewelry, knitted comfort items, or even custom wigs , there’s probably a market for your products and an Etsy buyer who’s ready to purchase.

small business ideas: etsy shop owner

This idea is excellent if you’re already an expert in the craft you aim to sell. That way, you don’t need to pursue additional education or certification courses. Once you set up your Etsy store, which is free, tap into your audience with creative marketing on social media and optimize your website using keywords that describe the products you make.

2. Tour Guide

Love the local history of your city or state? Consider becoming a tour guide. Sure, you’ll need to conduct plenty of research to be able to do the job well, but that’s half the fun. Set yourself apart by offering tours that speak to a specific niche of your community’s history.

You can start a tour guide business easily. First, decide what your specialty will be. Some tour guides, like the ones at Freedom Trail in Boston , offer historical walking tours of their town’s most haunted spots while others curate guided foodie tours for guests to get a true taste of the city.

small business idea example: tour guide

Maybe you love the outdoors and are an experienced backpacker — you can then offer hiking tours. To begin, use a platform such as TripAdvisor or Airbnb, where you can sign up as a tour guide provider. Remember to launch a website, and to file for sole proprietorship status .

3. Online Class Instructor

Tutoring is often done in person and with one client at a time. Remotely teaching an online class offers more flexibility because you can teach multiple students from home. English is a common subject for online classes because of how many people want to learn it. But anything that you have a mastery over could be translated to a virtual class.

4. Small-Batch Goods Seller

Using organic, all-natural ingredients is more expensive, but worth it. There are many products you can learn how to make at home without any preservatives, chemicals, or toxins. Candles, soaps, shampoos, and moisturizers are some examples of goods you can create and tailor with custom scents. Try starting out making soap with this complete beginner’s guide to soapmaking:

5. Makeup Artist

Many people prefer to have a professional do their makeup because they may lack the proper products or just the skills. It may be for a special occasion, photoshoot, or video shoot, or another event. Being able to do a variety of different looks will make your business more attractive to more customers.

To run a successful makeup artist business, you’ll need to be social media savvy . Instagram in particular is an excellent platform to advertise your services and get new clients.

You should also consider honing in on a specific niche. For instance, you might do wedding makeup exclusively.

6. Professional Organizer

A lot of people struggle with clutter or disorganization in their homes and offices. It can be a large undertaking to create organized systems and habits. Grab a lot of storage bins and a label maker and get started!

To become an organizer, you’ll first need to have the chops: Is your own home organized? Do you enjoy making order out of chaos? Then, launch a website to market your services locally. Be sure to create local listings to ensure people find your business, including listings on Angi, Houzz, and Thumbtack.

Meg Golightly, founder at Gosimplified , has made this small business idea into a successful career.

Is your head buzzing with small business ideas yet? After all that brainstorming, you’ll need a practical plan to get started with your new small business.

  • Identify your small business idea.
  • Start as a side business or hobby.
  • Decide on your software.
  • Create a business plan.
  • Decide whether you'll be an LLC or sole proprietorship.
  • Create a business bank account.
  • Determine if your business idea works well from home.
  • Set up an office.
  • Get to work!

1. Identify your small business idea.

Whether you choose an option from the list above or have another idea up your sleeve, it’s important to have the experience, training, or skills necessary to be successful. Want to run a daycare but have never even visited a successful daycare center? Spend time conducting research to learn whether this is really the right fit for your experience, interests, and target audience.

2. Start as a side business or hobby.

Can you get your business off the ground as something you do in the evenings or on the weekends (a.k.a. a side job)? This allows you to make some mistakes, test the market, and understand whether your idea has legs before you quit your nine-to-five job and lose your primary income.

3. Decide on your software.

You’ve got a lot of things on your plate when first starting up. But one step that’s critical (and often forgotten by first-time entrepreneurs) is deciding on the software that can help you be more efficient as your business grows.

Every business is different — but almost all companies can use software to help with analytics, project management , accounting, bookkeeping, email marketing, and other basic day-to-day tasks.

One of the most important software tools every small business should utilize is a free all-in-one CRM platform to keep track of important customer information in one central database. It will help align your team and make sure you stay organized as your business grows.

4. Create a business plan.

No business plan? No business. Particularly if your small business idea requires investors, you'll need to draft up a business plan to provide an overview of your market positioning, your financial projections, and your unique competitive advantages. You can download HubSpot's free business plan templates for free to get started.

One-Page Business Plan Template

Download Free Business Plan Templates

Your business plan should include the following elements:

  • Executive summary — A high-level overview of your company and market placement.
  • Business model — Outline what your business does, who your business serves, and how your business is structured. You should include a description of what products and services you offer, and how they meet the needs of your customers.
  • Market condition — A summary of pertinent competitor information. Determine the strengths and weaknesses of your closest competitors.
  • Products and services — Use this section to describe your products and services in detail, and outline what differentiates your product from others in the market.
  • Operations and management — Outline your business’ organizational structure, key roles, and responsibilities.
  • Marketing and sales strategy — This section should describe how you will market and sell your product. Include information on your ideal customer, how you plan to position your offering, and your sales strategy.
  • Financial plan — Create a detailed outline of your business financials. Include your start-up costs, your initial financial productions, and how you anticipate generating funding.
  • Appendix — Once the above pieces are complete, end the document with an appendix summarizing your business plan.

Every business is different — but almost all companies can use software to help with analytics, project management, accounting, bookkeeping, email marketing, and other basic day-to-day tasks.

5. Decide whether you’ll be an LLC or sole proprietorship.

Two common legal structures for small businesses are limited liability corporations (LLCs) and sole proprietorships.

An LLC is a more complex business structure than a sole proprietorship and can include individuals, corporations, and other LLCs as members. Additionally, LLCs are not subject to a separate level of tax and offer the business owner liability protection and tax advantages. LLCs are formed on a state-by-state basis.

Sole proprietorships are businesses owned and operated by one person and are not identified as a separate entity from the owner by the government. While a sole proprietorship is the simplest business structure, sole proprietors are personally liable for their business.

Besides an LLC or sole proprietorship, there are a few other options for you to consider.

Sean Flannigan, Sendle's Content Manager, says, "While many small businesses might be best served by choosing an LLC or sole proprietorship, there are a few other options."

"Partnerships are great for businesses operated by several individuals. It hews most closely to a sole proprietorship in that the individuals take on the business liability and pay taxes on a personal level."

He adds, "To completely avoid personal liability, small businesses might choose to incorporate as a corporation, S corporation, or B Corp. S corporations avoid corporate taxation whereas B Corps must meet a threshold for public benefit and accountability."

Additionally, Flannigan says, "There are tons of great reasons to become a B Corp beyond just doing good business. All that said, many small businesses that aren't aimed at super-fast growth choose to go with an LLC to keep things simple while shielding owners from too much liability."

Learn more about choosing the right structure for your business from the Small Business Administration.

6. Create a business bank account.

Once you have a legally formed business and have been issued an Employer Identification Number (EIN), open a bank account specifically for your business. Having a business bank account is essential for keeping your personal and business finances separate which can help you gain an accurate picture of your business’s cash flow and financial health.

Additionally, keeping your personal and business finances separate makes bookkeeping and tax preparation easier.

Many banks offer business checking and savings accounts. Business checking accounts typically do not have a limit on the number of transactions that can take place, and issue a debit card that can be used for making business purchases. However, these checking accounts do not accrue interest.

Business savings accounts typically earn interest over time but have a limited number of transactions that can occur each month. When you’re just starting out, look for a business bank account that does not have a minimum balance requirement so you are not penalized for having low funds as you work to build your business.

7. Determine if your business idea works well from home.

Ask yourself whether your business idea will work well from home. Some businesses simply aren’t suited to be based from home. If you want to run a dog boarding center but live in an apartment without a backyard, you might want to consider a dog walking business instead.

8. Set up an office.

If your business idea is well-suited for being run from home, it’s still important you have a designated workspace. While a home office might not be possible, consider setting aside a corner in your living room or putting a desk in your bedroom for a space that inspires you and creates the conditions for success.

Need a more professional space? If you conduct client-facing work requiring you to be on video calls, no one wants to see your rumpled sheets in the background. Check out local coworking spaces for memberships that earn you access to conference rooms, desk space, and more.

9. Get to work!

You’ve put in the hard work and I’ve got good news — it’s only going to get harder. But most entrepreneurs will agree that the payoff of being your own boss, making your own hours, and working on projects that you’re passionate about will pay dividends for the rest of your life.

Starting a Small Business: FAQ

What are the types of small businesses.

The types of small business structures are sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs), and corporations.

Which business type is best?

The best business type is a limited liability company (LLC). Operating as an LLC means that your personal assets are separate from your business assets. If your business goes bankrupt, your personal holdings won’t be affected. That said, it’s also one of the costlier types, requiring a fee paid to the state.

The easiest business type to start is a sole proprietorship. The main downside is that there’s no differentiation between you and your business.

How do I create a business idea?

To create a business idea, determine your skill set, work preferences, startup budget, and available resources. It’s important to strike the right balance between what you can feasibly offer and what you can feasibly afford in the short and long term.

We recommend starting with your skill set so that you can easily determine the niche in which you can effectively compete. For instance, if you have ample experience as a writer, you might consider starting a freelance writing business. But if you know you’d prefer to work with clients face-to-face, you might choose to start a ghostwriting business instead. That’s why it’s so important to take your work preferences into account, as well.

After that, take a look at your budget and determine the type of business you can start based on the resources at your disposal. For instance, you might not be able to afford a physical office or location, so a location-based business will likely not be a good fit. In that case, starting an online business is your best option.

What are some of the most successful small businesses?

Every small business has the potential to be successful and profitable, provided it’s backed by a strong product-market fit and a robust business plan . These two elements are essential. Maybe post-natal services are one of the most successful small businesses to launch, but if you live in an area with declining population or a large elderly population, then that small business idea won’t yield a high return on investment.

Think carefully about the market where you’re launching your business, and you’ll be more than likely to see lasting success.

What are the top growing small businesses?

top growing small businesses as reported by the bureau of labor statistics

The top growing industries are healthcare support, technology, personal care, food preparation, and community and social service. As such, launching a small business in any of these fields is bound to yield a high return on investment, but remember to take your target market into account.

Here are some small business ideas for each of those industries:

Healthcare Support

  • In-home care assistant
  • In-home elderly care provider
  • Psychological care provider
  • Pre-natal and post-natal support specialist
  • Freelance programmer or web developer
  • Freelance IT support specialist
  • Freelance cybersecurity expert

Personal Care

  • Hair stylist
  • Nail technician

Food Preparation

  • Personal chef
  • Food truck owner
  • Food delivery

Community and Social Services

  • Non-profit owner
  • Education specialist

Brainstorm Your Next Small Business Venture

Selecting a small business idea to work on is a personal decision. Money is important, but you’ll need more motivation than that to keep going. Bounce ideas off your friends and family until you reach the perfect idea that works for your schedule, fulfills your life’s passion, and makes financial sense. Don’t be afraid to ask for help throughout this process — and remember to have a little fun while you’re putting in the work.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in August 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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48 Small Scale Business Ideas for Beginner Entrepreneurs

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Don't be fooled by their size, small businesses still have big potential. Here are nearly four dozen ideas to get you started on the path to success.

Annette Miller

  • Online Business

how to plan a small scale business

Our number one goal at DollarSprout is to help readers improve their financial lives, and we regularly partner with companies that share that same vision. If a purchase or signup is made through one of our Partners’ links, we may receive compensation for the referral. Learn more here .

Small businesses are the backbone of our economy.

According to the Small Business Administration, they make up 99.7% of U.S. employers and 97.7% of U.S. exporters [ 1 ] . In addition to supporting the economy, small business owners can work for themselves and create something unique and meaningful. reports that 81% of small business owners feel happier and 60% report being healthier than when they worked for their previous employer.

So how can you leverage your potential into starting a small business ? By starting your entrepreneurial journey in a niche that has profit potential and revolves around something you enjoy.

What Is Considered a Small-Scale Business?

While definitions vary, a small-scale business is typically described as an enterprise with a small number of employees, a relatively low sales volume, and is usually privately owned with most of the profits going to the owner. These businesses also typically serve a small community and see low turnover in staff.

Though every business has some type of startup requirements, many can be started within a reasonably short time frame and without significant upfront fees or expenses.

The Small Business Administration has a chart that describes different classifications of small businesses so you can see if the one you’re starting qualifies.

Online Small-Scale Business Ideas

There are plenty of local and online options you can choose from if you’re interested in running your own small-scale business. Here are a few online ideas to consider.

1. Virtual assistant

Starting a virtual assistant business is quick and easy. In this small-scale business, you’ll help other business owners with a variety of administrative tasks ranging from data entry and booking travel to writing blog posts and scheduling content on social media.

If you’re interested in becoming a VA, you can take Gina Horkey’s Fully Booked VA course to fast-track your business. Gina started out as a part-time virtual assistant and grew her business to over six figures a year. In this course, you’ll learn how to set your prices, establish your services, and find your first clients.

2. Proofreader

If you have an eye for typos, then starting a proofreading business could be lucrative. As a proofreader, you’ll examine documents from writers, business owners, and other professionals for grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors.

Professional proofreader Caitlyn Pyle offers a free training course for future proofreaders to help you determine if it’s a good fit for you. You’ll learn what’s involved in proofreading, how it’s different from editing, what types of industries need proofreaders, and how you can earn $20 or more per hour.

3. Freelance writer

As a freelance writer , you’ll produce blog posts, research documents, white papers, and other types of written content. You can work for websites, magazines, online journals, newspapers, and other businesses. Consider starting this small-scale business if you enjoy writing and researching. 

4. Social media manager

Social media managers help companies create, schedule, and monitor their presence on social media networks like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. You’ll be responsible for managing social media content calendars, responding to comments and questions, creating images, and other tasks.

Read our guide on how to become a social media manager for more information on what this business entails.

5. Facebook ads manager

Facebook ads are an important part of many business owners’ marketing strategy, and you can start a small-scale business managing ads for those companies .

You’ll create the ads, manage the Facebook advertising budget, and monitor their performance by analyzing the data provided in the Facebook Ads Manager dashboard. If you’re interested in this small-scale business idea, consider signing up for a program like Bobby Hoyt’s Facebook Side Hustle Course .

In nine separate modules, you’ll learn how to create effective ads, navigate the Facebook ads systems, establish campaigns, find your first clients, and price your services.

6. Blog writer

If you want to own your writing but still share your thoughts with the world, then creating a blog is a good choice for you. You’ll perform similar tasks as a freelance writer, but you’ll publish the articles on your own website.

You can make money with a blog through advertising, creating courses, or even writing eBooks .

7. Resume writer and editor

If you have experience working in human resources or have spent time reviewing resumes, then you can turn that into a business writing and editing resumes for job hunters. In this job, you’ll help your clients write clear and effective resumes that stand out to prospective employers. This may include proofreading and formatting their resumes as well.

8. SEO consultant

Search engine optimization means optimizing web content to be found by search engines like Google and Yahoo. The goal is to rank higher in search results to drive more readers to the site. As an SEO consultant, you’ll go through the company’s website content and make suggestions for how they can improve their search rankings and generate more organic traffic to their site.

It sounds complicated, but there are plenty of resources available that can teach you how to do this.

9. Email marketing specialist

If you start a small-scale business as an email marketing specialist, you’ll work with other businesses and companies to create email marketing campaigns. Tasks may include formatting newsletters, proofreading and editing for clarity and grammar, or creating graphics. You might also have to manage the email lists, analyze statistics, or write press releases.

10. Low-content eBook creator

Rather than writing a full-scale book, consider creating low-content ones instead. Coloring and activity books, planners, journals, and blank notebooks are all in-demand products that are quick and easy to produce. You can create your own low-content eBooks and sell them via Amazon, your own website, or even Etsy.

To create your low-content books, consider using a free web-based design program like Canva , which provides hundreds of images, layouts, and tutorials to help you design your first product. Even if you don’t have expert graphic design skills, you can still produce interesting and professional-quality books.

11. Trading card shop owner

This is one that is lost on me, but Ben — our co-founder — makes thousands of dollars each year selling Pokemon cards online. If you’ve got an interest in Magic, Pokemon, sports, or any other number of trading card games (TCG), you’ll be happy to know there are opportunities to make serious coin buying, holding, or selling your prized wax. 

Related : I Spent $100,000 Flipping Pokémon Cards During the Pandemic. Here’s What I Learned

In-Person Business Ideas

If you’re not interested in working online, you can start a more traditional small-scale business.

12. Pet walker or sitter

People working outside of their home or who have mobility issues often need someone to walk their dogs during the day. This provides an opportunity for you to start a business as a dog walker for people in your neighborhood or apartment building.

You can easily get started by letting your friends know you’re available or registering with Rover , which will connect you to clients looking for a reliable dog walker. With Rover, you’ll create a profile informing potential clients of your availability, rates, and the dog breeds you prefer to work with. You can also make money with Rover by boarding pets in your home.

13. Vrbo host

As long as it’s OK with your landlord or homeowner’s association, you can start a small-scale business renting out space in your home or apartment. When you become a Vrbo host , you’ll earn money from travelers looking for a place to stay.

Get an idea of what your property may be worth by answering a few short questions about its location, number of bedrooms, and availability, and see how much you can expect to earn each month in revenue. 

Related : 7 Ways to Make Money Renting Out Your Space

14. Babysitting

Many parents prefer to use a babysitter instead of a daycare to watch their children while they’re at work. Others like having a reliable babysitter so they can run errands, go to the gym, or have a child-free date night.

If you enjoy spending time with kids and have a flexible schedule, consider starting a babysitting business. You can register with a site like or advertise on social media to find your first clients.

15. Computer repair

Personal computers are a staple in most homes, so computer repair is a viable business. The repair issues can range from fixing hardware, performing software updates, installing anti-virus programs, or setting up someone’s new computer.

The services you perform are entirely up to you, and if you’re good with computers and have a flexible schedule, this might be a good small-scale business to consider. You can even offer phone support as an additional business service.

16. Insurance billing specialist

An insurance billing specialist is someone who works with medical providers and offices to process claims for healthcare insurance. If you’re organized, understand medical terminology, and are willing to learn the American Medical Association’s Current Procedural Terminology (CPT), this is a small-scale business you can start from home. You might also be able to work as a freelancer with medical facilities like hospitals or surgical centers.

17. Transcriber

If you have good listening and typing skills, you can start a business as a transcriber. As a transcriber, you’ll listen to audio files and translate them into text documents. The formatting, style, and content of the transcription documents will vary from client to client. You can learn more about what’s involved in working as a transcriber and places to find your first clients in this transcription jobs guide .

Before you get started, you might want to consider taking a few courses through Transcribe Anywhere . You can learn about legal transcription, general transcription, or take their free mini-course that teaches you the foundations of building a transcription business.

18. Housecleaning business

House cleaners go to other people’s homes to provide specific or general cleaning services. You can also offer commercial cleaning, construction site clean-up services, or move-out cleaning services to landlords.

This small-scale business has low start-up costs, but you’ll need to check with your city or state to verify if you need any licenses, background checks, or special insurance.

19. Vacation planner

Working as a vacation planner means that you’ll help clients book their next trip. You will assist in making hotel reservations, airline or train tickets, booking excursions or special experiences, and dining reservations. This is like being an old-school travel agent.

Since most of this is easy for people to do on their own, it’s helpful if you specialize in certain types of vacations like Disney World or cruises. Once you get a specialty, you’ll learn insider tips and tricks for getting the best deals, saving your clients time and money.

20. Mobile/in-home dog groomer

Instead of your clients bringing their dogs to the pet salon, you bring the salon to them. You can offer the same services, from baths to nail trimmings to haircuts and teeth brushing, but you do it in their homes. This is particularly helpful for elderly pets (or elderly owners), dogs with anxiety, or pet owners who can’t get to the salon during their business hours.

You will need some training and certifications for this job as well as tools like clippers and a grooming table.

Related: How to Make Money with Your Dog

Best Small-Scale Business Ideas for Creatives

If you’re crafty or creative, try turning your crafts into one of these small-scale businesses.

21. Etsy store owner

You can turn your crafting hobby into a small-scale business by selling homemade crafts or products on Etsy. An easy-to-use platform with low selling fees and a quick storefront setup, Etsy allows you to sell anything including knit goods, hand-painted glasses, and digital products. You can even link your Facebook account to your Etsy store. This makes it simple to advertise and sell your products to a larger audience.

22. Custom gift creator

Selling your crafts isn’t limited to Etsy. You can create custom gifts like quilts, T-shirts, board games, or picture frames and sell them at craft shows or through dropshipping sites like Shopify . The start-up costs for this small-scale business are low and mostly consist of the supplies you need to make the products.

23. Graphic designer

Graphic designers create visual images like logos, social media graphics, magazine or book covers, signs, brochures, infographics, and more.

If you have an eye for design, enjoy being creative, and have access to programs like Canva, Illustrator, or Photoshop, then owning a graphic design business is a good option. You can get started by selling your services on Fiverr or by reaching out to small business owners and offering your services.

24. Photographer

As a photographer, you can specialize in family or pet portraits, wedding photos, graduation or first birthday pictures, or headshots for resumes or business sites. You can set up a studio in your home and consider renting a commercial space as your business grows.

You’ll need professional lighting and camera equipment for this small-scale business. If you prefer not to have a set schedule, you can also make money by taking pictures and selling them on stock photography sites.

25. Audiobook narrator

If you like to read books aloud, have a decent microphone and recording software, and a quiet space to work, you can start a business as an audiobook narrator for indie authors. You can improve your skills and reach more clients by taking acting classes, practicing public speaking, or learning different accents or voices.

26. Quilter

If you’re good with a sewing machine, you can use those skills to offer services to people who want old T-shirts turned into a quilt. You’ll need minimal materials to start as your customers will send you their shirts, but you will need a way to ship them. You can even expand your services by creating custom quilts for newborns, newlyweds, or for housewarming gifts.

27. Book designer

Many authors become overwhelmed at the thought of designing the cover art, layout, and other graphics for their books. If you have a knack for graphic design, you can use those skills to work as a book designer. You can even offer related marketing services like ad campaigns and social media graphics as additional revenue streams.

Ideas for Drivers

Delivering food or packages is an easy way for people who like to drive to start a small-scale business.

28. Food delivery driver

Delivering food is as simple as registering with a company like Postmates . When you sign up to work as a courier with Postmates, not only will you make money in tips, but you’re also paid for your mileage and time spent waiting in line to pick up. And you don’t need a car to work for Postmates; you can deliver by foot, scooter, or bike.

You can also deliver for national chains, working in their catering division, or for local businesses delivering pizza and other foods. Instacart is another option if you’d prefer to deliver groceries.

To work as a food delivery driver, you’ll need to have proper insurance and a valid driver’s license. While the start-up expenses are low, make sure you factor in fuel costs, car maintenance, and any other related expenses so you can deduct them for your taxes.

Related: 5 Ways Postmates Helps Drivers Out-Earn Other Delivery Gigs

29. Event valet

Operating an event valet business means that you’ll be parking cars in small or tight spaces, driving unfamiliar vehicles, and keeping track of keys and which cars are parked where.

You’ll need to be organized, detail-oriented, and comfortable driving automatic and manual transmission vehicles. You’ll also need proper insurance and a valid driver’s license.

30. Bike messenger

Many urban businesses like law firms, architecture firms, and even restaurants use bike messengers to deliver documents and other products. This is a great small-scale business if you like riding your bike, know how to navigate your city’s traffic, and don’t mind working outdoors in unpredictable weather. Make sure your bike is in great condition and you have appropriate safety gear and clothing if you want to get started with this business.

31. Errand runner

If you don’t mind doing small, everyday tasks, you can start a business running errands for other people. Services you can offer include picking up prescriptions or dry cleaning, grocery shopping, going to the post office, or waiting in line to pay a bill or buy a product. Sometimes people might even pay you to sit in their house to wait for a repairman while they go to work.

You can create a profile on TaskRabbit to get started. If you find it’s an in-demand service for your area, consider working with clients directly.

Business Ideas for Health Enthusiasts

If you’re passionate about helping people get healthy, consider one of these small business ideas.

32. Fitness instructor

As a fitness instructor, you’ll put together exercise plans, choreograph routines, and stay current on the latest trends and advice to help your clients reach their fitness goals.

While you don’t need any formal education, you’ll need some training and certifications. Those will vary based on the type of training or instruction you’d like to provide. You can work on a freelance or contract basis with a gym, or you can create a home gym and have clients come to you.

33. One-on-one wellness coach

A wellness coach works one on one with clients to improve their emotional and physical wellbeing. This could range from losing weight to stopping smoking to learning healthier coping strategies for stressful situations.

What you work on will depend on each client’s goals and your strengths, specializations, and certifications. This is a good small-scale business option if you like motivating, helping, and empowering people.

34. Meal planner & prepper

An easy way for busy families and individuals to save money every month is by meal planning and prepping. However, a lot of people don’t have the time or knowledge to create a meal plan or prepare their own food.

You can start a business providing meals to busy families. You’ll take orders, cook the food, and deliver it to them each week. Make sure you check with your state for any licenses or certifications you need to sell food from your home. Another option is to sell meal plans, including recipes and a grocery list, and have your clients do the cooking.

Small-Scale Business Ideas for Coaches and Teachers

You don’t need to have a degree in education to coach or teach others.

35. Music teacher

If you can play an instrument or two, you can start a small-scale business teaching kids and adults. You can conduct lessons in your home, a music studio, or in your clients’ homes. If you want to scale your music teaching business, consider hosting virtual group classes or creating and selling an online course.

36. Sports skills coach

There’s a high demand for specialized coaching in sports. Cheerleading flyers work with flexibility coaches, baseball and softball pitchers need pitching coaches, and golfers work with coaches to improve their swing. If you’re well-versed in these sports or were a star athlete, you can start a business providing private lessons or clinics to athletes in your area.

37. Online tutor

Students need help in subjects ranging from math to history to physics. If you enjoy working with students and are an expert in a subject, starting a tutoring business could be a good option for you. You can offer your services in person, meeting with your clients in their home or public spaces. If it’s not possible for you to work as an in-person tutor, you can work with an online tutoring company .

38. Interview preparation coach

Interviews can be the most difficult part of the hiring process for many people. If you’ve had success throughout the interview process, or you’ve spent a significant amount of time interviewing people, you can take that experience and turn it into a business coaching people who are preparing for interviews.

Services can include teaching them how to clearly and succinctly answer questions, calm their nerves, and recover from a bad answer. You can offer this service in their homes or in a public space such as coffee shops, libraries, and community centers.

39. Lesson plan creator

Writing lesson plans is often time-consuming for teachers. If you have experience with writing lesson plans and you’ve been praised for how original or creative they are, consider writing and selling them for other teachers to purchase. You can sell your lesson plans via your own website or a third-party site like TeachersPayTeachers.

40. Translator/interpreter

If you’re fluent in another language and don’t want to teach, or want to find a way to supplement your teaching income, working as a translator or interpreter is a viable option. You can work in courts, schools, entertainment, or find work by connecting with authors.

You might also consider teaching English as a Second Language or working for a company like Education First.

Education First is great for teachers who speak languages like French or Spanish or want to work teaching English to non-native speakers. They offer opportunities for teachers to work as educational tour guides, foreign language instructors, or as camp counselors. You can work in person in the U.S. or abroad and there are remote options as well.

41. Genealogy researcher

Before sites like 23andMe made it possible to trace your genetic heritage, people used genealogy research to trace their family’s roots. Many still do. If you have good research skills, can meet deadlines, and have or know how to access the appropriate records, working as a genealogy researcher might be a good option for you.

For more information on working in this field, you can consult the National Genealogy Society. They offer courses, books, and free resources for those who are interested.

42. Online course creator

Even if you’re not a licensed teacher, you can still make money teaching students. Thanks to platforms like Outschool , you can connect with and create courses for students ages 3 through 18. On Outschool, teachers can create courses on everything from basic guitar chords to sushi making to how to calculate the square root of 16.

You can offer your classes live or as pre-recorded sessions students can watch on their own time and earn as much as $40 per student .

Small Business Ideas for Handymen

If you’re good at fixing things, you can earn income from one of these small business ideas.

43. Holiday light installer

This is a seasonal small-scale business idea, but it can be lucrative. If you have a good eye for creating light displays and don’t mind working outdoors, you can advertise services hanging outdoor holiday lights for homeowners or retail stores. This business has some of the lowest start-up costs since your customers will provide the lights. All you need is a ladder and some tools.

44. Appliance repair

If you’re good at fixing things, consider starting an appliance repair business. You’ll go into people’s homes to fix items like washers, refrigerators, dishwashers, or stoves. You might even offer ancillary services like vacuum or window-unit air conditioner repair. Whatever you choose, make sure you verify with your state what type of licenses, insurance, or certifications you might need.

45. Lawn care or snow removal

Shoveling snow and mowing lawns are tasks many people need to do but don’t have the time, desire, or equipment for. You can start a small-scale business offering these services to homeowners or businesses in your area. If you have the knowledge, you can also offer pool cleaning or landscaping as additional services for your customers.

46. Tailor/clothing alterations

Prom dresses, wedding gowns, pageant dresses, suits, and even jeans need alterations. If you’re good with a sewing machine or thread and needle, you can start a business tailoring clothes. Offer your services independently or contract with some local formal wear shops or dry cleaners to provide your alterations as a freelancer.

47. Home energy auditor

To lower expenses, many people look for ways to reduce their electricity bill . As a home energy auditor, you’ll go into homes to assess, room by room, how efficient they are. You’ll look to see how much energy a home uses, where they’re losing energy, and make suggestions for improvements to save the homeowners money and make their homes more comfortable.

You will need some equipment and training to work as a home energy auditor, so make sure you factor that in when choosing this business idea.

48. Residential window cleaner

Most homeowners can clean the inside of their windows but need help with the outside panes, especially on the higher levels. If you have a ladder and the proper cleaning and safety equipment, you can offer your services cleaning windows. You might even expand them to include gutter cleaning, power washing, and chandelier cleaning.

Make sure you check to see if you need any special type of insurance or license to operate this type of business.

Related: 20 Best Small Business Ideas for New Women Entrepreneurs

Tips for Starting Your Small Business

Follow these steps to get your small-scale business up and running:

  • Hone your idea. Before you start offering services, you need to determine what you’ll sell. You can do that by evaluating your skills. Make a list of what you can do, what you’re not willing to do, how much time you have to build and grow your business, and any upfront costs or certifications you need to start.
  • Define the goals for your business. Ask yourself why you want to start a small business and what you’re hoping to accomplish. Is it to work and make money from home ? Is it to quit your full-time job and spend more time with your family? You also might set goals for quarterly income, how many employees you’d like to hire, or the kinds of clients you’d like to have.
  • Establish your prices. This is where you determine how much you’ll charge your customers. You may choose to bill hourly for services delivered, like consulting or babysitting, or on a per-product basis, like selling artwork on Etsy. Research what other business owners are charging for similar products to help you set your price.
  • Set up your business finances . You’ll need a business bank account and invoicing system. You can start with a simple Excel spreadsheet and PayPal , but you might consider moving to a system like FreshBooks as your business grows.
  • Come up with a marketing plan. You’ll need a strategy to promote your business online and off. You can use a site like Moo to create professional business cards for in-person marketing. Online marketing strategies might include creating a website, setting up a Google Business page, or leveraging social media like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. They’re all easy and inexpensive ways to spread the word about your business.

Don’t forget about the legal stuff.

Depending on the type of business you start, you might need permits, licenses, certifications, or insurance to operate legally. Research the rules and regulations in your state or city before you start working with clients. Additionally, you should verify that you’re not using a trademarked name, and you’re properly registered as a business with your state.

You will also want to set your business up as a legal entity like a Sole Proprietor or an LLC. Although many small business owners choose not to do this, small-scale businesses commonly use legal structures for tax purposes, tracking expenses separately, and reducing personal liability. Consult with an accountant or attorney to determine which is best for your business.

Alternatively, you can use Legal Rocket or LegalZoom to research how to register an LLC or partnership in your state. They also offer services for filing the associated paperwork required to start a business.

Get Started with Your Small-Scale Business

Owning a small-scale business is a great way to earn extra income and work for yourself. They have relatively low start-up costs, are easy to market, and you can get started finding clients rather quickly.

If you go this route, pick an idea that fits your schedule, talents, and has significant earning potential. Having your own business should be something you enjoy and look forward to. If it feels like a burden, consider trying something different. There are plenty of options to choose from.

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How To Scale A Small Business

Headshot of Susan Guillory

Every startup and small business dreams of rocketing growth. But without a little planning, business owners may stay mired in focusing on daily tasks and to-dos and may not take time to come up for air to work on their business strategy for growth.

If you dream of expanding your business, get a plan for scaling it smartly and sustainably over time.

What Makes a Business Scalable?

Scaling a business means growing it slowly and steadily so that it can sustain that growth over time. A business is scalable if it can handle an increase in demand from customers without heavily increasing its expenses to accommodate that demand.

Scaling a tech company is easier than scaling other types of businesses. For example, a software as a service (SaaS) brand could easily handle a significant increase in customers simply by adding more servers to its system. On the flip side, a business that trades time for money, such as a consultancy, is one that may be more difficult to scale because, in this example, a consultant can only work with one client at a time, so is limited in how many customers she can serve.

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When Should You Scale a Business?

A business that is established and has steady cash flow is one that can scale to greater heights. 

On the other hand, a company that has unsteady revenues or too much debt is one that may not be secure enough to successfully launch a scaling strategy. And a new business may be focused on establishing roots and may not be ready to scale.

Entrepreneurs considering scaling should carefully consider whether their companies are truly ready for growth since it’s going to require time, money, and effort to get there.

7 Ways to Scale Your Business

Now let’s look at a few of the ways you can scale your business.

Expand Your Business Model

You’ve made a name for yourself by offering certain products or services. It’s time to consider offering new products to better deliver what your customers want.

Consider related services or products that your customers might want. For example, if you sell home decor in your retail shop, you could start offering live plants. If you are a business coach who works one-on-one with clients, you could start offering group coaching programs.

Invest in Partnerships

There’s no reason you have to do all the heavy lifting when it comes to scaling. Consider potential partners you could work with to score more customers. With your home decor store, you could partner with an interior designer who offers in-person decorating classes in your shop. She can promote the event to her contact list, exposing your brand to a wider audience.

Hire Employees

Scaling happens from all sides: as your customers grow in numbers, you’ll need new employees to help serve them. Look to hire team members with skillsets that complement your own so that you have experts in every area—from customer service to marketing.

Automate Processes

One overlooked aspect of scaling a business is simply improving operations, workflows, and internal processes. If you leverage automation to handle, for example, your email marketing, you save time and can put that toward other areas of your business.

Business growth relies on establishing solid processes, especially if you hire more employees. Document every task in your business so that new hires can easily ramp up and get to work. You’ll make training easier and save time.

Constantly Market Your Biz

To attract more customers on a regular basis, you’ll need to leverage marketing tools like social media, content marketing, podcasts, advertising, and more. The better you establish your brand as a leader in your industry, the easier it will be to attract new customers.

As you market, keep an eye on results. Which marketing avenues are bringing in the most traffic to your website and sales? These are the ones you want to invest more in. For any channels that aren’t doing the job, cut ties and reinvest your marketing dollars in what’s working.

Expand Your Brand’s Reach Online

Your scalability depends on how many people can buy your products. Your website is likely where you sell your products, but you’re not limited to it. Look into becoming a seller on Amazon or Etsy (depending on your audience) so that you can reach more people with your products.

Get the Funds You Need to Grow

Scaling your business requires capital. You may not have cash on hand to cover the expenses you’ll have, such as investing in software, equipment, or payroll, and that’s where small business loans come into play. Yes, you’ll be taking on debt, but if all goes well, the growth in revenues will more than cover the loan and interest.

You’ve got many options when it comes to financing, including lines of credit , business cash advances , and invoice financing .  

Don’t want to take out a loan? Look at business credit cards to help you make purchases for your business, or crowdfunding if you want to generate excitement around a new product and don’t want to have to pay back a loan. Startups can also consider venture capital and bring on experienced investors with the right contacts to help them scale.

Mistakes to Avoid in Scaling

Growing businesses often make mistakes when scaling. Be aware of these so you can avoid them.

Scaling Too Fast

Rapid growth may sound like a positive thing, but if your business isn’t prepared, you could end up hurting the brand. Consider the small business that made an appearance on Shark Tank or Oprah’s program and found their web servers couldn’t handle the tens of thousands of views that their websites had as a result. Or the companies who couldn’t keep up with orders because they didn’t have enough inventory on hand.

Your scaling strategy needs to account for what you will need to accommodate growth. You may need to hire more employees, order more inventory, or step up your technology.

Having Too Many Revenue Streams

While yes, potentially having new revenue streams can increase sales, they can also create havoc if you stray too far from your brand’s core offerings. You can’t be all things to all people, nor can you sell everything. It’s better to own your niche and expand gradually and strategically from there than to slap together too many revenue streams without truly understanding what your audience needs.

Not Updating Your Business Plan

You may not have seen your business plan since you first wrote it all those years ago, but scaling is the perfect opportunity to come back to it and update it to reflect the new direction your business is heading. Writing down your goals and how you will achieve them gets you in the right headspace to understand what scaling truly looks like.

Not Paying Attention to Changing Company Culture

Small business owners sometimes overlook how scaling impacts company culture. If you started your business with just three employees and you’ve scaled to 50, that changes how your employees experience their jobs and your company.

Your leadership skills may need to adapt as your company grows. You may need to hire managers to oversee employees while you focus on the big picture. Consider working with mentors who can guide you through this process.

Scaling to Success

As your business grows, so do the possibilities for the future. Rather than aiming for overnight success, plan for sustainable growth by carefully planning your scaling strategy, finding the right financing, and updating your plan as it changes.

Access better funding options with a solution you can’t get anywhere else

Reduce the pain in financing with streamlined applications, instant offers and approval rates that are 3.5X higher than industry averages.

This article was originally written on January 7, 2022 and updated on January 24, 2022.

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This article currently has 11 ratings with an average of 4.5 stars.

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Susan Guillory

Susan Guillory is an intuitive business coach and content magic maker. She’s written several business books and has been published on sites including Forbes, AllBusiness, and SoFi. She writes about business and personal credit, financial strategies, loans, and credit cards.

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How to Scale Your Small Business in 8 Steps The new book, "Grow Your Business: Scaling Your Business for Long-Term Success," offers small business owners a roadmap for increasing profits without increasing spending.

By Entrepreneur Staff • Aug 29, 2023

The following is an excerpt from Grow Your Business: Scaling Your Business for Long-Term Success by the staff of Entrepreneur Media and Eric Butow, on sale now.

There are always smaller competitors waiting to take your market share, and it's only a matter of time before you transition from the hunter into the hunted. So you need to think of scaling not just in terms of company growth, but also as a way to build all the elements that make up your value proposition, so that you're as competitive as possible.

In the choice between growth and scaling, one option isn't better than the other. You have to decide what works best for you, based on your industry and your company's situation. What you do need to understand is why you have chosen one approach over the other and how you will leverage your growth with your other competitive factors, such as having the most product features of any company in your market.

Grow Your Business: Scaling Your Business for Long-Term Success is available now at Entrepreneur Bookstore | Amazon | Barnes and Noble

how to plan a small scale business

Applying Scaling to Your Small Business

Let's say you're a small business that has made the decision to scale. Before you start putting together your plans and processes, you need to understand the fundamental drivers of scalability, which are divided into three categories: scalable market, scalable business, and scalable team. Then you can analyze your business using these drivers.

Scalable Market

In the scalable market category, analyze the size of the market, the economics required to scale, and the rate of market growth.

Total Addressable Market (TAM): The market needs to be big enough that you can meet or exceed your growth targets. A rule of thumb is that TAM must be at least four times your business size goal. For example, if you want to build a $10 million business, then total sales in the market need to be at least $40 million.

Profit: Investing in the tools and people you need to succeed is expensive. Is the target market profitable enough to support not only your investments now but also your future growth? And do you have the measurement tools in place to find out?

Growth: The market needs to be growing, too, and preferably faster than the rate of new competitors entering the market.

Scalable Business

Understand what your business has to offer so you can not only become the market leader, but also stay in that position, despite your competitors' best efforts.

Be number one: You must scale with the intention of being the leader in your market or a sizable niche within that market.

Channels to market: Your scalable business needs access to channels with customers whom you can target, market to, and sell to profitably.

A scalable operating model: Your business must have unconstrained access to all critical materials and talent without breaking your bank account. In the post–COVID-19 economy, finding that access has been more challenging than previously.

Scalable economics: Calculate the scalability of your economics with this formula: [Gross profit per $1 million new revenue] divided by [new cost required to manage each $1 million of new revenue]. New cost includes assets like people, technology, and facilities. For example, if your gross profit per $1 million is $100,000 and the new cost is $50,000, the ratio is 2. If you have a ratio of 2 or greater, you have a highly scalable business. Anywhere between 1 and 1.2 means you'll feel like you're climbing El Capitan. If the ratio is below 1, you don't have a scalable business. If you're between 1.2 and 2, then you have a better chance of creating a scalable business with the right adjustments.

Your it factor: The market you're in is likely very competitive, so you need to identify what makes you stand apart from the rest. Those differentiators must be good enough to keep you on top of your market or market niche.

Scalable Team

You need to be a scalable business owner to scale your business. Consider whether you'll be able to:

  • Build a great culture, especially one with more than 100 people
  • Build a quality team of senior leadership and delegate large parts of the business to them
  • Transition smoothly from entrepreneur to builder and manager Act in the best interests of the business, not yourself
  • The most painful stage is going from 10 employees to 100 because that's when you're changing from a small business to a professionally managed company. If you can hire great managers to help you run the business and let you be an effective leader, that's a good sign you'll be able to scale your business further.

Related: The Tactics Great Leaders Use to Focus Their Mindset on Growth

8 Strategies to Scale Your Small Business

The strategies you've used to grow your business thus far will help you build a scalable business, too. Those strategies include:

  • Building a sales funnel. It will automate your sales process and help you scale more easily. Implementing a CRM system. That way you don't have to track transactions manually, which can become overwhelming as the company gets larger. There are plenty of CRM systems out there. You can view a list and compare them on the Capterra website .
  • Researching the competition. Find out how they market to and acquire new customers so you can use some of their strategies and exploit their weaknesses. You can also learn about competitive intelligence software at Capterra to help you find and compare solutions.
  • Creating a customer loyalty program. It costs more money to acquire a new customer than it does to sell to an existing customer. So once you have a customer, do everything you can to keep them.
  • Identifying opportunities. To find the right opportunities, you need to understand everything from your distribution channels to your direct competitors. As you analyze what's happening in your market, you'll likely find other possibilities you can pursue now or down the road.
  • Building an email list by offering a lead magnet. This could be a free document that potential customers find valuable. Once you've built a list, you can work with a company that provides email marketing services to handle the logistics, such as Mailchimp or Constant Contact.
  • Creating multimedia offerings. Use videos on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok to sell your product or service. Webinars are also a great way to reach a wide audience.
  • Leveraging existing platforms. For example, you may want to look into selling your products on Amazon and eBay. However, be careful when you sell on such platforms, because their top priority is their bottom line, not yours.
  • Diversifying your offerings. Always look out for ways to add complementary products, services, or information to your primary product or service. When you add value to the exchange, you'll see more income.

For more growth strategies, pickup Grow Your Business: Scaling Your Business available now at Entrepreneur Bookstore | Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Entrepreneur Staff

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How to Write a Business Plan for a Small Business

Last Updated: November 1, 2022 References Approved

This article was co-authored by Helena Ronis . Helena Ronis is Co-founder and CEO of AllFactors, a unified web analytics software to drive company's marketing and business growth. She has worked in product and marketing in the tech industry for over 8 years, and studied Digital Marketing & Analytics at the MIT Sloan School of Management Executive Program. There are 13 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 37 testimonials and 91% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 1,013,547 times.

Helena Ronis

Preparing To Write Your Business Plan

Image titled Write a Business Plan for a Small Business Step 1

  • The mini plan. This is a shorter plan (likely 10 pages or less), and is useful for determining potential interest in your business, further exploring a concept, or starting point to a full plan. This is a great starting point. [2] X Research source
  • The working plan. This can be considered the full version of the miniplan, and its main purpose is to outline, without emphasis on appearance, precisely how to build and operate the business. This is the plan that the business owner would refer to regularly as the business moves towards its objectives. [3] X Research source
  • The presentation plan. The presentation plan is meant for individuals other than those owning and operating the business. This could include potential investors or bankers. It is essentially the working plan, but with an emphasis on sleek, marketable presentation, and proper business language and terminology. Whereas the working plan is made for reference by the owner, the presentation needs to be written with investors, bankers, and the public in mind. [4] X Research source

Image titled Write a Business Plan for a Small Business Step 2

  • The business concept is the first broad element of a business plan. The focus here is on the description of your business, its market, its products, and its organizational structure and management.
  • The market analysis is the second major element of a business plan. Your business will operate within a particular marketplace, and it is important to understand customer demographics, preferences, needs, buying behavior, as well as the competition.
  • The financial analysis is the third component of the business plan. If your business is new, this will include projected cash flows, capital expenditures, and the balance sheet. It will also include forecasts as to when the business will break-even.

Image titled Write a Business Plan for a Small Business Step 3

  • The above sections are the broad components of the business plan. These sections in turn break down into the following seven sections, which we will, in order, focus on writing next: Company description, market analysis, organization structure and management, products and services, marketing and sales, and request for funding. [6] X Research source

Writing Your Business Plan

Image titled Write a Business Plan for a Small Business Step 4

  • While the first section is technically known as the "Executive Summary" (which gives an official overview of your business), it is typically written last since all the information from the business plan is required to create it.

Image titled Write a Business Plan for a Small Business Step 5

  • For example, if your business is a small coffee shop, your description may read something like, "Joe's coffee shop is a small, downtown-based establishment focused on serving premium brewed coffee and fresh baking in a relaxed, contemporary environment. Joe's coffee is located one block from the local University, and aims to provide a comfortable environment for students, professors, and downtown employees to study, socialize, or simply relax between classes or meetings. By focusing on excellent ambiance, close location, premium products, and superb customer service, Joe's coffee will differentiate itself from its peers."

Image titled Write a Business Plan for a Small Business Step 6

  • Include information about your target market. You should be able to answer questions like, who is your target market? What are their needs and preferences? How old are they, and where are they located?
  • Make sure to include a competitive analysis that provides research and information on immediate competitors. List your main competitors strengths and weaknesses and the potential impact on your business. This section is extremely important, as it outlines how your business will gain market share by capitalizing on competitor's weaknesses.

Image titled Write a Business Plan for a Small Business Step 7

  • Talk about your team's expertise and how decisions will be made. If the owners and managers and have extensive backgrounds in the industry or a track record of success, highlight it.
  • If you have an organizational chart, include it.

Image titled Write a Business Plan for a Small Business Step 8

  • Address any questions about your product's life cycle. Do you currently have or anticipate developing a prototype, or filing for a patent or copyright? Note all planned activities.
  • For example, if you are writing a plan for a coffee shop, you would include a detailed menu that would outline all your products. Before writing the menu, you would include a short summary indicating why your particular menu sets your business apart from others. You may state, for example, "Our coffee shop will provide five different types of beverages, including coffee, teas, smoothies, soda's, and hot chocolates. Our wide variety will be a key competitive advantage as we can provide a diversity of product offerings that our main competitors are currently not offering".

Image titled Write a Business Plan for a Small Business Step 9

  • Be clear in defining your sales strategy. Will you use sales representatives, billboard advertising, pamphlet distribution, social media marketing, or all of the above?

Image titled Write a Business Plan for a Small Business Step 10

  • Gather financial statements to support your funding request. To accurately complete this step, in some cases it might be necessary to hire an accountant, lawyer, or other professional. [14] X Trustworthy Source U.S. Small Business Administration U.S. government agency focused on supporting small businesses Go to source
  • Financial statements should include all historical (if you are an existing business) or projected financial data, including forecast statements, balance sheets, cash-flow statements, profit and loss statements, and expenditure budgets. For one full year, provide monthly and quarterly statements. Each year after that, yearly statements. These documents will be placed in the Appendix Section of your business plan.
  • Include projected cash flows for at least 6 years or until stable growth rates are achieved and if possible, a valuation calculation based on discounted cash flows.

Image titled Write a Business Plan for a Small Business Step 11

  • Existing businesses should include historical information about the company. When was the business first conceptualized? What are some notable growth benchmarks?
  • Start-ups will focus more on industry analysis and their funding goal. Mention the company's corporate structure, its funding requirement, and if you will provide equity to investors.
  • Existing businesses and start-ups should highlight any major achievements, contracts, current or potential clients and summarize future plans.

Finalizing Your Business Plan

Image titled Write a Business Plan for a Small Business Step 12

  • This should include financial statements, credit reports, business licenses or permits, legal documents and contracts (to demonstrate to investors that revenue forecasts are secured by concrete business relationships), and bios/resumes for key personnel.
  • Elaborate risk factors. There should be a section clearly outlining the risk factors affecting your venture and your mitigation plans. This also indicates to the reader how well prepared you are for contingencies.

Image titled Write a Business Plan for a Small Business Step 13

  • Rework or completely rewrite content to ensure it works from the perspective of the reader. This is especially true if you are creating a "presentation plan".
  • Read your document aloud. This allows you to detect if any sentences do not flow together well, and it also makes any grammatical mistakes more obvious.
  • Make a copy and give it to a trusted friend or colleague to proofread and provide feedback. You can go online and print a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) for them to sign to help protect your business idea.

Image titled Write a Business Plan for a Small Business Step 14

  • Your cover page should include: The words "Business Plan" centered in large bold font, along with your company name, company logo, and contact information. Simplicity is key.

Help Writing a Business Plan

how to plan a small scale business

Expert Q&A

Helena Ronis

  • In addition to this guide, you can follow along with the SBA's Create A Business Plan [18] X Trustworthy Source U.S. Small Business Administration U.S. government agency focused on supporting small businesses Go to source for more in-depth step-by-step instructions. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0
  • Useful small business resources are available through city and state government agencies. Check with your local Chamber of Commerce, or visit the Small Business Administration (SBA) website at: Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

how to plan a small scale business

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About This Article

Helena Ronis

To write a business plan for a small business, start by writing an executive summary that briefly outlines your business. Follow that with a company description that explains your business in more detail. You'll also want to include sections on your target customers, how your business will be structured, and what products or services you will offer. Finally, conclude your business plan with a section on your marketing strategy and also a funding request for potential investors. For help writing each section of your business plan, read the article! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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How to Scale Your Small Business in 8 Steps

The following is an excerpt from Grow Your Business: Scaling Your Business for Long-Term Success by the staff of Entrepreneur Media and Eric Butow, on sale now.

There are always smaller competitors waiting to take your market share, and it's only a matter of time before you transition from the hunter into the hunted. So you need to think of scaling not just in terms of company growth, but also as a way to build all the elements that make up your value proposition, so that you're as competitive as possible.

In the choice between growth and scaling, one option isn't better than the other. You have to decide what works best for you, based on your industry and your company's situation. What you do need to understand is why you have chosen one approach over the other and how you will leverage your growth with your other competitive factors, such as having the most product features of any company in your market.

Grow Your Business: Scaling Your Business for Long-Term Success is available now at Entrepreneur Bookstore | Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Applying Scaling to Your Small Business

Let's say you're a small business that has made the decision to scale. Before you start putting together your plans and processes, you need to understand the fundamental drivers of scalability, which are divided into three categories: scalable market, scalable business, and scalable team. Then you can analyze your business using these drivers.

Scalable Market

In the scalable market category, analyze the size of the market, the economics required to scale, and the rate of market growth.

Total Addressable Market (TAM): The market needs to be big enough that you can meet or exceed your growth targets. A rule of thumb is that TAM must be at least four times your business size goal. For example, if you want to build a $10 million business, then total sales in the market need to be at least $40 million.

Profit: Investing in the tools and people you need to succeed is expensive. Is the target market profitable enough to support not only your investments now but also your future growth? And do you have the measurement tools in place to find out?

Growth: The market needs to be growing, too, and preferably faster than the rate of new competitors entering the market.

Scalable Business

Understand what your business has to offer so you can not only become the market leader, but also stay in that position, despite your competitors' best efforts.

Be number one: You must scale with the intention of being the leader in your market or a sizable niche within that market.

Channels to market: Your scalable business needs access to channels with customers whom you can target, market to, and sell to profitably.

A scalable operating model: Your business must have unconstrained access to all critical materials and talent without breaking your bank account. In the post–COVID-19 economy, finding that access has been more challenging than previously.

Scalable economics: Calculate the scalability of your economics with this formula: [Gross profit per $1 million new revenue] divided by [new cost required to manage each $1 million of new revenue]. New cost includes assets like people, technology, and facilities. For example, if your gross profit per $1 million is $100,000 and the new cost is $50,000, the ratio is 2. If you have a ratio of 2 or greater, you have a highly scalable business. Anywhere between 1 and 1.2 means you'll feel like you're climbing El Capitan. If the ratio is below 1, you don't have a scalable business. If you're between 1.2 and 2, then you have a better chance of creating a scalable business with the right adjustments.

Your it factor: The market you're in is likely very competitive, so you need to identify what makes you stand apart from the rest. Those differentiators must be good enough to keep you on top of your market or market niche.

Scalable Team

You need to be a scalable business owner to scale your business. Consider whether you'll be able to:

  • Build a great culture, especially one with more than 100 people
  • Build a quality team of senior leadership and delegate large parts of the business to them
  • Transition smoothly from entrepreneur to builder and manager Act in the best interests of the business, not yourself
  • The most painful stage is going from 10 employees to 100 because that's when you're changing from a small business to a professionally managed company. If you can hire great managers to help you run the business and let you be an effective leader, that's a good sign you'll be able to scale your business further.

Related: The Tactics Great Leaders Use to Focus Their Mindset on Growth

8 Strategies to Scale Your Small Business

The strategies you've used to grow your business thus far will help you build a scalable business, too. Those strategies include:

  • Building a sales funnel. It will automate your sales process and help you scale more easily. Implementing a CRM system. That way you don't have to track transactions manually, which can become overwhelming as the company gets larger. There are plenty of CRM systems out there. You can view a list and compare them on the Capterra website .
  • Researching the competition. Find out how they market to and acquire new customers so you can use some of their strategies and exploit their weaknesses. You can also learn about competitive intelligence software at Capterra to help you find and compare solutions.
  • Creating a customer loyalty program. It costs more money to acquire a new customer than it does to sell to an existing customer. So once you have a customer, do everything you can to keep them.
  • Identifying opportunities. To find the right opportunities, you need to understand everything from your distribution channels to your direct competitors. As you analyze what's happening in your market, you'll likely find other possibilities you can pursue now or down the road.
  • Building an email list by offering a lead magnet. This could be a free document that potential customers find valuable. Once you've built a list, you can work with a company that provides email marketing services to handle the logistics, such as Mailchimp or Constant Contact.
  • Creating multimedia offerings. Use videos on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok to sell your product or service. Webinars are also a great way to reach a wide audience.
  • Leveraging existing platforms. For example, you may want to look into selling your products on Amazon and eBay. However, be careful when you sell on such platforms, because their top priority is their bottom line, not yours.
  • Diversifying your offerings. Always look out for ways to add complementary products, services, or information to your primary product or service. When you add value to the exchange, you'll see more income.

For more growth strategies, pickup Grow Your Business: Scaling Your Business available now at Entrepreneur Bookstore | Amazon | Barnes and Noble

How to Scale Your Small Business in 8 Steps

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Steps on How To Start a Small-Scale Business in Nigeria

January 31, 2023 by Finance

Every small-scale business starts with a big idea, but you have to be able to execute the plan into action. The execution phase is what gets most entrepreneurs overwhelmed, and some even give up before it starts. With a little dedication, getting started is easier than you think.

Breaking your big idea into smaller tasks will help you tackle most of the challenges in getting started. Here are five ways to break down such a process and get started with your business.


How to Start a Small-Scale Business

  • You need to have a business Plan
  • Have a business name
  • Determine how the business will generate profit
  • Start with your money
  • Do enough test running

1. Have a Business Plan

Your passion for something mostly triggers your big idea in most cases. But it all begins with a plan in your head. However, in starting a small-scale business, your passion would mean nothing if you don’t have a plan for how you intend to run the business. See some of the top business ideas in Nigeria .

It doesn’t matter how great your business plan is, the most important thing is making sure it captures your intended actions over some time. 

A business plan is crucial because it allows you to demonstrate the strategies for your business on paper before you start applying them in reality.

2. Have a Budget

It is highly recommended you keep your costs at the barest minimum. However, you’ll still need a budget to determine how much you’ll be needing to spend to start the business. If you’re funding your business yourself, be realistic about your costs and whatever anticipation you expect from your budget. Setting aside an additional 25 per cent on your budget for miscellaneous and overhead is a realistic average amount that can save your burn rate process.

The burn rate is the money you’re spending every month. Its essential you determine how long you can stay in business before you need to make a profit.

Also check out MSME – an overview of micro, small and medium enterprises in Nigeria.

3. Have a Business Name

A business name gives your business identity. It is one of the ways to show yourself committed to the business. Registering your business with a name gives you the opportunity to enjoy some perks like loans, grants, and so on. you can refer to this post for a step-by-step guide on how to register a business name in Nigeria .

4. Determine How The Business will Generate Profit

Making a profit is, after all, the ultimate objective of any prospective small business. While revenue is a prerequisite of making a profit, it is not the ultimate objective goal of any business.

You should study your business expenses (rent, materials, employee compensation, etc.) and then figure out how much sales you need to cover the costs and start making a profit.

Determining the revenue model for your business sets you up for getting business grants and investors.

5. Start With Your Money

Even with so much availability of platforms where you can access a loan in Nigeria , It is not so advisable to cover the cost of starting a business entirely through loans. This is because you are already spending your profits before even realizing it.

Many small business entrepreneurs cover the cost of starting up through loans, intending to pay back the loans from the profits of the new business. Many new companies can take months or years to start making a profit. 

If you can save up most of your start-up capital yourself before starting your business, ensure that loans won’t drown the new company. or maybe you can come up with as much of the start-up money as possible, it will save the business from spending future profits today. If you’re thinking of a great small business idea, you can check out this post on mini importation .

6. Do Enough Test Running

The world is fast becoming a small global village, and it has made test running a new business less stressful and less costly. Once you have enough to start testing some sales by spreading the word in different ways. If your business is product-based, test the viability of your product by driving traffic to your website for sales or set up ads on any of the social media platforms. 


Most small businesses are created in the form of sole proprietorships or partnerships. These types of businesses are easy to form, but they expose their owners to liability for business debts. Follow the Lean Startup approach to help your business scale and avoid debt.

Having an insurance policy can help save the owners and the business from severe liability in the future. However, business owners can also choose to form a limited liability company in the future. This is to enable the owners of the business to shield themselves from company debts as an individual.

These guidelines aren’t a one-size-fits-all model, but anyone can follow even if you’re starting out your business as a student .

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How to Develop a Small Business Financial Plan

By Andy Marker | April 29, 2022

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Financial planning is critical for any successful small business, but the process can be complicated. To help you get started, we’ve created a step-by-step guide and rounded up top tips from experts.

Included on this page, you’ll find what to include in a financial plan , steps to develop one , and a downloadable starter kit .

What Is a Small Business Financial Plan?

A small business financial plan is an outline of the financial status of your business, including income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow information. A financial plan can help guide a small business toward sustainable growth.

Craig Hewitt

Financial plans can aid in business goal setting and metrics tracking, as well as provide proof of profitable ideas. Craig Hewitt, Founder of Castos , shares that “creating a financial plan will show you if your business ideas are sustainable. A financial plan will show you where your business stands and help you make better decisions about resource allocation. It will also help you plan growth, survive cash flow shortages, and pitch to investors.”

Why Is It Important for a Small Business to Have a Financial Plan?

All small businesses should create a financial plan. This allows you to assess your business’s financial needs, recognize areas of opportunity, and project your growth over time. A strong financial plan is also a bonus for potential investors.

Mark Daoust

Mark Daoust , the President and CEO of Quiet Light Brokerage, Inc., explains why a financial plan is important for small businesses: “It can sometimes be difficult for business owners to evaluate their own progress, especially when starting a new company. A financial plan can be helpful in showing increased revenues, cash flow growth, and overall profit in quantifiable data. It's very encouraging for small business owners who are often working long hours and dealing with so many stressful decisions to know that they are on the right track.”

To learn more about other important considerations for a small business, peruse our list of free startup plan, budget, and cost templates .

What Does a Small Business Financial Plan Include?

All small businesses should include an income statement, a balance sheet, and a cash flow statement in their financial plan. You may also include other documents, such as personnel plans, break-even points, and sales forecasts, depending on the business and industry.

Ahmet Yuzbasioglu

  • Balance Sheet: A balance sheet determines the difference between your liabilities and assets to determine your equity. “A balance sheet is a snapshot of a business’s financial position at a particular moment in time,” says Yüzbaşıoğlu. “It adds up everything your business owns and subtracts all debts — the difference reflects the net worth of the business, also referred to as equity .” Yüzbaşıoğlu explains that this statement consists of three parts: assets, liabilities, and equity. “Assets include your money in the bank, accounts receivable, inventories, and more. Liabilities can include your accounts payables, credit card balances, and loan repayments, for example. Equity for most small businesses is just the owner’s equity, but it could also include investors’ shares, retained earnings, or stock proceeds,” he says.
  • Cash Flow Statement: A cash flow statement shows where the money is coming from and where it is going. For existing businesses, this will include bank statements that list deposits and expenditures. A new business may not have much cash flow information, but it can include all startup costs and funding sources. “A cash flow statement shows how much cash is generated and used during a given period of time. It documents all the money flowing in and out of your business,” explains Yüzbaşıoğlu.
  • Break-Even Analysis: A break-even analysis is a projection of how long it will take you to recoup your investments, such as expenses from startup costs or ongoing projects. In order to perform this analysis, Yüzbaşıoğlu explains, “You need to know the difference between fixed costs and variable costs. Fixed costs are the expenses that stay the same, regardless of how much you sell or don't sell. For example, expenses such as rent, wages, and accounting fees are typically fixed. Variable costs are the expenses that change in accordance with production or sales volume. “In other words, [a break-even analysis] determines the units of products or services you need to sell at least to cover your production costs. Generally, to calculate the break-even point in business, divide fixed costs by the gross profit margin. This produces a dollar figure that a company needs to break even,” Yüzbaşıoğlu shares.
  • Personnel Plan: A personnel plan is an outline of various positions or departments that states what they do, why they are necessary, and how much they cost. This document is generally more useful for large businesses, or those that find themselves spending a large percentage of their budget on labor.
  • Sales Forecast: A sales forecast can help determine how many sales and how much money you expect to make in a given time period. To learn more about various methods of predicting these figures, check out our guide to sales forecasting .

How to Write a Small Business Financial Plan

Writing a financial plan begins with collecting financial information from your small business. Create income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements, and any other documents you need using that information. Then share those documents with relevant stakeholders.

“Creating a financial plan is key to any business and essential for success: It provides protection and an opportunity to grow,” says Yüzbaşıoğlu. “You can use [the financial plan] to make better-informed decisions about things like resource allocation on future projects and to help shape the success of your company.”

1. Create a Plan

Create a strategic business plan that includes your business strategy and goals, and define their financial impact. Your financial plan will inform decisions for every aspect of your business, so it is important to know what is important and what is at stake.

2. Gather Financial Information

Collect all of the available financial information about your business. Organize bank statements, loan information, sales numbers, inventory costs, payroll information, and any other income and expenses your business has incurred. If you have not already started to do so, regularly record all of this information and store it in an easily accessible place.

3. Create an Income Statement

Your income statement should display revenue, expenses, and profit for a given time period. Your revenue minus your expenses equals your profit or loss. Many businesses create a new statement yearly or quarterly, but small businesses with less cash flow may benefit from creating statements for shorter time frames.

Income Statement

4. Create a Balance Sheet

Your balance sheet is a snapshot of your business’s financial status at a particular moment in time. You should update it on the same schedule as your income statement. To determine your equity, calculate all of your assets minus your liabilities.

Balance Sheet

5. Create a Cash Flow Statement

As mentioned above, the cash flow statement shows all past and projected cash flow for your business. “Your cash flow statement needs to cover three sections: operating activities, investing activities, and financing activities,” suggests Hewitt. “Operating activities are the movement of cash from the sale or purchase of goods or services. Investing activities are the sale or purchase of long-term assets. Financing activities are transactions with creditors and investments.”

Cash Flow

6. Create Other Documents as Needed

Depending on the age, size, and industry of your business, you may find it useful to include these other documents in your financial plan as well.

Breakeven Point

  • Sales Forecast: Your sales forecast should reference sales numbers from your past to estimate sales numbers for your future. Sales forecasts may be more useful for established companies with historical numbers to compare to, but small businesses can use forecasts to set goals and break records month over month. “To make future financial projections, start with a sales forecast,” says Yüzbaşıoğlu. “Project your sales over the course of 12 months. After projecting sales, calculate your cost of sales (also called cost of goods or direct costs). This will let you calculate gross margin. Gross margin is sales less the cost of sales, and it's a useful number for comparing with different standard industry ratios.”

7. Save the Plan for Reference and Share as Needed

The most important part of a financial plan is sharing it with stakeholders. You can also use much of the same information in your financial plan to create a budget for your small business.

Janet Patterson

Additionally, be sure to conduct regular reviews, as things will inevitably change. “My best tip for small businesses when creating a financial plan is to schedule reviews. Once you have your plan in place, it is essential that you review it often and compare how well the strategy fits with the actual monthly expenses. This will help you adjust your plan accordingly and prepare for the year ahead,” suggests Janet Patterson, Loan and Finance Expert at  Highway Title Loans.

Small Business Financial Plan Example

Small Business Financial Plan Dashboard Template

Download Small Business Financial Plan Example Microsoft Excel | Google Sheets

Here is an example of what a completed small business financial plan dashboard might look like. Once you have completed your income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statements, use a template to create visual graphs to display the information to make it easier to read and share. In this example, this small business plots its income and cash flow statements quarterly, but you may find it valuable to update yours more often.

Small Business Financial Plan Starter Kit

Download Small Business Financial Plan Starter Kit

We’ve created this small business financial plan starter kit to help you get organized and complete your financial plan. In this kit, you will find a fully customizable income statement template, a balance sheet template, a cash flow statement template, and a dashboard template to display results. We have also included templates for break-even analysis, a personnel plan, and sales forecasts to meet your ongoing financial planning needs.

Small Business Income Statement Template 

Small Business Income Statement Template

Download Small Business Income Statement Template Microsoft Excel | Google Sheets

Use this small business income statement template to input your income information and track your growth over time. This template is filled to track by the year, but you can also track by months or quarters. The template is fully customizable to suit your business needs.

Small Business Balance Sheet Template 

Small Business Balance Sheet Template

Download Small Business Balance Sheet Template Microsoft Excel | Google Sheets

This customizable balance sheet template was created with small businesses in mind. Use it to create a snapshot of your company’s assets, liabilities, and equity quarter over quarter. 

Small Business Cash Flow Statement Template 

Small Business Cash Flow Template

Download Small Business Cash Flow Template Microsoft Excel | Google Sheets

Use this customizable cash flow statement template to stay organized when documenting your cash flow. Note the time frame and input all of your financial data in the appropriate cell. With this information, the template will automatically generate your total cash payments, net cash change, and ending cash position.

Break-Even Analysis Template 

Break Even Analysis Template

Download Break-Even Analysis Template Microsoft Excel | Google Sheets

This powerful template can help you determine the point at which you will break even on product investment. Input the sale price of the product, as well as its various associated costs, and this template will display the number of units needed to break even on your initial costs.

Personnel Plan Template  

Personnel Plan Template

Download Personnel Plan Template Microsoft Excel | Google Sheets

Use this simple personnel plan template to help organize and define the monetary cost of the various roles or departments within your company. This template will generate a labor cost total that you can use to compare roles and determine whether you need to make cuts or identify areas for growth.

Sales Forecast Template

Sales Forecast Template

Download Sales Forecast Template Microsoft Excel | Google Sheets

Use this customizable template to forecast your sales month over month and determine the percentage changes. You can use this template to set goals and track sales history as well.

Small Business Financial Plan Dashboard Template

Small Business Financial Plan Dashboard Template

Download Small Business Financial Plan Dashboard Template Microsoft Excel | Google Sheets

This dashboard template provides a visual example of a small business financial plan. It presents the information from your income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement in a graphical form that is easy to read and share.

Tips for Completing a Financial Plan for a Small Business

You can simplify the development of your small business financial plan in many ways, from outlining your goals to considering where you may need help. We’ve outlined a few tips from our experts below:

Jesse Thé

  • Outline Your Business Goals: Before you create a financial plan, outline your business goals. This will help you determine where money is being well spent to achieve those goals and where it may not be. “Before applying for financing or investment, list the expected business goals for the next three to five years. You can ask a certified public accountant for help in this regard,” says Thé. The U.S. Small Business Administration or a local small business development center can also help you to understand the local market and important factors for business success. For more help, check out our quick how-to guide on writing a business plan .
  • Make Sure You Have the Right Permits and Insurance: One of the best ways to keep your financial plan on track is to anticipate large expenditures. Double- and triple-check that you have the permits and insurances you need so that you do not incur any fines or surprise expenses down the line. “If you own your own business, you're no longer able to count on your employer for your insurance needs. It's important to have a plan for how you're going to pay for this additional expense and make sure that you know what specific insurance you need to cover your business,” suggests Daost.
  • Separate Personal Goals from Business Goals: Be as unbiased as possible when creating and laying out your business’s financial goals. Your financial and prestige goals as a business owner may be loftier than what your business can currently achieve in the present. Inflating sales forecasts or income numbers will only come back to bite you in the end.
  • Consider Hiring Help: You don’t know what you don’t know, but fortunately, many financial experts are ready to help you. “Hiring financial advisors can help you make sound financial decisions for your business and create a financial roadmap to follow. Many businesses fail in the first few years due to poor planning, which leads to costly mistakes. Having a financial advisor can help keep your business alive, make a profit, and thrive,” says Hewitt.
  • Include Less Obvious Expenses: No income or expense is too small to consider — it all matters when you are creating your financial plan. “I wish I had known that you’re supposed to incorporate anticipated internal hidden expenses in the plan as well,” Patterson shares. “I formulated my first financial plan myself and didn’t have enough knowledge back then. Hence, I missed out on essential expenses, like office maintenance, that are less common.”

Do Small Business Owners Need a Financial Planner?

Not all small business owners need a designated financial planner, but you should understand the documents and information that make up a financial plan. If you do not hire an advisor, you must be informed about your own finances.

Small business owners tend to wear many hats, but Powell says, “it depends on the organization of the owner and their experience with the financial side of operating businesses.” Hiring a financial advisor can take some tasks off your plate and save you time to focus on the many other details that need your attention. Financial planners are experts in their field and may have more intimate knowledge of market trends and changing tax information that can end up saving you money in the long run. 

Yüzbaşıoğlu adds, “Small business owners can greatly benefit from working with a financial advisor. A successful small business often requires more than just the skills of an entrepreneur; a financial advisor can help the company effectively manage risks and maximize opportunities.”

For more examples of the tasks a financial planner might be able to help with, check through our list of free financial planning templates .

Drive Small Business Success with Financial Planning in Smartsheet

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With Smartsheet, you can align your team on strategic initiatives, improve collaboration efforts, and automate repetitive processes, giving you the ability to make better business decisions and boost effectiveness as you scale. 

When you wear a lot of hats, you need a tool that empowers you to get more done in less time. Smartsheet helps you achieve that. Try free for 30 days, today .

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Tips for Scaling Your Business

Startup Meeting

  • 07 Mar 2019

As your company grows in scope and size, it also grows in complexity—which can be hard for any founder to navigate. Yet it’s likely that the scaling challenges your company is facing aren’t unique to you and your business.

By understanding what the common scaling challenges are, you can start to recognize patterns and avoid the issues most founders face as they grow their startups.

Access your free e-book today.

What Is a Scaling Plan?

At the beginning of a business, it can seem premature to start thinking of its growth potential. Yet, not laying a foundation early for future growth will likely lead to several avoidable challenges. That's why it's important to create a comprehensive business plan that accounts for your company's current status and potential expansion.

Creating a scaling plan allows you to prepare for potential customers and future business opportunities, ensuring sustainable growth in your company.

How Businesses Fail to Scale

The key to avoiding failure as a company grows is ensuring that business leaders agree from the very start on what its products, ideal customers, and internal processes are. Solidifying these is critical before scaling up, as they clearly define a company’s business model. Failing to do this step is one of the primary reasons some startups fail in the scaling process, as they didn’t have a clear vision of where their company should’ve gone before the unprecedented growth took place.

“If you develop an understanding of the archetypal challenges associated with rapid scaling, you can build in design for scalability,” says Harvard Business Professor School Professor Jeffrey Rayport. “There are decisions you can make early to mitigate risk.”

When asked what those challenges are, Rayport breaks them down into what he calls the “Six S Framework.” Or rather, the six areas founders should focus on when building their venture . They're:

  • Shared values

Here’s a closer look at what each area means and its potential impact on your growing business.

Applying the Six S Framework

You can’t scale your venture alone. You need a team of talented, highly motivated staff who believe in the company’s mission. For resource-constrained startups, the right talent can change everything: High performers are 400 percent more productive than the average employee, according to McKinsey . As roles grow in complexity, that productivity number jumps to 800 percent.

When a company is in a rapid growth phase, it often feels easier to hire anyone who can get the work done. But as Apple Founder Steve Jobs once said : “Go after the cream of the cream. A small team of A+ players can run circles around a giant team of B and C players.” If you compromise on talent early, it’s harder to backtrack.

“You need to set a high bar for the first few recruits in the venture,” Rayport says. “You can’t compromise on that first wave, because they’ll be the ones who propagate the values of your organization. Pretty soon, they’ll also be hiring the next wave and hire performers who are a lot like them.”

Related: 4 Challenges to Avoid When Scaling Your Venture

2. Shared Values

Shared values represent a company’s culture, and are what defines how employees interact, solve problems, and work with one another, according to Rayport. As individuals encounter challenges and learn how to collectively address them, particular patterns are reinforced and ultimately coalesce into shared values and beliefs about how work gets done.

“Most startups have a culture that is a direct reflection or translation of the founders’ personalities and values,” Rayport says. “And most founders are largely unaware of the outsized impact they have in instilling the culture of their organization.”

One of the biggest scaling challenges around culture is de-personalizing the company’s core values, so they feel less like mantras shaped by a few individuals, and more like a shared organizational fabric.

“You need to make those implicit values explicit and take the time to write them down,” Rayport says. “It’s important to separate cultural inputs from outputs. Most ventures describe the culture they want, which are the outputs, as opposed to determining the actions founders can take, or the inputs, to deliver on that culture.”

3. Structure

How you structure your organization is crucial to success. As the company grows, so, too, should the number of decision-makers. The founders can’t be involved in every detail of the business once it scales. It’s important to recruit seasoned leaders with specific skill sets or develop employees who can thrive in environments with more specialized roles.

Training new employees can feel like additional work, but taking the time to properly onboard them pays dividends later. It’s all about creating leverage to deliver on the founders’ vision—and that requires not only recruiting the right people, but structuring their roles and the organization in ways that favor growth. If you don’t let go, your organization won’t scale.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos encourages failure. As he once wrote in a shareholder letter, as reported in Business Insider , “Failure comes part and parcel with invention. It’s not optional. We understand that and believe in failing early and iterating until we get it right.”

Entrepreneurship Essentials | Succeed in the startup world | Learn More

Once you have evidence of product-market fit, it’s important to stop and assess how fast you can, and should, grow.

“A lot of tech ventures assume you should swing for the fences and grow as fast as humanly possible,” Rayport says. “But there should always be the question, ‘How fast is too fast?’”

Most ventures accumulate “ technical debt ,” which is the price of scaling what works rather than what’s perfect. Over time, tech debt adds up and it’s critical for leaders to find ways to pay it down. That’s the only way you can create the robust business systems and stable infrastructure needed to support increasing scale.

“It’s better to pay down your tech debt as you scale,” Rayport says. “If you have a market opportunity, you don’t want to wait a few months to get your house in order. But sooner or later, you have to upgrade the systems and infrastructure. As Marshall Goldsmith famously said, ‘What got you here won’t get you there.’ It’s important to recognize that each stage requires its own set of approaches.”

On the other side of speed is scope. Rather, where do you look for opportunities? At what point should you consider expanding into new geographies or markets, or building additional products or services? It’s easy to lose focus when you start to scale, but having a map of growth options helps.

“One way to start categorizing your options is by asking, ‘Will I grow by extending existing products into new markets or by selling new products to existing markets?’” Rayport says. “Make decisions rigorously to set your path.”

6. Series X

Financing is one of your most valuable resources, and it’s important to understand how your financing strategy aligns with your growth strategy, according to Rayport. Hiring additional employees and building out the right infrastructure and business processes typically require capital. You need to know what kind of financing is necessary to support that growth and where you can cut costs.

“Founders often make the ill-advised decision to convert variable costs into fixed costs too early,” Rayport says. “For example, many e-commerce ventures have rushed too quickly into owning their own fulfillment centers rather than relying on third-party vendors.”

What fixed overhead can your organization bear while still having maximum agility? Rayport uses the cloud as another example of how companies can keep fixed costs variable. Is owning a data center crucial at this stage of your growth?

If there’s a market shift or downturn, your company should be poised to adapt and respond. Without a flexible cost structure or the right financing, that’s nearly impossible.

So You Want to Be an Entrepreneur: How to Get Started | Access Your Free E-Book | Download Now

How to Prepare for Scaling

As an entrepreneur, it’s critical to anticipate your business’ growth. It’s one of the most important business strategies on your path to success. Preparing for this change involves having the right individuals who are attuned to the company’s mission and agree on its values and strengthening the company’s internal structure and processes for unprecedented changes. By applying these key areas to your business, you can rest assured the company is equipped to handle any measures of success, no matter the capacity.

As Rayport says, “A lot of businesses don’t anticipate scale.” But by understanding what the common challenges are, it’s something you can, and should, start to plan and prepare for.

Do you want to master a proven framework for building and financing new ventures? Explore our four-week online course Entrepreneurship Essentials , and discover how you can learn the language of the startup world.

This article was updated on July 28, 2022. It was originally published on March 7, 2019.

how to plan a small scale business

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Home » The Tony Robbins Blog » Career & Business » Scale your business: 11 ways to build lasting growth

Scale your business: 11 ways to build lasting growth

Learn how to scale a business sustainably.

how to plan a small scale business

How to scale your business vs. how to grow your business

Knowing how to scale a business requires an understanding of the difference between growing and scaling. When you grow a business, you add clients and team members while costs also increase. In other words, your business is growing in size but not revenue , which is not sustainable, especially if you suffer a dip in clientele. If this happens, you’ll be left with employees and resources but no work or revenue to sustain them.

When you scale your business , you add resources and team members as revenue grows but at a slower rate than the growth of your client list. As a result, your business scales in a manageable way, allowing margins to increase slowly over time. And if you experience a dip in clientele, your revenue is still enough to sustain your workforce and resource costs. 

Learning how to scale a business

How do you scale a business? To create a working definition, you must consider what it means to start and grow a business. You started your company to fill a need in your market, make a profit , and possibly fulfill a dream. Business growth is necessary to remain profitable and expand your market reach. 

Many people think of business expansion as “hockey stick growth,” where, after an initial period of linear growth, the business hits an inflection point, and revenue shoots up. Rapid growth is alluring, but focusing on this right away can cause some entrepreneurs to lose focus. Tunnel vision like this diminishes the importance of the linear growth period that comes before the rising handle of the hockey stick – the blade – where the most critical work is done over, typically, three to four years.

Scaling a business means utilizing this “blade period” to put systems and procedures into place to create lasting, profitable development. In addition, the blade period is where you establish your core values, company culture , and brand identity , develop the client experience , and create your initial business model. In short, it’s the make-or-break period of any business. 

Scaling a business is challenging; it requires a thoughtful and meticulous approach and a solid foundation in place for when you hit a surging growth curve. Here are the most important things to remember when figuring out how to scale a business mindfully:

Tips for how to scale a business

When discussing how to scale a business, we’re referring to growth strategies that align with your business vision while managing the impact of growth on your company. The following tips for how to scale a business offer a reliable and sustainable scaling strategy.

1. Know your purpose

Scaling a business relies on creating customer loyalty , and focusing on employee loyalty is the best way to build customer loyalty. When your employees are happy, they’ll spread the word and pass on their enthusiasm for your company. Employees are loyal when their purpose and values align with their company, and they feel their careers have a higher purpose. 

If you don’t start with your “why” of going into business in the first place, then learning how to scale a business is of limited utility. Knowing your purpose and successfully communicating that to your team is the way to make them raving fans of your company and organically drive growth .

2. Develop a business map

Most entrepreneurs have a business plan, but have you thought about developing a business map ? A business map is an effective and comprehensive way to scale a business and meet its goals. It also prompts you to ask foundational questions like “what business are you really in?” and “why did you get into this business in the first place?”

Business maps challenge you to look at where you came from, define your purpose for starting the business and look ahead: What’s next for your business, and where does your company ideally end up? Documenting these goals is a crucial part of learning how to scale a business and will be a helpful reference when times get tough.

3. Perfect your product or service

When focusing on massive growth, many business owners fail to ensure that they offer a solid product or service, often figuring that they’ll fix the issue after getting more users or distribution. However, if you don’t get rid of the bugs first, they’ll worsen when scaling a business. Learning how to scale a business before pursuing growth will save you headaches and money in the long run.

The early years of your business are a time to listen to feedback, find issues and improve your offerings until they meet your customers’ expectations. When you create a product or service of excellent quality, many growth issues will take care of themselves. Addressing first-iteration problems also helps you assume control when scaling your business, as you’ll have a deeper understanding of what you and your customers want and need your product or service to be.

4. Create thoughtful processes and operations

How to scale a business doesn’t just involve growing upward and outward. It also means ensuring the seamless function of your internal processes and operations. The last thing you need is to lose customers you’ve worked hard to acquire because of a weakness in your infrastructure.

While perfecting processes, remember that systems and processes that worked in your company’s early stages may not work on a bigger scale. As you grow, you’ll need to tweak processes, which is where adaptability and flexibility become essential. The key to scaling a business and forming a solid core is establishing a framework of what worked and kept your business running smoothly in the early years. As growth occurs, you can always improve on this core, but it isn’t easy to recreate once you’ve grown past a certain level.

5. Establish your team

It seems obvious but establishing a strong team is a prerequisite for scaling a business. Developing a flexible management team to grow with the company is crucial in learning how to scale a business.

Your team is not just about your employees, though. To scale a business sustainably, work on developing external relationships with suppliers, partners and other outside organizations that are part of your overall growth. 

And remember your customer base, which is another core member of your team. One of the best things about operating a small business is establishing intimate relationships with your customers and giving them the experience that you want from beginning to end. The goal is always to create a raving fan who advocates for your brand and helps scale your business by spreading the word.

Remember, the community you create around your growing business can bolster your foundation, strength and leverage . Having a solid network is part of the definition of scaling a business, so take the time to build a team to propel you into the future.

6. Learn when to delegate

With a strong team, you should have enough trust to leverage important tasks so you can work “on” the business instead of “in” it. However, as a business owner, you want to feel involved in every aspect of your company and may have difficulty letting go in certain areas. Leveraging tasks is a massive part of learning how to scale a business . What are you doing that someone else could handle?

Don’t trade your time for dollars. Your business has to be able to run itself and thrive even when you’re not there. Do this by addressing limiting beliefs such as “if I want something done right, I have to do it myself,” and by establishing delegation habits that allow you to own your time .

7. Build your brand

Scaling a business requires learning who you are as a company: what can you offer your customers? How do you compare to the competition? What do you have that no one else does? What are your biggest weaknesses? What makes you so powerful? What is your message? How do you disrupt your industry ?

It could take years to answer these questions, so start with a basic framework and build from there. Smaller businesses can shift gears easier than big corporations, so if there’s a need for a new approach, use that as an opportunity to innovate and adapt.

Remember, your brand will set the tone for your company’s culture as you scale. It will set the standard for making your hires and establishing the client experience you want. It will also impact marketing , sales and design efforts and influence the company you become

8. Connect with your customer

What’s the point of scaling a business if it doesn’t produce loyal customers? Creating raving fans of your product is critical to allowing your business to thrive amid the ebb and flow of ever-changing consumer preferences. When scaling a business, you’re in an incubation period where you can test approaches to building and maintaining client relationships and client-centered practices in every facet of your business. You want every team member to demonstrate empathy , respect and open-mindedness to foster a collaborative culture of innovation. From there, everyone on staff can build a rapport with your clients, creating connections that will help your product sell itself.

9. Work on your networking skills

You’ve probably heard the saying, “no man is an island.” This nugget of wisdom is very true for entrepreneurs, who must develop and cultivate a vast network of colleagues, business coaches , resources and mentors t o connect them with the right people to ensure continued growth. When learning how to scale a business , attend business networking functions and join an industry-related group for continuing education and professional connections. It’s also productive to get involved in personal or business coaching and connect with those business veterans about becoming your mentor . Scaling a business is not a solitary task — the more people you have on your side, the more successful you will be.

10. Prioritize sustainability

Creativity is vital for any company but running a business is not the place for knee-jerk decisions. Think of creativity as a method for scaling a business rather than a free-for-all tool for solving problems. Prioritizing sustainable growth helps you approach challenges thoughtfully and find solutions that support your company’s long-term well-being.

11. Continue adapting and innovating

Scaling will seem impossible if you’ve hit a plateau. If it feels that way, it’s time to change your approach because learning how to scale a business is always possible . When was the last time your business focused on innovation ? When did you last assess the barriers holding your company back and tackle them head-on? In business and life, if you’re not growing, you’re dying. Don’t change your company for change’s sake – scaling your business will become easier when you strategically align your choices with your ultimate purpose. Take the time and do it right. Adopt a winning mindset but be mindful as you do so. Remember that massive growth is one thing, but sustainable growth makes for a lasting company.

Discover the keys to scaling a business for massive success

Your lifeline to long-term success is answering the question, “ how do you scale a business ?” To achieve this, it’s important to create business advantages that cultivate clients for life, work toward discovering your competitive edge, and truly understand the power of anticipation.

To get the guidance you need, look toward people you admire. Tony’s Business Mastery program will teach you tools and strategies to help you work toward sustainably scaling your business . We’ve put together a business content series, The 7 Forces of Business Mastery , to get you started on this process. In this series, you’ll learn the seven key factors that can make or break your business and how to use them to scale your business and move the needle toward sustainable success.

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  • Business Growth

10 Steps to Start a Small Scale Business in 2023

  • By Snehil Prakash
  • No Comments

small scale business 10 ways to start

Starting a business in these competitive times is not a tough task at all. If you have the right approach, your small business can scale and soar high. To establish a business it takes courage and a lot of hard work. Apart from that, ample of planning, research and studies are required. Having just the financial resources or an innovative,  groundbreaking idea won’t suffice.

As per Small biz genius, every month there are somewhere around 534,000 new businesses that are started. 

To start a business, it is mandatory that all prospects and sources are well built. A strong foundation leads to a stronger and well-maintained base. Every large company once started as a small business. Before starting a small scale business or any online business , all aspects should be studied. A disciplined approach is ideal for this. A lot goes in as an entrepreneur. 

There are so many affairs that can affect your business. Sound financial decisions, careful planning, legal activities are just a few in the long list of things that all entrepreneurs must take care of. These are the matters that define your small scale business. 

SmallBizTrends show that only a staggering 40% of small businesses show a profit margin.

A look into the issues listed below will give you an insight on how to shape and grow your small businesses and enter the 40% creme de la creme.

how to plan a small scale business

Table of Contents

1. Conduct Research

Apart from a few, most entrepreneurs are not blessed with moments of epiphanies or affluent individuals as an aid. Some even strive to get that golden idea, to begin with. When you have an idea for your small business all chalked out in your head, it is time to bring it into action. 

The first and foremost thing to ideally do is to scan the market. This is key. Everything else falls afterwards. As an entrepreneur, when you scan the market, your aim should be to look at and calculate the potential customers along with the prevailing competition. Both these facets if combined together will bring out the best results and will definitely give your small scale business a competitive edge.  

Therefore, carrying out market research for your small scale business requires research in the following two domains – 

  •  Finding Customers
  •  Competitive Analysis 

Let’s understand it with full throttle and enthusiasm. Shall we?

Finding Customers 

The sole purpose of any small scale business is to increase growth. The only important contributor to this is the customers. Customers automatically draw in for superior quality products or services that are reasonably priced. If your small business excels at this, then it’s sure to be a hit. 

A quintessential question that puzzles all entrepreneurs is of finding these customers. Market research comes in handy.  There are so many online sources and platforms which instantly provide market data, along with the latest small business trends. Good market research will give an analytical proof of customer behaviour along with economic trends. Both these together should be made use of by all small scale business, in every stage. 

Thorough knowledge of customers is vital and becomes a decisive factor for your business. There are so many sources, nowadays that provide demographic data. Every small scale entrepreneur must make use of these, as taking informed decisions will cut the risk factor by half.

With such data, entrepreneurs can scale their small business and score well with consumers. By going through data trends, various opportunities of attracting customers, increasing and maintaining retention rate and roping in new customers become a fairly uncomplicated task. Data on age, sex, interest, ethnicity, family, etc can be brought in for study. All these will be a one-stop solution to the following burning problems. 

  • The demand of the product or service can be calculated
  • The population interested to purchase the product or service
  • The location of potential customers 
  • Competitive prices in the market.
  • The competitors in the market and the saturation levels.

All this data is either available online or an entrepreneur can collect it firsthand through surveys.  Much audience-specific information will be provided through personal interaction and surveys. Your small scale business can benefit from this. However, the existing resources give a generalized idea of the market situation.  

Study your target audience and look for ways in which amends can be made to as per their feedback. Go in knee-deep as an entrepreneur, for the sake of the success of your small business growth. You can make good use of questionnaires, interviews, feedback forums, surveys and focus groups to conduct direct research. 

Competitive Analysis

As a new small scale business, there will be already prevailing competition in the market. This competition is to grab all the potential customers. This vital task of roping in customers for small business is solved by competitive analysis. For every small scale business, it is necessary that a competitive analysis should be made. An in-depth study will provide your small business with the sustainability it needs.

Alongside all the competition will be highlighted as per the service, product line or the market section. 

As a part of competitive analysis, it is necessary to view all these competitive domains-

  • Study the market share.
  • Examine your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Study all obstacles that can possibly affect your business in the market.
  • Look for the opportune moment to enter the market.
  • Scan all possible (major and minor), competitors.
  • Keep an eye on the target market.

When establishing your small scale business in 2020, the goal should be to make it as unique as possible. Make the idea appealing and selling to the customers. Create a niche for yourself in the competitive market. For this, a complete and thorough analysis of the market with due respect  to all the factors, competitors, suppliers, pricing and their influence on the business should be executed. 

To aid all entrepreneurs of small businesses, there are many small business trends in the form of statistics. Their focus lies in providing consumer statistics, demographics, employment statistics, income statistics, consumer statistics, income statistics, production and sales statistics, trade statistics, and industry-specific statistics.

2 . Writing the Business Plan

After conducting all the necessary research for your small business, it is mandatory to create a business plan. A sound business plan will allow your small scale business to function properly and will be a blueprint against which all your actions can take place. 

A good business plan is reflective of the key elements that make your small scale business. Building a good business plan is the perfect structure against which all potential investors will be able to decide on whether or not to fund your business. It acts as a form of a portfolio for your small business. It is the single, very potent tool to bring to use and is useful to rope in both employees and investors. 

To highlight the importance of business plans and models, the statistics as per CBinsights , show that

17% of businesses crash to the ground due to the absence of a business model. 

So to begin with any small scale business, it is necessary to come up with a business plan. A business plan has to be well written in an impressive way.

Selecting a Business Plan Format

There is no right or wrong way to write a business plan. It should be clear in its approach and fulfilling the purpose for which it was created. 

The most commonly found business plan formats are either lean startup business plans or traditional business plans.

The traditional business plan is the conventional way of writing a business plan. It can be pages and pages long, compromising of each element of business in detail. A detailed outline of each aspect of your small business should be written down. 

The lean startup way of writing business plans is not a common sight. It makes use of only the necessary key points and major headliners. This comparatively takes less work and is quick work. The length, as a result, is greatly reduced. 

However, most investors prefer traditional business plans over lean startup plans. 

Business Plan Formats Explained

Give the two types of business plan formats, it is needed that all entrepreneurs stick to anyone of their choosing. 

Both the business plans are very different in their approaches and the following analysis of each will prove that. 

Preparing the Traditional Business Plan

As seen above, for your small business a traditional business plan can be a much impress option. This business plan is definitely more comprehensive and detailed. The investors and lenders preferably go for it. 

As an entrepreneur, when preparing a traditional business plan, the following 9 sections must be adhered to – 

how to plan a small scale business

Brief Summary 

A brief summary about your business and an introduction to it will suffice. Give an insight why your small business will be a success. Along with it, give a statement of purpose, information about your product or service, your small business’ lead team, employees and the location. The growth plans should be included too. 

Business Description 

This part is an introduction to the reader about your company. The problems that your business expertly solves should be given. Straightforwardly declare the organisations consumers and the businesses that you plan to cater to. 

List out all the experts handling your small scale business the competitive edge that you have in the market. Along with this introduce the reader to the strong facets of your business. 

Market Study

In this section you have to list out your target audience the strategies your small business uses and answer questions showing your potential as the best business in your niche. 

Convince The reader about how your small business stand out from among the rest. 

Business Organization and Structure

Begin the segment by describing how  your small business or organisation is structured. A brief intro to the legal intricacies and structure is a must. List all your partners,  the proprietorship and the holdings. 

Clearly state the person in charge of the company and experiences along with the contribution of each individual. It would be preferable if resumes or CVs are included. 

State you service or product

Give an insight into your product or service. Put in details pertaining to it and the benefits one can enjoy. State the patented, copyright or intellectual property too.

Funding Request

If your small scale business needs funding, clearly state the requirement, along with the goal for the next five years. 

Write if you are looking for debt or equity and the plans you will fulfill with the funding. Also give an insight into your future financial plans. 

Outline Financial Projections

The goal with this segment of a business plan is to convince the reader. Show stability in your business idea and proceed by projecting financial dependability.

In case of an already established business, show the balance sheets, income statements, and other relevant cash inflow statements of the previous three or five years. Include charts and graphs to bring about a clear picture of your business’ financial aspect. The idea is to show that your funding request aligns with your projections. 

For the appendix part, provide extra information and supporting documents. These can include licenses, resumes, permits and patents, images, etc. 

The was a blueprint of traditional business plan. 

Preparing the Lean Startup Format 

The lean startup format is a business plan type if quickly wish to state the agenda of your business, without going too much into the details. Also this type of format is ideal for simple businesses, prone to regular changes and refinements. 

Unlike the traditional business plan, the lean startup uses only some vital elements of your business and showcases them. These elements are ample to show the company infrastructure, financials, customers and value proposition. 

The Business Model Canvas by Alex Osterwalder is the oldest and most popular type of lean startup template.  

The nine elements of the Business Model Canvas are listed below. 

Essential Partnerships

Put in all potential businesses and services your small business will probably work with. Strategically put in suppliers, contractors, partners and manufacturers. 

Vital Resource

Project that key or most lucrative element of your business that can serve as a leverage. This could be either capital, ideas, intellectual property or staff. 

Outline Value Proposition

Show the value your business or company brings to the market. 

Customer Venture

Show the various portals through which customers will engage in your business. State if it would be automated, personal, online or in-person. 

Channel Division

Here you have to outline the many channels through which your small business will make interactions with the customers. 

Target Customers

Pinpoint towards your target audience. Clearly state the the customers your product or service is aimed at. 

Give a detail on what aspect your business will work towards; cost reducing or value maximization. All the many multiple revenue portals should be listed.

This was the lean startup format that you could opt for your small business.

3. Opt for a Suitable Business Location

Deciding the location of your business is very important. It single handedly will determine the success of your business and the taxes regulations and laws which your business becomes liable to follow. 

Your business location must be a strategized step. Keeping in mind the customers, target audience, partners and convenience a business location must be chosen. 

Zoning restrictions and local zoning requirements must be adhered to when establishing an infrastructure or renting one. 

A thorough study of the various taxes (state and local) are decided as per the area your business operates from. Before choosing a business location study deeply the tax landscape of that area. Also there are some specific tax incentives that governments (state, local and federal) provide to businesses. Such information is presented on various government websites and portals open for all. 

4. Pick a Business Name

After selecting a specific name for your business which will also serve as its unique Identity, it is needed to protect it. There is a need to register the business name and there are four different methods of doing so namely- 

  • Entity name – this function at the state level and as per your business location and structure entity name becomes mandatory. 
  • Trademark – TM offers protection to your business goods services and products at an even bigger National level. trademarked names usage becomes subjective to legal actions. 
  • Doing business as (DBA) – this is also known as assumed name, trade name or fictitious name within the boundaries of a particular country, city or state within which a business operates. Using a DBA provide your business with a separate identity from your personal identity. 
  • Domain name – for an online business, there is a need to register a domain name , popularly known as a URL or a website address. A specific URL or a domain name is your business is unique identity and cannot be used by anyone. 

5.  Secure Funds 

Funding your small business is the very first financial step to undertake. There are many different ways through which a business can be funded. But a vital step is to get a clear understanding of the funding needed. In the previous step, calculating the business funding cost,  a clear picture of the funds your small scale business need will be out. Based on this, an entrepreneur is free to choose the mode of funding. 

Devising a strategy for funding is necessary. It is a deciding factor for the success of your small scale business. 

If we go by statistics, numbers by SmallBizTrends reveal that 82% of businesses and startups crash to the ground due to poor or lack of funding. 

Round Up Your Business Cost 

You ought to calculate the startup cost that your small business will be requiring. This is a necessary step to solicit funding to attract investors and calculate profits.  

Analysing your business expenses before hand will give you a better insight to –

  • Evaluate profit
  • Lure in investors
  • Procure loans
  • Perform an in depth analysis
  • Cut cost with tax deduction

Detect Your Business Expenditure

Your small business will belong to either of the three categories – 

  • Brick and Mortar Business
  • Online Business
  • Service Providers

Despite of the above three categories, there are some unavoidable common cost that each business has to incur. The most common ones that suck in funds are infrastructure, insurance, lawyers, accountants, software, equipment, licenses, permits, marketing, advertising and the like. 

Assess Your Expenditure

After listing out all possible expenses, it is essential to calculate their actual outlay. 

Each expense will entail a different procedure or method. There are both certain and well defined costs. As an entrepreneur it is necessary to ascertain expenditures. 

Include all the Expenses

When done individually listing out each expense and the cost they will incur, the final step is to sum up all of it together. This will be done in the form of monthly expenses and one time expenses. 

Monthly expenses are incurred monthly like employee salaries, rent, and bills. Calculating monthly expenses for long term is ideal. Typically assessing five years of monthly expenses will be beneficial. 

One time expenses are simply the initial cost that your small business will require. Such one time expenses include bringing in machinery, equipment, license, permit, etc. 

Adding up both the monthly and one time expenses will display a clear picture of the capital as and when needed. 

Use these Expenses Cost to Secure Funding

For securing funding for your business, a report of all the above monthly and one time costs must be added and presented formally. 

This report must be neat and clearly represent costs. For all investors and lenders, it must serve informative, so that they’re able to make easy comparisons. 

As an entrepreneur, look into all the different ways through which your business can get the funding it needs. 

The following are the most common methods of funding – 

  • Bootstrapping – It can be easily understood as self funding. You use your available funds and personal savings to kickstart your business. 
  • Venture Capital – these are private equity firms which study your business prospectus and decide accordingly on the various stages they want to invest and raise funding. Your business can get an early stage, seed stage or later stage investment as per the venture capitalist firm you approach. Your business portfolio must be impressive enough to stand out and show growth prospects. VCs are a good option if you are looking to expand and grow your small business. All a venture capitalist firm requires is an equity stake hold or ownership of your company in return for funding. 
  • Angel Investors – An Angel investor is affluent personality who decides to invest his capital into your business. In exchange, an entrepreneur would have to give equity position to the angel investor. 
  • Crowdfunding – Crowdfunding makes use of various sources to raise capital for your business. There are various crowdfunding platforms online through which people or investors pitch in their capital based on your product, service or venture. In exchange these investors get your product or service at a discounted or free rates. Such crowdfunding platforms are entirely web based. To make your small business profile stand out in crowdfunding spaces, an attractive presentation of your idea is needed. Raising funds through crowdfunding is entirely dependent upon the attractiveness of your business. Such funding platforms are useful as they entail a low risk factor and there is no liability to repay crowdfunders in case of failed business. 
  • Small Business Loans – Apart from traditional business loan there are also small business administration loans that you can secure. There are Small Business Investment Company (SBIC), Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program under the Small Business Administration Investment Programs.  

6. Select a Business Structure

Business structure is the deciding factor for tax payments, provision of funds, and division of responsibilities. prior to register your business with the state it is necessary to conclude with your business structure. 

Grow various types of business structures like a sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), Corporation  (comprising of s Corp, B Corp, close Corp, non-profit Corp) and Cooperative.

how to plan a small scale business

As per your funds and involvement in the business deciding on your business structure will become significantly easy. most small scale businesses start with sole proprietorship or partnership form of business and later expand. each business structure comes with its own set of responsibilities, ownership outlines and  tax liabilities. 

7. Register your Business

It is needed to register your business to make it stand out as a separate legal entity. However, if you are making use of your own personal name there is no need to register your business. Business structure and business location plays a major role in deciding where and how the business must be registered. Most small scale businesses just need to register their business name with state and local governments. Registering your business has its own perks where an entrepreneur gets legal benefits, tax benefits and personal liability protection. 

For trademark protection, small businesses can register with the federal agencies. 

In case of a partnership, Corporation, nonprofit Corporation or LLC , your business should be registered with the state government agencies. The need for a registered agent arises here. This registered agent will represent your company and procure all official and legal documents. 

If your business activities cross state borders, your business might be required to resistor for foreign qualification.  

However there is no rule that entails registering your business with the city or country government. It is only specific licences or permits that are needed from the authorities. 

8. Get Federal and State Tax ID Numbers

These numbers are also called the employer identification number (EIN). It is through this number that your business is able to pay all the taxes, get permits and licences, open a business bank account, and hire employees. 

Federal tax ID is synonymous with employee identification number and is free to apply. 

State tax ID number comes handy in deciding whether or not your business is liable to pay taxes. Each state has its different tax commitments. As a small business entrepreneur you must check with your state government to get started. 

9. Requesting Licences and Permits

Your business activities and business location solely are responsible for the licences and permits it needs to operate successfully and freely. Each state city or country has it onset of licences and permits needed to operate a business. Are responsible entrepreneur must look into these regulations and apply them in a legal manner. Also show some permits and licences have an expiration date which need timely renewal. 

Both Federal and state agencies provide licences and permits. Incase a business is regulated by a federal authority, a federal licence a permit will be mandatory. These licences and permits have a specific fee attached to them which is dependent on your business activities and the issuing agency. 

10. Opening a Business Bank Account

The final step to establish your small scale business is to open a business account to begin the easy to and fro of your money. A business bank account provides safety e compliance and reality that a business needs. By managing the movement of your funds via business bank account there is a hint of professionalism that tags long also the purchasing power can be easily established. 

Pick a bank that offers good deals and comparatively low fees on opening a business bank account. Look out for introductory offers, transaction fees, interest rate (for saving, lines of credit and checking), minimum account balance fees and termination fees when hunting for a bank to open your business account. 

Your employee ID number (EID), all legal business documents, ownership agreements and licences/ permits will be the common documents needed to initiate the process. 

By precisely proceeding in the above manner, it becomes a doable task to start a small scale Business in 2020. 

how to plan a small scale business

Snehil Prakash

Snehil Prakash is the Digital Marketer at CuteHR. In addition to marketing, he takes an interest in human resource management, business management, innovation, and startups. He's all about reading, good coffee, and music.

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Eliza Peter

This article is so informatic. you explained steps so easily, thanks for sharing this kind of information. Even I read some good articled from this site – . And again thanks Snehil for such a great article.

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I found it helpful when you mentioned very single part in your article it’s really informatics. I appreciate your article. Great thanks for sharing this kind of knowledge

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Ansh Panwar

information is good i am satisfied . this is very best bolgs for those how want to start thare own business

information is good i am satisfied .

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Taylor Scrybe

Great article Snehil! One thing that really accelerated my career was having a Mentor! I use to connect with mine and would definitely recommend joining the platform if you are looking to scale a start-up or small business!

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how to plan a small scale business

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So you’ve made the decision to grow your business – congratulations! Now get ready for the next challenge:  how to scale your business for growth. Even if you manage to sell like crazy, you’ll soon have another problem: you have to be able to deliver to all those new customers.

Scalability is about capacity and capability.  Does your business have the capacity to grow? Will your business systems, infrastructure, and team be able to accommodate growth?

If growth causes your company to stumble because of confusion, orders falling through the cracks, insufficient staff, miscommunication, or not enough manufacturing or delivery capacity –you’re going to have unhappy customers. The manual processes that were fine when you were small but now won’t let you move fast enough. You’ll either be putting out fires or desperately trying to keep your head above water. All of which are stressful.

Scaling a business means setting the stage to enable and support growth in your company. It means having the ability to grow without being hampered. It requires planning, some funding, and the right systems, staff, processes, technology, and partners. 

Here are five critical steps to scaling your business:

Evaluate and plan.

Take a hard look inside your business to see if you are ready for growth. You can’t know what to do differently unless you take stock of where your business stands today.

Strategize what you need to do to increase sales.  Then assume your orders doubled or tripled overnight. Does your organization have the people and systems to handle those new orders, without failing or getting a big black eye? This is where a good plan is essential.

The best planning in my view starts with a detailed sales growth forecast, broken down by number of new customers, orders, and revenue you want to generate. Include a spreadsheet that breaks the numbers down by month. The more specific you are, the more realistic your sales acquisition plan can be. Then do a similar expense forecast, based on adding technology, people, infrastructure, and systems to handle all those new sales orders.  Look at every item on your current P&L to see how it might be impacted. Expenses will go up -- you have to anticipate where and how. Again, include an expense spreadsheet that breaks down expenses needed to meet your sales forecast.

Try to think of everything. You’ll need to do some hard thinking and research to come up with proper cost estimates, but doing so will make your plan better.

Find the Money

Scaling a business doesn’t come free. Your growth plan may call for hiring staff, deploying new technology, adding equipment and facilities, and creating reporting systems to measure and manage results. How will you find the money to invest for growth?  I’m a huge proponent of bootstrapping, but it typically takes years to grow through bootstrapping alone.  There are also small business contests with cash prizes such as the FedEx Small Business Grant Contest which starts taking entries on Feb. 21, 2017. If you have a great story to tell about your business and could use a $25,000 grant and $7,500 in FedEx Office® print and business services to boost your business, this is an amazing opportunity. It’s also helpful to identify potential bank funds to accelerate growth such as a loan or a line of credit to draw on – start with how much you’ll need. And get started applying.

Secure the Sales

Scaling your business obviously assumes you will sell more. Do you have the sales structure in place to generate more sales?  Look at sales from end to end. Do you have:

  • A sufficient lead flow to generate the desired number of leads?
  • Marketing systems to track and manage leads?
  • Enough sales representatives to follow up and close leads?
  • A robust system to manage sales orders?
  • A billing system and a receivables function to follow up to ensure invoices are collected timely?

Invest in Technology

Technology makes it easier and less expensive to scale a business.  You can gain huge economies of scale and more throughput, with less labor, if you invest wisely in technology. 

  • Automation can help you run your business at a lower cost and more efficiently by minimizing manual work. 
  • Systems integration is a prime area for improvement in most businesses. Companies today don’t run off of a single system -- they may have a dozen or more systems. If those systems don’t work together, they create silos, which in turn multiply communication and management problems as your company grows.

Now’s a good time to evaluate new products on the market that save time and money, yet accommodate much higher volumes in every part of your business.  Look at CRM, marketing automation, sales management, inventory, manufacturing, accounting, HR, shipping, and other technology systems. 

Evaluate not only software but also networks and hardware such as servers, computers, printers, and telephony equipment.

Find Staff or Strategically Outsource

Last but certainly not least, are the hands needed to carry out the work. Technology gives huge leverage, but at the end of the day, you still need people. 

  • Do you have enough customer service staff? Look at industry benchmarks to determine a rule of thumb for how many customers one service rep can be expected to handle.
  • What about the people who are responsible for your manufacturing, inventory, and delivery of products or services? How many are typical for your industry per customer, and how many will you need? 
  • How do you find qualified help quickly? Recruiting and hiring systems are important, as are benefits and payroll.
  • Don’t forget management. The importance of a management bench grows as your business grows. You won’t be able to oversee everything.

Sometimes the answer is to outsource or look to partners, rather than hire internally.

Scaling requires that you make tough choices. What functions can and should you perform -- or not perform -- internally?

Third parties may have the staff and investment in systems that enable them to be much more efficient in handling a function than your company. Trying to replicate that function internally may take too much time or money.  Instead, find a reliable partner to outsource, thus positioning your business to scale better, faster, and cheaper.

These are five factors to consider in scaling a business.  Have you encountered any issues in scaling your business? 

Strategically and Successfully Grow Your Small Business This session will provide you with key aspects you should consider that will assure you have everything covered as you develop a plan for growth.

Is customer demand enough to expand your business? Before you run out to lease another property, follow these 6 tips to see if you’re ready.

Copyright © 2023 SCORE Association,

Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.


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