Small Business Ideas in NYC

The opportunities for small business in New York City are vast.
The opportunities for small business in New York City are vast. (Image: Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Starting up a new business can be a challenge in any location. In New York City, you have more potential customers than in most locations, but more competition as well. Business in New York, like everything else in this fast-paced city of over 10 million people, can be both exciting and very stressful.

Graphic Design

Because of the pace of life and the number of people in New York City, businesses and individuals are in intense competition to grab the attention of the buying public. To be effective in a large city with all its distractions, advertising needs to be catchy, confident and unique. Because of these requirements, there are many opportunities in New York for skilled and experienced graphic designers. If you can build a reputation as a designer who is able to deliver the market to your clients, you will have plenty of work in New York.

Food Cart

Every one of the millions of people who live in New York City need food to survive. Many of those who don't have the time to cook at home or the money to visit an expensive restaurant frequently grab meals at food carts on street corners. These establishments sell everything from burritos to burgers to nachos. The original investment for a good street cart and the license that allows you to run it legally can be substantial, but if you find a busy location and develop a reputation for reliability and good food, you can repay your loan and start to make a decent living as your own boss.


The opportunities for a professional photographer in New York City are eclectic. Photographers are needed for weddings, school photos, family reunions, law enforcement documentation, journalism and corporate promotions. Artistically inclined photographers also pursue their craft as part of the art world, exhibiting their work in galleries and museums around the city. Like any business in a busy city, photography requires as many skills in self-promotion and networking as in the work itself. Developing a unique style and reflecting New Yorkers' city back at them from a new perspective can gain you an enthusiastic following.


If you are someone who loves to cook, but is not looking for the expense and responsibilities of owning a restaurant, you can pursue your culinary ambitions through the mobile art of catering. Caterers can find work preparing food for everything from conventions for 1,000 people to private dinner parties. Because of the enormous ethnic diversity in New York City, as a chef you have access to a vast array of different ingredients, foods and cuisines. Specialize in and master a few of these, and you can begin to build a reliable clientele.

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