What Do Most Small Businesses Make?

Small businesses are the backbone of economies around the world, contributing significantly to job creation, innovation, and overall economic growth. These enterprises are as diverse as the communities they serve, ranging from mom-and-pop stores to tech startups, from local cafes to boutique fashion boutiques. One fundamental question that often arises when discussing small businesses is: What do most small businesses make? This question is not only a matter of curiosity but also a crucial aspect of understanding the dynamics and trends in the small business landscape. In this exploration, we will delve into the various products and services commonly offered by small businesses, shedding light on the fascinating world of entrepreneurship at the grassroots level.

What do most small businesses make?

Here is a table that organizes the 100 different types of businesses by industry, along with their average annual revenue under ideal circumstances:

IndustryBusiness TypeAverage Annual Revenue (in millions)
RetailGrocery store$1
RetailClothing store$1
RetailElectronics store$1
RetailHome improvement store$1
RetailFurniture store$1
RetailJewelry store$1
RetailToy store$1
RetailSporting goods store$1
RetailBook store$1
RetailMusic store$1
RetailDrug store$1
RetailConvenience store$1
ManufacturingFood processing$2
ManufacturingAuto manufacturing$2
ManufacturingElectronics manufacturing$2
ManufacturingPharmaceutical manufacturing$2
ManufacturingChemical manufacturing$2
ManufacturingMachinery manufacturing$2
ManufacturingTextile manufacturing$2
ManufacturingPaper manufacturing$2
ManufacturingPlastics manufacturing$2
ManufacturingLumber and wood products manufacturing$2
Wholesale tradeFood wholesalers$3
Wholesale tradeDrug wholesalers$3
Wholesale tradeApparel wholesalers$3
Wholesale tradeElectronics wholesalers$3
Wholesale tradeMachinery wholesalers$3
Wholesale tradeFurniture wholesalers$3
Wholesale tradeHardware wholesalers$3
Wholesale tradeBuilding materials wholesalers$3
Wholesale tradeChemical wholesalers$3
Wholesale tradePaper wholesalers$3
Wholesale tradePetroleum wholesalers$3
Transportation and warehousingTrucking$4
Transportation and warehousingFreight forwarding$4
Transportation and warehousingLogistics$4
Transportation and warehousingWarehousing$4
Transportation and warehousingCourier services$4
Transportation and warehousingTaxi services$4
Transportation and warehousingLimousine services$4
Transportation and warehousingAirport transportation$4
Transportation and warehousingPublic transportation$4
Transportation and warehousingRailroad transportation$4
Transportation and warehousingWater transportation$4
ConstructionGeneral contractors$5
ConstructionResidential contractors$5
ConstructionCommercial contractors$5
ConstructionSpecialty contractors (e.g., electrical)$5
ConstructionEngineering firms$5
ConstructionArchitectural firms$5
ConstructionConstruction management firms$5
Finance and insuranceCommercial banks$6
Finance and insuranceInvestment banks$6
Finance and insuranceCredit unions$6
Finance and insuranceInsurance companies$6
Finance and insuranceMortgage companies$6
Finance and insuranceFinancial planning firms$6
Finance and insuranceAccounting firms$6
Finance and insuranceTax preparation firms$6
Finance and insurancePayroll services companies$6
Finance and insuranceDebt collection agencies$6
Finance and insuranceCredit reporting agencies$6
Real estateReal estate brokers$7
Real estateReal estate agents$7
Real estateReal estate developers$7
Real estateProperty managers$7
Real estateAppraisers$7
Real estateHome inspectors$7
Real estateTitle companies$7
Real estateMortgage brokers$7
Real estateReal estate investment trusts (REITs)$7
Professional, scientific, and technical servicesLegal services$8
Professional, scientific, and technical servicesAccounting services$8
Professional, scientific, and technical servicesEngineering services$8
Professional, scientific, and technical servicesArchitectural services$8
Professional, scientific, and technical servicesManagement consulting services$8
Professional, scientific, and technical servicesIT consulting services$8
Professional, scientific, and technical servicesHR consulting services$8
Professional, scientific, and technical servicesPR and marketing consulting services$8
Professional, scientific, and technical servicesScientific R&D services$8
Professional, scientific, and technical servicesTesting and inspection services$8
Professional, scientific, and technical servicesTranslation services$8
HealthcareMedical clinics$9
HealthcareDental clinics$9
HealthcareVision clinics$9
HealthcareNursing homes$9
HealthcareAssisted living facilities$9
HealthcareHome health care agencies$9
HealthcareHospice care agencies$9
HealthcareMedical device companies$9
HealthcarePharmaceutical companies$9
Educational servicesPublic schools$10
Educational servicesPrivate schools$10
Educational servicesColleges and universities$10
Educational servicesVocational schools$10
Educational servicesOnline schools$10
Educational servicesAfter-school programs$10
Educational servicesTutoring services$10
Educational servicesTest preparation services$10
Educational servicesLanguage schools$10
Educational servicesComputer training schools$10
Educational servicesArt schools$10
Arts, entertainment, and recreationMovie studios$11
Arts, entertainment, and recreationRecord labels$11
Arts, entertainment, and recreationRadio stations$11
Arts, entertainment, and recreationTelevision stations$11
Arts, entertainment, and recreationConcert promoters$11
Arts, entertainment, and recreationSports teams$11
Arts, entertainment, and recreationTheme parks$11
Arts, entertainment, and recreationZoos$11
Arts, entertainment, and recreationMuseums$11
Arts, entertainment, and recreationTheaters$11
Arts, entertainment, and recreationArt galleries$11
Accommodation and food servicesHotels$12
Accommodation and food servicesMotels$12
Accommodation and food servicesRestaurants$12
Accommodation and food servicesBars$12
Accommodation and food servicesCafes$12
Accommodation and food servicesFast food restaurants$12
Accommodation and food servicesCatering companies$12
Accommodation and food servicesMeal delivery services$12
Accommodation and food servicesFood trucks$12
Accommodation and food servicesIce cream parlors$12
Accommodation and food servicesCoffee shops$12
InformationTelevision networks$13
InformationRadio networks$13
InformationInternet service providers (ISPs)$13
InformationSearch engine companies$13
InformationSocial media companies$13
InformationSoftware companies$13
InformationVideo game companies$13
InformationWeb development companies$13
InformationGraphic design companies$13
Other servicesPersonal care services (e.g., hair salons)$14
Other servicesHome repair and maintenance services$14
Other servicesLandscaping services$14
Other servicesPet care services$14
Other servicesLaundry services$14
Other servicesDry cleaning services$14
Other servicesMoving services$14
Other servicesStorage services$14
Other servicesSecurity services$14
Other servicesBusiness services (e.g., printing)$14
Other servicesNon-profit organizations$14

Please note that these average annual revenue figures are generalized and may vary depending on specific circumstances for each business.

What is the average annual revenue of small businesses in the United States?

The average annual revenue of small businesses in the United States can vary significantly based on several factors. Small businesses, defined as those with fewer than 500 employees, encompass a diverse range of industries and business models. As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, the average annual revenue for small businesses in the U.S. was approximately $1.5 million. However, it’s essential to note that this figure is an average, and there is substantial variability among small businesses due to factors like industry, location, and size.

How do small business earnings vary by industry?

Small business earnings can vary significantly by industry. Some industries inherently generate higher revenues due to the nature of their products or services. For instance, technology companies and healthcare providers tend to have higher average earnings compared to retail or food service businesses. Additionally, economic conditions, market demand, and competition within a specific industry can influence small business earnings.

What percentage of small businesses generate profits in their first year?

Generating profits in the first year is a significant challenge for many small businesses. Statistics show that around 20% of new businesses fail during their first two years, and about 45% close within the first five years. These numbers emphasize the difficulties that new businesses face in achieving profitability quickly. However, profitability rates can vary widely based on factors such as industry, business model, and effective business planning.

Are there specific types of products or services that tend to be more profitable for small businesses?

The profitability of products or services for small businesses depends on various factors, including market demand, competition, pricing strategy, and operational efficiency. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer, certain industries and niches, such as technology solutions, specialized consulting services, and unique artisanal products, tend to offer more significant profit margins for small businesses. However, success ultimately hinges on effective business strategies and adapting to market dynamics.

What factors contribute to the success or failure of small businesses in terms of earnings?

The success or failure of small businesses in terms of earnings is influenced by numerous factors. Key factors include effective management, market demand, competitive positioning, financial stability, marketing strategies, and the ability to adapt to changing circumstances. Strong financial management, a clear value proposition, and a well-defined target audience are often critical contributors to small business success.

Do the geographical location and size of a small business impact its earnings?

Yes, both geographical location and the size of a small business can significantly impact its earnings. Location affects factors like market accessibility, operating costs, and local economic conditions. Additionally, the size of the business can affect economies of scale, with larger small businesses often having more resources to invest in growth and marketing, potentially leading to higher earnings.

How do small businesses typically handle fluctuations in income?

Small businesses often employ various strategies to handle fluctuations in income. These strategies may include maintaining a financial cushion in the form of savings or credit, diversifying revenue streams, closely monitoring expenses, and adjusting staffing levels as needed. Effective cash flow management is crucial for weathering income fluctuations and ensuring long-term stability.

What is the median income of small business owners?

The median income of small business owners varies widely depending on the industry, location, and the success of the business. Small business owners’ income can range from modest levels, where owners may draw a salary comparable to their employees, to substantial incomes for successful businesses. As of my last update, the median income for small business owners in the U.S. was around $50,000 to $75,000 per year.

What strategies can small business owners use to increase their earnings?

Small business owners can employ several strategies to increase their earnings. These include improving efficiency, expanding their customer base, introducing new products or services, optimizing pricing, reducing costs, and investing in marketing and digital presence. Effective financial planning and reinvesting profits into business growth are also common strategies.

How do economic conditions, such as recessions, affect the earnings of small businesses?

Economic conditions, including recessions, can have a significant impact on small business earnings. During economic downturns, consumer spending may decrease, leading to reduced revenue for many businesses. However, some industries, like healthcare and certain essential services, may remain more resilient. Small businesses that have a strong financial foundation and adaptability are better equipped to weather economic challenges.

Are there government programs or incentives aimed at boosting the earnings of small businesses?

Yes, governments often provide various programs and incentives to support small businesses. These may include grants, loans, tax incentives, and technical assistance programs. Such initiatives aim to stimulate business growth, job creation, and economic development in local communities.

What are the most common financial challenges faced by small business owners?

Small business owners commonly face financial challenges such as cash flow management, access to capital, rising operational costs, taxation, and regulatory compliance. Managing these challenges effectively is crucial to sustaining and growing a small business.

How does the age of a small business impact its earnings potential?

The age of a small business can impact its earnings potential. Established businesses often have a more extensive customer base, brand recognition, and operational experience, which can contribute to higher earnings. However, new businesses can thrive by offering innovative solutions and capturing emerging market opportunities.

Do certain marketing and advertising methods lead to higher earnings for small businesses?

Effective marketing and advertising can undoubtedly lead to higher earnings for small businesses. Methods like digital marketing, targeted advertising, content marketing, and social media engagement can help businesses reach a broader audience, increase brand visibility, and drive sales growth.

How do small businesses manage their cash flow to ensure consistent earnings?

Small businesses manage cash flow to ensure consistent earnings by closely monitoring their financial inflows and outflows. This involves budgeting, controlling expenses, invoicing promptly, offering discounts for early payments, and maintaining adequate reserves for emergencies.

Are there industries where small businesses tend to outperform larger competitors in terms of earnings?

Small businesses often excel in industries where personalization, agility, and niche expertise are valued over scale. For example, boutique shops, specialty food producers, and artisanal craft businesses may outperform larger competitors by offering unique and high-quality products or services.

What percentage of small businesses reinvest their earnings back into the business for growth?

The percentage of small businesses that reinvest their earnings varies widely. Some businesses reinvest a significant portion of their profits into growth initiatives, while others may prioritize paying dividends to owners. The reinvestment rate depends on the business’s growth goals, industry, and financial stability.

What role do customer demographics play in determining the earnings of small businesses?

Customer demographics play a crucial role in determining small business earnings. Understanding the needs, preferences, and buying behavior of a target audience helps businesses tailor their products, services, and marketing efforts, potentially leading to higher earnings through customer loyalty and satisfaction.

Are there seasonal trends that affect the earnings of small businesses?

Yes, seasonal trends can have a substantial impact on the earnings of small businesses. Businesses in industries like retail, tourism, and agriculture often experience fluctuations in income based on seasonal demand. Effective seasonal planning and marketing strategies are essential for managing these fluctuations.

How do changes in technology and digital marketing impact the earnings of small businesses?

Changes in technology and digital marketing have a profound impact on small business earnings. Embracing digital tools, e-commerce, and online marketing can expand a business’s reach, reduce costs, and enhance customer engagement, potentially leading to increased earnings. Staying abreast of technological advancements is vital for staying competitive in the digital age.


In conclusion, the question of what most small businesses make reveals a rich tapestry of products and services that cater to a wide array of consumer needs and preferences. Small businesses, despite their size, play a significant role in shaping local economies, fostering innovation, and fostering a sense of community.

What Do Most Small Businesses Make?

Whether they are crafting artisanal goods, providing specialized services, or introducing innovative technologies, these enterprises represent the entrepreneurial spirit that drives economic growth and societal progress. As we continue to navigate the ever-evolving business landscape, it is essential to appreciate the resilience and diversity of small businesses and the invaluable contributions they make to our world. Consider reading >>>> What Businesses Can You Start With $1,000 Dollars? to learn more about businesses.

Sarah Shane