The Best Business to Start with Little Money in South Africa

Tim Jumah

Starting a business can be exciting and rewarding but often comes with a significant financial investment. However, not everyone has access to substantial capital to kickstart their entrepreneurial journey. If you find yourself in this situation, fear not! South Africa offers numerous opportunities for starting a business with little money.

This article will explore some of the best business ideas that require minimal investment in South Africa. Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur or someone looking to supplement your income, these ideas will provide you with inspiration and guidance on how to get started.

Starting a business with little money may seem like an uphill battle, but it’s not impossible. You can turn your limited resources into a successful venture with the right mindset, determination, and creativity.

South Africa is a country brimming with opportunities for entrepreneurs. Its diverse economy and growing middle class create a favorable environment for small businesses to thrive. Additionally, the rise of technology and the internet has opened up new avenues for low-cost startups.

Best Business to Start with Little Money in South Africa

In the following sections, we will delve into some of the best business ideas that require minimal capital investment in South Africa.

Online Retail

The internet has revolutionized how we do business, making it easier to start an online retail store with little money upfront. Here are some online retail ideas that you can explore:


Dropshipping is an increasingly popular business model that allows you to sell products online without holding inventory. With drop shipping, you act as a middleman between the customer and the supplier. When a customer orders on your website, you forward the order details to the supplier, who then ships the product directly to the customer.

One of the main advantages of dropshipping is that you don’t need to invest in inventory upfront. You only purchase the product from the supplier once you’ve received payment from the customer. This eliminates the need for storage space and reduces your financial risk.

To start a dropshipping business, follow these steps:

  1. Choose a niche: Select a specific product category or industry you know about or know about.
  2. Find reliable suppliers: Research and identify suppliers who offer quality products at competitive prices.
  3. Set up an online store: Create an e-commerce website using platforms like Shopify or WooCommerce.
  4. Market your store: Utilize social media, content marketing, and search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to drive traffic to your website.
  5. Process orders: When customers place orders on your website, forward them to your suppliers for fulfillment.


Print-on-demand (POD) is another low-cost online retail business idea that has recently gained popularity. With POD, you can create custom-designed products such as t-shirts, mugs, phone cases, and more without investing in inventory or equipment.

Here’s how print-on-demand works:

  1. Choose a platform: Sign up for a print-on-demand platform like Printful or Teespring.
  2. Design your products: Create unique designs using graphic design software or hire freelance designers.
  3. Upload designs: Upload your designs onto the print-on-demand platform and select which products they should be printed on.
  4. Set prices: Determine how much profit you want to make on each sale by setting your prices.
  5. Market your products: Promote your products through social media, influencer collaborations, and targeted advertising.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a business model where you earn a commission by promoting other people’s products or services. It’s a low-cost way to start an online business; you don’t need to create your products or handle customer support.

To get started with affiliate marketing:

  1. Choose a niche: Select a specific industry or product category that aligns with your interests and expertise.
  2. Research affiliate programs: Find reputable affiliate programs that offer products or services related to your chosen niche.
  3. Build a website or blog: Create a website or blog to promote affiliate products and provide valuable content to your audience.
  4. Drive traffic: Utilize SEO techniques, social media marketing, and content marketing to attract visitors to your website.
  5. Earn commissions: When visitors click on your affiliate links and make a purchase, you earn a commission.


If you have marketable skills and enjoy working independently, freelancing can be an excellent option for starting a business with little money in South Africa. Here are some popular freelancing opportunities:

Writing and Editing

If you have strong writing skills and attention to detail, freelance writing and editing can be lucrative. Many businesses and individuals constantly need high-quality content for their websites, blogs, social media platforms, and more.

To succeed as a freelance writer or editor:

  • Build a portfolio of writing samples that showcase your skills.
  • Create profiles on freelancing platforms like Upwork, Freelancer, or Fiverr.
  • Network with other writers and editors to find potential clients.
  • Develop expertise in specific niches, such as finance, technology, health, etc., to stand out from the competition.

Graphic Design

Graphic design is another in-demand skill that can become a profitable freelancing business. Many businesses require graphic design services for branding, marketing materials, websites, etc.

To start a freelance graphic design business:

  • Build a portfolio showcasing your design skills.
  • Create profiles on freelancing platforms and design marketplaces like 99designs or Dribbble.
  • Stay updated with the latest design trends and software.
  • Network with other designers and potential clients to find opportunities.

Web Development

With the increasing demand for websites, web development has become a sought-after skill in the freelance market. If you have coding knowledge and experience in web development, you can offer your services to businesses and individuals looking to establish an online presence.

To start a freelance web development business:

  • Build a portfolio of websites you’ve developed.
  • Create profiles on freelancing platforms like Upwork or Freelancer.
  • Stay updated with the latest web development technologies and frameworks.
  • Network with other developers and potential clients to find projects.

Tutoring and Coaching

If you have expertise in a particular subject or skill, tutoring or coaching can be an excellent way to start a business with little money. South Africa has a high demand for educational support services, making it an ideal market for tutors and coaches.

Academic Tutoring

Academic tutoring is one of the most popular tutoring services in South Africa. Whether it’s helping students prepare for exams or providing additional support in specific subjects, there is always a need for qualified tutors.

To start an academic tutoring business:

  1. Identify your target audience: Determine which grade levels or subjects you want to specialize in.
  2. Advertise your services: Promote your tutoring services through local schools, community centers, social media platforms, and online classifieds.
  3. Set competitive rates: Research the market rates for tutoring services in your area and set prices accordingly.
  4. Develop teaching materials: Create lesson plans, worksheets, and other resources to support your tutoring sessions.
  5. Provide excellent service: Build a reputation for delivering high-quality tutoring sessions and helping students achieve their academic goals.

Language Coaching

South Africa is a multilingual country with 11 official languages. If you’re fluent in one or more languages, you can offer language coaching services to individuals or businesses.

To start a language coaching business:

  1. Determine your target audience: Decide whether you want to focus on teaching individuals or providing language training to businesses.
  2. Develop a curriculum: Create a structured curriculum that covers the fundamentals of the language and caters to different proficiency levels.
  3. Advertise your services: Promote your language coaching services through social media platforms, language learning websites, and local communities.
  4. Offer trial lessons: Provide free or discounted lessons to attract potential students and showcase your teaching style.
  5. Continuously improve your skills: Stay updated with the latest teaching methodologies and resources to provide the best learning experience for your students.

Event Planning

If you have excellent organizational skills and enjoy planning and coordinating events, starting an event planning business can be rewarding. While event planning may require some initial investment, it can be created on a small scale and gradually expanded as you gain experience and clients.

Here are some steps to get started with event planning:

  1. Identify your niche: Determine which events you want to specialize in, such as weddings, corporate events, birthdays, etc.
  2. Build a network of suppliers: Establish relationships with caterers, decorators, photographers, etc., who can provide services for your events.
  3. Create packages and pricing: Develop different event packages based on client requirements and set competitive pricing.
  4. Market your services: Utilize social media platforms, wedding directories, local event listings, and word-of-mouth referrals to promote your event planning business.
  5. Provide exceptional service: Pay attention to detail, communicate effectively with clients, and ensure smooth execution of events to build a strong reputation.


Starting a business with little money in South Africa is possible and offers numerous opportunities for success. Whether you venture into online retail, freelancing, tutoring, coaching, or event planning, the key is leveraging your skills and passion for creating a sustainable business.

Starting a business requires hard work, dedication, and continuous learning. Stay focused on your goals, adapt to market trends, and provide exceptional customer value. With perseverance and the right mindset, you can turn your small investment into a thriving business in South Africa.

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Jumah has been a content writer for business and technology topics since early 2019. He has experience in writing and marketing and is dedicated to creating informative and engaging content.
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