10 Trending Small Business Ideas

10 Trending Small Business Ideas

The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well right here in Indianapolis. For those looking to build a sustainable business, there are plenty of opportunities for a new spin on an old idea. As the millennial generation has come into their own and now comprises the largest portion of consumers across all industries, new trends have emerged among small business owners.

A good ole boy with a sign on the door is no longer going to cut it. That does not mean that small businesses are a thing of the past. Much to the opposite, millennial consumers are eager to reward small businesses that align with their values.

Key Factors Important to Millennial Consumers

A successful small business in 2020 starts with an understanding of modern consumers and what they want. Right now, the heaviest influence comes from the millennial generation. So, what is important to Millennials?


Millennials value real interactions and brands that they can trust. Growing up in the age of on-demand media, Millenials are mostly unaffected by advertising and marketing gimmicks. The way to win over customers in 2020 is to focus on building real relationships. This is inherent to a small business as mom and pop shops have been doing real’ interactions since the beginning.


Living in the gig-economy, many Millenials are hustlers or are constantly on the go. Maybe this is because their parents pushed them into every extra-curricular activity available so they grew up accustomed to sun-up to sun-down level of busy. This type of lifestyle demands convenience for everything from haircuts to grocery shopping. Amazon and grocery pick up services have already stolen their hearts. Small business owners need to find ways to offer up convenience to compete.


Blame it on the student debt crises, or just the free-spirited nature of the millennial generation. But this group is more likely to spend their cash on experiences over physical things. This means that scooter tours and theater dinners are doing better than jewelry shops and home goods stores. Small businesses that provide experiences are trending now and are inherently local. Scavenger hunts, escape rooms, and themed dinners make excellent small business ideas.

Top Small Business Ideas Trending Right Now

With a little background on the largest sector of consumers, anyone interested in starting a small business should be inspired. Small businesses are trending right now, modern consumers are more interested than ever in shopping locally and building real relationships. Here are ten great small business ideas that are trending right now.

Auto Detailing & Mobile Carwash

The millennial consumer is all about convenience. What could be more convenient than an auto detailer who comes to you and cleans your car while you are at work? This type of business takes minimal equipment which helps keep start-up costs low. If you can make a super quick turnaround time the thing that sets you apart, Millenials will be happy to oblige in the name of convenience.


No matter the generation, everyone has a weak spot for sugary delights. Locally-sourced and organic ingredients are pretty important to millennial consumers. A successful small business bakery in 2020 will play to these strengths and build an authentic brand partnering with local farmers. Millennials will support the deep roots to the community and appreciate the intention to keep it local.

Dog Kennel or Doggy Daycare

Millennials are waiting longer to have children (or possibly not having children at all). Many are directing that nurturing energy towards their pets, specifically dogs. The growing trend of dog parents’ has spawned the need for high-quality dog kennels and daycare centers to watch after beloved fur-babies. Millennials love to travel as much as anything else so there is a pretty decent demand for kenneling services.

Popcorn Shop

A mom and pop style popcorn shop sounds like something right out of the 1950’s, but thanks to fun new flavors, this old stand-in is making a come back on in the small business landscape. Popcorn is a fan-favorite that can be dressed up with different flavors. It pairs well with salty, sweet, savory, and even spicy flavors. It can be a healthier alternative to ice cream, depending on what you put on it. And, the start up costs are relatively low. You could probably even buy most of your supplies, including the popcorn machine, at your local warehouse club. Experiment with fun new flavors of caramel and candied corns to give shoppers a little something unique.

Photography & Framing Business

Photography, especially styled shoots, is hot with the millennial generation. Thanks to the likes of Pinterest and Instagram, a skilled photographer who can pull of social media-worthy shoots is in high demand. Personal photography is still really important to this generation of consumers and it is something that they are willing to pay for. But, due to budget constraints, photographers should consider offering a variety of tiers. Mini photoshoots have been a great entry-level service for many.


The busy lifestyle of the millennial generation has continued to grow the demand for professional landscaping services. This generation simply does not have the time to put in hours of yard work. For convenience, they would much rather pay for it. A skilled laborer can start a landscaping business with relatively low start-up capital.

Boutique Salon

Millennials tend to love attention. You can tell by the sheer number of selfies shared on social media that attention is their thing. Salons that offer pampering experiences, radical makeovers, and quality, Instagram-worthy styles can capitalize on this. Boutique salons are the perfect small business because everyone needs a local stylist that they can visit when the need arises. For maximum success, take advantage of local search results by getting your salon on social media under local search terms.

Resale Shop

The millennial generation happens to be the most prolific thrift shopping generation yet. This probably has less to do with their frugalness and more to with their impulsivity. Millennials have found a new way to offset their wasteful habits by taking up thrift shopping. Benefit from their extensive supply of goods that they discard regularly and capitalize on their need to buy more.

Wedding & Event Rentals

With the cost of weddings and events skyrocketing and the budgets comparatively shrinking, modern consumers are getting smarter in the wedding and event industry. Everything can be rented. There is no need to purchase floral arrangements for centerpieces for every wedding when these items are available for rental. A local business owner can make a profitable go at it by offering trendy wedding decor and props.

Food Truck or Pop-Up Restaurant

Food trucks have been around for a long time, but have recently made a resurgence with the younger crowd. A generation that is in search of authentic experiences is more apt to frequent a taco truck than a commercial establishment. Food trucks are also completely mobile, speaking to the Millenial’s need for convenience.

The face of small businesses has changed, but it is far from dead. Modern consumers are more than happy to patronize small businesses in search of authentic experiences. Small business owners can stay relevant by making small changes to cater to the modern consumer.

Add convenience like delivery or shopping services. Offer a subscription box. Or, do home visits. A car detailing company or hairstylist can easily make their services mobile. Focus on building real relationships. Embrace the nature of the small business and get out and meet your customers.

Build strong ties within the community that you do business in. If you are a food-based business, consider sourcing local ingredients. Make connections with your local school district and offer opportunities for students to work in your shop after school. Look for other local businesses to support your B2B needs like professional printing, accounting services, or commercial cleaning.

More Ways Small Business Owners Can Target Millenials

Millennials love to shop locally. They have a strong sense of community and are far more likely to spend their cash at a mom and pop within their community than the big box store.

Millennials love personalization. They love to celebrate individuality and will seek out local businesses that can make that dream come true.

Millennials love casual culture. They resist traditional business attire or getting all gussied up. Keep your environment casual-friendly and they will feel welcome.

Millennials love to give back. In keeping with their strong sense of community, they are happy to support small businesses just because. The more you can connect with the community and partner with worthy local causes for fundraising, the higher they will think of your business.

Millennials love to share their experiences. Be a social-friendly small business. Encourage customers to leave reviews on your social media pages or take a selfie and use a hashtag to identify your business.

Millennials fancy themselves, future small business owners. Something like 75% of millennials have dreams of working for themselves someday. Call them kindred spirits, but they are more likely to support small businesses just because they identify with the business owners.

Millennials want to know the origin of their purchases. They are more concerned than other generations about where their goods come from. Small businesses tend to be able to provide more transparency than larger corporations and they appreciate that.

Millennial consumers are doing everything that they can to encourage small business growth. They are a brand-loyal bunch that is genuinely interested in shopping locally. Small businesses are the epitome of everything that this generation values: community, authenticity, and local relationships. ianapolis


Leave a Comment