10 Ideas for a 21st Century Small Business

Small businesses offer the opportunity for many people to reach their dream. They can develop their business in a way that allows them to pursue interests and passions, showcase abilities and talents and answer to no one but themselves. Regardless of whether you want to create a business baking breads, selling artwork or running a casino where gamers can compete for a jackpot capital bonus, opening a small business can be exciting and fulfilling.

You may be thinking of an on-site business where you meet your customers and provide them with a product or service or you may be considering working online.

Here are some ideas for small business in the 21st century.


Regardless of the economic situation or the increase in online orders and online shopping, people who fix things will always be in demand. You can specialize as, for instance, an electrician or plumber, or you can open yourself to provide a wide range fix-it services.

Broadening the scope of services that you offer will make you more attractive to people who want a number of projects completed at one time – which often happens when a homeowner decides to take care of several household fix-it jobs at once.

If you’re interested in going into business as a handyman (or handywoman), you can set up a business page on Facebook or a business page for Google for free or, for a small investment, create a website. List what you do and prices so potential customers know what they can expect to pay. Get some written referrals from past clients and ask them to post their reviews.

Make sure that you add your business to Google maps so that if someone is looking for a handyman in your specific area, your business will appear on the map.


Matchmaking is something that you can do online or face-to-face, from a home office or some other locale. Matchmakers keep a running list of prospects and often consult with other matchmakers who have their own lists, to help people find their match.

Matchmaking is a profession that is always in demand. The human desire to find someone with whom to share a life is not limited to times of economic health. You might also consider expanding your matchmaking service to include dating consulting where you help your clients create good online dating profiles.

Depending on your client, you may also be asked to check out potential matches to ensure that your client will be dating someone who is a healthy and contributing member of society.


Marketing professionals can work with an agency or they can freelance from their own office. This is another job that you can do from home with just a computer and an Internet connection.

You may prefer to specialize, for instance as an SEO marketer or a social media marketer, or offer a full menu of services to your clients who will be able to obtain everything with one stop. You should have your own website that showcases samples of your work and reviews from past clients.

Provide a full listing of what you can do and some examples of how clients for whom you have worked showed an increase in business after using your services.

Sewing and Alterations

Sewing is always a good service that people need in any type of economy. People always need clothing altered and fixed and if you have a good sewing machine, you can be the one to do it.

A free Facebook or Google business page is all you need to advertise your services but if you want to expand your repertoire to dressmaking and design you might want to add a website. Regardless of your chosen method of advertising you should put up plenty of images to show your work.

Personal Trainer

If you’re passionate about health and healthy living, you might want to offer your services as a personal trainer. You can offer in-home consultations, community boot camps and personalized nutrition and exercise regimens to get started and then expand your services to offer classes and individual counseling sessions.

Putting free exercise videos on YouTube is a good way to get the word out about your services and you can also add videos with healthy recipes and tips for healthy living. This is a profession that demands a lot of education and knowledge and the more that you put into your education (degree, extra courses, knowledge of different exercise styles, background in nutritional sciences, etc) the faster you’ll build your business.


If you speak a foreign language you might think about starting a translation service. In a global economy, translation services are in demand. There are different genres of translation, such as literary, medical or financial translations, so you can fill the niche that offers the most opportunity for growth.

In the translation community, once you become known, you can generally count on your name getting around so a website or business page isn’t as important as networking among other translators.

Ecommerce Store Owner

With much of commerce these days occurring online, an estore can give you the chance to sell products without ever leaving your house. You’ll need suppliers, either those with whom you have an agreement that they’ll take care of shipping when an order comes in or those who bring you the products which you store and ship yourself.

The type of estore that you open will depend on your capacity for storing the items that you wish to sell and your ability to buy a large quantity of items in advance of sales. For an estore you will need an ecommerce website that gives customers the ability to place a secure order.

If you’re not yet ready to set up your own site, consider selling through an intermediary site such as EBay. Not only does that make it easier for you to get started, but it allows you to learn the field and build up a name for yourself.

Home Inspector

If you have a background in construction and have a good deal of expertise and knowledge, you might want to get certified as a home inspector. You’ll need to take some courses to learn building codes and confirm the licensing requirements in your state.

But you can work from home, make good money and spend time out in the field, rather than in an office.


If you have a background in a foreign language, math, a musical instrument or some other subject, you might want to consider tutoring. You can tutor face-to-face or online – there are many companies that will hire you to tutor students, even those located across the world.

Once you get your feet wet working for another company you can move out on your own if you wish.


You don’t have to be a top chef to offer catering services. Just specialize in a specific type of meals – vegan, gluten-free, keto, etc – and put the word out. Many people who need ready-made meals aren’t looking for gourmet meals….they just need something nutritious that they don’t have to cook themselves.

A Google Business page or a Facebook page, both free, should be enough to get you started. Make sure that you add LOTS of images to your online page.