If you are planning to start a business in a small town, my first advice to you would be, know the local market and customers first, find out the unmet needs and wants of people and then offer them goods and services to meet those. If you go by this rule, you will have some of the most lucrative business ideas. The below suggested list of ideas will serve as an inspiration too. Have a look...
Since it's a small town, there must be some cuisines that people there might have never tasted or heard of. So, why not start a restaurant and introduce new cuisines to the locals. Chinese, Italian, Mexican, middle eastern, Indian, choose from any of these and start a restaurant. The locals will throng to such a place, provided your restaurant promises delicious food and an interesting ambiance, which they have never come across before!
Whether it's a small town or a large city, women are always on the lookout for clothes that are latest in fashion, unique and will stand them apart from the rest. So, starting a clothes boutique can be a very good option. You can get stylish clothes at a discount from cities and then sell them with a profit at small towns. Add some fashionable accessories like earrings, bags, sunglasses, etc. as well and you have a winner business all the way!
People in cities often get tired of the hectic pace of living there. Would not they love it if they can stay in a small town for a weekend or a couple of days more, enjoying the hospitality of the locals and the laid back feel of the place? In short, you can start your own travel business. Get a few families in the town involved who would be willing to take care and let the guests from cities live in their houses, while they are in town. For this business, you would need to visit cities from time to time, to scout for clients. You can get some brochures published, which have scenic photographs of the town, information on its history as well as the travel packages that you are offering. If you have contacts in cities, people who are working in corporates, you can distribute these pamphlets in their offices, inviting the employees and their families for a relaxing weekend at the town. If planned well, this idea has a huge potential and can be one of the best businesses that you can plan to start.
You can start your own consultancy in a small town, guiding people on how to get further education or jobs in cities. For this, you need to be aware of the job market scenario, particularly in the nearby cities as well as the good colleges and universities there. Otherwise, if you have some education and experience of working in the corporate sector, one of the easiest business to start is to offer your consultancy services to the businesses that are already there in the town on how to market and sell their products.
Usually people in small towns are not that well traveled, so if you can bring some specialties of other states and cities to them, they will find them very interesting. Interior décor items, such as vases and wall hangings, paintings, cutlery, stationery items, key rings, postcards, anything and everything which depicts some exotic, faraway places, you can sell them to the locals in an art store and earn some good amount of money with it.
For any of these ideas to be successful, you would need to invest in a lot of time and effort into the venture. See to it that you have enough finances for the initial capital as well as to meet your needs, as every business takes time before it starts making money. Remember, preparation, proper planning, organization, hard work, a useful product/service and excellent customer service - that's the key to success in any business.