Starting a business is always an overwhelming undertaking. But if you have no idea where to begin, the process can feel even more intimidating.
Luckily, dozens of different business ideas can work in India’s southern Kerala state, no matter what your background or experience level.
Trying to find the next great business opportunity may seem like a daunting task, but with some research and planning, you can make it a reality.
Kerala is one of the leading states in India when it comes to doing business. As the major southern state, Kerala has seen a lot of success in the IT industry and other major industries.
Researching the market trends is important as it helps you to get a clear picture about which goods will have high demand in the future.
So, if you are interested in starting a new business venture in Kerala, do some preparation and research on the available raw materials and labour force in your region to ensure success.
With so many options available to start a business in this state, you may be wondering which one will work out for you best.
Into Kerala has compiled a list of some of the most profitable industries that are worth looking into. While these industries have been successful in the past and will continue to be so in the future, there are always new business ideas coming up.
How to Start a Business in Kerala
Starting a business in Kerala is not as difficult as it seems for those who have already done it. If you follow the steps here, you will have all the things you need to know about starting a business in Kerala.
For starters, you need to register your company at the Office of the Registrar of Companies (ROC), which is located in Thiruvananthapuram. The process is pretty straightforward and you can be sure that your business will have all the legal documents and certificates required by the government.
After this, you can start looking for premises and hire employees to help get your business up and running.
Conduct a Market Research
Opening a new business in Kerala without prior market research can lead to failure. If you are starting a new business, it is necessary to conduct market research.
Conducting Market Research helps you decide whether there is enough demand for your product or service at the targeted price point and whether you will be able to make adequate profit from your proposed venture.
Till now market research was considered as only for big companies with huge investments and large marketing budgets but things have changed. Many small-scale businesses can also conduct market research by using the internet and social media platforms.
The Internet allows you to reach out to potential customers anywhere anytime if you use the tools available on it properly.
Choose a Business Name
Selecting a business name can be easy, or difficult, depending on your goals. The best way to choose a business name is to select one that’s available, easy to remember, and descriptive of what you do.
This can be especially important if you’re using your name as the name of the company or have a common name.
Your business name can have a major impact on the success of your company. If you’re hoping to brand your company, you should select a name that won’t be confused with other companies or products already out there.
Get the Necessary Licenses and Permits
Kerala is one of the most business-friendly states in India, but before you can open your doors for business, you must obtain the required licenses and permits from the Government of Kerala. Several licenses and permits may be required for your specific type of business.
Applying for a business license or permit is quick and easy and can be done online. You should apply for your license as soon as you know what type of business you’re going to set up. In many cases, you’ll need to have a license before you can get other approvals, like building permits and zoning approvals.
Find a Strategic Business Location
The location of a business is one of the most important factors that affect its success or failure because it determines convenience to customers as well as cost. It’s also a major factor in determining whether you’ll need a special permit or license.
Convenience is a key element in selecting a location for your business. If you sell products, you should be convenient to customers and suppliers, which means locating near transportation routes and population centres.
If you are providing services, however, you might prefer to locate in an area convenient to your employees and their homes; this is particularly true if your employees work nontraditional hours or travel from site to site with tools or equipment.
The location also can affect the cost of your business operations. The location of your office or store can add significantly to your costs through lease payments, real estate taxes, insurance, and utilities.
In addition, your location can affect the cost of labour because some areas have higher wage rates than others. As a result, labour costs may be higher in some locations than in others.
Costs also can be affected by regulations such as local zoning ordinances (which determine what type of business you can have and where) and building codes (which determine how much a building will cost per square foot).
Acquire the Necessary Equipment
Starting up a new business can be daunting, what with all the licenses and permits you have to acquire to legally run your business. But you don’t need to worry about that yet.
At this stage, you just need to get your operation off the ground—and that means acquiring all the equipment you need to start operating. The list of what you will need depends on what type of operation you want to run, so we’ll go over a few of the basics.
What kind of equipment do you need? It depends on what kind of business you’re starting up. If you’re running a retail store, for example, then obviously you’ll want cash registers, credit card machines, and other related items.
If you’re starting up a manufacturing business (for example, fabricating metal products), then your focus should be on specialized machinery.
Market your Business
Marketing is one of the main aspects of any kind of business so you must choose the right marketing strategy if you want to grow your business.
Having an excellent marketing strategy for your business is one vital step to success. After setting up your business, you don’t sit to wait for customers. You can do this by distributing brochures, setting up posters in public places, and even by word of mouth.
Another simple way to get customers is by offering quality services, giving discounts to customers, and offering free services once in a while. This is a sure way to get many customer referrals. Go for what is convenient for you.
However, there are some mistakes that most people do while marketing their products or services and this can be avoided if they take some time and follow some guidelines.
Related: 22 Best Small Business Ideas In Pune
20 Most Profitable Business Ideas to Start in Kerala
1. Open a Traditional Ayurvedic Medical Store or Clinic
Kerala is also famous for its spices and herbs, which are required for traditional Ayurvedic medicine. Trichy is one of the best cities in which you can set up your traditional Ayurvedic medical store or clinic.
The herbal medicines are also exported to different parts of India and abroad from here. Apart from Ayurvedic medicines, you can set up shops to sell silk sarees, sandalwood, teak wood crafts, etc.
Travancore Coir factories are another option where you can invest in Kerala. They produce high-quality coir mats and other products that require good quality coir fibre as a raw material.
1. Agarbatti Business
Agarbatti business is the most profitable small business in Kerala. Anybody can start this business with a low investment. You can start this business as a home-based also.
You need to have only one machine and 2-3 people to run this business. Agarbatti is an essential part of Hindu Worship. Every day agarbathi industry needs a huge quantity of raw materials like charcoal powder, jiggat powder, wood powder, etc.
You can start this business with a small investment of Rs. 50000/-
You can earn more than 1 lakh rupees per month from this agarbatti manufacturing unit. The demand for agarbatti is increasing day by day because of an increase in the population and growth of the Hindu religion across India.
This business requires very little manpower and space to operate. You don’t need much technical knowledge to run this small-scale business.
2. Ayurveda Tourism
Ayurveda tourism is a top business idea in Kerala. Ayurveda Tourism is one of the fastest-growing segments of health tourism, also known as medical tourism, in India and Kerala is a primary destination for this type of travel.
Ayurveda medicine, which originated in India thousands of years ago, has gained popularity across the globe. The practise involves using herbs, special diets, and other natural techniques to treat various illnesses.
Tourists from all over the world come to Kerala for ayurvedic treatment and Kerala needs more Ayurvedic resorts with high standards.
3. Home Décor Business
India is poised to be an economic superpower in the next few decades. Hence, there is a lot of scope for new business ideas in Kerala. With the rising number of high-income people, there is also an increasing demand for home décor.
If you have a good sense of design and are looking for low investment business ideas, then this is the right option for you. You can go for online marketing or open a store as well.
You’ll need to be creative and have an eye for colour and style. You should also get along well with people and be able to help them select the right pieces for their homes.
A home décor business is usually run out of an office or showroom. Customers will come in with pictures of rooms in their homes that they want help decorating. You’ll talk with them about what types of furniture and pieces they like, as well as their lifestyle and budget.
After determining your client’s needs, you’ll go shopping for the appropriate pieces for their home or office space. Then you’ll return to your showroom to create mock-ups of what the room will look like after it’s decorated.
4. Electronics Accessories Store
Electronics accessories have become an indispensable commodity of modern life. It is impossible to imagine any home without a television, refrigerator, air conditioner, or even a simple battery-operated clock. These items are so common now that almost every home needs them regularly.
This is why setting up an electronics accessories store would be a profitable investment for anyone who is looking for a viable business idea in Kerala.
Electronic items are not only functional but also decorative, which means that people often buy them as gifts for weddings and other special occasions. They are also durable and long-lasting, which ensures that your business will be able to thrive for many years to come.
Electronics accessories can include power cables and connectors, batteries (the kind used in toys as well as in radios), wires of different thicknesses and colours, wires with computer connections, and plugs of different colours and shapes.
5. Become a Professional Photographer
There are a lot of photographers out there nowadays, but how many of them are good at what they do? If you can take pictures that stand out from the crowd, you have a chance to make it big in this business.
Not only will you get paid to take pictures, but you will also be able to enjoy your work immensely. If you love taking photographs and are willing to work hard to succeed, then here’s some important advice on how to become a photographer.
To start with though, you’ll need to buy a camera. Digital cameras are the most popular ones used nowadays and they’re also cheaper than other types of cameras. If you can’t afford one just yet, rent one for the time being and experiment with it as much as possible.
6. Open a Modelling Agency
You’ll need to find models for your agency. You can go for walk-in auditions and also try newspaper advertisements. After that, you’ll need to give portfolio photos to models and try to get them jobs.
You can also have tie-ups with fashion designers, photographers, makeup artists, and stylists for getting jobs for your models.
As a newbie, you might not earn a lot at first, but as you get the experience you can earn a good amount of money by charging commission from the model’s salary that she or he get after the job gets done.
You should also take care of their travel expenses, accommodation, etc., as they will be responsible only for their modelling job and nothing else.
You can also open up branches in different cities like Kochi, Mumbai and so on. You should promote your business through social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, etc. so that people come to know about your agency’s business idea in Kerala.
7. Open a Fast Food Restaurant
Fast food restaurants are among the most popular business ideas in Kerala because of the huge success and profit they have brought to the owners.
India has a great love for fast food and even the fiercest critics cannot deny that this is one of the best business ideas in Kerala. The state serves as a perfect example of how fast food can be popularized just about anywhere in India.
Starting a fast food restaurant will require you to have vast knowledge on the subject, which is why you must attend workshops or training before venturing into this business.
Different training centres in Kerala offer fast food restaurant training. You can also do some research on your own about how to start and run your fast food restaurant.
It would be best if you will enrol yourself in seminars so you can gather new ideas and strategies about running a fast food restaurant successfully.
To open your fast food restaurant, make sure that it is located at a strategic place or location where people are always passing by or going around.
This way, it will be easier for people to see your fast food restaurant and try out what you have to offer them.
8. Coconut Based Food Processing
The food processing sector is the largest among all industries in terms of production, consumption, export, and expected growth. This sector has a great potential to generate gainful employment both in rural & urban areas of the country.
Coconut is a commodity that we find in abundance in Kerala. There are many coconut processing units in Kerala and the demand for coconut products is always high.
The most popular products are coconut oil, coconut milk, cream, copra, kernel, and shell charcoal. Many people have started their businesses by utilizing this resource.
If you are in Kerala, you can start a business with low investment by utilizing the natural resources available in the state. All over India, coconut oil is used for cooking purposes.
Kerala produces coconuts in large quantities and it is a popular item here because it is used to make various dishes and snacks. So, starting a Coconut Based Food Processing Unit will be a profitable venture for you.
9. Fertilizer Distribution
Fertilizer is used by farmers and agriculturalists to produce better yields from their crops.
Opening a fertilizer distributorship in Kerala is a good business opportunity for entrepreneurs who want to invest in the agriculture sector. This can be started as a part-time or full-time business and requires a small amount of money.
This type of business is becoming very popular these days because there are lots of people venturing into commercial farming. And these people spend fortunes on fertilizers and other agricultural inputs. This goes to show that there is a big market for this type of business.
Kerala is a state with huge agricultural potential and if you have good networking skills, then fertilizer distribution is one of the best businesses to start in Kerala.
You need to tie up with a good fertilizer company and market their product in your area. This doesn’t require much investment and you can work on a commission basis also.
10. Bakery Business
A bakery business is one of the most profitable food processing business opportunities one can initiate by having owned or rented space. Selecting the
right product and designing a proper marketing strategy is the major deciding factor in getting success in the bakery business. Any individual can initiate a bakery business as a partnership firm or a one-person company.
The factors driving the growth of the bakery products market include increasing urbanization, changing lifestyle, rising disposable income, and growing popularity of western culture among others.
In addition, growing health consciousness among consumers has also boosted demand for bakery products with lesser fat content and more fibre content. With these factors in place, demand for bakery products is anticipated to witness a significant increase during 2020-2025.
11. Open a Leaf Plate Making Unit
Kerala is an ideal place for starting various types of small-scale industries. The state has a large number of cashew nut factories that are constantly looking for suppliers. A leaf plate-making unit will be a profitable venture in this state. Leaf plates are used for packing and serving food items in hotels, restaurants, and other eating joints.
To set up a successful business venture you need to have good marketing skills and knowledge of local market conditions. You also need to consider the availability of raw materials and labour.
You can start a business by selling ready-made leaf plates. The raw material you require is tender leaves of jackfruit trees and bamboo. You can manufacture different sizes and shapes of leaf plates by cutting the leaves into various patterns.
You can also decorate the plates with silk thread and beads. These leaf plates are used during special occasions like marriages, religious functions, and festivals.
The market for these products is not limited to your Kerala, but spread all over India and abroad. You can make more profits if you expand your business to different states.
12. Fitness Centre or Gym
Fitness centres are a very lucrative and popular business to venture into. People are more health-conscious these days and would love to be able to find a gym in their neighbourhood.
A benefit of starting a fitness centre is that you can run it out of your own home itself. All the equipment that you need is available in the market and you can start your fitness centre at your home itself.
You can also offer other services related to fitness, like yoga classes and aerobics classes. Many people have started such centres at their homes, and they have been successful as well.
13. Invest in Crop Farming
Starting a crop farming business is one of the best options for people in Kerala. It has a low initial cost and you don’t need any special degree to run this business.
The main investment required for this business is; land, seeds, and fertilizer. You can lease land from farmers nearby or buy the land in instalments from government offices.
There are many types of crops that you can grow in Kerala such as rice, groundnut, pepper, cashew nut, and coconut. Most of these crops grow well in coastal areas so you should focus on growing them in these areas if you want to succeed with this business.
14. Clothing Business
This is an age of fashion and you will find several clothing stores in every locality. But, have you ever thought about starting your clothing store? If you are planning for the same, here are some points that will help you start your own clothing business in Kerala.
The location in which you want to open your store is the most important factor. Some places may be ideal for opening a clothing shop but others may not be suitable for the same purpose.
You need to do proper research about the location and then only decide whether or not it will be good for starting a clothing shop there.
Once you have decided to open your shop, you must plan your budget accordingly. You need to determine how much money will be spent on inventory, rent, and other such things like insurance, electricity, etc.
There are many ways by which you can reduce the initial cost of your business. For example, if you select a small place then there will be less expenditure on the rent and even if it is big, then there will be no requirement of additional furniture as well as other items required in a shop.
15. Open a Community Radio Station
Community radio stations are meant for providing information, education, and entertainment to the local community. If you have sufficient funds, you can consider opening your community radio station in Kerala and meeting the needs of the local communities there.
In India, there is a big market for community radio stations. The main reason behind this is that there is no transparency among the people of village areas, especially when it comes to farming and agriculture products.
Therefore, if you want to start a business in Kerala, one of the best options is to open a community radio station.
In this business, you will have to make sure that you provide accurate information related to farming and other essential things which are related to the local population of the area. A community radio station is like an intervention to fill the gap between people and technology.
You can also run live shows of experts in your community radio station, through which local people can get information about various things.
16. Open a Grocery Store
Kerala is known for its high population. This means that there are opportunities to open up a large grocery store. Grocery stores will become more popular because of the need for food.
A larger grocery store would be beneficial because it would have more food options and customers would be able to shop in bulk and save a lot of money.
Many people in Kerala are farmers and earn money from growing food products. Because of this, there will be many people who will buy these products from your store.
Being a grocery store owner, you will be selling food products. You need to buy the products from the producer and sell it to the final customer.
You may have to compete with other grocery stores in your area so make sure you stand out from the rest by offering something extra or by offering something cheaper.
17. Tours and Travel Agency
Kerala Tourism can be a profitable business venture if handled well. It involves planning, scheduling, and booking tours and travels for individuals or groups.
In addition to the actual tour packages, the travel agency would also provide related services such as booking hotels, rental cars, arranging sightseeing tours, etc.
This is the most common business idea that people start in this sector. You can assist tourists who want to visit your city or other neighbouring cities.
The need for travel agents is always there as tourists always want to know different options before they book their tickets. You can find out about flight deals from different airlines, hotel deals from different groups, etc.
Travel agencies may offer customized packages that cater to individual needs.
For example, a family may want to visit a place but do not have time to research about it on their own, therefore the travel agent would research about all the tourist attractions available, accommodation options, and other details that might interest the tourists.
Kerala is one of the most auspicious states in India. The state has a rich tradition of business and commerce. It has a lot to offer to entrepreneurs in terms of marketing, infrastructure, and so on.
You will be amazed to know that Kerala is the second most literate state in India after Tripura. It is also one of the richest states in India.
Kerala can be a great place for doing business if you decide to start your venture here. You will have an edge over other competitors if you choose this state for your business operations.
However, it will take some time for you to make a mark in Kerala as starting a business is never easy. If you are not sure about how to start your business in Kerala, we are here to help you out.