If you’re starting an LLC in Minnesota, the business entity formation process is one of the first and most important hurdles. This step can beterr ...
17 Best Business Ideas in Minnesota
Written by: Esther Strauss
Esther is a business strategist with over 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur, executive, educator, and management advisor.
Edited by: David Lepeska
David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.
Updated on October 2, 2023
17 Best Business Ideas in Minnesota
Minnesota is home to the Twin Cities, where many Fortune 500 companies are based. It’s also where the Mall of America, the biggest mall in the US, is located. As the pandemic recedes, the state is recovering from the biggest economic downturn in its history — and expecting strong growth ahead.
Aside from the services sector, Minnesota also has vibrant finance, insurance, and real estate industries. So businesses involving HR consulting, real estate, virtual assistant, and ecommerce have great chances of success. Check out our list of profitable business ideas in Minnesota below.
A great deal of manufacturing has moved overseas in recent decades, but US manufacturing is still an $8 billion industry that has seen steady growth in recent years. Manufacturing businesses can be extremely profitable, but they also require a lot of planning and hard work.
The first step is to decide what you’re going to produce. Do some market research and see which products are selling well and where there may be a market gap. You should keep an eye out for products that are more affordable to manufacture or offer a significant markup and strong profits. Next, you’ll need to rent or purchase a manufacturing facility, preferably in an out-of-the-way location to keep costs low. Once you start making your products, you’ll need to have them tested and certified and acquire all the necessary licenses and permits.
Finally, you’ll be ready to launch a marketing campaign that, with a bit of luck, should start bringing in orders and put you back in the black.
2. Real Estate
The US real estate market has been booming in recent years, and is now worth nearly $400 billion and expected to see further growth in the years ahead. As an entrepreneur, you’re probably always on the look-out for new opportunities. Right now, with sales totals and home prices at record highs, real estate ranks among the largest and most promising markets. And best of all, you’ll be helping families settle down and build homes and communities.
Of course, starting a real estate business isn’t as easy as getting out of bed. You’ll need to educate yourself about the market and obtain a real estate agent’s license. You’ll need to familiarize yourself with all of the relevant online tools and information to keep you updated on market trends, and find a local broker to partner with. Finally, you’ll need to set up a website and successfully market your home buying and selling abilities in order to stand out in a crowded marketplace.
All that done, you’ll be ready to start building your real estate empire.
3. Health Care
Thinking of setting up a health care business? You’re on the right track. Demand for health care services is on the rise mainly due to an aging population in the US. By 2030, the number of American adults age 65 and older is forecast to exceed 60 million. This means increased health care spending. Which segments are booming, you might ask. Profits are growing fastest in medtech and health care information technology (IT).
So what are you waiting for? Now’s the time to start a health care business. Take the first step by finding a niche that you can focus on. Make sure you have the necessary permits and licenses, whether you’re thinking of starting a medical practice, home health care company, or something else entirely. You’ll also need to decide on a value proposition that will set you apart from the competition and make it easier for you to promote your business.
Starting an insurance business can be a great way to make a profit while helping others plan for the future and hedge against financial losses. The global insurance industry has been growing, with revenues estimated to reach more than $6 trillion in 2025. Analysts believe the industry is poised for a more rapid growth as the world recovers from the pandemic. This could be the right time for you to start your own insurance business.
You can start small by setting up an office affiliated with a major industry player. Before you launch your business, you need to know your products well and focus on a niche market. Will you be offering property, health or life policies, among others? You’ll also need to consider the emerging technologies in coming up with business models. It would be helpful if you have actuary skills, some customer service experience and great networking skills.
5. Graphic Design
Strong graphic design is a crucial element of nearly every business’s branding and marketing strategy, which is why it’s always in great demand. After years of steady growth, the US graphic design industry is worth nearly $14 billion and offers real opportunity for the bold entrepreneur. You could start your own graphic design business from home and work with clients around the world, generating good money and turning your creative passion into a successful career.
You will, however, need to have a strong creative streak and some skill and experience with graphic design software and tools. If you don’t have a related degree, you could brush up on your graphic design skills by taking courses at an online platform like Udemy. Next, it’s a good idea to research the market, see what sort of graphic design is trending lately, and keep an eye out for a market gap that might fit your skillset.
Understanding and clarifying what you will offer, which businesses you are targeting and how you’ll stand out from the competition will be crucial elements to your success.
6. Clothing Boutique
Are you obsessed with fashion? Do you have an eye for trends? If so, starting your own boutique may be a great fit. Following years of steady growth, the US clothing boutique industry is worth more than $18 billion. More and more of today’s serious shoppers tend to walk right past the brand outlets and head straight for the boutiques offering new, unique and vintage clothing and accessories.
To draw them in, you will need to establish a strong brand based on your own sense of style. You might embrace a pre-WWII theme and offer flapper dresses, hats, and brooches. Or maybe you’re a disco lover and all about bell bottoms, short shorts, and tube tops. Or you could go with a clean and simple, more futuristic look. The key is finding and highlighting your own fashion sense. If it’s right, the shoppers will come.
As the US economy recovers from the pandemic, gyms and fitness centers are also bouncing back. The gym, health and fitness clubs industry is poised for modest growth and expected to earn more than $36 billion in 2022. Starting your own gym business can be very profitable and rewarding, too.
Setting up a gym can be a breeze if you’re motivated and have a clear vision. You’ll need to invest in good equipment, choose an accessible location, and secure the necessary permits. You could also identify a target market. A growing number of younger people want to get fit, so you might direct your advertising and marketing efforts to this demographic. But don’t forget older fitness buffs — their numbers are increasing as well.
8. Summer Camp
Setting up a summer camp is a lot of fun, and it’s also a great way to make money. If you’re looking to start a summer camp in Minnesota, you’re right on time. The industry, valued at around $3 billion in the US, is expected to return to growth as the economy recovers from the pandemic and thousands of summer camps across the country reopen.
To get started, you’ll have to choose a niche and decide whether to set up a vacation camp, sports camp, or outdoor adventure camp. Most camps still cater to children, but some have programs for adults as well. Your choice will determine the kind of facilities that you will build. Camps generally provide cabins, campsites, and recreation facilities and equipment. They also provide meals, snacks, and non-alcoholic beverages. You will need to make an upfront investment. Unless you already have an existing property that’s ideal for a summer camp, you will have to choose your location well to be able to attract customers.
9. Ice Cream Truck
Americans LOVE ice cream: we eat almost half a pound a week on average. Americans also love food trucks, which have exploded into a multi-billion-dollar industry in recent years. Yet for some reason, the rise of food trucks has in many areas meant the end of the ice cream truck.
But now that’s starting to change, as a new generation of ice cream trucks has begun to emerge. These vendors don’t offer the same old popsicles and ice cream sandwiches, but instead provide a wide selection of locally-made treats, supporting local businesses and helping build a network of partners. More importantly, today’s ice cream trucks are wired, allowing customers to book them for events online, track their location and get a text message when they’re in the neighborhood.
If you love making kids happy, there’s never been a better time to drive an ice cream truck.
10. Mechanic Business
As the economy improves, car owners in the US are likely to seek repairs that were delayed by pandemic measures. If you’re an entrepreneur with a good grasp of automotive parts and functions, now is the time to start a mechanic business. Nearly 70,000 job openings for automotive service technicians and mechanics are projected on average every year through 2030. To get a share of this lucrative market, you will need to keep up with the latest technologies and diagnostic tools.
Before launching your business, be sure to check out the local licensing and zoning requirements. Generally, a mechanic needs to finish high school and undergo an in-depth training or certification program. Once you comply with government regulations, it is important to research ways to differentiate yourself from the competition. Remember that there are hundreds of thousands of repair shops across the country. Although the industry seems saturated, there are still many ways for you to succeed. An option is to find an underserved location, set up your shop there, and work very hard.
11. Logging Business
If you’re an entrepreneur with a penchant for the outdoors, starting a logging business may be a great opportunity. Logging is a $17 billion market in the US. It’s still growing, mainly due to the construction of new homes and home repairs and remodeling projects. As the economy recovers from the pandemic, the industry is also expected to grow correspondingly.
Before you launch, find out the permit and licensing requirements and familiarize yourself with environmental laws and regulations on forestry products. Be aware of the hazards of working in close proximity to heavy equipment, trucks and trees — the risk of injury is high in logging, so you’ll good insurance. Logging also requires a huge upfront investment for the heavy equipment, so be ready to secure the necessary funds, too.
12. Tourism Agency
Do you know exactly what makes a great package tour? Then starting your own tour business might be the right move. It’s a lot of work, but it can be very rewarding. The US tour industry is bouncing back big-time after the pandemic, with revenue set to increase more than $8 billion in 2022.
Tour operators are primarily responsible for arranging tour packages for tourists and travel agencies. Demand is rising for tour packages in the countryside, national parks and the outdoors. Before you can start operating, you should pick a niche, choose your target demographics, and understand the competition. You should also familiarize yourself with the laws and regulations that tour operators, travel agencies and other tourism-related businesses must follow.
13. Real Estate Agency
The US real estate market has been booming in recent years, and is now worth nearly $400 billion and expected to see further growth in the years ahead. As an entrepreneur, you’re always on the look-out for new opportunities. Right now, with sales totals and home prices at record highs, real estate ranks among the largest and most promising markets. And best of all, you’ll be helping families settle down and build communities.
Of course, starting a real estate business isn’t as easy as getting out of bed. You’ll need to educate yourself about the market and obtain a real estate agent’s license. You’ll need to familiarize yourself with all of the relevant online tools and information to keep you updated on market trends, and find a local broker to partner with. Finally, you’ll want to set up a website and successfully market your home buying and selling abilities in order to stand out in a crowded marketplace.
All that done, you’ll be ready to start building your real estate empire.
14. HR Consulting
If you have people skills and knowledge of human resources (HR) management principles, then an HR consulting business may be a perfect fit for you. HR consulting in the US is a $24 billion industry that offers more opportunities for growth in the next five years as more companies outsource HR functions. HR consultants are hired for a wide range of services, from recruitment and payroll to training.
Before you can launch, be sure to find out your state’s licensing requirements. You might want to develop core competencies and focus on these. It’s a good idea to identify your target market, network with other industry pros, and promote your services to land your first contract.
Make sure to stay aware of the latest HR trends and tools, and build trust with your clients to succeed and grow your business. HR consulting can be a lucrative career path if you have the right skills and are passionate about what you do.
15. Virtual Assistant Service
The job didn’t even exist 20 years ago, but now, thanks to new technologies and the sharp increase in remote work during the pandemic, the virtual assistant industry is booming. After years of strong growth, the market is expected to be worth more than $4 billion by 2025. That means now is a fantastic time to start your own virtual assistant business, even part-time.
To be clear, we’re talking about a human, not a digital or AI-powered, assistant, who provides administrative, technical, and creative services to clients remotely, via the internet. If you have a strong business skillset, you can get started with a minimal investment and run the company out of your own home while serving clients anywhere in the world. You could also add more skills over time, increasing your revenue streams and the rates you’re able to charge.
With hard work and a bit of luck, you’ll soon be helping businesses run more smoothly and efficiently while making good money for yourself.
Do you have a green thumb and always dreamed of starting your own farm? Well now is a great time to take the plunge, with countless people leaving cities for the countryside and looking to eat healthier, all-natural foods fresh from the farm. Farming is a trillion-dollar industry in the US, and offers considerable opportunity for the hard-working entrepreneur.
And there will be hard work. Farming is not as easy as putting on overalls. You’ll need to find and purchase the right piece of land. You’ll need to choose your crops. Maybe heirloom tomatoes, zucchini and soy beans? Next, work the soil and make sure it’s ready for planting, then keep your fields clear of insects and blight. You’ll also want to decide on livestock. Will you have chickens, lambs, cows, pigs? There’s so much work to do on the farm, but you’ll get to work in the great outdoors, providing nourishing foods to your family and community.
17. Ecommerce Store
Do you have a great business idea, but don’t know where to start? These days, the best way to get started is often by turning to the internet, where a wide variety of e-commerce businesses have found great success in recent years. Of course you know about Amazon, but there are also millions of smaller businesses that make up what is now a $4 trillion global industry.
With countless people stuck at home, e-commerce revenues increased by more than a quarter in 2020, and they’re still growing, so opportunity in this market remains strong. You will need an appealing, in-demand product, a simple, easy-to-use website, and a sharp marketing plan, but if you’re willing to invest a good chunk of your time and money your new e-commerce business will have a great shot at success. Somebody’s got to be the next Jeff Bezos, right?
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