Best small business ideas in Chennai

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Small businesses are ruling — especially now. And Chennai is one of the best places to start a business of your own, as it’s one of the safest cities in India. The people are educated, there’s a vast IT crowd, and starting a business right out of your home without much investment is feasible. And there is no dearth of small business ideas in Chennai.

From the mami delivering linch to the IT crowd to the maavu selling household goods within apartment complexes, everyone is busy with a side hustle these days.

And even if it were not a survival tactic, Chennai is full of enterprising young and old business people who put their creative minds to earning money.

A home-based small-scale business does not require much startup capital investment, except for the raw materials needed. Already there are many men and women with micro businesses who provide the whole world with:

  • Customized and curated chocolates
  • Eco-friendly toys
  • Cloth diapers
  • Napkins
  • Cakes
  • Custom-tailored clothes

So, if you are mulling over starting a business of your own, here are 10 small business ideas that will do great in Chennai.

1. IT Services

What is it: Apart from the usual tech-driven backend management, some simple ideas can click well if you have the related expertise. Some of the in-demand IT-related services worth exploring are:Software developer working on a computer

  • A tech-savvy mutual funds management agent
  • Security advisor
  • Website development and management
  • Social media management
  • Risk mitigation advisor

Why this: In today’s world, with most businesses going online, there’s a lot of scope for web-designing and internet-related work.

How to: You can start this with just a good internet connection and a computer. However, if you want to do it professionally, think of a smart name for your company and buy a domain. Then work on a marketing plan to popularise your domain name and catch the attention of prospective clients.

Investment: INR 20,000-30,000.


2. Terracotta Jewelry

What is it: It’s about creating ethnic pieces of statement jewelry made from clay and other eco-friendly decorative materials.

Why this: In demand as it is the current fashion trend. There are takers for good terracotta jewelry pieces even abroad.

How to: If you are creative and can design innovative jewelry pieces, you can go for this. There are courses available online on how this jewelry is made.

You need to:

  • Get the raw materials
  • Make a business strategy
  • Decide on pricing
  • Make jewelry to show

Instagram is a great place to showcase and sell what you create.

Investment: Rs 1000-2000 for raw materials, and if you plan to market on social media, another Rs 5000. In all, less than Rs 10000.

Related: Lavish makes looking fashionable feel good


3. Curio Shop

What is it: It is a shop of cute things that can be sold as collectibles or gifts.

Why this: People in Chennai are always looking for unique items to give as gifts for various occasions or just to collect.

How to: First, you need to rent a place to convert into a shop. It must be easily accessible, and if you are starting it at home, ensure it’s a place away from the rest of the household.

Then it would help if you had vendors willing to give you their creations for display in return for a part of the sale profit. Alternately, you can start the shop with your own and your friends’/family’s creations.

You need to be business-savvy and:

  • Know how to market the products smartly
  • Handle online delivery
  • Have a returns policy
  • Be market-friendly with pricing

Investment: With all overheads including rent, Rs 50000

Related: Sourcing products for your business


4. Homemade food delivery

What is it: Cooking food and delivering it to those who can’t do it themselves for various reasons.Person handing food delivery to another

Why this: The pandemic has forced many Chennaites to go for homemade food rather than ordering from a restaurant. Chennai has the second highest elderly population in the country — these people prefer simple home-cooked food but are unable to do it themselves.

In addition, many among the busy IT crowd also order at least two meals from outside.

How to: Start talking about your venture in apartment WhatsApp groups, create Facebook Instagram pages and popularise your venture. Draw up a set weekly menu for three meals a day — if you have a unique offering, like diet menu, etc., the better.

When you get orders, begin cooking and either deliver it through a delivery service or do it yourself. Just be sure you’re a good cook, though!

Investment: Raw materials needed to cook each meal, add to it overheads such as LPG used, etc. Rs 500-600.

Related: Start selling homemade food online this weekend


5. Teaching Yoga/exercise coach

What is it: If you are a yoga practitioner and know your asanas and poses, you can become a yoga teacher. Same for exercise coach. You will have to teach others yogasanas or exercises and tell them about the benefits of following a good workout regimen.

Why this: It’s become hugely popular, especially with people young and old trying to get some exercise within their homes.

Start advertising by setting up a social media account and inviting learners for a monthly fee.

Develop a free-to-fee strategy to attract people.


If you live in an apartment, put up notices on the common board. Once people show interest, you can form a Zoom or Hangout group and get started. You can start from your drawing room!

Create various time slots to suit all people. If you want a certification, apply for it in a good yoga institute, and you can pass the exam for a nominal fee.

Investment: Nothing. It would be best if you had a good internet connection and a smartphone or laptop.


6. Social media strategist

What is it: It’s about helping companies and businesses make a mark in the online world and come up in top online searches in their respected categories – it can be a website, or social media platforms.

Why this: With everyone taking their business online, it has become a big thing to make their presence felt online. From multinational to small hyper-local businesses, everyone wants to be seen and heard online.

How to: You can master the skill with umpteen free online courses and by reading internet articles by experts. You can then offer your services to startups and corporates or market your own business.

Investment: Zero if starting as is, but if you plan to open a digital agency and create a website and promote it, Rs 20000.


7. Candle-making business

Candle wax cooling in a shell

What is it: As it sounds, it’s about custom-making different types of decorative and utility candles.

Why this: Gifting candles on occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, housewarming, and health and wellness is the thing in Chennai these days. It’s a home business, and with a little creativity, you can find your niche clientele quickly.

How to: Decide on what type of candle you want to make — tealight, scented, decorative, etc. — and also a luxe brand name. Zero in on packaging, and where all you can sell your candles — you can register on many register-and-sell platforms like Amazon and Flipkart at no cost.

Investment: You’ll need different types of wax, scents, colors, moulds, wick, etc. You’ll also need a packaging and marketing budget. As a home business, the investment would be Rs 25000, but if you go for a candle-making machine, it may go up to Rs. 2.5 lakh.


8. Pregnancy and child photography

What is it: This involves clicking aesthetically beautiful pics of pregnant women, alone and with their families, as memorable keepsakes. Clicking cute pics of kids at various locations.

Why this: Pregnancy photography (which includes baby shower parties) is a rising trend in Chennai, with many new-age couples opting for it. Children’s photography has always been in vogue in the south of India; these days, it has become more upscale.

How to: You’ll need photography expertise, an eye for good locations and angles, and basic photography equipment like a DSLR camera with usual filters and lens (if you buy a new one, it will cost you anything from Rs 75,000 to a lakh, including filters).

You will need a website or Instagram handle to flaunt the amazing pics you click (be sure to respect client privacy and seek their permission before sharing online) and a website to solicit and canvass your business.

A good computer with software like Adobe Photoshop and knowledge of how to use them is also necessary.

Investment: If you will buy a camera, anywhere between Rs 1-2 lakh, including website creation. Else, Rs 25,000.


9. Vlogging

What is it: Creating videos of interesting things regularly.

Why this: YouTube is full of successful vloggers earning money. If you can find a niche that people in Chennai connect with, you will eventually amass many followers.

How to:  All you need is a video cam or a smartphone with a good camera, along with a video editing app.

You can vlog about anything — handicrafts, cooking, interesting aspects of daily life, diet advice, traveling … the list is endless. Just put some good thought into coming up with a unique, interesting topic to vlog about.

Investment: Zero if you already have a smartphone with a good camera and internet connection. Creating accounts on social media platforms is free. Most editing apps also have freemiums.


10. Regional dry cuisine items

What is it: Making podis (like gunpowder, sambar powder, health mixes, etc.) and dry health-food items such as various herbal teas.Spices on a table

Why this: It’s the business of the moment. Everyone is looking at healthy alternatives to supermarket packaged items. It’s easy to make, and with some research, you can make and sell dry food items everywhere, including on Amazon.

How to: Research, experiment, and discover healthy dry items that make dishes tastier. You can even find a unique angle like making ancient grains upma mixes, millet dosa mix, chukkukapi (herbal black coffee), etc.

Investment: Actuals for raw materials, buying a strong mixer-grinder, sieve, packaging materials, etc. Rs 5000.

Chennai’s 10 best small business ideas

It’s never too late to become an entrepreneur with your small business idea in Chennai. If you have a one-of-a-kind idea and the expertise to execute it, Chennaiites will likely be game to buy and experiment.

If you are dedicated, committed, and fanatically quality conscious, you will soon stand out among the crowd of sellers and begin to make a profit. And for some motivation: There are many small businesses that started just as an idea and became big in Chennai — Netmeds, the online pharmacy, is just one of those names.

The information contained in this blog post is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as an endorsement or advice from GoDaddy on any subject matter.

Vagisha Arora
Vagisha is a full-time freelance content writer and marketer who helps startups and businesses to enhance their online visibility through user-friendly, interactive, engaging blog posts and articles. She has been featured in renowned publications like Hackernoon, Thrive Global, Medium, BBN Times, etc. She has also been associated with renowned brands like HT, Bonobology, Shiksha, Myntra, Amazon, etc. She has also been invited as a speaker in SRCC, DTU, Fuzia, Chitkara University, and more to guide young minds to build a fruitful career in freelance writing.