If you’re starting an LLC in North Carolina, the business entity formation process is one of the first and most important hurdles. This step canbe ...
20 Best Business Ideas in North Carolina
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 September 10, 2023
20 Best Business Ideas in North Carolina
Long known as a hub of US furniture production, North Carolina continues to host a robust furniture sector and the High Point Market every six months. The state has also developed other big industries like automotive and heavy machinery, IT, aerospace and defense, food processing, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology.
If you’re looking to launch a business, you could get into event planning, security, or hauling, as well as medical transportation. Check out our list of excellent business ideas in North Carolina 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. Rental Property
Are you interested in real estate? If so, you’re probably well aware that the pandemic, even as it cratered other industries, spurred record-setting growth in US real estate, with prices and sales as high as they’ve been this century. The market has cooled slightly lately, but it’s still a great time to get in on the action — and one good way to do so is by starting your own rental property business.
The concept is easy. Just buy a multi-unit property or residential complex and start making a steady income from renters, in addition to property appreciation and tax benefits. Of course you’ll need a significant investment to get started, but you also need to break some eggs to make an omelet.
But you will of course need to decide what type of rental property you want to invest in. Are you interested in buying and managing properties yourself, or would you prefer to invest in a property management company? Next, research the market and find out the price range for your area. Be sure not to overspend early on. Get started, get a feel for the industry, and then start thinking about bigger bets.
3. Graphic Design
Strong graphic design is a crucial element of nearly every business’s branding and marketing, 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 relevant 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 to your success.
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 rapid growth as the world recovers from the pandemic. This could be the right time to start an insurance business.
You could 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. Health Care
Thinking of setting up a health care business? You’re on the right track. By 2030, the number of US adults age 65 and up will exceed 60 million. This means increased health care spending. Which segments are booming, you might ask. Profits are growing fastest in med-tech 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.
Wholesale is all about the advantages of scale: prices are lower than retail because the purchases are in bulk, vast amounts of tomatoes, cement mix, shoes, or whatever it may be. If you’re good at scaling up and making sales, you might want to consider starting a wholesale business, because the industry is expected to continue its steady growth in the years ahead.
Getting started will require a significant investment, because all of that inventory is not going to suddenly appear out of nowhere, and you’ll need a place to keep it. Fortunately, unlike retail, a wholesale business doesn’t have to worry about finding an area with heavy traffic. Instead, the main concern is space. Once you’ve got your goods and a warehouse, you’ll need to obtain all the necessary licenses, then start reaching out to local businesses that might be interested in your goods.
Keep in mind that this is a big and growing industry, which means you’re going to face stiff competition from established firms and other new entrants. You’ll likely need to work hard, and smart, to succeed.
7. Valet Trash
It may not look like much, but there’s a lot of money to be made in the trash business. If you’re looking for a way to start your own business, valet trash may be just the thing. It’s a great way to make money while providing a valuable service to busy people who’d rather not take out the garbage. Close to 45 million Americans live in apartments and most could probably use valet trash services.
Starting a valet trash business is not an easy task. You will need to provide your clients with trash containers, collect the trash according to an agreed schedule, and take it down to the dumpsters. You can get creative with your trash receptacles to build your brand. Besides complying with the regulatory requirements for businesses, you must also make sure not to violate fire safety regulations. Having extensive knowledge about recycling is also important for a more efficient waste management process.
8. Staffing Agency
It doesn’t take rocket science to start a staffing business. But it’s to your advantage to have an expansive network. If you have a lot of connections, you can set up your own staffing business and help companies find the right employees while raking in some profits. The US staffing market was estimated at a little more than $150 billion by the end of 2021. The market is expected to grow as job openings reach record highs in the US, following the so-called Great Resignation which saw millions of Americans quit their jobs in late 2021.
To get your new business off the ground, you’ll need to define your business model. Will you provide a full-time staffing service, which means you will get a one-time commission for recruiting candidates for full-time positions? Or will you be providing temporary and contractual workers? Your commission will vary depending on the business model that you will adopt. Niche recruitment and having a big candidate base can spell the difference for your business.
9. Medical Transportation
You probably don’t think about it much, but non-emergency medical transportation is a booming industry. After years of strong growth the US market is projected to be worth more than $25 billion in 2026. The sick, disabled and elderly have places to go and often need help getting there. You could start a medical transport business, help people in need and ride industry growth to serious success.
Keep in mind, this is not the easiest market to break into. For one thing, you’ll need a reliable medical transport van outfitted with the requisite lift and safety features. You’ll need to acquire the relevant healthcare provider licenses and permits as well as insurance, and be certified by either Medicare or Medicaid. Finally, once that’s all done, you’ll just have to determine which services you’ll offer and start marketing your business online, at local hospitals and retirement communities.
As long as your rates are fair and your services reliable, you’ll soon start getting regular clients.
Are you looking to open your own bar? It can be a great way to make money. The bars and nightclubs industry in the US is slowly coming out of the pandemic and the prospects are bright for a strong days ahead. There are more than 60,000 bars and nightclubs in the country, and there’s still room for more. Starting your own bar business now is the right thing to do.
There are a few things you have to do before you launch your bar. Besides making sure that your business is legally compliant, it’s a good idea to be ready to adapt to the latest nightlife trends and shifting consumer tastes. A recent survey showed that more Americans would leave a bar if it gets too crowded or the music is too loud. More Americans are also choosing non-alcoholic drinks, low-alcohol cocktails, kombuchas, and other beverages with low to no-alcohol content. With careful planning and a great marketing strategy, you should be making big profits from your bar business soon.
11. 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 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 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 abilities in order to stand out in a crowded marketplace.
All that done, you’ll be ready to start building your real estate empire.
12. Handyman Business
If you’re good with your hands and enjoy fixing things, starting a handyman business could be the perfect fit. For one thing, you’ll be doing what you love and taking care of people’s problems. For another, the US handyman industry has been growing steadily for years, and by 2026 the broader home services market is expected to double! So there’s clearly a real opportunity out there.
A key first step will be determining which services to offer. In addition to repairs, you could offer maintenance, painting, cleaning, drywall, carpentry, minor renovations and more. Next, buy all the necessary tools and start advertising your services on online platforms like Angie’s List.
You could also reach out to landlords, developers and residential complexes offering to provide your services at a discount. Once you’ve delivered great work in your first few jobs, you can bump up your rates. With any luck, you’ll soon be kicking back in the office counting your cash while your employees do the heavy lifting.
13. Event Planning
The biggest events — weddings, reunions, graduation parties — are often moments that people never forget. You can play a key role in making memories for countless people by starting your own event planning business. As the pandemic recedes, the industry has been growing fast and is now worth $3 billion in the US alone, so the opportunity is real. If you enjoy organizing and planning, this could be the perfect venture for you — and now’s a great time to do it.
More and more people are looking to plan long-delayed major events, from weddings to reunions to memorials and more. You can grab a piece of this growing market with a bit of training, confidence and organizational skills. Starting an event planning business requires little investment, and event planners often make 15-20 percent of the total cost. So just imagine how good you’ll feel working from home while planning a $100,000 wedding reception!
In the podcast era, you might have thought that blogs had gone out of style. You would be wrong. More than 2 million new blog posts go online every day, and after years of steady growth, the US is home to about 32 million blogs. Substack, the blog and newsletter platform, recently passed one million subscribers. As a result, there is real opportunity for a bold entrepreneur.
Starting a blog requires minimal investment. All you really need is a reliable computer and decent wifi. The major hurdle is coming up with a concept, an objective or mission for your blog business. You might choose generating funds to feed hungry children or delivering crucial news to the people of your city or state. Once you’ve found your niche, you’ll need to reach out across your network, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and beyond, looking for all those who write on related subjects and asking them to get on board. You could offer discounts, incentives, or rewards to sweeten the deal.
Once a couple of accomplished bloggers sign on, the paid advertisements will start rolling in and you’ll be on the road to success in the blogging business.
15. Security Company
Everybody wants to feel secure, which is why the US security industry is worth $46 billion after more than a decade of steady growth. The market expansion is expected to continue in the years ahead, especially with people spending more time at home these days. You could get in on the action by starting your own security business and make a good living while making others feel more at ease about their safety and their valuables.
You’ll likely need a security license, for which you should apply to your state. You’ll also need to know how to install and operate security systems, so if you’re not experienced with that you could find some affordable online courses to get you up to speed. Once you’re confident in your skills, start advertising your services on platforms like Angie’s List and you might be able to bring in a few clients, if your prices are right.
It’s probably wise to focus on home security systems when you’re starting out, and move on to bigger jobs as you gain experience. As long as you deliver quality service and reliable security, your business reputation should steadily improve.
16. Music Production
If you’re passionate about making music, why not start your own music business? Music helped a lot of people shake off the blues and cope with the pandemic. Listening to music helps improve mood, promote relaxation, boost creativity, and more. As millions of people turned to music, the recorded music industry soared to new heights and broke sales records. In the US, the industry earned nearly $15 billion in 2021, its highest annual revenues in history.
Starting a music business can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it’s important to determine what kind of music you will focus on. Artists can make money by selling their music, using social media, or creating branded content for clients. But first, you will need to build up an audience. Be creative and think of ways to attract a large following in social media and get them to view your videos. You’ll be competing with the likes of BTS, but with patience and hard work, you can build to big success.
Who doesn’t love fresh, homemade baked goods? If you often find yourself elbow-deep in flour, now’s a great time to take the next step and become an entrepreneur. Despite the anti-carbs trend, the US baking industry has been growing for years and is now worth more than $12 billion. You could open your own bakery, or start a home-based baking business, and share your delicious creations with the world while making a good living.
But starting a baking business can be tricky, and there are several hurdles to jump before you can start. You’ll need to nail down a handful of fantastic items that will keep people coming back. You’ll need to outfit your kitchen, or new bakery, with the right equipment and ingredients. And of course you’ll also need to pass health checks and government licensing requirements for food businesses.
After that, you’ll just need to start marketing your tasty treats and, with a bit of luck, you’ll soon have too many orders to fill!
18. Hauling Business
The US government recently passed a trillion-dollar infrastructure bill, which means countless major construction projects will soon be coming to work sites near you. As a result, many tons of materials and waste will need to be moved from one place to another.
The US waste removal industry is already worth $60 billion and seeing steady growth. So if you’re willing to do some heavy lifting, you could start your own hauling business and help clear the way for new construction while grabbing a share of this growing market.
The first step is getting a reliable truck. You probably want a good-sized pick-up or box truck, as the bigger the hauling capacity the more you’ll make. You’ll also need good hauling equipment and most likely, a commercial driver’s license, to take on the big jobs. Beyond that, attracting clients will be mainly about advertising your services on the right platforms and effectively marketing your business.
Once you get those first few customers in the door, as long as you deliver excellent and professional service, you’re likely to get referrals and steadily build a reputation for reliability.
19. Summer Camp
Setting up a summer camp is a lot of fun, and can be a great way to make money. If you’re looking to start a summer camp business, 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.
Keep in mind that you will need to make an upfront investment. Unless you already have a property that’s ideal for a camp, you’ll have to choose your location well to be able to attract customers.
20. DJ Business
What’s a huge event without a DJ dropping beats to set the mood? As the events industry bounces back from the coronavirus pandemic, so does the DJ market. Global sales of DJ equipment are set to grow to $732 million by 2026. If you love creating mixes and new tracks, setting up a DJ business now would be a fun way to earn some cash.
But a DJ business is not just about having the best beats. There’s a lot of work that goes into setting up your business properly. Having easy access to digital platforms and streaming services will likely lessen the burden. What’s important is that you have the necessary skills and equipment. You also need to establish your brand, promote your services and grow your social media following to get your business up and running. With excellent service, you can easily gain loyal customers and sustain your business.
6 Best LLC Services in North Carolina
Published on August 15, 2022
How to Start an LLC in North Carolina
Published on March 16, 2022
If you’re considering launching a business in North Carolina, you might be contemplating the idea of setting up a limited liability company(LL ...
How to Choose a Business Structure
Published on September 26, 2021
Starting a business can be stressful, even overwhelming. The last thing you need is one more issue to think about, but you really should take thetim ...