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

Explore top small business ideas for 2023 in Wisconsin, tailored to the state's unique opportunities and market trends. Start your success story now!

By Nick Cotter
Updated Feb 07, 2024

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Hey there, future business tycoons! Ever dreamt of starting your own venture in the heartland of America? Well, you're in luck! Welcome to our guide on the 10+ Best Small Business Ideas to Start in Wisconsin in 2023. Whether you're a Wisconsin native or just drawn to the cheese state's charm, this article is your treasure map to the most promising business opportunities that are ripe for the picking.

But why Wisconsin, you ask? Well, beyond the dairy delights and the Packers, Wisconsin offers a fertile ground for small businesses. With its robust economy, supportive community, and dynamic market trends, it's a gold mine for those with an entrepreneurial spirit. So, buckle up as we take you on a journey through the future of small business in Wisconsin - a journey that could very well lead to your dream business venture!

Our list is not just a random collection of ideas. It's a carefully curated selection based on market research, economic forecasts, and the latest trends. So, whether you're a tech enthusiast, a foodie, or a creative soul, we've got something for everyone. Let's dive in and explore the exciting business opportunities that await in the Badger State. Who knows, the next big thing in Wisconsin could be your very own startup!

Cheese Making Business

Starting a cheese making business is an excellent idea for numerous reasons. Cheese is a versatile product with a high demand globally. With the right skills, knowledge, and passion, you can turn this into a profitable business. What's more, there are various types of cheese you can specialize in, from mozzarella to cheddar, gouda, and more.

  • High Demand: Cheese is a staple in many diets around the world, and its demand is always high. It's used in numerous dishes, making it a necessity in many households and restaurants.
  • Variety: There are numerous types of cheese, each with its unique process and ingredients. This variety allows for specialization and the creation of unique products that can stand out in the market.
  • Profitability: Cheese making can be a profitable business. Once you've established a solid customer base and efficient production processes, the costs of production can be significantly lower than the selling price, leading to high profit margins.
  • Sustainability: Cheese making can be an environmentally friendly business, especially if you source your milk locally and use sustainable production methods.
  • Passion and Creativity: If you love cheese and enjoy being creative in the kitchen, then starting a cheese making business can be a fulfilling and enjoyable venture.
image of a Cheese Making Business

Organic Farming

Organic farming in Wisconsin has numerous benefits that contribute to the health of the environment, the economy, and the consumers. The state's diverse climate and fertile soil provide an ideal environment for organic farming. Here are some key benefits:

  • Sustainable: Organic farming practices are sustainable and environmentally friendly. They help in preserving the natural ecosystem and biodiversity by avoiding synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Healthier Produce: Organic crops do not contain harmful chemicals and pesticides, making them a healthier choice for consumers. They are often fresher and richer in essential nutrients.
  • Supports Local Economy: Organic farming can boost the local economy. It provides jobs to local communities and keeps the money within the local economy.
  • Climate Change Mitigation: Organic farming practices can help mitigate climate change by reducing carbon emissions and promoting soil health.
  • Animal Welfare: Organic farming promotes animal welfare as it requires animals to be raised in a natural and humane environment.
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Examples of successful businesses:

Wisconsin has been a hub for small business success, with numerous entrepreneurs and innovators making their mark in various industries. From food and beverage to technology and manufacturing, these businesses have not only thrived in the state but also contributed to its economic growth. Here are some examples of small business ideas that have succeeded in Wisconsin:

  • New Glarus Brewing Company: Founded in 1993, this craft brewery has become a Wisconsin staple, known for its quality beers, including the popular Spotted Cow. It has experienced significant growth and has expanded its distribution beyond the state.
  • Johnsonville Sausage: Started in 1945 by Ralph F. and Alice Stayer, Johnsonville Sausage has grown to become one of the largest sausage producers in the United States. Their products are widely recognized and enjoyed across the country.
  • Exact Sciences Corporation: This biotechnology company, founded in 1995, specializes in early cancer detection. Its flagship product, Cologuard, is a non-invasive screening test for colorectal cancer and has gained widespread adoption, contributing to the company's success.
  • Harley-Davidson: One of the most iconic American motorcycle manufacturers, Harley-Davidson was established in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1903. Over the years, it has become synonymous with American motorcycle culture and has a loyal global customer base.
  • Woodman's Food Market: Founded in 1919, Woodman's is a family-owned supermarket chain that has expanded to multiple locations in Wisconsin. It offers a wide range of products at competitive prices, attracting a loyal customer base.
  • Generac Power Systems: With its headquarters in Waukesha, Wisconsin, Generac is a leading manufacturer of backup power generation products. It has experienced significant growth and is recognized as a trusted brand in the industry.
  • Gorilla Glue Company: Known for its strong adhesive products, Gorilla Glue Company has become a household name. Founded in 1999, the company has expanded its product line and is widely available in stores across the country, including in Wisconsin.

Craft Brewery Or Winery

Wisconsin, known for its rich history of brewing, offers an excellent environment for establishing a craft brewery or winery. This state, with its favorable climate and fertile soil, is ideal for cultivating a wide variety of grapes and grains used in wine and beer production. Furthermore, Wisconsin's strong beer and wine culture, coupled with its large number of beer and wine enthusiasts, ensures a ready market for these products.

  • Wisconsin's climate and soil conditions are conducive for growing a wide variety of grapes and grains, providing an abundant supply of raw materials for breweries and wineries.
  • The state has a rich brewing history, which means a new craft brewery or winery can tap into a well-established culture and tradition.
  • Wisconsin boasts a large number of beer and wine enthusiasts, ensuring a ready market for craft breweries and wineries.
  • The state's robust tourism industry can help attract visitors to the brewery or winery, boosting sales and brand visibility.
  • Wisconsin offers several incentives and support programs for small businesses, which can help a new craft brewery or winery thrive.

More resources:

Specialty Coffee Shop

Opening a specialty coffee shop in Wisconsin is an excellent idea for several reasons:

  • Wisconsin has a thriving food and beverage industry, which means a coffee shop can easily fit into the existing market.
  • The state is known for its dairy products, which can be used to enhance the coffee shop's offerings with high-quality milk, cream, and local cheeses.
  • Wisconsin's harsh winters create a high demand for warm beverages like coffee, making a coffee shop a popular destination throughout the year.
  • Wisconsin residents are known for their loyalty to local businesses, providing a steady customer base for a specialty coffee shop.
  • With a growing interest in specialty coffee and an appreciation for artisanal products, Wisconsin is the perfect place to establish a coffee shop that offers unique, high-quality coffee experiences.

Artisanal Bakery

Wisconsin, with its rich agricultural heritage and a populace that appreciates high-quality, locally-sourced food, provides an ideal setting for an artisanal bakery. The state's thriving dairy industry ensures a steady supply of fresh, premium ingredients, while the diverse demographic makeup promises a broad customer base with varied tastes. This combination presents a unique opportunity for a bakery that focuses on traditional, handcrafted methods.

  • Locally-sourced ingredients: Wisconsin's robust dairy and farming sectors offer easy access to fresh, high-quality ingredients. This not only supports local businesses but also enhances the taste and quality of the baked goods.
  • Diverse customer base: The state's multicultural population ensures a wide range of culinary preferences, allowing an artisanal bakery to cater to different tastes and dietary needs.
  • Appreciation for artisanal products: Wisconsinites have a deep-seated appreciation for handcrafted, artisanal products. This sentiment is likely to translate into strong support for a bakery that values traditional baking methods.
  • Economic growth: The state's economy is on an upward trajectory, which means more potential customers with disposable income to spend on premium baked goods.

Related business ideas:

Outdoor Adventure Guide Service

Wisconsin, with its diverse landscapes and abundant natural resources, offers a plethora of outdoor activities that draw tourists from all over the world. An outdoor adventure guide service in this region can provide an enriching experience for visitors by helping them explore the state's stunning beauty and thrilling adventure opportunities. Here's why it's a good idea:

  • Wide variety of outdoor activities: Wisconsin is home to numerous state parks, forests, and water bodies, offering a wide range of outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, fishing, boating, camping, and winter sports.
  • Expert guidance: A professional guide service ensures that tourists can safely enjoy these activities, with expert guidance and necessary equipment.
  • Local knowledge: Guides with local knowledge can enrich the experience by providing interesting insights about the area's history, flora, and fauna.
  • Customized tours: The service can offer customized tours based on the interests and fitness levels of the visitors, ensuring a satisfying experience for all.
  • Economic benefits: Such a service can also contribute to the local economy by creating jobs and promoting tourism.

Local Tour Company

Starting a local tour company in Wisconsin is a fantastic idea for a number of reasons. Wisconsin is a state brimming with natural beauty, diverse culture, and rich history, all of which attract numerous tourists each year. By creating a local tour company, you can offer visitors an authentic and personalized experience of the state.

  • Wisconsin is home to a variety of attractions such as the Apostle Islands, Door County, and the Wisconsin Dells, which are popular tourist destinations. A local tour company can provide in-depth tours to these places, enhancing the tourist experience.
  • Wisconsin's rich cultural heritage, including Native American, French, and German influences, can be a focal point for unique and educational tours.
  • The state's varied landscape, which includes forests, lakes, and farmland, offers ample opportunities for nature-based tours, such as hiking, bird-watching, and agricultural tours.
  • Wisconsin's thriving food and beverage scene, particularly its cheese and craft beer industries, can be another great focus for specialized tours.
  • A local tour company can also contribute to the local economy by creating jobs and supporting other local businesses.

Custom Woodworking Business

Starting a custom woodworking business in Wisconsin is a great idea for several reasons:

  • Abundance of wood: Wisconsin is known for its vast forests, providing ample raw materials for a woodworking business.
  • Rich tradition: Wisconsin has a rich tradition of woodworking and craftsmanship, which means a custom woodworking business can tap into a well-established market.
  • High demand: There is a high demand for custom-made furniture and wooden items, both within the state and across the country. This can lead to a steady stream of orders.
  • Supportive community: The state has a supportive community of artisans and craftsmen, which can provide a network of support and advice for a new business.
  • Economic incentives: Wisconsin offers several economic incentives for small businesses, which can help a custom woodworking business get off the ground.

Sustainable Living Consulting

Sustainable living consulting is a fantastic idea for Wisconsin residents and businesses for several reasons. The state's rich natural resources and commitment to environmental preservation make it the perfect place to promote and implement sustainable living practices.

  • Wisconsin has a diverse natural ecosystem, which can be preserved and enhanced through sustainable living practices. A consulting service can provide guidance on how to best utilize and protect these resources.
  • There is a growing interest in sustainable living among Wisconsin residents. A consulting service can provide the necessary education and resources to help individuals and businesses make more environmentally friendly choices.
  • Wisconsin's agricultural sector can greatly benefit from sustainable practices. A consulting service can advise farmers on how to increase efficiency and reduce environmental impact.
  • Many Wisconsin businesses are already committed to sustainability. A consulting service can help these businesses further their efforts and inspire others to follow suit.
  • Wisconsin's government has shown support for sustainable initiatives. A consulting service can work with local and state governments to implement effective sustainability policies.

Independent Bookstore

Independent bookstores are a fantastic way to support local businesses and foster a love for literature within the community. Wisconsin, with its rich history and vibrant arts scene, is an ideal location for an independent bookstore. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Community Engagement: Independent bookstores often host events such as book clubs, author signings, and readings. This can help bring the community together and encourage a love of reading.
  • Local Economy: By supporting an independent bookstore, you're also supporting the local economy. Money spent at local businesses stays within the community and helps it thrive.
  • Unique Selection: Independent bookstores often carry a more unique, curated selection of books compared to big chain stores. This can help readers discover new authors and genres they may not have found otherwise.
  • Personalized Service: The staff at independent bookstores are usually passionate about books and can provide personalized recommendations based on your interests.
  • Cultural Hub: Independent bookstores often become cultural hubs, offering a space for people to gather, discuss ideas, and engage with the arts.


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.