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12 Min. Read

25 Small Business Ideas in South Africa

25 Small Business Ideas in South Africa

There are several reasons for wanting to start a small business in South Africa. You might be looking for the freedom that comes with operating your own business. Or, you might just be looking for a change from the job you’re currently in.

And while those are great motivators, you might have a difficult time finding a business idea or deciding which small business you want to start. The good news is that there are several small businesses you can launch that don’t require a ton of capital to get started. And the other good news? 

Starting a small business gives you the freedom and flexibility to work from home and at your own pace. You will be able to start earning and taking payments before you know it. So where do you start? 

Here are 25 small business ideas for you to pursue in South Africa.

Here’s What We’ll Cover:

25 Best Small Business Ideas

5 Online Business Ideas

5 Creative Service Ideas

5 Small Businesses You Can Start For Free

5 Fun Business Ideas

Professional Service Ideas

Key Takeaways

25 Best Small Business Ideas

These small business ideas range from ones you can start from scratch to ones that you can build off a product or idea that you already have. Everything from creative services to technology to financial services and everything in between. 

Here are the best ideas to get you started. And to help, the small business ideas are separated into useful categories.

5 Online Business Ideas

1. Start a Blog

Starting an online blog gives you the flexibility to choose exactly what you want to blog about. Many writers make money off of their personal blogs, and others earn from blogging for brands. Plus, there are a ton of websites where you can start your blog for free and immediately start publishing content. 

Blogging also provides substantial freedom when it comes to where you work. You can choose to work from your home office, your couch, or the local coffee shop. Or, you can choose to work from a combination of those places depending on what makes you feel most creative.

2. Become a Virtual Assistant

The great thing about becoming a virtual assistant is that you can choose who you work for. There are lots of business owners who are looking to hire virtual assistants to help reduce their workload. You would remove certain tasks from their to-do lists. 

Tasks can range from marketing, accounting, administrative duties and even responding to emails. As business owners continue to grow their own brand, they have less time to focus on certain areas of their business. This is where you would come in as a virtual assistant.

3. Start a Vlog

Vlogging is very similar to blogging, just in video format. And over the years it has grown into a legitimate career choice. Several vloggers make their living by uploading their daily activities. 

Some do it in quirky and fun ways, others dedicate their vlogs around product reviews and some do it to bring awareness to causes or situations. Plus, the camera capabilities on most mobile phones now make it easier than ever to record your best moments.

4. Get Into Social Media Marketing

Most modern businesses now have some type of social media presence. For example, they might be active on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, or all of them. The purpose is to help engage their audiences in authentic ways and market their business online. 

There are billions of people worldwide who are active on social media every day. So it’s no surprise that is where brands can reach their largest customer base. You can craft social media posts, engage with followers and help respond to inquiries about a brand’s product or service. 

5. Be a Translator 

You can launch your own translation business if you’re bilingual or multilingual. The best part might be that there are several different ways that you can do this. It can be translating online transcripts or being an in-person translator. You can even translate documents into multiple languages.

5 Creative Service Ideas 

6. Teach Music

Did you have dreams when you were a kid of being a worldwide rockstar? You still can be, just in a different way. Share your passion and your knowledge of music to help teach others. 

Maybe you’re a great guitar player, an excellent pianist, or a superb drummer. Whatever you love most about music, you can pass that expertise on as a music teacher. 

7. Be a Photographer

Photography was once just a simple hobby that most people did in their spare time. But if you have the eye and the creativity, starting your own photography business is more than possible. In fact, skilled photographers have become incredibly sought-after over the years. 

And the great news is there’s no shortage of opportunities. You can be a product photographer, a wildlife photographer, or a wedding photographer, for example. 

8. Become a Video Producer

Have you always loved taking creative control and organizing videos? Starting a small business as a video producer means that you can manage and oversee everything. From pre-production to production to post-production. 

9. Start a Graphic Design Business 

If you have always had an eye for detail combined with a creative mindset, then graphic design could be a great business idea. You can design websites for brands, promotional brochures, and even billboards. 

The possibilities with graphic design are endless. Brands all over the world are looking for highly skilled and creative graphic designers to help take their business to the next level. Use the talents you have to start your own graphic design business. 

10. Be an App Developer

There’s almost an app for everything you could possibly imagine. But what if there wasn’t? Or, what if you had an idea for how to make an app even better? 

If you have a background or some experience in programming, then becoming an app developer might be a good fit. You can use your expertise and creativity to make the next big thing.

5 Small Businesses You Can Start For Free 

11. Pet Sitting and Dog Walking

If you love animals then pet sitting and dog walking is great small business idea. It might not be entirely consistent, but some people travel regularly or aren’t able to walk their pets. This means that you can combine your love for animals while earning money along the way. 

You can even get further creative by making your own social media pages, business cards, and flyers to help spread the word. Some people work long hours or travel frequently, which means they are going to need someone to help look after their pets. 

12. Become a Product Tester

The majority of businesses don’t just create a product and send it directly to the market. Instead, they go through a careful testing process to ensure that it can meet their customer's needs. You can work with brands to help try out and test their most recent products. 

As well, you could even start your website where you review the most recently launched products. Become the go-to product tester where your audience can use your insights into whether or not they should purchase the product. Who knows, brands might even end up reaching out to you to test their products or provide product reviews. 

13. Start a Travel Planning Business 

Do you love to travel and want to share your wealth of expertise and knowledge? There are always people who are looking for insights into where they’re going. They want to know about the best things to do, places to see and accommodation to stay at. 

Put your skills to work by creating in-depth itineraries and tips on how to get the most out of a particular destination. Not only does this help your audience make a more informed decision, but you can use your love of travel as a legitimate business idea. 

14. Become a Tailor

Have you always liked to sew or put your spin on some of your clothing? Tailoring is a highly-skilled opportunity to showcase your creativity and skill with needle and thread. Everyone wears clothes, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find several people who need clothing repairs.

15. Be a Personal Shopper

Life is busy, and there are lots of people who don’t have the time to do their own shopping. Being a personal shopper allows you to fulfill those tasks for them. It can be getting their groceries, picking up dry cleaning, or any other type of errand. 

5 Fun Business Ideas 

16. Start an Event Planning Business 

Events are always fun, and maybe you have the knack for putting together an incredible party. The best thing about an event planning business is there are many different opportunities. For example, it could be weddings, children’s birthday parties, or even retirement parties. 

There are also several opportunities when it comes to corporate events. These can range from typical office parties all the way to product launch events. 

17. Start Your Own Food Truck

Do you love to cook? Maybe you have all of grandma's secret recipes or perhaps you just love to test new types of dishes. There can be some licenses and additional overhead to get started. But you can share your delectable dishes with your community. 

Plus, there can be other ways to get your food truck in front of new tasters. For example, you can set up your food truck at various events like outdoor concerts or festivals. 

18. Become a Tour Guide

Being a tour guide is kind of similar to starting a travel planning business. However, instead of simply planning the trip for others to enjoy, you can be there and guide them along the way. Do you live in an area that’s popular with tourists or out-of-town visitors? 

Or maybe you have been to so many places that you know them inside and out. Either way, being a tour guide allows you to share your love for new experiences with others. Show them the best sights, places to go and share the history of a destination. 

19. Start an Interior Design Business 

Have you always had a flair for design? Have you always been able to combine the best of every element to make a room really pop? You can take those design skills and become an interior designer. 

Not everyone can pair the proper colors and keep things either minimalist or charming. It can be for someone's living room, their entire home, or even for a corporate office or office lobby. 

20. Be a Makeup Artist

If you have always thrived at making people look good, or bad, then starting your own makeup artist small business could work well. However, there are some licenses and requirements that you need. Yet, the possibilities of a makeup artist are endless. 

You could focus on something like bridal makeup, prosthetics, or even special effects. You never know, you could do the next big wedding or work on-set for the next big movie production. 

Professional Service Ideas 

21. Act as a Business Consultant 

Every business is going to need help and guidance along the way. Business consultants are in very high demand, especially for those who require special expertise. Use your past experience or general knowledge to help guide businesses into the future. 

22. Be a Life Coach 

Not everyone can determine their path in life. Some people have a difficult time making certain decisions and require help and guidance. Being a life coach means that you can counsel clients on everything from overcoming challenges to personal choices. 

23. Become a Professional Accountant 

This requires certain education and designations, but every business needs an accountant. You might even already be an accountant for a corporate business but are looking for more freedom and flexibility. Starting your own accounting business can provide that for you. 

You can lend your knowledge and expertise to help keep your client's books as accurate as possible. Plus, you can choose to work for clients who operate a business that you might be interested in. 

24. Become a Real Estate Agent

Everyone needs somewhere to live, and finding that perfect or dream home isn’t always easy to do on your own. That’s where becoming a real estate agent comes in. You can help people find the home of their dreams. To do this, however, you will need to become a licensed real estate agent. 

25. Start a Mechanic Business

Have you always been good with your hands and have a genuine passion for all things mechanical? Starting a mechanic business lets you work on various types of motorized vehicles, small engines or even large aircraft. It’s all going to depend on your skill level and necessary training. 

Key Takeaways 

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to a small business idea in South Africa. It’s all going to depend on what your interests are, your skill level and whether or not you have certain licenses or training. But the great thing is that there are tons of possibilities out there for you to pursue. 

Chances are you're not going to make billions of dollars right from the start. But smart entrepreneurs learn about market trends and niche business opportunities. Then, they put together a business plan to pursue some of the most lucrative business opportunities. 

Use the 25 small business ideas outlined above to help guide you in the right direction and build a business model. You might even already have a business idea in mind, but weren’t sure where to start. Either way, you will be enjoying the freedom and flexibility that comes with operating your own small business. 

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