10+ Best Small Business Ideas to Start in Tennessee [2023])

Explore the top small business ideas for 2023 in Tennessee! Get insights, tips, and success strategies for your entrepreneurial journey.

By Nick Cotter
Updated Feb 07, 2024

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Hey there, future entrepreneur! You're probably here because you've got that entrepreneurial spirit burning bright, and you're ready to make your mark in the business world. Well, you're in luck! Tennessee, with its diverse economy and supportive business environment, is one of the best places to start your journey.

And guess what? 2023 might just be your year to shine! Whether you're a native Tennessean or a newcomer drawn by the Volunteer State's charm, there's a wealth of opportunities waiting for you.

Now, you might be wondering, "What kind of business should I start?" Don't worry, we've got you covered. In this article, we'll explore 10+ of the best small business ideas to start in Tennessee in 2023. So, buckle up and get ready to be inspired, educated, and motivated to turn your business dreams into reality. Let's get started!

Coffee Shop

A coffee shop is a perfect gathering spot for friends, colleagues, and individuals seeking a cozy place to enjoy a cup of coffee. It offers a warm and inviting atmosphere, making it an ideal place for casual meetings, studying, or simply relaxing. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee, the subtle background music, and the comfortable seating arrangements create a unique ambiance that is both relaxing and stimulating.

  • Wide variety of coffee: A coffee shop offers a wide variety of coffee flavors and styles. Whether you prefer a classic espresso, a creamy latte, or a frothy cappuccino, you can find it all in a coffee shop. The shop may also offer seasonal specialties and unique blends to satisfy diverse taste preferences.
  • Comfortable environment: A coffee shop provides a comfortable and cozy environment. With soft lighting, comfortable seating, and a quiet atmosphere, it's a great place to read, study, or work.
  • Socialization: Coffee shops are perfect for socializing. You can meet up with friends, have business meetings, or even meet new people. It's a social hub that brings people together.
  • Food options: Most coffee shops also offer a range of food options such as pastries, sandwiches, and salads. This makes them a convenient place for breakfast, lunch, or a quick snack.
image of a Coffee Shop

Organic Farming

Organic farming in Tennessee is a great idea for several reasons. This type of farming promotes sustainability, supports local economies, and produces healthier food options. Tennessee's diverse climate and fertile soil make it an ideal location for organic farming.

  • Sustainability: Organic farming practices are designed to benefit the environment by reducing pollution and conserving water and soil quality. These practices are particularly suitable for Tennessee's diverse ecosystems.
  • Supporting Local Economies: Organic farming can boost Tennessee's economy by creating jobs and promoting local businesses. Consumers are increasingly willing to pay a premium for organic products, which can bring substantial income to local farmers.
  • Healthier Food Options: Organic foods are free from synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, making them a healthier option. Tennessee's abundant farmland can produce a wide variety of organic crops, providing residents with fresh, healthy food options.
  • Diverse Climate: Tennessee's climate varies from east to west, making it possible to grow a wide variety of crops. This diversity is perfect for organic farming, which thrives on crop rotation and diversity.
  • Fertile Soil: Tennessee is known for its rich, fertile soil. This makes it an ideal place for organic farming, which relies on healthy soil to produce high-quality crops.
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Examples of successful businesses:

Over the years, Tennessee has become a thriving hub for small businesses, with several ideas taking off and achieving remarkable success. The state's business-friendly environment, access to resources, and supportive community have played a crucial role in the growth of these ventures. Here are some notable small business ideas that have achieved success in Tennessee:

  • Batch: A Nashville-based company that offers curated gift boxes featuring locally made products, Batch has gained popularity for its unique approach to showcasing Tennessee's artisanal goods.
  • High Note Gifts: Founded in 2013, High Note Gifts specializes in creating custom gift baskets filled with locally sourced products, including food, beverages, and artisanal items from Tennessee. Their commitment to quality and personalization has made them a go-to option for corporate and personal gifting.
  • Protech Medical: Based in Knoxville, Protech Medical is a medical device manufacturing company that has experienced remarkable growth. They specialize in developing and producing innovative medical devices, particularly in the field of respiratory care.
  • Healthcare Bluebook: Headquartered in Nashville, Healthcare Bluebook provides comprehensive healthcare cost and quality transparency solutions. Their platform empowers individuals to make informed decisions about their healthcare expenses, ensuring they receive high-quality care at fair prices.
  • Tom+Chee: Originating from Cincinnati, Tom+Chee is a grilled cheese and tomato soup restaurant that gained nationwide recognition after appearing on the television show "Shark Tank." With multiple locations in Tennessee, their unique twist on comfort food has been well-received by customers.
  • Tractor Supply Company: Started in 1938 as a mail-order catalog business, Tractor Supply Company has grown into a major retail chain with over 1,900 stores across the United States. The company's headquarters are located in Brentwood, Tennessee, and they specialize in supplying agricultural equipment, tools, and other rural lifestyle products.

Handmade Crafts Store

Our Handmade Crafts Store is a unique shopping destination that offers a wide variety of beautiful, high-quality handmade items. Each piece is carefully crafted by talented artisans, ensuring a level of quality and uniqueness that you won't find in mass-produced items. Whether you're looking for a special gift or something to add a touch of charm to your home, our Handmade Crafts Store has something for everyone.

  • Unique Products: Our store offers a diverse range of products, each one unique and handmade. You can find everything from pottery and jewelry to candles and home decor.
  • Support Local Artisans: By shopping at our Handmade Crafts Store, you're supporting local artisans and contributing to the local economy. It's a great way to give back to the community and support small businesses.
  • High-Quality: All of our products are made with high-quality materials and craftsmanship. You can be sure that whatever you purchase from our store will last.
  • Personal Touch: Handmade items have a personal touch that you just can't get from mass-produced items. You can feel the love and care that goes into each piece.

More resources:

Food Truck Business

A Food Truck Business in Tennessee is an excellent idea for several reasons. Tennessee, known for its vibrant music scenes, rich history, and diverse cultural events, attracts millions of tourists each year. This provides an immense opportunity for food truck businesses to thrive. Furthermore, the state's favorable business climate and supportive policies for small businesses make it an ideal place to start a food truck business.

  • High Tourist Footfall: Cities like Nashville and Memphis draw in a large number of tourists annually, providing a steady flow of potential customers.
  • Diverse Food Culture: Tennessee's diverse food culture allows for a variety of food truck businesses to succeed, catering to different tastes and preferences.
  • Favorable Business Climate: Tennessee is known for its business-friendly policies, low cost of living, and low business costs, making it easier to start and run a business.
  • Supportive Local Policies: Many cities in Tennessee have supportive policies for food truck businesses, including lenient parking regulations and special events specifically for food trucks.
  • Outdoor Events and Festivals: Regular outdoor events, music festivals, and farmers' markets provide additional opportunities for food truck businesses to attract customers.

Boutique Bed And Breakfast

A Boutique Bed and Breakfast in Tennessee is a fantastic idea for several reasons. The state's rich history, diverse culture, and stunning natural beauty make it an ideal location for a unique, intimate lodging experience. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Tennessee is home to a vibrant music scene, especially in cities like Nashville and Memphis. A boutique bed and breakfast would appeal to music lovers looking for a unique, immersive experience.
  • The state's beautiful landscapes, from the Great Smoky Mountains to the Mississippi River, provide a stunning backdrop for a cozy, comfortable stay.
  • Tennessee's rich history, from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement, is a major draw for history buffs. A boutique bed and breakfast can offer a personalized, intimate exploration of this history.
  • The state's culinary scene is diverse and delicious, with a focus on Southern comfort food. A boutique bed and breakfast could offer guests a taste of this cuisine, from homemade biscuits and gravy in the morning to locally sourced BBQ for dinner.
  • Finally, the Southern hospitality of Tennessee's residents is legendary. A boutique bed and breakfast would offer a warm, welcoming environment that truly makes guests feel at home.

Related business ideas:

Local Tour Guide Service

A Local Tour Guide Service in Tennessee is a fantastic idea for several reasons. Tennessee is a state rich in history, culture, and natural beauty, making it a perfect destination for tourists. Having a local guide can help visitors navigate the area, learn about its history, and experience its unique culture. Here are some key points that make a Local Tour Guide Service in Tennessee a great idea:

  • Rich History: Tennessee is packed with historical sites and landmarks. A local tour guide service can provide insightful information about these places, enhancing the overall experience for tourists.
  • Natural Beauty: From the Great Smoky Mountains to the Mississippi River, Tennessee is home to some of the most stunning natural beauty in the United States. A local guide can help tourists explore these areas safely and responsibly.
  • Unique Culture: Tennessee is known for its unique Southern culture, music, and cuisine. A local guide can introduce tourists to authentic experiences, such as local music venues, festivals, and restaurants.
  • Convenience: Navigating a new place can be challenging. A local tour guide service can take care of the logistics, allowing tourists to relax and enjoy their trip.

Home Renovation Services

Home Renovation Services in Tennessee are a great idea for several reasons:

  • Improves functionality: Home renovations allow you to customize your home to your unique tastes and needs. This can include everything from adding new rooms to better utilizing the existing space.
  • Increases home value: If you're considering selling your home in the future, a renovation can significantly increase its value. Upgrades like kitchen renovations, bathroom updates, and additional square footage are especially beneficial.
  • Enhances comfort and enjoyment of the home: While the financial benefits of home renovations are significant, the enjoyment of a newly renovated space is a significant benefit as well. Whether it's a brand new kitchen, a spacious bathroom, or a cozy finished basement, renovations can significantly improve your home life.
  • Fixes any safety issues: Home renovations can also address any safety issues that exist in the home, such as electrical problems, roof leaks, or a crack in the foundation.
  • Improves the home's efficiency: Renovations can include new energy-efficient appliances and windows, or more substantial improvements like a new roof or insulation, which can all help reduce the cost of energy bills.

Fitness Studio

Opening a Fitness Studio in Tennessee is a great idea due to a variety of reasons. Tennessee is known for its vibrant communities and love for sports and fitness, which makes it a perfect location for a fitness studio.

  • Tennessee has a large population with a growing interest in health and fitness, providing a large potential customer base.
  • The state has a favorable business climate with low taxes and business-friendly regulations.
  • There is a strong local culture of sports and outdoor activities, which complements a fitness-focused lifestyle.
  • With many colleges and universities in the state, there is a consistent influx of young, health-conscious individuals.
  • Tennessee's climate allows for year-round indoor fitness activities, ensuring steady business throughout the year.

Event Planning Services

An Event Planning Service in Tennessee is a great idea and a valuable resource for several reasons. Whether you're planning a corporate event, a wedding, or a large party, these professionals can help ensure that everything goes smoothly.

  • Experience: Event planners have the experience and knowledge to ensure that every detail is taken care of. They can anticipate potential issues and handle them before they become a problem.
  • Connections: Event planners have a wide network of connections with various vendors, from caterers and florists to DJs and photographers. They can help you find the best services for your event, often at a discounted rate.
  • Time-saving: Planning an event can be time-consuming. By hiring an event planner, you can save a lot of time and focus on other important things.
  • Stress-free: Organizing an event can be stressful. Event planners can take the stress off your shoulders and ensure that everything runs smoothly.
  • Local Knowledge: Being based in Tennessee, local event planners have a deep understanding of the local culture, venues, and suppliers, which can be a huge advantage when planning an event.

Custom Apparel Business

Starting a Custom Apparel Business in Tennessee is an excellent idea for a multitude of reasons. Tennessee is known for its vibrant culture, rich history, and diverse population, which makes it a perfect location for a business that caters to various styles and preferences. Moreover, the state's thriving economy and supportive local business policies make it an ideal place for entrepreneurs.

  • Tennessee's diverse population ensures a wide range of potential customers with varying fashion tastes and preferences.
  • The state's robust economy provides a healthy environment for businesses to grow and thrive.
  • Local business policies in Tennessee are generally supportive of small businesses, making it easier to start and run a business.
  • There is a high demand for custom apparel in Tennessee due to its vibrant music and arts scene.
  • The presence of numerous music festivals, sports events, and cultural events provide ample opportunities for a custom apparel business to thrive.


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.