17 Small Business Ideas For 2021 to Start With as Little as 1K.

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Are you looking for small business ideas for 2021?

In today’s article, I will walk you through at least 16 business ideas you can start now and make money almost immediately.

See, most people are turning to the internet as a source of income. While this may sound like something you already knew, it is a serious thing this time around.

And if there is something 2020 taught us, then it is the need to have a source of income that allows you to work from anywhere.


The pandemic messed everything up.

People were losing jobs left to right, thanks to a wave of lockdowns imposed throughout the world.

Fortunately, those whose businesses were exclusively online-based weren’t as hard hit as compared to the rest of the working class.

To help you put a foot forward for 2021, here is a list of small business ideas to consider trying in 2021.

  1. Consultancy Services.

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Consultancy is a business you can start now without any capital. All you need is that in-demand skill and some work ethic.

For example;

You can consult in the following niches;

  • Business management
  • Social media management
  • Marketing management 
  • Human resources management 
  • Leadership
  • Communication, etc.

The challenge with such a small business in 2021 is proving to your clients that you are worth the investment.

To remedy the situation, you have to come up with some proof of credibility. And one of the best ones is through testimonials.

The next step is getting clients.

Here is what you can do;

If you are consulting on marketing, consider recording a short video training on a specific area your target market is struggling with.

And then ask them to hire you for consultation if they want in-depth or one-on-one training on the same.

2. Become an Online Reseller

As an online reseller, you don’t have to own stock in most cases.

A good example of such a business is a web hosting reseller. Here, you will be buying hosting spaces in bulk, subdivide them, and sell back to clients as single units.

To get started, you need to identify a web hosting company offering reseller packages. And then get the one you can afford just to test waters.

This is one of the best small business ideas for 2021 because you can work alone at first. But as your client base grows, you can start hiring extra hands to help with things like sales and support.

Now, the challenge here is marketing.

See, the market is already saturated with hosting companies. And offering cheaper prices isn’t the best strategy.

The only way you can make real money reselling is by offering upsells or other additional services.

3. Transcription service

Do you have excellent hearing and fast fingers?

Transcription is one of the best small business ideas you can start in 2021.

With it, you have a flexible working schedule and the ability to work from anywhere.

To get started, you first need to get the right gear; a laptop, good headphones, and a reliable internet connection.

Armed with these, head over to transcription sites like GoTranscribe in search of clients.

Now, to turn this into a reliable source of income, consider going for direct clients rather than unreliable middlemen.

If that interests you, medical centers are the perfect place to start your hunt. 

One more thing;

To command higher rates and be taken seriously, consider becoming a certified transcriptionist and even taking a few specializations. 

4. Cleaning service

If you love cleaning, you can turn that into a full-time business with huge potential.

While having two or three people working with you is the best way to get work done fast, this is a business you can start solo at first.

I understand there is stiff competition within this industry. For you to be different, quality work is not enough.

The secret is to add extra premium services such as floor waxing among others, of course, at an extra fee.

5. Digital marketing

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Digital marketing is one of the most profitable small business ideas in 2021. 

Here is the thing;

As more and more people go online, it means small businesses can now reach them easily.

Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Brands struggle to cut through the noise and clutter to deliver their messages. 

Digital marketing will always be in demand. And if you understand how digital platforms work, you can make money as a digital marketer.

To get started, identify a target market, say restaurants. And then prepare an extensive proposal outlining how you intend to use digital platforms to help the brand achieve its business goals.

6. T-shirt printing business

With your sharp artistic sense, you can start making money printing and selling T-shirts in 2021.

The challenge with such a business is capturing client’s ideas. To remedy that, look at what your competition is doing.

For example;

Of late, most T-shirt printing business has been turning to trend phrases and sayings to sell their products.

As you grow, consider adding print-on-demand service.

Here, you will display different designs and only get down to print when someone shows interest.

Alternatively, you can have a mechanism where clients design their own T-shirts and all you have to do is just print. 

By doing so, you are differentiating yourself from the rest, thus being able to charge a premium amount.

7. Bakery

What business can I start with 5K?

  • Trade with $1
  • Earn up to 90% profits
  • Easy deposits
  • Fast withdrawals
My balance, Đ349,409.95. CLAIM YOUR FIRST Đ10,000.

Is that your other most pressing question?

Starting a bakery is one of the most successful home-based small businesses in 2021. 

If you enjoy baking, and have skills in making them eye-catchy, you have an edge in this business.

To make money fast, talk to your local stores to stock your products. And on the side, you can take your business online.

All you have to do is open a Facebook page and Instagram account.

Make it a habit to upload pictures and videos of the finished products.

This also means that you need to have a delivery system in place.

Concentrate on your local area at first, before expanding to other regions.

8. Web design

Free WordPress themes

Web design is a business capable of bringing you up to 100K per month just from a handful of clients, making it the best business to start in Kenya in 2021.

If you have an eye for detail and know your way around coding, you can start this business.

Nowadays, you don’t even need coding skills to make money as a web designer, thanks to website builders.

Once you get a client, get an understanding of what they are looking for. And then install a plugin like Elementor

This tool comes with a ton of templates you can plug and edit to bring out your client’s vision.

Alternatively, you don’t even have to do anything yourself.

You can get clients and hire someone else to do the job.

This way, you can make more money fast and be able to scale the business.

9. Event planning

Event planning might not have been the most profitable business in Kenya 2020, but there is no doubt it is still a lucrative business.

If you are organized and detail-oriented, you already have what you need to succeed in planning events.

To increase the odds of success, you may need to specialize (birthday parties, company meetings, weddings, etc).

By so doing, you’ll build a reputation fast and command premium rates.

One of the things I love about the event planning business is that if the client likes your work, you are assured of repeat business.

And from there, you can have referrals coming your way.

10. Photography

The use of smartphones didn’t kill the photography business as many expected. Instead, photography is growing, even more, thanks to photo-sharing platforms like Instagram.

With such a business, your marketing should be aimed at capturing emotions, rather than just another picture.

As much as this business relies on word of mouth, you can incorporate an Instagram account or a Facebook page into the strategy. 

This way, you can publish your work and be tagging the clients to boost visibility.

Remember, this is a visual-based business.

As such, you need to make sure your pictures and well shot and edited.

11. Fast food joint

Among the businesses to start in Kenya with 5K or less is the fast-food joint.


Most people prefer getting a quick bite rather than spending a lot of money on high-end joints, especially in town.

Even today, you won’t miss finding people meeting friends for a quick chat or just there to conduct business meetings.

Starting such a business is not hard, all you need is a fast-moving menu and a place where your customers can sit and relax.

12. Content creation agency

We talked about brands moving online.

This move is creating the demand for a constant flow of quality content.

If you are a good writer, you can start a content creation agency, take projects and hire writers to work for you.

The reason why this made my list of the best small business ideas in 2021 has to do with its flexibility.

Since you are operating as an independent contractor, you can take on clients you like.

Additionally, make sure to boost credibility and trust with your clients because you will need it to charge premium rates.

13. Agriculture business

This is another home-based business you can start in 2021. 

If you have an idle piece of land and a little patience, you can start any of the following agribusiness ideas in 2021:

  • Poultry Farming – this is one of the best businesses to start in Kenya with 10K. You will need the birds, food, and the place they will live.
  • BeeKeeping Business – also, this is one of the other businesses to start in Kenya with 1K. All you need is a beehive.
  • Fish Farming – works best if you live around a freshwater source
  • Dairy Farming – perfect for those living within the highlands of Kenya. But also, you can adopt zero grazings.
  • Fruits And Vegetable Farming

The challenge with such a business is finding the market. So constantly be on the lookout for a ready market.

14. Decor business

With decor business, your job is to help individuals or companies make their premises pleasing to the eye.

For this reason, you need a degree of creativity and the ability to combine various aesthetics to come with the ability to designs.

15. Travel agency

This the best small business idea to start in 2021 if you are into traveling. 

In fact, getting started is as easy as sharing your adventures on social media.

And as you gain followers, go ahead and set up a website where clients can do bookings through you as an agent.

From there, the sky is the limit. Soon, you could be buying and reselling hotel spaces, and tour destinations.

16. Website flipping

Website flipping business

If you are looking for one of the untapped business ideas in Kenya, here it is.

Website flipping involves buying underrated websites, transforming them into moneymakers, and then putting them in the market.

The secret in this business is the ability to identify a website with potential. Well, you may not get it right in your first couple of trials.

But as you gain experience, you will start noticing a pattern of high flyers websites.

To get started, go to marketplaces like Flippa.com or EmpireBuilders.com. 

Additionally, you may need to decide on the niche.

For example;

You can go for only affiliate websites rather than buying anything out there. 

Alternatively, instead of buying websites, you can create from scratch. Build them to start generating income, and then sell.

If you ask me, this is another of the many businesses to start in Kenya with 1k.

All you need is a domain name and hosting account, and you are ready to go.

For this to work, you need to understand the type of websites that are in demand. And always look for the market first before embarking on any project.

17. SEO Agency

Since we mentioned websites, if there is a number one factor determining your success, it is your ability to rank sites organically on search engines.

While it may sound simple, SEO is actually one of the most complex aspects of running a website.

If you have mastered the art of ranking pages on Google, you have a golden goose on your hand.

You can approach struggling local companies and ask if you can help them dominate the local search.

Getting started is simple;

Identify a target, and go through their website pointing out things they are doing wrong, thus hindering them from ranking.

And then walk them through what they ought to do differently.

Nine out of ten times, they will hire you to do the work for them.

With offers on the table, you have a choice to do it yourself or hire someone else.

For example;

There are a ton of freelancers willing to do that for $5 on Fiverr.

So as the business owner, you can charge the client higher rates, pay the freelancer, and pocket the difference.

Wrapping small business ideas to start in 2021

If you are looking for profitable business ideas in Kenya, there you have it.

Go through them, pick one or two, have a plan, and see how it goes.

Remember, just like any other business, you need a plan, otherwise, you will struggle to gain traction.

Kenn Omollo is an investment writer and a business management consultant at Joon Online Limited. Reach him at - kenn@joon.co.ke

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