The 5 Most Profitable Small Businesses in 2018

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Some people are just born to be entrepreneurs. They’ve got a streak of independence that makes them absolutely determined to succeed on their own. But for many wanna-be entrepreneurs, it can be difficult to decide exactly what kind of business would be the best choice. It’s tough to find that perfect idea!

If you’re determined to start your own business, you probably know at least these two things for sure: you want to be your own boss, and you want to make a profit.

Are you still trying to find the right business idea for you? Get inspired by 2018’s 5 most profitable small business ideas!

The 5 Most Profitable Small Business Ideas in 2018

  1. Mobile Businesses: Consumers are increasingly looking for businesses that come to them, rather than vice versa.
  2. Child-oriented Businesses: Parents are spending more and more on their children as school budgets continue to dwindle.
  3. “Sharing Economy” Businesses: Applying the Uber and AirBnB model to other industries could land you a seriously profitable small business.
  4. Online Education Businesses: Little overhead cost and easy distribution make the online education industry ripe for entrepreneurs looking to earn a profit and help others at the same time.
  5. Freelance B2B Services: Ride the post-recession wave by offering your business acumen to other companies as an independent contractor.

3 Easy Steps You Should Know Before You Get Started

Before we dive right into what kind of business ideas are the most profitable small business ideas for 2018, you should get some context into what steps you actually need to take to get the ball rolling.

The steps to starting a business will vary from entrepreneur-to-entrepreneur, but we can boil the process down to three, easy steps.

Step 1: Find the Perfect Idea and Do Your Research

A business starts with a good idea (and we’ll give you a hefty dose of inspiration below). But in order to make that idea a reality, you need to do your research to make sure the concept will succeed. Go through an idea validation process—including market and competitor research, and financial feasibility analysis—before you’re too far in. This list of the most profitable small business ideas for 2018 will be your first step in this process.

Step 2: Get Organized and Make It Official

When you’re sure that you have a good idea to work with, it’s time to plan out the logistics of the business with a well-formulated business plan. When you’re confident that you’ve got it all down in writing, take steps to make it official. This includes choosing a business structure, applying for an EIN, registering your “Doing Business As” name, and getting the business licenses and registrations your specific business needs to open its doors.

Step 3: Find the Right Financing

Every business needs capital to grow, and startups are certainly no exception. But as a new startup owner, you might struggle to qualify for traditional business financing options right off the bat.

That’s why we recommend you start funding your initial growth with a business credit card. Why?

Not only will you have an easier time qualifying for a credit card than you would a traditional business loan, but you’ll also kick-start your business credit history, earn perks and rewards as you spend, and take advantage of interest-free 0% introductory APR periods (that’s like a free loan).

Our favorite credit card for startups is Amex’s Blue Business Plus thanks to its 15-month intro period for 0% APR. (Note that after 15 months, your APR will set in at a rate that will vary with the market prime rate, so make sure to check the card details!)

Most Profitable Small Business Ideas #1: Mobile Businesses

While mobile app development is certainly a huge industry right now, that’s actually not what we mean here. In this case, we’re talking about businesses that travel to their customers, offering their products and services wherever the customer happens to be.

As we all become more and more used to having everything accessible instantly and at our convenience, businesses on the move have hit the forefront of the most profitable industries in 2015 and beyond. Check out these mobile business ideas to help you take advantage of this emerging trend:

Auto Repair

Taking a car to the shop for simple repairs can be a challenge. After all, most of us use our cars to get from place to place! That means taking a car in for repairs often either involves a long wait at the repair shop, renting a vehicle for the day, or coordinating a ride with a friend or spouse. Unless…

While some repair jobs do require the equipment of an auto shop to complete, there are plenty of maintenance and repair services that need just a few simple tools to complete. If you’re skilled as a mechanic, consider going mobile with your services—offering oil changes, fluid refills, battery swaps, headlight repair and more right in your customer’s driveway or office parking lot.

Food Trucks

The foodie movement continues to grow in 2016, with more and more styles of cuisine offered in unique venues. But as rent in major cities increases, it’s becoming more difficult for up-and-coming specialty food artisans to finance a brick-and-mortar location in the bustling centers of town—where their customers are most likely to be.

The answer? Food trucks! Hit the road and park yourself at local events, farmer’s markets, the local town square—wherever you’re likely to draw a crowd. The lower overhead and increased geographic versatility of a food truck means you can turn your grandma’s famous dumpling recipe or that off-the-wall dessert idea into its own thriving business.

Keep in mind that bigger, trendier cities like San Francisco, Portland, and Boston already have a pretty saturated food truck market—so you might be more successful in a smaller heartland metropolis. Food trucks also tend to have their own special set of ordinances and safety compliance standards, so contact your local health department to find out what will be required.

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