Top 40 Best Small Business Ideas In South Africa For 2017


Starting a business in South Africa has become the new trend, especially as the idea of being one’s boss is becoming more and more inviting. Also, the idea of having flexible time and the unreliability of pension packages, retirement annuities, and future general uncertainty relating to income has caused a rise in more and more people becoming entrepreneurs. However, starting a business anywhere is not an easy venture and one has to strive and ensure that they employ strategies that would make the business grow.

 Are you interested in starting a business in South Africa? If YES, here are 40 small business ideas and investment opportunities in South Africa that you can start in 2017.

Okay, having provided a detailed analysis of the legal requirements, market feasibility and every other thing it takes to start a business in South Africa and a series of industry-specific sample business plan templates; here is an in-depth analysis of the top 40 best small business ideas in South Africa for 2017. So put on your entrepreneurial hat and let’s proceed.

Here are 40 good business ideas to look at in South Africa;

1. Sales of Food Products

This type of business is one that can be started with low capital. You can engage in buying various food products such as cakes, biscuits, koeksisters, vetkoek, and such other products and selling them to corporate offices, and other shops that require them. You would need to be aggressive in marketing so as to get clients that would make your business boom.

  1. Computer Business Center

Even though most people have a computer, they might not be versed in its usage and so might require the services of one who is. If you are good with your computer you can help clients with such services as typing of projects for students and CVs for job applicants, design of letterheads and pamphlets, as well as other services. You would have to be well versed in most computer software and programme.

  1. Handcraft Classes

If you are good with your hands, this is a business you can go into, as you can teach others how to make crafts as well. To expand your classes, you could teach on all the kind of crafts you know.  Also, you can take on individual classes which could be at the convenience of your clients charging them more, or you could teach a large group of individuals.

  1. Music Teacher

Most people love music and want to learn to at least play one instrument. If you are good with one or two music instruments, you can conduct classes and teach people how to play. You could also bring together a group of people who can play different instruments that are popular with people, and then create different packages with which your students can choose from.

  1. Photographer

If you have got a good camera and are talented, you can start this business and watch cash roll in. You can attend events and occasion and take pictures, once you become well known, you can then try other niche such as portraits and rent a photo studio. Photography is now a booming business and if you planned well before starting, you can become successful in no time.

  1. Tailor

If you constantly sketch designs and also dream of people wearing what you have designed, then it is time you start taking your dreams seriously. You would need to get a sewing machine, and might have to be an apprentice a while before you become your own boss, but even as an apprentice you can start making money for yourself.

  1. Handyman Business

If you are good with your hands, and are constantly taking care of repairs round your house and even for your friends, it is time you start thinking of how to make money for yourself with fixing things for people. You might need to settle on one or two niches in this kind of business, and expand to other areas of specialization as your business progresses.

  1. Mural Painting

If you are one who has always been artistic and have always gotten praise for your paintings, then it is high time you commercialize your talents. You would have to start from people and places that you know would patronize you while increasing your portfolio, only try large businesses and corporations while you have a large portfolio.

  1. Retail Business

You can go into the retail business and sell as many products as you want. You should make sure your target area does not have too many retail competitors so that you do not struggle too much to attract and retain customers. You would have to constantly check up on your inventory so that you don’t run out of stock.

  1. Party Entertainer

If you clown around children and make them laugh, or are very good at keeping children preoccupied by showing them little tricks then it is worth turning into a business. You would need to get a clown costume and also other materials that you might need and then tell people especially parents about your new business, and watch your business boom.`

  1. Tutor

You can offer to teach students difficult subjects after school. Some students especially those that offer certain science subjects including math, might have a difficult time grasping some of the subjects in school and would require extra tutoring. You must be really knowledgeable about the subjects you want to tutor on, and can tutor in homes or have them meet you at a convenient location.

  1. Professional Organizer

Most house owners do not have the time or energy to keep their houses free from clutter, and so they usually require the services of one who might be able to help them achieve this. If you are good at clearing out clutter and leaving a place organized, then it is time you offer your services as a business.

  1. Hot shot Business

The Hotshot business have come a long way and have continued to guarantee good returns on investment. If you think you have a passion for this kind of business, then it would just be nice for you to first of all undertake a research, and then write a realistic business plan that will aid you to start well.

  1. Sketch Artist

If you are good at sketching either with pencils or pens, and have had people really tell you how creative and beautiful your sketches are, then it is time you turn your talent into a business. Ensure you advertise yourself by ensuring that as many people as possible see your sketches. Also ask your customers for referrals.

  1. Catering

You can run a catering business, if you are calm, focused, and most importantly know how to cook several continental and indigenous dishes. You can cater to corporate organizations, events, and so on. You would do well to team up with an event planner so you could always get jobs.

  1. Calligraphy

This isn’t something you might have thought of, but it is definitely a business you should think of, especially if your hand writings are good. Even though there are now software that can handle calligraphy, the real thing is still preferred, especially as things like certificates, invitations are still written by hand.

  1. Mobile car wash Business

While most people prefer to drive their cars to a car wash and have the car taken care of, others do not mind having someone come over to wash their cars at a location convenient for them which in most times is their homes. You would need supplies for this kind of business and aggressive marketing.

  1. Patternmaker

Before you can become a patternmaker, you would first need to get trained and be a master of your craft before deciding to be your own boss. As a patternmaker, you can design patterns for designers, and dressmakers. This would mean you are a freelance offering your services to as many as you can possibly handle.  

  1. Freelance Writing

If you are good in writing creatively, as well as editing, copywriting, and the rest; then it is high time you think of outsourcing your services to companies that would require them such as news outlets, publishing houses, blogs etc. This is a business that would guarantee you freedom as you would only handle what you decide to.

  1. Dance Instructor

If you are good in dancing then you could turn it into a business. Not only can you dance for artistes and in events and make money, you could also teach others who want to learn how to dance. You could teach your students as individuals or in groups. Whichever form you decide on, ensure you package your services well, and watch as cash flows in.

  1. Cartoonist

Ever newspaper outlet and magazines usually now have cartoons in them, it could be funny depictions of the economy or just to tell a fictional story. If you can draw animated figures, then you can make money straight away from your gift. Send your cartoons to major newspaper outlets and watch the cash flow in.

  1. Used Clothing Business

In most parts of Africa, this can be regarded as a very popular business. However, what will differentiate you from other used clothes dealers is the quality of your wears. Ensure that you sell only the best and watch as more people patronize your business.

  1. Language Translator

South Africa is a country that has many diverse languages and foreigners always need someone who can help them converse with the locals. If you can speak more than one language, then you can hire yourself out to people who might require your services. You can also hire yourself out to corporate organizations by helping to translate corporate letters, books, and documents too.

  1. Auto Mechanic-: If you can fix cars and have helped your friend fix theirs, then you can start this as a business. You can tell your friends and colleagues to help you with word of mouth referral so that more people could patronize your business.
  1. Display Artist

You can help small businesses supervise their window and in-store displays for a fee, during special events. You would have to be knowledgeable about props, scenic backdrops and the rest that can be used to enhance your display.

  1. Laundry Business

If you love washing and ironing, then you can go into this business and save people who don’t from the stress of doing so. A laundry business is a very lucrative business as most people who work do not have the time to do their own laundries and so most times pay others to do their laundry for them.

  1. Knitting Business-: Knitted clothes are still being preferred by some; if you are good in knitting then you can start this as a business by supplying cardigans and shawls to local stores and have them pay you a fee for your products.
  1. Online Personal Matchmaking Business

If you are skilled in bringing together people then you can start this kind of business. Most people nowadays are too busy to find their soul mates offline and so would not mind using a service that would ensure they find the person meant for them. You could offer different packages to your clients for different fees and have them choose that which is more affordable to them.

  1. Image Consultant

The image consulting business is a fast growing one as celebrities and big personalities are now concerned over how they dress for public functions. Once you get one or two celebrities or big personalities and are successful, then you can be sure of attracting others.

  1. Computer Consultant

If you are good with solving computer problems then you can start offering your service to those that require them for a fee. You would need to aggressively market your services b passing out handbills and fliers, so that people can be aware of your services and patronize you to help them solve their computer problems.

  1. Sign Language Interpreter

This is a business that not many people know is lucrative. If you are well versed in sign language then you are setting yourself up for some mega bucks. Sign language interpreters are used in important events such as during special broadcasts like international events and occasions.

  1. Tax Consultant

If you have experience as regards tax matters, then you can help individuals and businesses with tax related matters. You can help them handle their books properly so that they know the right tax to pay and you can also help them to fill the tax forms out correctly so that they don’t run afoul of the law.

  1. Baby Sitting

Babysitting is a business where you get to watch kids in their homes or in other locations approved of by the parents. It is a flexible business and is not constrained to a particular season, and also brings in the cash as well. Babysitters depending on their schedules can make as much as they want, and still have the time to manage other of life’s demands without being overwhelmed.

  1. Waste Management Business

Waste is something that almost every African country battles with and South Africa is not left out. However, most people might not like to go into this business because they feel it is a dirty business; however this business is so lucrative that you will start becoming rich in no time. Ensure that you aggressively get clients and that you are punctual in taking care of their waste. Ask satisfied clients to refer you to their friends and colleague.

  1. Professional Reviewer

Most businesses need someone to review their services for them. These businesses can either be offline or online, and the product to be reviewed can range from edible, lifestyle, movies, motivational books or CDs and so on. If you are good with words, you can help these businesses give out reviews for a fee.

  1. Freelance Editor

This is similar to being a freelance writer, however as an editor, you do not need to write but help publishing houses, and other type of businesses proofread what is to be sent out to the public, such as press releases. However, you would need to ensure that companies know about your service by putting yourself out there.

  1. Pet Sitting Business

A pet sitter cares for the pets of other people while they are away for a fee. This could be for a short period, like in a day; or a longer period, like during the holidays or during a business trip. However, before you start this kind of business, you would have to be sure that you love pets and can care for them.

  1. Planting and Selling of Produce

Planting and selling of produce is a rewarding business that is not too expensive to start up. You could plant herbs such as thyme, basil and vegetables. However, before you start planting business, find out what people usually want. Once it is time for harvest, watch as your cash starts rolling in.

  1. Online Book Store

If you do not have the money to rent a store and sell used books, you can sell them via online and deliver to customers that pay for the books at a location convenient for them. You would need to sell books that people would want to buy; it could range from academics, fiction, and non-fiction.

  1. Stuffed Toys Business

Toys haven’t gone out of fashion, and most kids especially girls still want soft toys to cuddle at night. If you are good in sewing, you can get different pieces of materials together and make toys for sale. You would also need to be creative too and shouldn’t be limited to just animals. Ensure you use bright colors that the kids would like to sew the toys.


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