What Are the Different Types of Small Business Ideas for Students?

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  • Written By: Tara Barnett
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 09 September 2019
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Small business ideas for students cover the entire business world but must often take into consideration the resources typically available to students. These business ideas usually require very little start up money, but ambitious students might be able to catch the eye of investors. The other major constraint on small business ideas for students is time, because students are not often able to work full time. Appropriate businesses for students depend on the particular student in question, and in particular on what special skills the student possesses.

Some of the most common small business ideas for students involve educating others, particularly when the students are in college. Instruction-oriented small businesses might focus on music, tutoring for tests, or other unique skills possessed by the students. Many of these businesses are run informally, but by working together, students can create full businesses that may be quite profitable.

Businesses that deal with pet-sitting, painting, or other odd jobs can make good small business ideas for students because many of these businesses operate only in the summer. Window washing is one type of business that commonly employs students, and it is usually fairly straightforward for students to run this type of business on their own. An enterprising individual can turn any unskilled labor into a business opportunity, though the success of this type of business often depends on marketing.


In some cases, students with special skills related to their education may be able to create a small business relating to those skills. For example, art students might sell artwork or theater students might offer singing telegrams. Depending on the skills possessed by the students, these types of businesses can be quite unique.

Many student businesses cater to other students, and might involve selling food or offering equipment for rental. Some students may even be able to manage a full restaurant when working as a group, and student-run coffee shops are commonly found on college campuses. Small business ideas for students that involve selling a product or service to other students are often successful due to the students' intimate knowledge of the customer base, but these are not always successful even given the connection between the business and the customers.

Students often possess highly creative and potentially profitable small business ideas, many of which could be put into action as students. Ambitious ideas may require some investment, but small business ideas for students that involve creating a product are often possible if a prototype can be manufactured. There are many contests and organizations that help students with unique ideas create businesses, often offering an initial investment and networking assistance.


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Post 3

@MrsPramm - It's good for students to fail, but it's not bad for them to succeed either. They'll have plenty of time to do both. And there's no reason a student has to start a business selling a product. They might want to sell their services as a lawnmower or babysitter or cleaner or a hundred other things.

Starting a business is tough, no matter what you do or what you're selling. Starting one as a student is actually a good idea because you've at least got a bit of support to fall back on if you do happen to fail.

Post 2

@Iluviaporos - This might be too cynical, but I hope that those students weren't being given unrealistic expectations. It's easy to sell to a relatively captive audience and if the parents were progressive and actively involved in the school I'd imagine that very few stalls would be left with any products over at the end of the sales period.

In real life, they wouldn't be treated so well. As a college student I was always looking for something to make in order to start my own little business. And I very rarely sold anything, because it's difficult for homemade products to outsell mass production. You've either got to have a hook, like being a high school student, or you've got to have the skill to make something of extremely high quality (which usually takes a fair amount of investment in training and materials). Without either of those, you're better off sticking to the usual career ladder.

Post 1

I was visiting a classroom once where the students were being given an assignment that would encourage them to form a small business. The school held a market over the weekend near Christmas and encouraged all the students to set up little stalls and invite their parents and other people in to buy their products. They had to think of suitable products, then make them and merchandise them and record all the money they made. They were all given a small amount as a loan from the teacher and were expected to pay that back at the end, but they could keep any profits.

It was such a good idea, I thought and the kids got really creative. It gave them a good grounding in things like packaging and pricing and so forth.

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