If you’re looking to move to a small town or already live in one and are looking for business ideas to start, this list is for you.
Small towns have a lot to offer entrepreneurs and the potential to make plenty of money.
A small town can have very niche markets and less competition, making it easier to stand out. And because everyone knows each other in a small town, word-of-mouth is very effective.
From proofreading and bookkeeping to blogging and event planning, here are 37 small-town business ideas to make you money.
Small towns are full of hidden business gems waiting to be discovered, and there are plenty of business ideas that can be successful in a small-town setting.
Here are our favorite business ideas for small-town folks and more:
- Best Business Idea – Proofreading
- Best Passive Income – Blogging
- Highest Income Potential – Bookkeeping
Online Small-Town Business Ideas
To get us started, here are the best small-town business ideas that are totally online and can be done from home:
Proofreading is a great small-town business idea for those with a keen eye for detail and a passion for language.
With the rise of online content creation, there is an increasing demand for proofreaders who can ensure that written material is error-free and polished.
You can work from home in a small town and still take clients from all over the world. With remote work opportunities on the rise, location is no longer a barrier to success.
If you want to learn proofreading skills, you can sign up for Proofread Anywhere’s free workshop to learn more.
Our Proofread Anywhere Review gives you all the details about Proofread Anywhere to help you decide whether it’s the right fit for your proofreading goals.
Are you looking for small-town business ideas that can thrive in a small town and be highly profitable?
Bookkeeping pays really well, and it’s easier than accounting- with no degrees needed!
As a bookkeeper, you’ll track financial transactions, send and receive invoices, reconcile accounts, and prepare financial statements.
One of the benefits of starting a bookkeeping business in a small town is that you’ll likely have less competition than you would in a larger city.
Bookkeeper Launch offers free lessons and valuable insights into bookkeeping and can help you decide if pursuing a career in this field is right for you.
To learn more about Bookkeeper Launch and how it can jumpstart your bookkeeping business, check out our Bookkeeper Launch Review.
Blogging is a great small-town business idea to help you connect with your local community and beyond.
One of the best things about blogging is its flexibility which can be done anywhere, and you can write about anything you like.
Plus, as a blogger in a small town, you can tap into the local community and create content that resonates with your audience.
You can share your unique perspective on local events, news, and culture while building an engaged audience online.
Our free Start Your Blog Boot Camp can help you get your blog started right with tips and tricks for launching your website successfully.
4. Facebook Ads Management
With more businesses turning to Facebook to reach their target audiences, there’s a growing need for skilled Facebook Ads managers, which makes it a good small-town business idea.
With the help of ads managers, businesses can create and manage their ads on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, or Audience Network all in one place.
Your job would be to create and manage ads on Facebook (and maybe other platforms) and see if the ads turn into more orders and more money!
The free workshop by Facebook Side Hustles provides tips and strategies to start a profitable side business with Facebook ads.
5. Shopify Seller
If you want a business idea that can absolutely thrive and be lucrative in a small town, consider becoming a Shopify seller.
With Shopify, you can sell your products online and offline, making it easy to reach customers no matter where they are.
Plus, with the platform’s user-friendly interface and affordable pricing plans, it’s easy to get started, even without technical experience.
One of the biggest advantages of being a Shopify seller is reaching customers beyond your local area.
Even if your small town doesn’t have a large customer base in person, you can still make money using Shopify and get sales online worldwide.
6. Virtual Assistant
Another solid business idea is becoming a virtual assistant.
Virtual assistants provide administrative and technical support to clients remotely, which means you can work from home or anywhere with an internet connection.
As a virtual assistant, you could schedule appointments, manage social media accounts, respond to emails, do market research, and even do bookkeeping.
The beauty of being a virtual assistant is that it has low startup costs, and you can choose your own hours and work with clients from all over the world.
Let people in your local community know you offer virtual assistance, or you can find virtual assistant jobs on online boards like FlexJobs.
7. Freelance Writing
If you’re living in a small town and looking for a profitable business idea for online jobs, freelance writing might be the perfect solution.
One of the great things about freelance writing is that there are countless niches to specialize in.
You could write blog posts for businesses or individuals, create social media content, write product descriptions, or even ghostwrite books.
As a freelance writer, you can work from anywhere as long as you can access a computer and an internet connection with minimal startup costs.
8. Online Tutor
Are you looking for a small-town business idea that can make a difference in the lives of students? Consider starting an online tutoring business!
With the rise of remote learning and the need for academic support, there has never been a better time to start a one-on-one tutoring business online.
One of the great things about online tutoring is that it allows you to reach students beyond your local area.
Plus, as a small-town business owner, you can build personal relationships with your clients and become an integral part of your community.
You can join BookNook and connect with students from all over the country or create your own website to keep things local.
9. Flea Market Flipper
Being a flea market flipper is a great option for those who love to hunt for treasures at yard sales, thrift stores, and flea markets.
Flea markets are full of hidden gems and unique items you can buy and resell on online marketplaces like eBay or Etsy.
It takes some research skills to know what items are valuable, but once you’ve identified them, you can start making money by buying low and selling high.
Plus, there’s something fun about hunting through secondhand stores looking for treasures!
With the help of the free workshop from Flea Market Flipper, you can turn your passion into a fairly inexpensive business idea and a profitable side hustle.
The expert guidance from Rob and Melissa Stephenson (the founders and our friends) can help you turn your passion into a profitable business idea.
10. Etsy Store
Etsy is an online marketplace where you can sell handmade or vintage items, such as jewelry, clothing, home decor, and more.
You don’t have to rent a storefront and start an in-person small-town shop to sell your products- you can do it all online!
To start an Etsy store, create an account and list your items for sale. It costs $0.20 to list an item, so it’s pretty inexpensive.
You must also create a shop name and logo that will resonate with potential customers in your town or region- and not copy anyone else’s store.
Once you’ve listed your items for sale, it’s simply a matter of marketing them to potential customers, so they know about your business.
You can do this through social media platforms, email campaigns, local advertising initiatives, etc.
Dropshipping is when a retailer sells products directly from a wholesaler or manufacturer without any physical inventory.
It works like this: when someone orders from your store, you contact your supplier, and they ship the item directly to the customer.
You bypass traditional retailing processes such as stocking inventory and managing shipping costs.
You simply see what your supplier offers, pick profitable options, put them on a website for sale, and market them to get sales.
Since all transactions occur online, it makes it easy for anyone with access to the internet to start their own dropshipping business without ever leaving their small town!
You can get FREE training with Dropshipping Lifestyle to find out how to get suppliers, pick the best items, and launch a successful store.
12. Online Course Creator
Online courses are becoming increasingly popular due to their low overhead costs and high potential for income generation.
If you have knowledge or skills, you can share with others, creating an online course is an excellent way to make money while helping others learn something new.
The key is to identify a niche market that isn’t already saturated with competitors so that your course stands out.
Also, consider creating multiple courses, so your customers have more options when purchasing one! Learn how with Six Figure Course Creator!
13. Graphic Designer
Small businesses, in particular, always need someone to help them with their branding and marketing materials (logos, business cards, website design, etc.).
And since small towns usually don’t have big advertising budgets, they’ll be happy to work with someone local who can give them a good deal.
You’ll be your own boss and set your own hours, and you can get clients worldwide to make more money.
If you’re a whiz with Canva Pro (or you can learn easily!), starting your graphic design business might be the perfect fit for you.
Local Small-Town Business Ideas
Here are some small-town business ideas that will help you capitalize on the needs of your community:
Photography is an excellent small-town business idea that can help you turn your love for capturing moments into a successful venture.
You can build a thriving photography business in your community and beyond with the right business plan.
In a small town, photographers are in high demand since they provide services like wedding photography, family portraits, senior photos, real estate photos, etc.
And with the rise of digital marketing and social media content creation, there’s also money to be made by taking product photos or creating content for businesses in your town.
Restaurants are always popular in small towns, giving locals a place to come together over delicious food and drinks.
Whether you’re looking to open a classic diner or something more modern and trendy, plenty of opportunities exist as long as there are buildings to rent.
The key to starting this successful small-town business is to research what is already available in your area to create something unique to attract customers.
Of course, you should also consider the cost of ingredients and local labor rates to determine if opening a restaurant is feasible within your budget.
But this is a business idea that can give year after year can become a town legend and a family legacy.
16. Food Delivery Service
This business model requires minimal startup costs and has the potential for long-term success.
You can partner with local restaurants to breach out their food services and do their deliveries. Or you can pick up people’s food for them directly, so they don’t have to leave home.
17. Food Truck
Food trucks are popping up everywhere- especially in smaller towns and rural areas where there may not be as many buildings available.
A food truck business is a lucrative business that brings delicious, unique cuisine to areas that may not have many dining options.
They’re mobile, so you can take your business to different events and locations to reach even more customers.
One of the best things about food trucks is the low startup costs compared to opening a brick-and-mortar restaurant. You’ll need a vehicle, equipment, and ingredients.
Plus, with the right menu and marketing strategy, you can quickly build a loyal customer base for your taco or food truck in your small town.
18. Phone & Electronics Repairs
Technology has come to dominate our lives – but it’s also prone to breaking down or needing repairs. Haven’t you cracked your phone screen before?
That’s why having a local phone & electronics repairs shop can be a successful business that benefits everyone in your small town.
It’s the kind of shop that is especially useful for people who don’t want to spend money on buying new devices when their old ones break down.
You can offer repair services for phones, tablets, computers, and other electronic devices and sell accessories like cases and chargers.
19. Computer Services
If you have experience in computers and tech-related products and services such as programming or web design, this might be the perfect fit for your small-town business!
People will always need help with their computers because technology gets dirty and broken, but also needs updates and repairs that are a bit more special than phones and iPads.
Your services could include:
- Setting up new PCs for customers
- Fixing hardware problems on laptops and desktops
- Setting up home networks
- Repair services for software issues like virus removal or performance optimization
- Teaching classes using tech like smartphone apps or social media platforms
20. Coffee Shops
If you’re looking for a small-town business idea, why not consider opening up a coffee shop?
The neighborhood coffee shop is the perfect place for locals to gather, catch up with friends, and enjoy a warm cup of joe.
With the rise of specialty coffee and unique blends, there’s never been a better time to start your own coffee shop.
One of the best things about opening up a coffee shop in rural areas is that you’ll likely have less competition than in a big city.
You can focus on creating a cozy atmosphere that keeps the same customers coming back and offers great coffee and treats that make people happy with their purchases.
21. Car Wash
Car washes are in high demand, especially in small towns where there may not be many options for residents to get their cars cleaned without doing it themselves.
Mobile car washes are a one-stop shop where you take the car wash to the customer and has smaller startup costs than a brick-and-mortar car wash.
People like convenience, and some small towns are missing out on conveniences like this!
One of the great things about starting a car wash in a small town is that you can offer personalized service to your customers.
You’ll have the opportunity to get to know your regulars and provide them with customized services that meet their specific needs with this small business.
22. Ice Cream Shop
Who doesn’t love ice cream? An ice cream shop is always popular, especially during the summer, and is a business idea guaranteed to be profitable if done right.
We aren’t in a super small town, but our local ice cream shop is open year-round, and we are ecstatic about it! It’s often busy, and it’s because people love it.
Offer classic flavors like chocolate and vanilla and some unique ones like salted caramel and pistachio.
You could even offer frozen yogurt or vegan options for small-town residents who prefer something healthier.
Just make sure that your prices are competitive with other ice cream shops around the area so people come back time and time again!
23. Liquor Store Or Bar
Opening a liquor store or sports bar is a great business idea to draw people into the town center and offer something unique for those looking for entertainment.
In addition to selling beer and wine, you may also stock up on locally brewed spirits such as whiskey, gin, and other craft liquors in your liquor store or sports bar.
Not only will this attract customers interested in supporting local businesses, but it will also give them a chance to try out new flavors they may not find anywhere else.
24. Hair Salon
A hair salon is a must-have business in any town. Not only can you offer haircuts and coloring services to the locals, but you can also provide a few services like manicures and pedicures.
Make sure the atmosphere of your salon is inviting and comfortable so that customers feel relaxed when they come in for their appointment.
Additionally, consider offering discounts to people who refer their friends or family members—this could help spread the word about your business quickly throughout town!
25. Grocery Store
Of course, you can’t go wrong with a good old-fashioned grocery store. While there are plenty of big box stores in every town, there’s always room for a local option.
You can focus on stocking locally sourced produce and products or providing organic or health-focused options.
There is likely less competition from other grocery stores in a small town than in a larger city.
This means you have a better chance of succeeding if you open a grocery store in a small town than if you try to open one in a larger city.
26. Wine Or Cheese Shop
A wine or cheese shop can be an excellent addition to any small town’s retail scene. It will provide locals with an opportunity to purchase high-quality products from near and far.
People are no longer content to pick up a bottle of whatever is on sale at the local grocery store; they want to learn about different wines and find new favorite cheeses.
A local wine shop is a perfect place to do that. You can offer tastings, pairings, and classes to help your customers get the most out of their wine-drinking experience.
A cheese shop is a perfect place to help your customers explore all that cheese offers. You can offer tastings, pairings, classes, and even special events like fondue nights or Raclette parties.
27. Specialty Food Shop
A specialty food shop is one of the most popular small-town business ideas. People in small towns love their local favorites, from homemade preserves and jams to freshly baked bread and other treats.
Opening a specialty food shop allows you to become part of this tradition by stocking your shelves with local favorites.
Not only will you enjoy creating delicious recipes for your customers, but you’ll also bring people together by showcasing the best of what your town has to offer.
If you have a sense of style and know what looks good on people, opening up a clothing boutique is a large-town business idea that could be perfect for you in a small community!
Find out what is popular in your town or what people are missing out on, and stock your clothing boutique shelves with items that fit that style. You can carry accessories like jewelry or handbags to complete the look!
You can even make clothes yourself or buy and resell popular items online that you don’t often get in small towns.
Make sure that you keep up with trends so that people always have something new to check out when they come into your store.
29. Thrift Store
Thrift stores are great for small towns because they allow people to find deals on used items that may otherwise be too expensive or difficult to find elsewhere.
In addition, thrift stores offer a unique shopping experience that customers enjoy.
These stores are also less expensive than other retail businesses, making them ideal for those with little startup capital.
Plus, it is a great venue for small-town entrepreneurs because they can be operated with minimal staff, making them easy to manage and maintain.
30. Flower Shop
The local flower shop has long been popular in small towns because they bring beauty into people’s lives.
A flower shop can offer fresh flowers, plants, and other floral arrangements that appeal to customers looking for something special or unique.
Additionally, starting a successful business like a flower shop is relatively inexpensive compared to other types of businesses and can be easily managed with limited staff members.
Flower shops are popular year-round since there is always an occasion where flowers are appropriate gifts or decorations.
31. Auto Repair Shop
One essential small business that every small town needs are an auto repair shop. Whether for regular maintenance or unexpected repairs, having a reputable place to take your car is crucial.
If you’re handy with cars and have some experience in the auto industry, opening an auto repair shop could be the perfect business idea for you.
Plus, since you’ll be catering to a smaller community, you’ll be able to quickly build up a loyal customer base.
32. Maintenance Services
One way to tap into your local community is to start a small business that provides much-needed services.
People in small towns always look for someone to help them with odd jobs around the house or yard.
If you’re handy and have a truck, starting a business that offers maintenance services is a great way to make some extra money. Plus, you can set your own hours and work as much or as little as you want.
For example, starting a snow removal service in the winter or a lawn care business in the summer can be a great way to serve your neighbors and make some extra cash.
Or, if you’re handy with a paintbrush, you could offer house painting services. The possibilities are endless, and start-up costs are low!
33. Health Food Store
Another great small-town business idea is to open a health food store. This is especially true if your town has only a few good restaurants or (or any) other options for healthy eating.
People in small towns are increasingly interested in eating healthy and organic foods. If you can source products from local farmers, you can offer fresh, healthy food to your community.
This type of store is especially popular with young families and retirees who are health-conscious.
Not only will you be providing a valuable service to your community, but you’ll also be able to tap into the growing trend of health consciousness. Who knows—you might even inspire your neighbors to start eating healthier!
34. Bed And Breakfast
Small towns are often tourist destinations because of their historic charm. If you live in a small town with a lot of history or charm, opening a bed and breakfast can be a great way to show off what makes your town special to visitors from all over.
Bed and breakfast owners have the opportunity to connect with people from all over the world. As a small-town business owner, you can share your community’s history, culture, and attractions with your guests.
Whether they’re visiting for a weekend getaway or an extended vacation, you can help your guests make the most of their time in your town.
Plus, by providing exceptional hospitality and personalized recommendations, you’ll earn rave reviews that will attract even more visitors to your bed and breakfast and small community.
35. Pet Store/Pet Grooming
Opening a pet store is sure to be popular in any small town. Pets are beloved by many people, so having easy access to pet supplies is sure to be appreciated.
You can start by stocking cat and dog food, treats, toys, and bedding. As your business grows, you may want to expand into other animals, such as birds or fish.
If you love animals but don’t want to run a traditional pet store, why not set up a mobile pet grooming service instead?
It could easily become a very niche market for your town and the culture of the neighboring towns!
Starting an organic farm may seem like a lot of work, but it can be a rewarding and profitable venture. It can be tailored to fit your specific community’s needs.
Not only will you be providing your community with healthy food options, but you’ll also be supporting the local economy and promoting sustainable living.
You could focus on growing fruits and vegetables that are in high demand in your area, or even specialize in niche crops like exotic herbs or even running a Christmas tree farm.
Additionally, you could offer services like farm-to-table dinners or educational workshops on sustainable agriculture practices.
Starting a farm may require some initial investment in equipment and land, but plenty of resources are available to help you get started.
From government grants to crowdfunding campaigns like FarmTogether, there are many ways to secure funding for your new business venture.
37. Lawn And Gardening Services
Starting a lawn and gardening service is an ideal option for those who love being outdoors and have some knowledge about landscaping or gardening.
Plus, with such services always in high demand, you’ll easily get repeat customers.
You can provide landscaping services such as mowing, weeding, trimming, fertilizing, aerating, mulching, and more! If you have experience planting trees and shrubs or laying sod, you can also offer these services.
However, it does require a significant investment upfront for equipment like mowers, rakes, shovels, and more.
Additionally, depending on the size of your town and how many other competitors exist, you may need to do a bit of marketing to get your business off the ground.
With more people than ever shopping locally, there’s never been a better time to start a small business in your hometown.
No matter your interests or talents, there’s sure to be a profitable small business idea on this list that’s perfect for you.
You can start profitable businesses online by becoming a proofreader or writer and finding jobs on FlexJobs to make thousands per month.
Or you can create new businesses locally in your small town, like a coffee shop or restaurant that brings new cuisine and fun to your town.
So what are you waiting for? It’s time to make your dream of owning your own business in a small town a reality!