There are numerous business opportunities in South Africa. Given the rising level of unemployment sometimes setting up your own shop is the best thing you can do for yourself. Below are 40 small business ideas that you might find useful.

1.     Auto Spare Parts Store Business

There has been an increasing number of people purchasing both used and new cars in the country. Currently, there is more than twelve million registered cars in South Africa and these cars require repairs and maintenance overtime. This in turn creates demand for motor spares. Thus, an auto spare parts store is a small business worth considering.

2.     Freelancer

The second small business idea that is profitable in South Africa is becoming a freelancer. As a freelancer you can offer various services including writing, SEO, design, consulting and bookkeeping depending on your set of skills.

3.     Butchery Business

As the middle class grows the demand for meat has been increasing over the years in South Africa. Due to an increase in disposable income meat is becoming accessible to many. About two hundred and fifty thousand tonnes of meat are consumed every month in the country. There is not denying that a butchery business is a small business worth considering.

4.      Catering Business

Another small business idea worth considering in South Africa is a catering business. The food sector continues to grow mainly due to the tourism sector. Keep in mind that many South Africans are becoming health conscious and selective in their food choices so your business should be able to cater for that. Although there is a large number of caterers in the country it is still possible to start your own catering company. With good market research you can discover your niche market and run a profitable catering company.

5.     Food Truck

Becoming a food truck owner is a good way of becoming familiar with the food and restaurant business. It is a much cheaper way of testing the market and can be rewarding for a qualified chef.

6.     Clothing Boutique Business

The other small business idea on our top 40 list is a clothing boutique. There is always a demand for fashionable clothes for every season. The retail sales for clothing, footwear and textiles is estimated to be over a hundred and seventy billion rands according to Stats SA. Also, the demand for clothing and apparel is normally steady throughout the year and peaks during the festive season.

7.     Coffee Shop Business

As income continues to increase, the consumption of food and beverages increases as well. A coffee shop can be a profitable small business for anyone seeking to start their own business. It is estimated that more than thirty-five thousand tonnes of coffee is consumed in South Africa. Younger and more upwardly mobile consumers prefer drinking coffee. Also, the market for coffee in South Africa has not been fully tapped into thus, opening a coffee shop can be profitable.

8.     Fast Food Restaurant

A fast-food restaurant is a good small business idea given that the South African fast food industry is likely to continue experiencing high growth. The demand for take outs and restaurant keeps increasing as a result of urbanisation. A large number of South Africans enjoy dining out and/or ordering in due to their busy lifestyles. Therefore, opening a fast-food restaurant can be profitable in South Africa.

9.     Tour Guide

In addition to the above small business ideas becoming a tour guide can be just as profitable. You can offer historical walking tours in and around specific towns, and curate guided foodie tours for guests to get a true taste of the city. In a country like South Africa where plenty of tourists visit on a regular basis becoming a tour guide can be lucrative.

10. Free Range Chicken

Chicken, especially free-range chicken is highly demanded among South Africans. Keeping free range chicken can be lucrative given that there are a few people involved in this kind of business. Free range chickens are versatile; they can be reared for their meat, eggs or both. Most people rear free range chickens at their homestead but mainly in the countryside. However, it is still possible to keep free range chickens commercially. Investing in this kind of business will give you good returns because the market for this kind of busienss has not been fully exploited.

11. Goat Farming Business

Goat farming has always been practised for years but mainly as subsistence farming. Now, anyone can enjoy good profits from commercial goat farming. The demand for goat meat has been increasing locally and internationally. Currently, more than eleven thousand tonnes of goat meat are demanded locally per year. The possibility of making huge profits from exporting goat meat is also high. Goat meat is preferred because of its health-related qualities in addition, goat meat is required for traditional and religious ceremonies. It is evident that goat farming is a small business worth considering.

12. Interior Designer

Another skill that can make you a living is being an interior designer. There are a lot of people who know how to buy furniture and home decor to fill their homes, but few know where to start. Providing interior design services can be a rewarding small business. It may take some time but with hard work and patience your brand will grow.

13. Videographer

Video production requires you to invest in the equipment up front which can be quite expensive. But overtime the business will pay off. To be a successful videographer ensure that you have a reel of your work to share or create a website with several selections of your work available for interested viewers.

14. Hardware Store Business

Hardware stores in the country provide a wide range of building materials, plumbing supplies and electrical tools among other various products and services. Also, a hardware store has a large pool of customers for building and civil construction, renovations, agriculture, as well as for small DIY projects. Opening a hardware store is something to consider. Homeowners, real estate companies and construction companies will carry out improvements or repairs on their properties and this requires hardware products.

15. Honey Beekeeping Business

The demand for honey in South Africa is about three thousand tonnes per year but the current production sits on two thousand tonnes per year. The honey beekeeping business is also lucrative because of honey’s current high prices. As such venturing into the honey beekeeping business can be rewarding financially. Honey has various uses, it can be used in cooking, baking, desserts and in beverages such as tea or as a sweetener.  Honey can also be used in medicine and for cosmetics. There is no doubt that honey beekeeping is an attractive small business idea.

16. Sheep Farming

More than one hundred and ninety tonnes of mutton is consumed each year by South Africans. The demand for lamb in the country will likely increase over the coming years. Also, there is a large export market for mutton and wool. About fifty million kilograms of wool is exported from South Africa every year. There is no denying that sheep farming is a small business idea worth pursuing.

17. Travel Planner

Although travel agents are slowly becoming irrelevant, people are still in need of travel planners with non-traditional travel coordination skills. If you always plan the perfect vacations complete with beautiful hotels, the ideal location, and the right restaurants, consider becoming a travel planner.

18. Layers Egg Production Business

Another small busines idea worth pursuing is egg production. Eggs are an important ingredient in many households. Eggs have always been in high demand and this has not changed. Given that starting a layer eggs production business is easy to start investing in such a business can be lucrative. An estimated seven billion eggs are consumed per year in South Africa and eggs are considered the fourth largest animal product in the agriculture after poultry meat, beef and milk.

19. Maize Farming Business

Also on our list of 40 business ideas is maize farming. In South Africa, maize is one of the most used feed grain and it is regarded as a staple for many people in the country. There is a large market for maize in the country where ten million tonnes of maize are consumed every year.  In addition, maize also has a variety of industrial uses such as paper coating and sizing, soap, adhesives and rust proofing for metal surfaces among various uses. Investing in maize farming can be profitable.


20. Tutoring Services

Also on our list of small business ideas is a Tutoring services business. There is a high demand for these services for both children and adults. Your tutoring service can offer language classes, high school subjects or whatever field you are an expect in.

21. Beef Cattle Fattening Business

The other small business idea on our list is a beef cattle fattening business. Cattle pen fattening is the feeding of cattle with a balanced high protein diet for three to four months under confinement. Given that the demand for beef in South Africa is very high a beef cattle fattening business can be profitable. Over eighty thousand metric tonnes of beef is consumed each month in the country. Also, beef is the second fastest growing agricultural commodity following the broiler poultry sector. Thus, a beef fattening business is something worth pursuing.

22. Meter Taxi Business

Meter taxis offer valuable services to many people in South Africa. Despite the stiff competition, the demand for meter taxi’s is still very high. You can profitably run your meter taxi business if you figure out your niche. Some possible markets for a meter taxi operator include city centres, hospitals, airports, residential areas, and tourist centres to name a few. Whichever market you decide to tap into ensure that you do proper research for your business to be profitable.

23. Landscaper

Another lucrative small business that can grow in a short space of time is landscaping. Mowing, tree-trimming, and seasonal decor are needed by both businesses and individual homeowners. If you have or can acquire the equipment, a landscaping business can be profitable.

24. Minibus Taxi Business

In South Africa, minibuses are some of the most affordable and available form of public transportation. Despite there being a large number of people that own cars there is still a large number of people that make use of public transportation. Based on the South African National Taxi council the taxi industry transports more than fifteen million people per day. Hence a minibus taxi business can be rewarding. Keep in mind that the public transportation sector is highly competitive  so it is important to develop your niche market and package your services well.  Your minibus can offer transportation services at airports, schools, or provide transportation services for corporate clients only. Whatever your niche market may be starting a minibus taxi services is worth considering.

25. Onion Farming

Onions are among the most used ingredients when it comes to cooking in almost every household in South Africa. The demand for onions in the country is incredibly high since onions are needed for stews, soups, and salads, amongst many other dishes. About 600 000 tonnes of onion are sold per year in South Africa, and some of the excess is exported to other countries. There is no doubt that onion farming is a profitable small business idea. Some of the potential customers for onions include individuals, caterers, food processors, retail outlets, and national fresh produce markets. Thus, there is a ready local and international market for onion farming in the country.

26. Freelance Developer

As a freelance developer you can build websites for other small businesses, provide technical support for certain projects, and offer web development. With such a technical skillset, running your own small business can be profitable because such skills are in high demand.

27. Broiler Business

Another small business worth pursuing is Broiler poultry farming. The broiler poultry sector is one of the most fastest growing sectors in agriculture. About two million tonnes of chicken are consumed in South Africa per year. In fact, broiler poultry farming has the highest per capita consumption than most meats in the country. This type of business cannot be underestimated. Also, the current poultry production does not meet the current demand so the country relies on imports from Brazil. Starting a broiler business can give you good returns plus it is not that costly to start at a small scale. You can easily supply your chickens to individuals, supermarkets, restaurants, hotels and various other organisations because obtaining a market for chickens is not that difficult. A broiler business is one of many small agricultural businesses worth considering.

28. Trucking Business

Road freight transport, or trucking, is essential to the economy of South Africa, occupying a unique socioeconomic position in linking supply to demand and linking many industrial sectors within South Africa together. The trucking industry is essential to the well-being of the country’s economy.  Anyone comfortable and passionate about the transport sector can enter the trucking and logistics business. You can begin with hauling smaller and exclusive types of loads and then haul heavy duty loads after you’ve become well known within your niche market. With the right commitment and tools starting a truck small  business is something worth considering.

29. Clothing Alteration Specialist

If you love sewing, you can offer simple services like clothing alterations, mending, dressmaking and even clothing design services.  Overtime, this business can grow as you grow your brand and customers.

30. Pig Farming Business

An estimated twenty thousand metric tonnes of pork are consumed every single month in South Africa. Given that the country is also a net importer of pork it shows that the country does not produce enough pork for its consumers.   The is high demand for pork in South Africa is in excess of 250 000 tonnes per year. About 55% of the pork produced in South Africa is processed into ready-to-eat products, sausages, fillets, chops and bacon and the rest is sold as fresh pork for the market. Pig farming is clearly a lucrative business idea worth considering. There is a ready market for pigs, you can supply your pigs/pork to abattoirs , hotels, restaurants, retailers, butcheries, meat processors and individuals.

31. Tomato Farming Business

Tomatoes, just like onions are one of the most important ingredients when it comes to cooking for almost every household in South Africa. It is almost impossible to speak of cooking without tomatoes that is why tomato farming is on our list of small business ideas in South Africa. There is a large local demand for tomatoes in the country with more than 450 000 tonnes being sold per year. Given that the tomato fruit is a necessary household ingredient the tomato farming business is worth considering.

32. E- commerce store

With a great product or products, you do not have to worry about a physical outlet space. An E-commerce store is another lucrative small business where you can sell a variety of products online. With time and hard work it is possible to establish online store and become a leading seller.

33. Personal Fitness trainer

Becoming a private fitness instructor and help people lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle can be a profitable one man small business. Overtime you can employ more people as the number of your clients increase. There is a huge market for fitness as more South Africans are becoming heath conscious.

34. Bookkeeping Services

Offering online bookkeeping services a freelance bookkeeper can be a profitable small business. A combination of basic bookkeeping skills and online invoicing tools is sufficient enough for this kind of small business.

35.   Bakery Business

Most South Africans have bread and various other types of baked goods as part of their daily meals. There has been an increase in the demand for cakes, pastries, and many other baked products over the past years. This is due to an increase in disposable income. About 63 loaves of bread are consumed by an average South African so opening a bakery can be a good investment. Keep in mind that many consumers are opting for healthy options such as whole wheat and low GI food products.  In order to be profitable open a bakery that caters for the health conscious consumer and various other income groups.

36. Professional Photography

Providing professional photography services can be profitable in South Africa. Your company can sell photos online, offer services for special events such as weddings, parties, and conferences.  With reasonable fees, advertisement and professional photos, such a business can be lucrative.

37. Car Wash Business

All motorists in South Africa need their vehicles cleaned and maintained on a regular basis so opening a car wash can be a lucrative small business idea. More than three hundred thousand cars are sold in the country each year. As a result, the demand for car repairs, maintenance and cleaning will likely continue to increase over the years. A car wash business can be a good investment for new entrepreneurs. As long as there are vehicles on the road there will always be a need for car cleaning services.

38. Life Coach

With a proven track record, you can train others for a living. This small business is also centred around an individual. As a life coach you can get paid to speak and motivate people depending on your expertise. People aspiring to travel in your path will be willing to hear about your experiences, successes, failures and lessons for a fee. In addition, you can offer mentoring services to people interested in mastering specific skills that you are an expert in be it in business or in their personal life.

39. Online Dating Consultant

There are plenty of South Africans that need dating consultants. As a dating consultant you can help people create successful online dating profiles, source possible matches from outside the normal online channels, and provide a level of personalization for an agreed fee.

40. ECD Day Care Centre

A day care centre is another small business idea on our top 40 list. Of the eight million children in the country almost half of them cannot access educational facilities especially in the rural areas. There is a need for ECD day care centres all over South Africa and opening one can uplift your community. Also, the number of children has been increasing so the demand for quality ECD centres will likely continue to increase over the years.