Kolkata is a relatively easier market to get a grip on. This is because the tastes and preferences of the people here are more or less similar. For example, Kolkata is known for its lazy afternoons, pleasant winter wear, and food. Once you know the target market well, it becomes easier to come up with a fool-proof business idea that requires minimal investment. That’s what we are about to set this article on, the most effective and lucrative best small business ideas in Kolkata.
You don’t even need to be a long-term resident of the city to start a business here. Read on to learn more about how to succeed and create the most profitable business in Kolkata.
Let’s get started!
Profitable business ideas in Kolkata with low investment
1. Home-based bakery
Kolkata loves food; there is no doubt about that. So, when it comes to talking about small business ideas in Kolkata, what could be better than setting up a home bakery? Believe it or not, the number of home-based bakeries in the city is growing, much to the appreciation of the sweet-toothed people. Plus, this is that one business idea that costs almost negligible on the setup.
In fact, you might not have to shell out any money until you get your order. And as far as the various equipment is concerned, most houses already have ovens and a couple of molds.
2. Online store
We all know that running an online store is actually less expensive than physical stores, making it a low-investment business in Kolkata. Let us suppose you want to sell customized artwork; selling them online would mean you don’t have to stack up your inventory with items ahead of time. Since you have time between receiving the order and shipping the product, you can make the particular item and then ship it.
On the other hand, running an offline store would mean you have to invest in the space as well as the entire item catalog you are targeting. Not to mention the risk you will have to bear with unsold stock.
3. Digital marketing services
If you do it right, you will not need to spend much on advertising your service offering or hiring a business developer. Bagging the first client can be tricky and take a lot of time, but once you cross the initial hurdle, things become easy.
Given that most companies have started operating on a remote setup, you can adopt the same once you grow your client base. On the other hand, until you decide to have your own office setup, you don’t really have a lot of investment needed for digital marketing services.
4. Online tuitions
While working as a private tutor has been fairly common in Kolkata, online tuition goes a notch higher. Moreover, the pandemic has increased the preference for online tuition in proportion to the convenience it brings. What more reason does it need to make it one of the best small business ideas in Kolkata!
All you need to start your online tuition is a stable internet connection and a good reputation among your peers or locality. Once you get one of two students, you will keep getting either through word of mouth or little paid advertisements on social media.
5. Drop shipping
If you are looking for low-investment home made business ideas in Kolkata, what could be better than drop shipping? It is an online business model, and there is much less effort or investment.
To begin with, you will need to create an eCommerce website and list the products you want to sell. Next, connect with local or other stores that sell these products and come to terms with the online delivery model; you would not even need to stock the products.
When you get an order, forward the same to the store, which gets the product ready and shipped to the delivery address. This is how dropshipping works, saving you a lot of money on investment while offering the perks of eCommerce.
6. Virtual assistant
Virtual assistants are individuals who take up specific tasks from a business and execute it on their behalf. Virtual assistance can be for any service, be it appointment setting, office secretary, data entry staff, or anything businesses feel is futile to hire an in-house employee.
A virtual assistant can offer you freelancing opportunities as well as help you set up a business on a remote outsourcing organization. Either way, you invest less of your money and more of your time, making it one of the most sought-after small business ideas in Kolkata.
7. Fitness trainer
Now, this is an interesting small business idea in Kolkata. If you are a fitness freak or a certified trainer, and that shows in your body, you can start your online/offline fitness training center. Ideally, offline fitness training will need you to have a separate space where you will handle your trainees, though not for online.
You can either train every day or a fixed number of days a week or month, depending on much you charge. Normally, the more popular you get, the less time you will need to invest in your trainees.
8. Classical music training
Kolkata loves its classical music. Even in 2022, you will see purists sending in their kids to learn classical music right from their kid days. It lays a foundation and stronghold in music. What better way could there be to use this learned talent and apply it right to earn money?
There are always people who want to keep the city’s musical culture alive; all you have to do is locate them and get them to trust you to teach their kids music. The first student may be hard to find, but once you have gotten a grip on it, it will all seem too easy.
Reselling is one of the common business ideas in Kolkata. You might not even need a lot of cash for this if you have proper connections with the right people. You will always find wholesalers on the lookout for retailers to buy goods from them.
You don’t need to start big or rent a store to set up your reselling business. You can invest as little capital as feasible and grow as you increase your sales. You have to look to build your customer base before upscaling to a newer product portfolio.
10. Online book store
Online bookstores are easy to set up, and you don’t need a bulk of capital as well. An eCommerce website is all you need. As for the product portfolio, you can either contact the distributors straight from the publishers or get in touch with wholesalers. And believe it or not, there are many stores across Kolkata where you can buy books at half the price of the MPR; you just have to know where to find them.
Here’s a tip: Stock up on as many retro or finance-related books as they are trending at the moment!
11. Bengali sweet shop
If you are in Kolkata, you will be amazed at the wide range of confectionery and sweet meads available here. From sugar-free milk-based sweets to rasogolla and gulab jamun, the city is a paradise for the sweet-toothed.
And since the city is crazy over sweets, why not encash in it? You will find multiple small shops and individual hawkers who could put a big sweet shop to shame with their quality. So, if you think you can compete with them with your sweet-making skills, give this new business idea in Kolkata a try.
You don’t need a big shop, bright lights, and an insect flasher right from the start (though the latter is an important civic addition. You just need to be bang on point with the quality, and your Bengali cravings will do the rest.
12. Restaurant/ Cafe
Does this sound like a lot of investment? Well, if you do things strategically, it will not attract huge investments.
Kolkata loves its food. In fact, there are many dishes you won’t find in any other city perfecting in. And due to this love, even small roll joints and sandwich corners have a good crowd.
In order to encash this, you would need a room (a small one, 200 sq. ft would do) in a place that has the potential of being a hangout hotspot. Even a small and chic menu and a few variations of tea would attract customers and make the area a hangout spot for youngsters.
13. Makeup artist
Beauty parlors are in the limelight. So, quite naturally, setting one up could be one of Kolkata’s best small business ideas. However, this time around, skip the traditional in-store beauty parlors and make it more open, door-to-door service.
Offering such services can make you the center of convenience for your customers. After all, many people still consider a wax or an extensive facial and scrub at home rather than in a parlor with prying eyes. So this is going to be your USP!
14. Cloud kitchen
Believe it or not, a cloud kitchen could be your best business in Kolkata with little investment if you can cook well and know how cloud kitchens work. Cloud kitchens are basically like restaurants that only take up food deliveries and do not have their own dine-in space.
You can either operate your cloud kitchen with popular food delivery players in India or run an independent business. In case you choose the latter, you will need to target a location where ordering food online is common, like a corporate sector in the city. You can go for a physical advertisement of your cloud kitchen outside every office building and start delivering once the orders come in.
15. Career counselling
Career counseling sounds like a great career option and a definite yes for a side hustle. The business does not take a lot of investment to set up and does promise to offer good hustle. Plus, what’s a better feeling than helping bright minds choose the right path to success?
However, there is a catch with choosing career counseling as a business idea. The business requires a personal brand and reputation. Of course, if you haven’t achieved anything significant in your life, you can expect teenagers to come to you to seek career advice. Career counseling is most suitable for high school teachers and college professors.
16. Sports merchandise
Among the many things Kolkata is crazy about, apart from sweets, biryani, and its taste in classical music is sports. Kolkatan is crazy over sports, be it cricket or football. In fact, more than one market is dedicated to sportswear and accessories.
Be it IPL or ISL; fans love flaunting their team jersey with their name on it. In fact, such is the craze that youngsters even watch matches at their houses wearing a jersey to support their favorite team.
Doesn’t this mean you have a great potential market in front of you? Start by customizing jerseys and lowers, and move further to shoes and official merchandise. You will know best how to pave your way forward here.
17. Momo corner
Did we tell you how Kolkatans are crazy over their momos? Of course, Delhi might be offering mayonnaise with their momos; for people here, nothing beats winter better than the spicy red sauce and a bowl of clear chicken soup.
Needless to say, you don’t need much to start selling momos. You just need to have a moveable cart and the momos; that’s it! And since you will be on a mobile cart, you can choose which place has the most crowd for your momos.
18. Biryani house
“Who puts aloo in biryani” – says everyone outside Kolkata.
But not Kolkatan. Kolkata’s biryani is a specialty, a one-of-a-kind dish. It is completely oblivious to how biryanis from other regions taste and has developed a taste of its own. A little less spicy, a little more flavor and a big fat potato are goodness packed in every plate of biryani here.
With their popularity, it will be of little surprise that biryani joints are one of the best new business ideas in Kolkata. If you can cook it well or know someone who can, there is no better time to get into selling great biryani.
And if you have been living in Kolkata for a long time, you will know the best recipe to master it.
19. Tea & breakfast corner
Tea is no less than a staple. But, just add a few other combinations of breakfast plates, and you have the best ingredients for the most profitable business in Kolkata.
As we have already mentioned before, you don’t need an extensive menu to attract a hungry stomach; you just have to know what people eat most. You need sandwiches, noodles, hing kachori, and a few options in sweets to do a great business. And remember, the close the area is to an industrial region, the more profit you earn.
20. Fresh juice kiosk
This specific business idea may not work in every Indian city, but it is one of the best small business ideas in Kolkata. Fresh juice is what people crave here, especially post-lunch hours. So, all you have to do is rent a place, get the equipment and set a nominal rate chart, and you are good to go.
And yes, don’t forget the seasonal fruits, like early-season mangoes. The aroma will make anyone rush to your kiosk in a jiffy.
21. Small-scale clothes market
Just like in any other city, flea markets are very common here in Kolkata too. And you don’t even need a lot of money to set one up.
Kolkatans love roadside shopping. There’s a reason why Gariahat, Esplanade, and Hatibagan are shopper-flooded all throughout the year. Just choose a strategic location, and get the goods. And remember, don’t try to be a jack of all trades, be a master of one. Keeping a wide collection of a single product will be more successful than having a limited collection of multiple products.
22. Digital studio
People still need physical photos for banks, government offices, and marriage registration, not to mention school registration. And it is only due to this reason that photo studios have not become an endangered profession yet.
In fact, many photographers focus on both online and offline means to get customers for passport-sized photos and portfolios; it all depends on your fine photography and editing skills. You can also boost your popularity by creating a page on Instagram and Facebook, both of which will give you initial exposure.
23. Men’s salon
Compared to ladies’ beauty parlors, men’s grooming is still in the primitive stage here in Kolkata. You’ll be shocked to see the number of men who still get their hair and beard jobs done at just INR 150 at a local barber shop.
So what do you do? Change the course and set up a luxury salon for men, or stick to the basics?
Our suggestion: it should depend on the location you choose. A massive air-conditioned salon might give great business in a posh or downtown location but not much inside a locality. And as far as low investments are concerned, you will be better off setting up a local salon at first, employing 2-3 talented stylists, and you are good to go.
24. Event planner & supplier
A lot of people look for event planners to host birthdays, engagements, and anniversaries. Now, there are many event planners who either set up the venue or do the catering, but very few do both. That’s where your focus should be. Set up an event planning business that offers A-Z services, make it a USP that people relate to, a one-stop solution.
And if you are wondering what makes it one of the low-investment small business ideas in Kolkata, here’s the catch. You don’t need all the resources; you just need to know where you get them. So cometh the contract, connect with the vendors!
25. Day care
For a long, Kolkata has been relatively slower in development than the other three major metropolitans. However, at the moment, the new breed is more career-focused, and the number of households with both husband and wife working out has increased. So who takes care of the kid?
No, you don’t need to be a domestic help or a nanny; that wouldn’t be very lucrative. Instead, you can set up a daycare facility for the kids, a place where parents can like their kids for the day and take them back after office hours.
Most parents prefer daycare since there are many brain development activities and study sessions they get complimentary. You just need to employ caring and loving nannies to take care of the kids!
26. Blogging/ Vlogging
The internet is a great platform to get exposure and earn money along the way. Blogging and vlogging are among them. However, while it can be considered the best business in Kolkata, it is more of an individual role.
Now, blogging and vlogging are different types of content, though they are both niche-based. You need to be an SME (subject matter expert) on a topic and have an in-depth idea about how the digital industry works. For example, you need to have a few marketing skills for social media exposure and SEO for organic promotions on search engines..
Summing it up
If you have reached a conclusion here, it is safe to assure you that homemade business ideas in Kolkata are more successful for people with capital restraints. So, the business setup process won’t be very long if you are strategic.
Stick with us to know more about low-investment businesses in Kolkata and how to succeed with one. Till then, we hope this content has answered the questions you were looking for the answers to.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which business is best to start in Kolkata?
There are multiple business opportunities in Kolkata that you can go for. However, considering the fact that people in the city are extremely fond of food, serving joints are very common. Be it as small as a tea stall or a grand restaurant; food is the success mantra.
How can I Start a Small Business in Kolkata?
The first tip anyone could give you on choosing the best small business ideas in Kolkata is strategy. Kolkata is not a city difficult to win; you just need to know what clicks and where. The location and strategy are the main bits, not the investment!
What business can I start in 50000?
When it comes to starting a business in Kolkata, you don’t need a lot of investment if you know the market well and have the skills. A business as small as a mobile momo stall can also succeed with over 100% return on COGS (cost of goods sold). So it’s all about your strategic approach and the quality you can offer.
What business can I start at home in Kolkata?
If you are looking for home made business ideas in Kolkata, there are many you can choose from. Some examples are
Online career counseling