Businesses in demand: 16 popular small business ideas

Dustin Johnson
By Dustin Johnson

Are you still waiting on the “lightbulb moment” business idea that secures your jump into entrepreneurship? If nothing leaps out at you, your best bet is to choose an industry that is growing and in demand. Finding a business idea takes researching your target market/area, doing some internal analysis to see what you could succeed at, and understanding what industries will stay in demand vs. being just a fad.

We researched for you, so choose from this list of businesses currently in demand.

The last few years have seen an A.I. boom, pandemic, and cultural revolution, changing how we do life and business. We’ve seen new industries spring to light, but we’ve also seen traditional business ideas make a resurgence. This leaves you with the “good” problem of being spoiled for choice. This research-backed list of high-demand businesses will plant some ideas in your mind that could turn into your next business venture.


We’re all witnessing the slow death of retail globally as large retailers like Sears, K-Mart, JC Penney, and more go out of business. Smaller retailers are also struggling to keep up with online retailers like Amazon. This may lead you to believe e-commerce is dead, especially for small businesses. Why even compete with sites like Amazon, Walmart, and Home Depot?

That’s not so true.

E-commerce allows you to sell to anyone from anywhere at any time. The truth is that there’s a market for smaller e-commerce brands that can offer what larger retailers can’t. Customers want to connect with a brand due to shared values or location. Amazon can’t really do either of those things since they sell everything from everywhere. Small business riches are in the niches, meaning solving a specific problem for a specific group of people.

Content creator

The digital content creation market is set to hit $181.4 Billion in 2032. For reference, the entertainment industry comprising over 130,000 companies (sports teams, museums, zoos, theme parks, etc.), is a $308 Billion industry. Being a content creator may be the most desirable of all the business opportunities on this list. There’s a demand for content in every industry, and many people realize they can monetize their hobbies.

You’re reading this list because you want to be a business owner. So you may wonder, is being a content creator even a full-time occupation? A report by The Tilt may change your mind. It found that it takes the average full-time content creator just over six months to earn their first dollar and 17 months before they can become self-supporting. 


The pet industry has seen impressive growth over the last few years with no signs of stopping. The American Pet Products Association revealed that the pet industry saw a total of $123.6 billion in sales in 2021. So the question is, what are high-demand businesses in the pet industry? Your most in-demand products include toys, food, bedding, and leashes. However, creating a product-based business means competing with the bigger pet companies. What may be more realistic for a small business owner is creating a service-based business around pets.

Here are a few pet businesses in demand currently:


Most pet owners don’t bring their dogs with them on trips for obvious reasons. Instead of leaving their pet at home alone, they take them to a safe place while they’re away. A dog kennel is a great place to keep your dog fed, safe, and exercised while you’re away. If you love animals, research your local zoning laws to see if this is a business you can start.


As a professional groomer, you’ll help people make their pets look amazing. You can charge for clipping nails, giving haircuts, treating skin conditions, and giving baths. You can own your own storefront or start a mobile grooming service.


If you have a passion for pups and think you have a knack for training them, this may be your business idea. As of 2023, 66% of U.S. households (86.9 million homes) own a pet. Many of these homeowners need help training their dogs to teach them how to behave, strengthen their bonds, and make life easier.

Plant-based food

This market is expected to increase in value to about $22 billion globally by 2025. With more and more people choosing to eat vegan for ethical and health reasons, the demand for vegan food is increasing. Many in-demand business ideas exist in the plant-based food industry, including food trucks, restaurants, grocery stores, and even beauty products.

Organic health and beauty

More and more people are becoming aware of their beauty products' effects on their skin and the environment. As a result, the organic skincare industry, valued at 9.83 billion in 2021, is booming. Name-brand companies are trying to get into organic health and beauty, but there’s plenty of room for homemade products. How can you compete with big companies with brand power? Environmental consciousness often comes with a desire to stay and buy locally.

Your biggest obstacle may actually be the FGA, which strictly regulates the production and sale of cosmetics, skincare items, and health-related products.

Car washes

With over 278 million cars in the United States, car washes are popular in our car-centric society. Operating a car wash can offer a significant ROI while being a simple business to run. According to Bizfluent and the US Census Bureau, the average in-bay automatic car wash makes $139,000 in annual revenue. Self-serve car washes make about $1,489 of revenue per bay each month.

Travel agency

Do you like to travel? Then why not start a business that gives you every opportunity to travel the world? Travel agents help people plan vacations and trips across the globe. You probably already know what a travel agent is, but you may not have known that travel agents are still a thing. Travelers want honest and helpful advice to help them get the most out of their time and money spent away. Coming out of the pandemic, there’s a lot of pent-up travel demand.

The costs of starting a travel agency are relatively low. You can start by working with a host agency or start on your own. You can build your business on your specialized knowledge of a specific type of travel or region.

Traveling Event Planning

If you love traveling, organizing events, and interacting with people, then start a traveling event planning business. Event planners organize corporate and professional events as well as parties. You don’t have to travel the world as an event planner, but mobile flexibility can add an extra competitive advantage to your business.

Live events are happening all the time, and organizations are willing to pay a premium to ensure they go perfectly. In addition to the good pay, you can also enjoy amazing fringe benefits like hotel upgrades, free travel, and schmoozing with the who’s who of business and entertainment.


For some time, the U.S has lost its leading global position in manufacturing to China and other countries. Global trends are showing that Made-In-The-USA manufacturing is making a renaissance. The manufacturing industry has added 1.3 million jobs in the last ten years. So what manufacturing business types are in high demand?

Coffee roasting

Quality and consistency is crucial in the coffee roasting business. This is why coffee roasters are choosing to bring their manufacturing stateside. If you have dreams of opening your own coffee shop, you may find that roasting your own coffee is the quickest path to profitability. 


The cannabis industry is rapidly growing, with opportunities in every sector, from cultivation, production, sale, and marketing. Marijuana is legal in 23 states, with all indications showing that more are falling in line. The cannabis industry has a wide range of businesses, from mom-and-pop sellers to large-scale growers.


Candle-making is a great business idea for small one-person businesses. It’s a relaxing hobby that requires very little investment.

Solar power

The solar industry is still enjoying its time in the sun. In 2020, solar power was the leading new renewable energy by capacity. Naturally, solar installers are one of the fastest-growing professions, projected to see 52% growth from 2019-2029. Starting a solar business is no easy feat. It requires becoming an expert in all things solar, from installation, regulations, planning, and finances. Aurora Solar recommends finding the cracks in already booming solar markets.

Elder care

The United States home care market is expected to grow from $100 billion in 2016 to $225 billion by 2024. The elderly population is only showing signs of growth thanks to modern medicine. Another trigger for growth is the number of elders who live independently. Insider Intelligence believes this market is rife for disruption due to a need to bring down costs, improve care quality, and create a more sustainable business model.

3D Printing

3D printing went from an idea from The Jetsons to being valued at $16.7 billion in 2022 and growing annually by over 20%. The opportunities are endless in 3D printing, as every industry has a need for manufacturing support.

Food Truck

Starting a food truck requires less overhead than starting a brick-and-mortar restaurant. A trend that grew in cities like Los Angeles, Austin, and Portland, is beginning to see growth in smaller heartland cities. The popularity of food trucks has only grown. Despite a global pandemic in 2020, the industry has consistently grown in the last five years. By 2028, Grand View Research anticipates the industry will be worth at least $6.6 billion. 

Start and grow your business with ComplYant

Want to match your pre-existing experience with a high-demand business niche? Then hopefully, you found this article helpful. Starting a business is one of the hardest endeavors you can undertake, so do your due diligence and find an industry that has demand. Once you do start your business, sync it with ComplYant so you always stay on top of your tax deadlines.

Dustin Johnson
By Dustin Johnson
Dustin Johnson is a Senior Tax Research Specialist at ComplYant. Prior to joining ComplYant, he spent over eleven years performing tax research at the world’s largest tax preparation company. Dustin holds a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Juris Doctor. Outside of work, Dustin enjoys biking and spending time with his family.

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