20 Best Small Business Ideas in New Jersey

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So, you're looking to start a business in New Jersey but not you're not certain on what you should start.

Finding and validating a business idea can be a daunting task - and one, that you'll be committed to for a while.

We've identified 20+ business ideas you can start in New Jersey today + the stories behind these ideas.

We also take you through:

  • The process of launching and manufacturing the product
  • How much you can expect to make
  • Tips & tricks!
  • ...much more!

1. Hatchet experience ($80K/mo)

Stuart and Kelly Josberger/Trish and Mark Oliphant started Stumpy’s Hatchet House, a hatchet experience business. They are now doing $80,000/month.

  • Location: Eatontown, NJ
  • Revenue: $80,000/ month
  • Started: ago
  • Founders: 4
  • Employees: 5

Finding a location and a landlord who would be cool with a business that featured throwing hatchets and drinking beer (especially since there was nothing like this in the country) was the first challenge. After looking at over 30 commercial properties around New Jersey, we found a suitable space with an owner who understood the vibe in Eatontown, New Jersey.

Mark began designing the layout of the venue, while Trish and I got to work on furnishings and decor. Stu was in charge of setting up the LLC, finding insurance, setting up the bank accounts. “Divide and conquer” made the project come together in about 8 weeks after signing the lease.

To get the word out, we relied on social media with “teasing” friends, family members and any other followers they could gain with an “SHH” campaign. People were dying to know what “SHH… it’s a secret, spread the word” was all about. Not knowing what a “social throwdown” was made people even more curious!

how-two-couples-started-an-indoor-hatchet-business-with-13-locations

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Stuart and Kelly Josberger/Trish and Mark Oliphant, on starting Stumpy’s Hatchet House ($80,000/month) full story ➜

2. Marketing strategies ($230K/mo)

Darren Magarro started DSM, a Marketing Strategies business. They are now doing $230,000/month.

  • Location: Franklin Lakes
  • Revenue: $230,000/ month
  • Started: over 13 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 18

Since we are a service-based business, our initial costs really focused on legal fees of setting up the corporation and figuring out how to best monetize our service offerings. At first, we utilized an hourly cost structure for creative time and a 15% media fee for all traditional media.

We kept it simple and straightforward to garner trust with our clients. As everything evolved, we now use a transparent, amortized retainer structure to keep things easy for our clients and our own internal bookkeeping. We’ve never heard any complaints and it’s fostered tremendous growth over the last 6+ years.

how-i-started-a-230k-month-marketing-agency-from-my-porch

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Darren Magarro, on starting DSM ($230,000/month) full story ➜

3. Hype sneakers and streetwear ($500K/mo)

Andrew and Phillip Pevzner started LacedUp, a Hype Sneakers and Streetwear business. They are now doing $500,000/month.

  • Location: Albany
  • Revenue: $500,000/ month
  • Started: about 4 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 25

Our “launch” was not so much a launch as a transition out of old business.

Flowboard was doing great, but we saw the writing on the wall. We saw that hoverboards were a fad and didn’t have longevity as a product. At the same time, we saw the potential and growth of collectible sneakers and Laced Up. Those few pairs of Jordan’s that our younger brother put in the store were getting more attention than the hoverboards! Phil started buying more pairs and testing out buy-sell-trade in the shop. It was quickly growing and sneakers quickly became more of our core business than the hoverboards. We decided to take a chance and begin our transition to be called Laced Up. The mall, however, told us that they had an exclusivity contract with Foot Locker, and would not let us change our name and focus on shoes. So, in June of 2016, we left Colonie mall and moved to the better mall in the area, Crossgates, to open Laced Up with shoes as our primary focus.

I came back from college and we began construction on our new store. At 4,000 square feet, it was 4 times larger than our old store, and we had nowhere near the product to fill it. The store looked so sparse and empty, we can’t believe people took us seriously. But that first day in early June 2016, we opened our doors, and I got my first taste of the real potential of sneakers. Within the first hour, someone came in and I sold him a pair of Supreme Air Jordan 5 “Camo” for $450. I was completely floored that someone was willing to spend that kind of money on sneakers, and was immediately sold on the concept. There was really a demand for this kind of store, and we could meet that demand. I was totally sold, and we haven’t looked back.

how-two-brothers-started-a-500k-month-chain-of-high-end-sneakers

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Andrew and Phillip Pevzner, on starting LacedUp ($500,000/month) full story ➜

4. Digital advertising services ($500K/mo)

Billy Ash started Todays Business, a Digital Advertising Services business. They are now doing $500,000/month.

  • Location: New Jersey
  • Revenue: $500,000/ month
  • Started: almost 9 years ago
  • Founders: 3
  • Employees: 40

When it comes to designing the products we honestly winged it. My business partners would get us in the room with business owners and decision-makers and we would sell them on us. It was crazy, but we would literally just give a compelling pitch on the fly and then figure out all of the logistics later.

We started a huge internship program, thanks to a partnership with Seton Hall and other local colleges, that helped us fulfill the work. We created content calendars for our clients and provided them a month in advance so clients could make any edits needed and approve everything before we published the posts that were scheduled. As we grew, we started hiring more Account Managers to help us retain our clients and make sure they are happy. We then started hiring people for specialized positions. To date, 90% of our employees have come through our internship programs.

how-i-started-a-500k-month-full-service-digital-and-affiliate-marketing-agency

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Billy Ash, on starting Todays Business ($500,000/month) full story ➜

5. Kitchen-krafted body products ($2K/mo)

Meredith Moseley-Bennett & Yolanda Grbic started Oh My Balm, a Kitchen-Krafted Body Products business. They are now doing $2,000/month.

  • Location: Glen Ridge
  • Revenue: $2,000/ month
  • Started: over 3 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 0

Once we had decided that we wanted to do this, it was time to think of a name. You have no idea (or maybe you do) what a formidable task it is to name a body products company. Think of a clever name, Google, find out it is taken, rinse and repeat. We found there were considerations beyond whether or not a name is taken. Target audience; the potential of making your name too “niche;” and coming up with a name that is simple, but catchy and easy to remember guided us in our quest to name our company.

After about three weeks of deliberate research and calling to the stars for a name, it came to us like a light - Oh My Balm. At first, we were thinking we might have to get a friend to create a logo, but then, one night we were playing with fonts and created a very simple logo. We had a friend show us how to turn it into a jpg and we were off and running. We knew branding colors were important as well and we loved green because of its connection to nature.

how-two-moms-started-a-business-selling-homemade-body-butter

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Meredith Moseley-Bennett & Yolanda Grbic, on starting Oh My Balm ($2,000/month) full story ➜

6. Privacy-focused email ($500K/mo)

Bron Gondwana started Fastmail, a Privacy-Focused Email business. They are now doing $500,000/month.

  • Location: Melbourne
  • Revenue: $500,000/ month
  • Started: almost 21 years ago
  • Founders: 3
  • Employees: 40

Email has stood the test of time, and it’s widely adopted. It’s so special because it's the largest open federated communication protocol on the internet. Unlike Twitter or Facebook, where you can only communicate with other people on the same service, you can email anyone with an email address no matter what service provider they use.

While I didn’t launch the first version of Fastmail with the original founders, I was here for our most significant change. In 2012, we rebuilt our web-based email client from the ground up. Our new interface is a responsive and efficient client-side application, with a new protocol developed based on our long experience with email. With this improved product, our revenue growth changed from a steady 10% year-on-year before 2012, to over 30% year-on-year in the years following. It’s the single biggest inflection point in our history.

At the same time, we noticed that many new email integrations were coming out that only worked with Gmail. It’s a problem when new email innovation can’t work with all providers. It means that to get the productivity tools you love, you only have one choice.

how-our-focus-on-quality-helped-us-reach-500k-month-with-an-email-service-in-a-space-full-of-free-alternatives

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Bron Gondwana, on starting Fastmail ($500,000/month) full story ➜

7. Earrings for sensitive ears ($22K/mo)

Jackie Burke started Tini Lux, a Earrings for sensitive ears business. They are now doing $22,000/month.

  • Location: New York City
  • Revenue: $22,000/ month
  • Started: over 2 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1

I started by reaching out to manufacturers.

I found the medical implant manufacturer that made the original pair of titanium studs that I bought and asked her if she could make a couple other styles. I have been ordering from her since then. She is only able to produce basic stud styles though, so I contacted a few manufacturers in China to see if they could produce the remainder of the earrings.

Now, my US manufacturer creates the studs which I send to my manufacturer in China who then creates the rest of the earring. Although it is more expensive and complicated to have two different manufacturers for a single pair of earrings, it is very important that the portion of the earring that is in contact with your ear is 100% pure titanium so that is why I do it that way.

how-i-launched-a-profitable-earrings-business-in-one-year

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Jackie Burke, on starting Tini Lux ($22,000/month) full story ➜

8. Apparel and accessories ($500/mo)

Corey Rust started 37413 Gear, a Apparel and Accessories business. They are now doing $500/month.

  • Location: Troutdale, Oregon
  • Revenue: $500/ month
  • Started: 4 months ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1

The designs are not mind-blowing. I’m a simple-minded guy and I like a minimalist look.

Incorporating a 5-digit number and a mustache into a design isn’t incredibly easy either. But, with a little playing around and figuring out color combos that worked, I’m actually pretty happy with the way it looks.

Now, you’ll look at the t-shirts and understand the point behind some, but others you’ll at won’t make any sense, like the guy in a unicorn onesie, or the ‘I Got You Little Buddy’ shirts. All have a back story told by some of Jack’s friends that worked with him.

on-starting-an-online-store-to-raise-funds-for-the-law-enforcement-community

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Corey Rust, on starting 37413 Gear ($500/month) full story ➜

9. Luxury weighted blankets ($100K/mo)

Elizabeth Grojean started Baloo Living, a Luxury Weighted Blankets business. They are now doing $100,000/month.

  • Location: New York City
  • Revenue: $100,000/ month
  • Started: about 2 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 2

Right away, I knew that I could improve on the products being offered in the market. The blankets I saw were either made of synthetic materials or low-quality cotton. Baloo is made using a very soft, premium cotton that feels luxurious as soon as you take it out of the box. It’s heavy but super breathable and cool, so it can be used all year round because good sleep should not be seasonal!

Baloo also uses a lower profile batting because the thinner the blanket, the more finely the glass microbeads inside contour the body, giving a more immediate, grounding feel. We also eliminated plastic from our packaging, and we only use materials certified by the Oeko-Tex Standard 100, which means free of chemicals, clean and safe. Finally, we include a small gift--a link to Tibetan and crystal bowl recordings, which have been shown to help the mind and body relax.

Despite the best product design, our first order hit some snags. The inspection report came back with a failing grade, just one week before the Chinese New Year. Factories close for the entire month, so I had to pause the shipment and wait before I could visit the factory personally to inspect the order. We sorted through each piece and eliminated almost twenty percent of the pieces that were damaged. The experience taught me to know the production process very well, and also gave me peace of mind to know that each blanket we shipped was perfect.

how-i-started-a-100k-month-business-selling-weighted-blankets-from-bali

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Elizabeth Grojean, on starting Baloo Living ($100,000/month) full story ➜

10. Growing equipment for plants. ($3.1M/mo)

Nate Lipton started Growers House, a growing equipment for plants. business. They are now doing $3,100,000/month.

  • Location: Tucson, AZ
  • Revenue: $3,100,000/ month
  • Started: over 8 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 50

The decision to move to Tucson, AZ was driven by the large distributors we desired to purchase from rather than our first choice for a location. Ideally, we would have chosen Las Vegas or Phoenix as a shipping hub, but the large distributors in my industry with all of the most requested products had territories for their dealers. Las Vegas and Phoenix were completely saturated with competing stores. After searching for any open space to locate, Tucson, AZ came up on the radar.

It may add context for you to understand that I’ve had a difficult time with patience all my life. Everything should have been done yesterday, and always ‘strike while the iron is hot’, yada yada yada… Once Tucson, AZ was greenlit by the distributors, I packed everything I could in my car and left everything else in San Francisco. Mind you I have never been to Tucson, but I was now driving to this city to make it my residence and start a business. Needless to say, things happened very quickly.

how-we-built-35m-plant-growing-empire-growershouse

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Nate Lipton, on starting Growers House ($3,100,000/month) full story ➜

11. Heating and cooling equipment ($375K/mo)

Mike Luongo started Total Home Supply, a Heating and cooling equipment business. They are now doing $375,000/month.

  • Location: Fairfield
  • Revenue: $375,000/ month
  • Started: over 10 years ago
  • Founders: 5
  • Employees: 5

Our first product was our website and our people. We knew that we needed to create a great online experience for our customers. We used a combination of commercially available software and some custom development to make our unique shopping experience that helped make complicated products easier to buy.

Staying focused was the most important lesson I learned. We wasted time and money trying to be in too many categories in the beginning.

When we started Total Home Supply, we decided to have everyone work from home to keep the costs down. We invested in a phone system that would allow everyone to work no matter where they were. We used online tools to share information and keep us updated.

how-5-founders-left-their-jobs-to-start-a-4-5m-heating-cooling-business

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Mike Luongo, on starting Total Home Supply ($375,000/month) full story ➜

12. Personalized poetry at events ($35K/mo)

Daniel Zaltsman and Erick Szentmiklosy started The Haiku Guys & Gals, a Personalized Poetry At Events business. They are now doing $35,000/month.

  • Location: New York, LA, SF, Boston, Washington DC, Austin
  • Revenue: $35,000/ month
  • Started: ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 2

We can’t stress enough how valuable starting on the street was for our future success. Not only did we develop a key network of future collaborators, clients, and fans, but we also perfected the way we would go to market with it. We thought lean from the get-go always taking careful note of guest responses. While our product is not digital, we approached it as though it was.

The service itself is a brief interaction, and there are only a few things to perfect. At first, we used pharmacy-grade 3x5 notecards where the ink bled through to the other side. Our outfits were initially whatever we were wearing and not fit for a cocktail party. We asked only one question: “What would you like your haiku to be about?”

Luck and necessity played a big part in the iterations. One day on our way to write haiku at a monthly dance party, we realized we didn’t have any notecards on us and stopped at a Paper Source to grab some. They have limitless options and we found a lovely cardstock that has the look and feel of a wedding invitation. People would receive their haiku, and holding it in their fingers go “ooOoohhh, this feels nice,” before even reading it. We were booked for a fashion event on the Hornblower Infinity out of Chelsea Piers and knew that we’d look like schmucks if we didn’t show up in suits.

how-we-started-a-35k-month-business-writing-personalized-poetry-at-events

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Daniel Zaltsman and Erick Szentmiklosy, on starting The Haiku Guys & Gals ($35,000/month) full story ➜

13. Roll on rash guard. ($8.5K/mo)

Michael Vahey started Beach Gladiator, a Roll on rash guard. business. They are now doing $8,500/month.

  • Location: Williamsburg, VA
  • Revenue: $8,500/ month
  • Started: about 5 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 4

Design & logo

The process for the logo and design was fun. Taking a vision you have in your head and seeing it come to life was a gratifying journey. We wanted the brand to have a fun, carefree feel to it. We decided to use a gladiator because they have shields that protect. Our gladiator protects the skin! We thought that a cartoon gladiator would be recognizable, relatable, and fun. So with the help of an artist, we had him drawn up as a modern-day surf gladiator with board shorts, flip-flops, and sunglasses.

these-two-founders-created-a-successful-product-for-their-kids

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Michael Vahey, on starting Beach Gladiator ($8,500/month) full story ➜

14. Leading nationwide money lender ($300K/mo)

Michael Mikhail started Stratton Equities, a Leading Nationwide Money Lender business. They are now doing $300,000/month.

  • Location: Pine Brook, NJ
  • Revenue: $300,000/ month
  • Started: over 2 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 14

Throughout my life, I was always a numbers guy, constantly watching trends and the ebb and flow of the real estate market. I saw a need in the market for a one-stop-shop for a wide range of mortgage options. That’s when I strived to launch a mortgage company that had as many innovative loan programs under one roof.

At Stratton Equities we’re known for having the largest amount of loan programs within one company. The most common private money loans are; hard money, bridge loans, new construction, Stated Income/No Doc loans, fix & flip loans, and commercial.

The most common difference between private money loans vs bank loans is that they have less underwriting & guidelines, and as they are asset-based loans – you aren’t restricted by your income verification.

how-i-started-a-300k-month-money-lending-company

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Michael Mikhail, on starting Stratton Equities ($300,000/month) full story ➜

15. Luxury streetwear ($650/mo)

Lachlan Sonter started DEAL WITH DEVIL, a luxury streetwear business. They are now doing $650/month.

  • Location: Gold Coast
  • Revenue: $650/ month
  • Started: over 2 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1

I began by basically looking into the past and finding some styles that were transcendent through the years, and then choosing a variety of inspiration pieces I could improve and manipulate into my own perspective. I began the process of design using Photoshop edits and testing custom made garments by hand sewing those pieces in my dining room. There was nothing glamorous about this part of the story, but it was the most fun I’ve had for a while when creating something, which in turn made it a lot easier to continue making more and more.

I found myself contemplating on how to begin the process of starting a lux clothing type business and sought after a manufacturer that would also help teach me how the process works when mass-producing clothing (even though I managed to do this on a small scale). Thanks to the team over at Bryden I couldn’t have done it without them, and I learned everything about manufacturer relationships from that experience with them.

Once I had designed around 11 pieces and custom labels/packaging the whole essentials line for my first collection I contacted a bunch of manufacturers, ended up settling with the obvious choice quite quickly, and received samples that blew me away.

how-i-left-my-tech-studies-to-start-a-luxury-streetwear-brand

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Lachlan Sonter, on starting DEAL WITH DEVIL ($650/month) full story ➜

16. Fast custom home building ($500K/mo)

Michael J Parnell started MPC Builders, a Fast Custom Home Building business. They are now doing $500,000/month.

  • Location: Wall Township
  • Revenue: $500,000/ month
  • Started: about 8 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 4

Startup costs were lean and mean, as I was a solopreneur for the first 9+ months. I just had to cover my monthly living expenses, and that was the goal month in and month out. I didn’t have targets for the years ahead, I was just taking it one month at a time in sort of a “proof of concept” stage of the company. Initially, I was trying to be a “consultant”, in the form of an Owner’s Rep on projects.

I’d manage the project, for a fee, and the subcontracts for each trade would be directly between the client and the subcontractors… but within 6 months of starting the company, every client I met was looking for a General Contractor to give them a lump sum price to build their project, they weren’t interested in taking on the risk of overruns or contracting directly with subs.

So, based on the demand of the market, I shifted my position and turned the company into a General Contracting firm. I registered as a GC, got all of the necessary insurance policies in place, and started taking on at-risk general contracting work from that point forward. We’ve been general contractors ever since…

how-i-started-a-500k-month-custom-home-building-company

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Michael J Parnell, on starting MPC Builders ($500,000/month) full story ➜

17. Fun socks. ($100K/mo)

Taylor Offer started FEAT Socks, a Fun socks. business. They are now doing $100,000/month.

  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Revenue: $100,000/ month
  • Started: almost 6 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 3

We quickly ran into production issues. We pressed the socks manually in our dorm room up to 4 AM every night, even hiring friends for $10/hour. But it wasn't enough.

We tried to do a production run in China. They sent us some great looking samples so we signed a contract for 5,000 pairs. But then they sent us socks that looked nothing like the samples - they were complete garbage. Then, we found another Chinese manufacturer, and this time we were more careful. We ordered 20,000 pairs. We got the socks, and they looked great, but they did not stretch, at all!

After two bad runs in China, we had no leverage with the factories, and they didn't care about losing our business. We ended up going through a distributor in the US. Although it was more expensive, the quality was guaranteed. It was worth it. We didn't want to deal with these headaches.

starting-a-wildly-successful-sock-brand

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Taylor Offer, on starting FEAT Socks ($100,000/month) full story ➜

18. Sports data ($8K/mo)

Tyler M started Moneypicks, a Sports data business. They are now doing $8,000/month.

  • Location: Remote
  • Revenue: $8,000/ month
  • Started: about 1 year ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0

The interesting feature of this business is that there is no product. I sell information.

There are certain key metrics for various sports. In hockey some are goals for, GAA, day of the week, etc. In baseball its ERA, WHIP, Runs for and against, etc. My 10+ years of experience has allowed me to identify these key metrics. And then use the published data available to us, and reconstruct it into a formula that can accurately predict games down to the final score.

If you really want it, then put away the Xbox and Netflix when you get home from work. Spend your weekends grinding. Live like a prince now to live like a king forever.

how-i-make-8-000-month-watching-sports

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Tyler M, on starting Moneypicks ($8,000/month) full story ➜

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Starter Story,   Founder of Starter Story