27 Most Profitable Small Business Ideas in South Africa

Are you thinking of starting a small business in South Africa? We got you covered!

South Africa is a very good place to start a small business.

The place is full of opportunities and with the right business idea and careful planning, you can be sure that it’s going to be a successful one.

If you are planning to start a small-scale business in South Africa, there is no shortage of opportunities.

The market has been growing at a rapid pace in the past few years, thanks to the advances in technology and the ever-increasing demand for various goods and services.

Whether you have a world-changing idea or something that’s just more creative than anything else out there, there are some key areas where you can focus your attention to find success.

Depending on your unique talents and interests, one of these small business ideas could be the perfect opportunity for you.

Best Small Business Ideas to Start in South Africa

1. Start a Waste Management Business

If you have the money and the space to start a business, then you can consider starting a waste management firm.

As with all businesses, you should be able to conduct market research and feasibility studies. This will help you find out if your business idea is viable.

You would need to get into contact with companies like malls, offices, and factories that would want their garbage segregated and sorted out.

The waste management business is one of the easiest businesses that you can start in South Africa. You can make good returns on investment by engaging in this type of business.

As with all businesses, you should be able to conduct market research and feasibility studies. This will help you find out if your business idea is viable.

You would need to get into contact with companies like malls, offices, and factories that would want their garbage segregated and sorted out.

2. Open a Cyber Café

If you live in South Africa and have always wanted to start your own business, then you should consider opening a cyber café.

Cyber cafés are known to be one of the fastest-growing markets in the country and you could make a tidy profit if you set up shop in an area with a lot of foot traffic.

To get started, all you need is a computer that has access to the Internet, and you’re good to go. Allowing customers to surf the web at your establishment is all it takes to be profitable.

If your cyber café is located near a university campus or shopping mall, then you will likely have customers coming in daily.

You can also add extra services such as printing, faxing, and scanning documents to increase your revenue.

3. Start an Event Planning and Management Business

Event planning and management is one business idea that does not require a lot of capital to set up. You can start this business as a side hustle and make it a full-time business later on.

Event planners organize everything from small parties and birthday celebrations to large corporate events, conferences, seminars, and product launches.

You will need to be detail-oriented, organized, and have excellent networking skills. You may also be required to work long hours when planning an event.

The more successful you are in your event management business, the more you will be able to charge your clients.

4. Open a Restaurant

If you have a passion for food and love mixing with people, opening a restaurant could be the perfect business idea for you.

The most important thing is to know your market and your USPs (unique selling points) – what makes your food special or different?

Who is going to eat at your restaurant? What’s the right type of food to serve in your area and how will you price it?

Once you’ve done that, it’s time to think about the practicalities.

You can start researching suppliers and looking at premises, but remember you’ll need to create a business plan, raise finance, and secure funding before you can open the doors.

5. Become an Uber Driver

If you’ve got a car and you’re looking to make some extra money, then why not become an Uber driver?

Uber is a ride-sharing app that allows people to request a car ride with a couple of clicks on their smartphone and have someone turn up to pick them up within minutes.

It’s an easy way for people to get around without having to hail a taxi or wait for the bus.

To become an Uber driver you’ll need an in-date driver’s license and a smartphone that can download the Uber app.

You can drive whenever it suits you, as Uber allows you to set your hours, so it’s ideal for people who want to earn some extra money in their spare time.

6. Open a Bakery Shop

If you love baking and have a flair for it, opening a bakery shop is one of the best small business ideas in South Africa.

One of your biggest tasks would be to set up a kitchen, where you can store the ingredients and bake your products.

Once this step is completed, you will need to start selling your products. You can either open your store or supply baked goods to other stores.

You will need to learn the basics of baking and handling food products. In addition, you should also know how to maintain hygiene standards in the kitchen.

7. Start a Profitable Blog

Blogging is a popular and growing industry. If you have the right skills and are willing to put in the time and effort, it’s possible to start a profitable blog.

To get started, you need to do some research on what kind of blog you want to create. You can then choose a topic that will be interesting to your target audience.

Once you’ve decided on your niche, you need to choose an appropriate blogging platform (like WordPress) and find hosting for your website.

After that, it’s just a matter of creating content and sharing it with your audience – which can be done through social media channels such as Facebook or Twitter.

8. Start a Uniform Sewing Business

The uniform sewing business is very lucrative in South Africa. It is a highly profitable venture for anyone who doesn’t mind getting his or her hands dirty.

This is because uniforms are needed across all sectors, from schools to hospitals and the public sector. Uniforms are used by governments, businesses, religious institutions, and private individuals.

They are used to project a sense of belongingness, uniformity, and professionalism. Uniforms can also be used to differentiate employees from customers and clients.

Starting a uniform sewing business will require that you know how to use a sewing machine as well as other equipment that will be used in the process.

Although it might seem easier to employ someone to do this for you, it’s better that you learn these skills yourself so that you can keep costs down and maximize your profits.

9. Start a Brick Manufacturing Business

If you’re looking for small business ideas in South Africa, a brick-making business would suit you.

Once you have decided to start your brick manufacturing business it is very important to choose the right location for starting your business.

You need to make sure that there is a sufficient amount of raw material available in the area where you have chosen to start your brick manufacturing business.

You also need to make sure that there is a market for buying bricks in the area where you are planning to start your brick manufacturing business.

If you do not find enough customers then you will not be able to make high profits.

You also need to make sure that there are no competitors nearby so that it will be easy for you to survive in the market.

10. Start a Fish Farming Business

Fish farming is a lucrative business, but it requires a lot of money to start.

This is because the amount of fish that you need to set up a farm and the size of the pond required for fish farming will depend on the amount of money you have.

If you want to start a commercial fish farming business, you should consider starting with catfish farming

Catfish are very popular in South Africa. So, there is always a ready market for catfish.

Also, starting up a catfish farm does not cost so much.

In South Africa, if you buy fingerlings from the right source, you will be able to get them at a subsidized price.

This will help to reduce your startup capital significantly.

11. Start a Laundry and Dry Cleaning Services

If you are looking for a small business opportunity, think of starting your laundry shop.

Laundry and dry cleaning services are in demand, especially in urban areas like Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban.

Here you need to provide specialized services like washing expensive garments, curtains, bed linen, and so on.

Select a location where you can find a good parking facility and also easy accessibility.

These days people prefer to drop off their clothes at the laundry shop and pick it up later or even have them delivered to their homes.

You need to hire staff that is well trained in various types of washing techniques.

12. Open a Sportswear Store

If you are an avid sports fan, then you should consider taking your passion one step further and opening a sportswear store.

Once you have decided to open a sportswear store, it is important to consider what type of business model will best suit your needs.

Will you be selling used or new merchandise? Will you be selling vintage jerseys or the latest designs?

In addition, it is also important for you to decide what specific items your store will carry.

For example, some stores may carry only football gear, while others may cater to a wider audience and offer basketball, tennis, or other sporting goods.

You may even decide to focus solely on sports gear for women. The choice is yours!

13. Start a Tourism and Hospitality Agency

A tourism and hospitality agency is an agency that deals with booking hotels, plane tickets, and other travel-related services for tourists.

It’s a good business to start in South Africa if you’re interested in making money.

You can start a tourism and hospitality agency in South Africa.

This business is one of the small business ideas in South Africa that you can do.

Although it’s capital intensive, it’s profitable because tourists will always come to South Africa. You can earn a lot of money by starting this business.

14. Production of Liquid Soap

Making liquid soap is one interesting small business idea in South Africa that an aspiring entrepreneur can start with just R1000.

Liquid soap is fast replacing detergents, bars, and block soaps in most kitchens.

The increasing awareness of the dangers of some chemicals in toiletries is a major factor in this switch.

As a small-scale enterprise, setting up a small-scale liquid soap production plant is considered a very achievable business idea.

This is so because of the viability and profitability of the business.

The liquid soap industry is lucrative because it has low entry barriers and many untapped opportunities within the industry are yet to be exploited by large companies.

In addition to that, the raw materials required for liquid soap production are readily available and affordable thereby making it a good business venture for small-scale entrepreneurs.

15. Start a Staffing Agency

There are many small business ideas in South Africa, but the one that will be most rewarding is starting a Staffing Agency.

The South African economy is growing at a steady rate and more businesses are being opened daily.

As more and more businesses are set up, there is a growing need for recruiting the best available talent for their positions.

This gives rise to the need for staffing agencies.

There are many reasons why starting a staffing agency is a good idea.

Perhaps the most important reason is that it has great potential to generate revenue.

Starting a staffing agency may be the fastest way to get rich as an entrepreneur.

A recent study showed that the global recruitment market reached an estimated $28.68 billion in 2019 alone.

This shows how lucrative this industry can be if you play your cards right.

16. Become a Sports Betting Agent

If you have a passion for sports and would like to make money from it, then becoming a sports betting agent is one of the best small business ideas in South Africa.

All you need to do is register as an agent with any of the local sports betting companies and they will take care of all the technicalities.

You will be provided with an agent ID number that you can use to register your customers.

Each customer who uses your ID number will automatically be credited to your account and you will earn a commission on the amount they bet on each game.

You can easily make R1000 per day or more if you get enough people registered under you.

17. Start Producing Forage for Livestock

The livestock industry is very big in South Africa. Quite many people are into livestock farming in this country and the demand for forage is high since a large quantity of forage is needed to feed livestock all year round.

If you have a good amount of money to invest in a business and if you are interested in venturing into agriculture, then you should consider producing forage for livestock as one of your business ideas in South Africa.

All you need to do is purchase some hectares of land, plant your crops and then start harvesting them when they are ripe enough.

18. Open a Car Wash

Cars are everywhere in South Africa. People need them to get around and to do business. With a little bit of investment, you can open your car wash and start making money.

Needing only basic tools, a steady supply of water, and some elbow grease, a car wash can be opened for about R10,000.

If you have the space and the equipment already, you can open one for less.

The first thing you need is a location. Most people like to get their cars washed while they are at work or while they are shopping.

Look for an area with lots of foot traffic, such as near a mall or a busy office block – but be sure that your competition isn’t too close by.

Your next step is to register your business with SARS (the South African Revenue Service).

You will also need to get a tax clearance certificate from SARS before you can apply for a bank loan (if you choose to take out a loan).

Next up is getting the right equipment. You will need high-pressure hoses, soap, sponges, and towels.

Some car washes also use vacuums to clean the inside of the car.

19. Open a Football Watching Center

Football-watching centres have become very popular in South Africa as a result of the popularity of football among South Africans.

If you live in a busy area that has many people who love football, you can use this opportunity and start a football-watching centre where people can come and watch matches when they are not at work.

You can open a football-watching centre where you can invite your friends, family, and other people to watch different football matches on weekends.

You must have an HD projector with a big screen, comfortable seats, and a sound system for the real experience of watching live matches.

In South Africa, people are crazy about football. They love to watch every match of their favourite team on weekends. So this is the best idea to start a small business in South Africa.

20. Open a Mobile Phone and Accessory Store

Mobile phones, as well as accessories for mobile phones, are amongst some of the best-selling electronic goods everywhere.

People love their mobile phones, and they are willing to spend a lot on the latest models, as well as the most fashionable accessories.

If you have a passion for mobile devices and accessories, then this is an ideal business idea for you. And what better time to get started than now?

If you want to open a mobile phone and accessory shop in South Africa, then the first thing to do is find out which areas in South

Africa currently has good mobile phone and accessory stores that are doing well.

The reason we say this is because it will be difficult to compete with an existing store that has the same target market as you have if it is already doing well and has long-term customers who buy from it regularly.

So instead of fighting against an already established business, why not rather find out where there is still room for competition or new stores?

21. Invest in Real Estate

Image Credit: Getty Images

This is a huge business opportunity you really need to tap into ASAP. If you can talk and can convince people mildly, you can do this and can make yourself a reasonable buck anytime.

This is how it works: Join a real estate company as a freelance person and promote their properties using any platform of your choice including word of mouth. And when people buy from you, you get paid commissions for your effort.

22. Livestock Feed Production

Image Credit: Getty Images

Production of livestock feed is one of the lucrative business ideas in South Africa with low capital. As more and more South Africans are delving into farming, opportunities abound in the area of livestock feed production.

Not everybody will be a farmer but you can venture into farming in another way — by producing what the animals will feed on.

Trust us, this business is fetching some people huge bucks regularly. You too can try it out.

23. Start Providing Tutorial or Home lesson

This is another business opportunity many South African graduates are doing these days. The tools required are not farfetched: your brain and your negotiation power.

When you know your thing like the back of your hand, you should get value for it.

Being a tutor or a home teacher is an advantage because you also have time to engage in other productive activities.

You might have time to enrol for training or even earn more money with another legitimate side hustle.

24. Start a Fish Farming Business

Did you know you can make a lot of money in South Africa doing a catfish farming business? It’s really profitable and you don’t need the fortune to start.

Whether you want to start rearing the fish from scratch and sell them off only when they are a little big or you want to make them really big enough for consumption, the choice is yours.

Either way, you can make a reasonable amount of money doing this. It’s, no doubt, one of the most lucrative business opportunities in South Africa.

25. Start a Home Cleaning Business

As one of the profitable business ideas in South Africa with low capital, a home cleaning service can fetch you reasonable bucks regularly.

Nowadays, people get busier with one job or another engagement here and there, and yet the idea of hiring a housemaid is a big No.

So here’s where you come in, You only need to agree to clean the house and nothing more. And at the end of the day, you depart with a tangible amount for your effort. Cool, isn’t it?

26. Start a Mini Importation Business

Goods shipped from abroad sell very well in South Africa. So this is another goldmine if you’re looking to start a small business that can fetch you reasonable profits.

You can engage in this business by ordering goods from abroad from sites like Alibaba, Aliexpress, Wish or Amazon and selling here in South Africa.

You can do this on a small scale and break even from it. You only need the right information and the determination to succeed.

27. Computer School

This business is lucrative when you do it right. Also known as a business centre, a computer school business is one in which you help people with any computer work on mostly Microsoft packages like Excel, Word, and PowerPoint.

You also help them print out, scan and bind their work. You could take it a step further by including computer training where you teach people how to use the computer.

It’s one of the most profitable business opportunities in South Africa right now.

Wrapping Up

Each of these small business ideas in South Africa deserves your consideration and will pay off wonderfully if you are ready to invest your time and hard-earned money into it.

It is important to note that this article is targeted at helping you start a business whether you are an unemployed graduate or a stay-at-home mom who wants to earn a living while raising her children.

These ideas are not restricted to any certain type of people and anyone can take advantage of them.

We encourage you to please share this article with others as well so they can benefit from knowing about the various small business ideas in South Africa.

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