This article is part of our Business Startup Guide—a curated list of our articles that will get you up and running in no time!
Every month, over 1 million people visit Bplans. Most of those people are at the very early stages of starting a business and as such, are looking to see what others have done. Some have already decided and are in the process of writing a business plan.
They’re asking questions: What should a restaurant that needs a business loan include in their business plan? How do you write an executive summary for an online clothing business?
Whether you’re writing a business plan, or simply looking for data to corroborate your research, reviewing sample business plans can give you excellent insight that will help you write your own plan and think through every aspect of starting your business.
So what business should you start this year? What are the most popular industries? What opportunities are opening up in 2020?
We can’t tell you exactly what type of business you personally should start (that would entirely take the fun out of things) but we can tell you which of our sample business plans were most popular in 2018.
The most popular business plans on Bplans
In 2018, our most popular sample business plans were:
- Coffee shop
- Hair and beauty, salon and spa
- Fast food restaurant
- Agriculture and farming
- Nonprofit youth services
- Clothing retail
- Cleaning services
- Personal event planning
Food service: Restaurants, bakeries, and coffee shops
Our sample business plans in the restaurant, bakery, and cafe category rank consistently within the top 20 on Bplans. Of course, fast-food franchise businesses are also still booming—globally, fast food generates more than $570 billion.
If you’re thinking about starting a business within the food services industry, we recommend preparing for a healthy if eclectic year ahead. Take a look at this great list of food trends for 2020.
If you’re serious about your research, also be sure to have a look at the “What’s Hot Culinary Forecast” compiled by the National Restaurant Association. I also recommend checking out the FAPC’s Food Trend Predictions for 2020.
Best of Bplans for starting a bakery, restaurant, or coffee shop:
- Bakery, restaurant, and coffee shop sample business plans
- Bakery startup guide
- Restaurant startup guide
- Food truck startup guide
- Coffee shop startup guide
Salon and spa
The salon and spa industry continues to grow and evolve. Just as a clothing retailer has to know fashion trends, hairstylists and beauty salons have to stay on top of trending hairstyles, looks, and other beauty trends, including new treatments and products.
Last year, experts predict that CBD-enhanced treatments will land on the scene across the nation. So, make sure you know what services other salons are adding to the beauty menu in the upcoming year.
Best of Bplans for starting a salon or spa:
Agriculture and farming
Agriculture and farming sample business plans were more popular than ever in 2019.
We suspect that’s in part because of a growing interest in farm-to-table, or locally sourced ingredients. But it may also be related to newer legislation around growing and selling cannabis at marijuana dispensaries and other up and coming sales opportunities across the U.S.
Best of Bplans for starting a farming or agriculture business:
- Farming and agriculture sample business plans
- Guide to starting a farm or agricultural business
- Guide to starting a cannabis business
- How to write a business plan for a marijuana business
Nonprofit youth services
Starting a nonprofit as a way to use your skills to address a community is always a popular topic on Bplans. There’s always a need for quality counseling or mentoring services; if you have an interest in sports, you could start a basketball youth league; and if you have an interest in education, you could start an after-school homework-help program.
There’s no shortage of need out there. Take a look at trends in philanthropy for 2020 if you’re thinking about starting a nonprofit. And connect with the National Council of Nonprofits to learn more about wider trends affecting nonprofits heading into 2020.
Best of Bplans for starting a nonprofit:
- Sample nonprofit business plans
- How to start a nonprofit: A guide
- Industry guide for nonprofit startups
Retail and clothing
Clothing retail is another area where we see a lot of interest from readers—both for brick and mortar stores and ecommerce.
One of the most notable retail trends to watch for in 2020 is the rising success of hybrid or multi-channel retail—meaning that retailers with a physical location will be more likely to also have an ecommerce or online sales arm to their business.
For more on this year’s retail trends, check out this podcast from the National Retail Federation.
Best of Bplans for clothing retail and ecommerce:
Cleaning services are among the easiest and most affordable businesses to start, and the industry is expected to spur 6 percent growth in new jobs by 2020.
Like the construction industry, the trend toward green or eco-friendly solutions is expected to continue into 2020.
Best of Bplans for starting a cleaning service business:
- Examples of cleaning service business plans
- How to start a cleaning business
- How to write a cleaning service marketing plan
From wedding planning to large galas to big corporate events, more and more businesses and individuals are looking for help with the details.
The event planning industry is expected to grow faster than the average industry—by more than 11 percent by 2026. For more on how the industry is growing and changing, check out these event planning associations.
Best of Bplans for starting an event planning business:
Still looking for the right business idea? Check out our guide to generating hundreds of business ideas, or this list of more than 30 ideas. If you’re not quite there yet, check out our guide to finding a great business idea.