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Small Business Dreams

Opening a business takes hard work, careful planning, and smart decision-making. With so much to learn, an entrepreneur has to start somewhere… often, that somewhere is Google. We’ve analyzed national and state-level search trends to find out what types of small business people are most frequently thinking about starting.

The allure of opening a small business is that you get to be your own boss. The downside is that the boss is responsible for everything, which includes not only the big ideas and (hopefully) big profits, but also the time-consuming, unsexy-yet-necessary details. A smart business owner knows that finding specialized help for tasks—such as payroll, accounting, personnel and office management, and business administration—can leave the owner with more valuable time to focus on building a successful business. The top two most profitable types of small businesses make up almost 40%, meaning there is a healthy market for businesses that specialize in particular professional services.

Geography certainly plays a role in viable business opportunities. Budding entrepreneurs in Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado researched opening a bar more than other states, perhaps owing to the fact that a bar in a sparsely populated area would have little competition, as opposed to an area that has a bar on every corner.  

Notably, eight states ranked high for people especially interested in starting a clothing line. However, even though clothing is the most searched small business opportunity in the country, retail is not in the top 10 most profitable small businesses, and it is only seventh of the most common actual businesses. Given the high cost of overhead, renting a storefront, merchandising, and competing for customers with online marketplaces, becoming the next Coco Chanel or Calvin Klein remains only a dream for most.

Perhaps that’s why some of the most common small businesses rely on trade skills, such as bookkeeping, car repair, website design, and computer services. Creating a business that keeps other businesses humming along is a smart way for small business owners to ensurjob stability. 

Specialized services, such as dentistry, real estate, legal services, and health care providers, are also profitable small businesses, making up approximately seven of the top 10 small businesses. Personal practices work because they can be managed at scale: determining the number of clients or customers, personalized care, and specializing in a niche service or profession.  

As the research points out, owning a successful small business could depend heavily on the geography and type of business more than the dreams of the entrepreneur. The key to successful self-employment lies in the foresight to find the right market for the right business, and the hustle to make it happen.

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