Get All Access for $5/mo

10 Business Ideas Ready To Launch! Where do you find a good business idea? Right here. Here you'll find several innovative business ideas that are ripe for plucking.

By GG van Rooyen

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur South Africa, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.


Where do you find a brilliant business idea?

It's not as hard as it may seem at first. In fact, the idea is arguably not all that important. There's a reason investors talk about backing the jockey and not the horse: It's often not about the idea, but the execution. A great entrepreneur can turn even a mediocre idea into a success; all that's needed is a USP and great customer service.

That said, some ideas are undoubtedly better than others. And some businesses are easier to get off the ground. In the following pages you'll find a curated list of business ideas that have reached a point where they're just waiting to be exploited.

1. Get a Food Truck

Food trucks have become phenomenally popular in the United States. If you've seen the popular movie Chef, you know what it's about — providing satisfying and simple fare, but with a certain culinary flair.

The popularity of food trucks has exploded in America over the last few years, and South Africa is now catching up. Food trucks have arrived locally in a big way.

As an entrepreneur, setting up a food truck has lot of benefits when compared to a traditional restaurant. It is cheaper to set up and operate, it sidesteps a lot of the logistical hassles associated with running a restaurant, and you can park it wherever the crowds are.

But it can be tough work. You need to be very passionate about food if you plan on spending long hours in a hot and claustrophobic food truck.

What's good about it?

  • Cheaper to start and operate than a restaurant.
  • Not tied to any one location.
  • Great potential profit margins.

What's worrying?

  • Hard work and long hours.
  • Legal hassles. Most food-truck operators have stories of being chased off by officials.
  • Competition in the fast food space is fierce.

2. Start a Business-plan Service

The problem with pitching a business to investors is that they all want to see a business plan. And creating a proper business plan is hard. Like very hard. There's a whole bunch of numbers to crunch and market research to do, and who has time for that?

So there is a definite opportunity for someone who is willing to do the dirty work and provide clients with a comprehensive business plan that can be shown to an investor with confidence.

If you're good at doing research, and enjoy writing, creating a business-plan service is an opportunity worth looking into.

What's good about it?

  • Can be started with virtually no money.
  • Can be very profitable.
  • A great way to make useful business connections.

What's worrying?

  • Very time-consuming.
  • Lots of hard work and number crunching.
  • You need to enjoy doing research.

3. Renovate People's Homes

Regardless of whether someone is looking to sell a home or simply upscale it, some simple renovations can add a significant chunk of money to its value. And they don't need to spend R500 000 to make a real difference. For a relatively small amount, they can replace the carpets, paint a feature wall or update a bathroom.

A great business opportunity exists to provide quick and cost-effective renovations to homes. Having your home renovated is a hassle, so being able to provide a service that can complete a room in record time (think Extreme Makeover: Home Edition) can provide you with a great competitive advantage.

What's good about it?

  • Great potential turnover
  • Significant potential profit margin.
  • Fun and creative environment.

What's worrying?

  • Substantial initial investment.
  • High-pressure environment.
  • Carpentry skills, decorating know-how and crew needed.

4. Document Special Events

With the rise of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, people are now obsessively documenting their lives online. This has created a huge opportunity for entrepreneurs to provide a service that documents special events and allows photos to be uploaded to the web instantly.

We're not just talking about weddings here — we're also talking about bachelor parties, birthdays, baby showers, matric dances and graduations — in short, any event that deserves to be documented.

The good news is that you don't need to be Annie Leibovitz to start up a business such as this. In fact, almost no photography knowledge is needed. How so? Well, you can set up a photo booth that allows people to take their own pictures. All you need to do is plug it in and make sure there's internet access. For local examples, have a look at SelfieBox, The Magic Photo Booth and The Picture Booth.

What's good about it?

  • Perfect business to start on the side (most events are after-hours).
  • No photography expertise needed.
  • Customers will be marketing your business for you online.

What's worrying?

  • Late hours and drunk customers.
  • Lots of travel.
  • Internet connection and electricity required, regardless of where the event is.

5. Deliver Fresh and Nutritious Meals

Fast food and ready-to-eat meals are rarely healthy and nutritious, but the hectic pace of modern life often means that people have no option but to opt for food that they know is bad for them. The solution? Fresh and healthy ready-made meals that are delivered to an office or home.

The concept has been around for a few years, but is becoming increasingly popular. Search for "healthy meal deliveries South Africa' on Google, and you'll find plenty of local companies already offering this service.

This is a service aimed directly at a pain point that many people have, so it is very promising. If you have a large kitchen, some serious cooking skills and your own car, you can also start up a meal-delivery business pretty cheaply, though scaling it can be pricey.

What's good about it?

  • Can be started on a small scale for a small investment.
  • Addresses a real pain point.
  • Healthy eating is becoming a priority for many people.

What's worrying?

  • You need a car, kitchen and cooking credentials.
  • Competition is growing, but the potential market is big.
  • Costing is crucial. Meals need to be well priced while still providing a decent margin. Delivery can quickly eat into profits.

6. Offer 3D-printing Services

3D printing is leaving the realm of science fiction and slowly becoming an everyday reality. And although we haven't quite started to experience the repercussions yet, this technology is set to change manufacturing in a massive way.

3D printing (also known as additive manufacturing) is no longer a curiosity. The days of printing gnomes and other bric-a-brac for the sheer fun of it are over. The technology is now being used in direct part production, taking a small yet significant bite out of traditional manufacturing.

According to the Wohlers Report 2015 — which examines the state of the 3D printing industry — additive manufacturing (AM) services is now a $2 billion global industry. Importantly, it took AM roughly 20 years to reach $1 billion of yearly revenue, but only five years to reach its second billion.

The Wohlers Report 2015 also states that AM could capture around 5% of the global manufacturing market in the not-too-distant future, which would disrupt the industry in a big way.

What's good about it?

  • Demand for 3D printing services is set to grow
  • Technology is quickly improving.
  • AM is becoming accepted as a viable form of manufacturing.

What's worrying?

  • 3D printers remain very expensive.
  • Technology can be finicky and not very user-friendly.
  • Design software can be hard to use.

7. Sell Kids Products Online

Upmarket food, toys and clothes for children are growing in popularity. Although South Africa is an emerging market, local parents clearly aren't skimping when it comes to their kids.

According to research company Nielsen, the South African nappy market is worth about R4 billion, and has grown by 11,5% over the last year. Baby-food sales grew by 10,8% year on year, and 46% of respondents interviewed said that the level of nutrition on offer was key when choosing baby food.

When it comes to e-commerce, Nielsen states that: "Baby care consumers are more likely to purchase baby supplies in a physical store rather than online, but this trend is changing as more consumers are switching to online channels.

"E-commerce retailers are also able to compete on price and convenience, due to reduced capital investment in physical infrastructure and, in some cases, the elimination of links in the supply chain. It also offers a compelling proposition for busy parents: the convenience of shopping whenever, wherever they desire, often with free delivery to their front door. A true case of what, where and when a consumer wants during one of the most demanding times of their lives."

Buying baby products online is already big business overseas. The online diaper business,, was sold to Amazon for $545 million in 2010.

What's good about it?

  • Easy to start up
  • Low initial cost.
  • Premium kids products are growing in popularity.

What's worrying?

  • Most local sales are still happening in physical stores.
  • Competition is becoming increasingly fierce.
  • The shaky economy can see parents opt for cheaper options.

8. Provide Some "Adult Entertainment'

Relax, we're not talking about that kind of adult entertainment. What we're talking about here are fun and innovative ways for adults to relax, unwind and embrace their inner child.

Adult fun parks are springing up all over the place. Trampoline parks are particularly popular at the moment, but there are others, such as climbing parks that allow you to scale tree structures and "zorbing' parks that allow you to roll down hills in inflatable balls.

What's good about it?

  • Very trendy now.
  • Fun working environment.
  • Potential to be very lucrative.

What's worrying?

  • Requires substantial start-up capital.
  • Requires large space to operate in.
  • Popular at the moment, but could turn out to be a fad that blows over.

9. Brew Craft Beer

It's not just hipsters ordering craft beer these days. Craft beer has gone mainstream. In fact, just about every restaurant and liquor store sells it.

This means that there is definite scope to open up your own craft beer operation. It can be surprisingly cheap and easy to do, provided you start small and don't over-invest.

Local companies such as BeerLab and BrewCraft can provide you with what you need to get your operation going.

According to Standard Bank, the craft beer market grew by 30% in 2015, and appears set to grow by another 35% in 2016. In 2011, craft beer was responsible for a mere 0,3% of the local premium and light beer consumed. If the trend continues, that number will rise to 2,1% by 2017 (18 million litres of beer).

What's good about it?

  • Can be done with little investment.
  • Demand for craft beer is set to rise.
  • Can be started at home.

What's worrying?

  • Trendy at the moment, but demand could drop.
  • Loads of local competition.
  • Business can scale, but will quickly become more expensive.

10. Create An App

App creation is the modern equivalent of the gold rush. Just about everyone is trying to strike it rich by coming up with an awesome app, and for good reason: Creating an app is a potentially very lucrative yet easy way to make money these days. After all, building an app that becomes popular on the Google Play store and the Apple App Store can provide you with a steady stream of income.

Trevor McKendrick appeared on Alex Blumberg's popular StartUp podcast to talk about a Spanish-language Bible app that he created. McKendrick took a clever approach to app creation. He studied the app stores, looking for apps that were popular, despite not actually being all that good.

What he found was a Spanish-language Bible app that was terrible, but was selling extremely well because it was the only app of its kind available. He created a better version a couple of years ago, and has been making a cool $100 000 a year with his app ever since.

So there is definitely money to be made, you just need to find the right idea.

What's good about it?

  • Huge potential
  • Requires little investment.
  • Can provide steady stream of passive income.

What's worrying?

  • You need to know how to code or have a partner who knows how to code.
  • Huge competition.
  • Can be very time-consuming, at least initially.

Side Hustle

'The Work Just Fills My Soul': She Turned Her Creative Side Hustle Into a 6-Figure 'Dream' Business

Kayla Valerio, owner of vivid hair salon Haus of Color, transformed her passion into a lucrative venture.

Business News

Y Combinator Helped Launch Reddit, Airbnb and Dropbox. Here's What I Learned From Its Free Startup School.

The famed startup accelerator offers a free course on building a business — and answers five pressing questions for founders.


How to Close the Trust Gap Between You and Your Team — 5 Strategies for Leaders

Trust is tanking in your workplace. Here's how to fix it and become the boss your team needs to succeed.


26 Of The Richest People in South Africa

Here are 26 of South Africa's richest people, but how did they achieve this level of wealth? Find out here.

Growing a Business

6 Effective Strategies to Secure Funding

Use these six proven strategies to secure the funding you need.


I Blocked a Toxic Childhood Friend and It Taught Me an Important Lesson About Managing People

There's nothing more soul-sucking than a friend or coworker who only takes but never gives. We call them "Energy Vampires," and this is how you should deal with them.