10+ Best Business Ideas to Start With $20K [2023]

Explore the top 10+ business ideas you can start with $20K in 2023. Unleash your entrepreneurial spirit and build a profitable future today!

By Nick Cotter
Updated Aug 13, 2023

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This page may feature products from our affiliate partners, which could influence the products we discuss due to potential compensation. Despite this, our evaluations are impartial, based solely on our independent analysis. The content here is intended for informational purposes and should not be seen as legal advice. For professional guidance, consulting with a legal expert is recommended.
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Hey there, future entrepreneurs! Welcome to 2023, a year filled with endless possibilities and opportunities. You've got that $20K saved up and burning a hole in your pocket, right? You're ready to take the leap, ditch the 9-5 grind, and start your own business. But wait! You're stuck on the million-dollar question - "What business should I start?" Well, my friend, you're in luck.

Today, we're diving into the 10+ Best Business Ideas to Start With $20K. These are ideas that not only match your budget but also have the potential to transform your life. So, whether you're a tech whizz, a foodie, a creative soul, or a fitness enthusiast, there's something here for everyone. Ready to turn your dream into a reality? Let's get started!

Before we jump in, remember this: starting a business is a journey, not a sprint. It's about learning, growing, and continually evolving. It's about taking risks, facing challenges, and celebrating victories. It's a journey that's as unique as you are. So buckle up, because it's going to be an exciting ride!

Food Truck Business

Starting a Food Truck Business with a $20k investment is an excellent idea for several reasons. This business model offers flexibility, low overhead costs, and a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to penetrate the food industry. It's an ideal venture for those who have a passion for food and want to provide unique culinary experiences without the hefty investment typically associated with traditional brick-and-mortar restaurants.

  • Low Startup Costs: With a $20k investment, you can cover the cost of a used food truck or a decent cart, necessary equipment, initial inventory, permits, and licenses. Compared to the cost of starting a physical restaurant, which can run into hundreds of thousands of dollars, a food truck is significantly more affordable.
  • Flexibility: A food truck business offers a flexible schedule and location. You can choose when and where to operate, allowing you to target high-traffic areas or events at the most opportune times.
  • Lower Risk: Since the investment is relatively low, the financial risk is also less. It's a great way to test your culinary skills and business acumen without risking too much capital.
  • Room for Creativity: Food trucks are known for their unique and creative menus. This gives you the opportunity to experiment with different recipes and cater to niche markets.
  • Growth Potential: If your food truck business becomes popular, it can lead to multiple trucks or even a brick-and-mortar restaurant. It's a great stepping stone in the food industry.

Online Retail Store

Starting an online retail store is an excellent business venture for a $20k investment for several reasons. It offers significant advantages over traditional brick-and-mortar businesses, which often require a much larger initial investment. Here are some reasons why:

  • Lower Startup Costs: With an online store, you eliminate many of the high costs associated with a physical store, such as rent, utilities, and in-person staff.
  • Global Reach: Ecommerce allows you to reach customers from all around the world. This broad customer base can lead to increased sales and profits.
  • 24/7 Availability: Your online store can operate around the clock, enabling you to make sales even when you're not actively working.
  • Easy to Scale: As your business grows, you can easily scale your operations by adding more products or expanding into new markets without significant additional costs.
  • Convenient for Customers: Online shopping is easy and convenient for customers, which can lead to repeat business and loyal customers.
  • Trackable and Measurable: With digital marketing tools and analytics, you can easily track your progress, understand your customer behavior, and adjust your strategies as needed.

With a $20k investment, you can develop a professional and user-friendly website, invest in initial inventory, and implement a solid marketing strategy to attract customers to your online store. It's a smart, cost-effective way to start a business in today's digital age.

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Examples of successful businesses:

Entrepreneurship has found its way into many unconventional yet thriving business arenas. With the evolving consumer landscape and technological advancements, novel business models like food trucks, mobile pet grooming, and pop-up restaurants are becoming successful ventures. Here are some real-world examples of success in these particular fields:

  • Food Truck Business: Cousins Maine Lobster, featured on Shark Tank, offering fresh Maine lobster dishes across the U.S.
  • Online Retail Store: ASOS, a British online fashion and cosmetic retailer, catering to young adults globally.
  • Mobile Pet Grooming Service: Aussie Pet Mobile, providing pet grooming services on the go across various locations.
  • Self-Publishing and eBook Writing: Amanda Hocking, a self-published author who found success selling eBooks on platforms like Amazon.
  • Home-Based Catering Service: The Naked Bite in Miami, known for its organic and locally sourced catering services.
  • Professional Organizer: The Home Edit, founded by Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin, offering home organization services and with a popular Netflix series.
  • Personal Fitness Trainer: Jillian Michaels, renowned for her fitness training programs and motivational coaching.
  • Mobile App Development: Rovio Entertainment, the Finnish company behind the wildly successful Angry Birds franchise.
  • Indoor Plant Nursery: The Sill, an online-first company that has made buying indoor plants easy and accessible.
  • Pop-Up Restaurant or Café: Eggslut, which started as a pop-up in Los Angeles and has since expanded to multiple permanent locations.

Mobile Pet Grooming Service

Starting a Mobile Pet Grooming Service with a $20k investment is an excellent business idea for several reasons. This business model is not only profitable but also convenient and in high demand. Given the growing number of pet owners who prefer at-home services, this venture has the potential to offer substantial returns on your investment.

  • Low Overhead Costs: A mobile pet grooming service requires minimal setup costs. The primary investment would be a well-equipped van which can easily be covered within the $20k budget. Operational costs are also low as you eliminate the need for a physical store.
  • Convenience: Many pet owners find it difficult to transport their pets to and from grooming salons. A mobile service provides the convenience of doorstep service, making it an attractive option for pet owners.
  • Flexible Schedule: As a mobile pet groomer, you can set your own work hours. This flexibility can help you cater to a wider client base, including those who prefer services outside of standard business hours.
  • High Demand: The pet care industry is booming, and the demand for pet grooming services is on the rise. With the right marketing strategies, you can quickly build a strong customer base.
  • Personalized Service: A mobile pet grooming service allows you to offer a more personalized service to each pet, which can lead to higher customer satisfaction and repeat business.

More resources:

Self-Publishing and eBook Writing

Starting a self-publishing and eBook writing business is a promising venture with a $20k investment. This business model is not only cost-effective but also offers a range of benefits and opportunities for growth and profit. The digital age has revolutionized the publishing industry, making it easier for authors to reach their readers directly.

  • Low Start-Up Costs: Unlike traditional publishing, self-publishing requires minimal upfront costs. The bulk of your investment would go towards professional editing, cover design, and marketing efforts.
  • Control Over Your Work: As a self-publisher, you maintain complete creative control over your content, cover design, and marketing strategies. You also have the freedom to set your own prices and adjust them as needed.
  • Higher Royalties: Self-publishing platforms like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing offer up to 70% royalties on eBook sales, significantly higher than traditional publishing.
  • Global Distribution: Digital publishing allows for worldwide distribution, making your eBook accessible to readers around the globe. This broad reach can lead to increased sales and visibility for your work.
  • Speed: Traditional publishing can take years from manuscript submission to the release of the book. With self-publishing, once your eBook is ready, it can be published and available for sale within a few days.
  • Growth Opportunities: The eBook market is growing rapidly, with more and more readers opting for the convenience of digital reading. This trend presents a great opportunity for self-publishers to tap into a growing market.

Home-Based Catering Service

Starting a Home-Based Catering Service with a $20k investment can be a good idea for several reasons. This type of business is ideal for those who love cooking and have a knack for it. Not only does it allow you to work from home, but it also requires a relatively small startup cost. Here are some reasons why a Home-Based Catering Service is a good business to start:

  • Low startup costs: With a $20k investment, you can cover the initial costs of starting your business. This includes purchasing necessary kitchen equipment, getting the required permits and licenses, and buying initial inventory.
  • Work from home: A home-based catering service allows you to work from the comfort of your own home. This saves on rent and utilities that you would otherwise pay for a separate business location.
  • Flexible working hours: As a home-based caterer, you have the flexibility to choose your working hours. This makes it easier to balance work and personal life.
  • High demand: There is always a demand for catering services, whether it's for weddings, corporate events, parties, or other gatherings. With the right marketing strategies, you can reach a wide range of potential clients.
  • Potential for growth: Once your business is established, there is potential for growth. You can expand your services, hire employees, or even open a separate location.

Related business ideas:

Professional Organizer

Starting a Professional Organizer business with a $20k investment is a wise decision for many reasons. This business requires minimal overhead costs, has a high demand, and offers a great return on investment. It also provides an opportunity to help others declutter their lives, leading to a more productive and stress-free environment.

  • Minimal Overhead Costs: The primary expenses in this business are transportation, advertising, and supplies. Most of these costs are relatively low, allowing for a larger portion of the investment to be allocated towards marketing and business growth.
  • High Demand: With the rise in popularity of shows like "Tidying Up with Marie Kondo", there is a growing demand for professional organizers. Many people want to declify their homes and offices but lack the time or skills to do so.
  • Great Return on Investment: Professional organizers can charge a substantial amount for their services. With the right marketing strategy and client base, the return on investment can be significant.
  • Opportunity to Help Others: This business not only brings in revenue, but it also provides a valuable service to clients. Helping people to organize their lives can lead to improved productivity and reduced stress, making this a fulfilling venture.

Personal Fitness Trainer

Starting a Personal Fitness Trainer business is a smart and feasible investment with a budget of $20k. This business not only promotes a healthy lifestyle but also offers a promising return on investment. Here are some reasons why it's a good business to start:

  • Low startup costs: Unlike other businesses, a personal fitness trainer business doesn't require a physical location. You can start by offering home services or even conduct online sessions, which significantly reduces the initial cost.
  • High demand: With the increasing awareness of health and fitness, more and more people are seeking the help of personal fitness trainers. This ensures a steady stream of potential clients.
  • Flexible schedule: As a personal fitness trainer, you can set your own schedule. This flexibility allows you to take on as many clients as you can handle.
  • Personal fulfillment: Helping others achieve their fitness goals can be a very rewarding experience.
  • Opportunity for growth: With a $20k investment, you can further your education and get certified in various fitness programs, increasing your marketability.

Mobile App Development

Starting a mobile app development business with a $20k investment is a smart move due to a multitude of reasons. This industry is rapidly growing with the increasing demand for mobile applications in various sectors like gaming, e-commerce, healthcare, and more. With a relatively small initial investment, one can build a profitable business in this domain.

  • High Demand: With the surge in smartphone usage, the demand for mobile applications is skyrocketing. Businesses are increasingly seeking mobile app development services to reach a wider audience and enhance their services.
  • Low Initial Costs: A $20k investment is sufficient to start a mobile app development business. The primary costs include purchasing necessary software and hardware, and potentially hiring a small team of developers.
  • Profit Potential: With the right strategies and quality services, the potential for profit is high. Mobile apps can serve as a steady source of income through various monetization strategies like in-app purchases, advertisements, and premium versions.
  • Remote Work: App development can be done remotely, reducing the need for a physical office space and thereby cutting down on overhead costs.
  • Scalability: The business can start on a small scale and grow over time. As the business expands, you can hire more developers and take on larger projects.

Indoor Plant Nursery

Starting an Indoor Plant Nursery with a $20k investment is a fantastic business venture for several reasons. This business not only allows you to work with nature and promote a healthier environment, but it also has a high potential for profitability due to the increasing demand for indoor plants.

  • Low Initial Investment: With a $20k investment, you can easily set up an indoor plant nursery. This budget can cover the cost of leasing a space, purchasing initial inventory, and setting up necessary systems for plant care and growth.
  • High Demand: Indoor plants have become increasingly popular, especially among millennials. They are seen as an essential part of home decor and are also known for their air-purifying qualities. This growing trend ensures a steady market for your business.
  • Eco-Friendly: By starting a plant nursery, you're contributing to a greener environment. Plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, making them a vital part of maintaining a healthy ecosystem.
  • Easy to Scale: Once you've established your business, it's relatively easy to scale. You can expand your inventory, offer additional services like plant care workshops, or even open additional locations.
  • Therapeutic Benefits: Working with plants has been proven to have therapeutic benefits. It can reduce stress and improve mental health, making it not just a profitable business, but also a fulfilling one.

Pop-Up Restaurant or Café.

A Pop-Up Restaurant or Café is an ideal business to start with a $20k investment for several reasons. This unique business concept offers a lot of potential benefits for aspiring entrepreneurs.

  • Low Startup Costs: Unlike traditional restaurants, pop-up restaurants don't require a permanent location, which significantly reduces rent and utility costs. The $20k investment can be used towards purchasing necessary cooking equipment, ingredients, and temporary rental space.
  • Flexibility: Pop-up restaurants provide the flexibility to operate in multiple locations and at different times. This allows entrepreneurs to take advantage of specific events or high-traffic areas to maximize profits.
  • Test the Market: Pop-up restaurants are an excellent way to test your restaurant concept, menu, and pricing in the market before investing in a permanent location. Feedback from customers can be used to refine the business model.
  • Brand Awareness: Pop-up restaurants are often unique and exciting, which can generate a lot of buzz and social media attention. This can help to build brand awareness and attract a loyal customer base.
  • Lower Risk: Because of the lower startup costs and temporary nature, pop-up restaurants are generally a lower risk investment than traditional restaurants. This makes them an ideal choice for first-time entrepreneurs or those with a limited budget.


Founder and CEO

I'm Nick, co-founder of newfoundr.com, dedicated to helping aspiring entrepreneurs succeed. As a small business owner with over five years of experience, I have garnered valuable knowledge and insights across a diverse range of industries. My passion for entrepreneurship drives me to share my expertise with aspiring entrepreneurs, empowering them to turn their business dreams into reality.

Through meticulous research and firsthand experience, I uncover the essential steps, software, tools, and costs associated with launching and maintaining a successful business. By demystifying the complexities of entrepreneurship, I provide the guidance and support needed for others to embark on their journey with confidence.

From assessing market viability and formulating business plans to selecting the right technology and navigating the financial landscape, I am dedicated to helping fellow entrepreneurs overcome challenges and unlock their full potential. As a steadfast advocate for small business success, my mission is to pave the way for a new generation of innovative and driven entrepreneurs who are ready to make their mark on the world.